Thailand and Hong Kong Trip Oct-Nov 2013: Bangkok

My husband and I took the 1am EVA Air flight to Tapei then to Bangkok.  Unbeknownst to us, we were on the Hello Kitty flight!

The boarding passes, airplane, pillows, cups, utensils – almost everything – were designed with Hello Kitty!  I LOVED it and so many of my friends/Instagram followers were quite jealous.

We arrived at our hotel, Holiday Inn Silom Road, in the afternoon.  The hotel was super nice;  definitely not the standard Holiday Inn’s I was used to seeing in Europe or the states.  It felt more like an Intercontinental Hotel, the higher-end brand of the hotel group.  Since I am a member of the IHG Rewards Club, our room was upgraded.  I’m not sure if Wifi is complimentary in general or as a rewards member.  We had a room with a view of the cityscape and a bathroom with separate shower and tub.

After we settled into our room, we roamed along Silom Road and checked out restaurants and massage parlors.  There weren’t too many restaurants open (maybe because it was a Sunday in what I think was the business district?).  We ended up at East Meets West, close to our hotel and ordered crab fried rice and chicken curry.  Delicious start to our trip!  We also got a massage at Happy Massage (I think that was the name of the place).  We opted to try a Traditional Thai massage.  It could be quite intense for those who don’t prefer hard massages.  They seem to really focus on the feet and legs, which I care nothing for unless I’m in pain in those areas, which is rare.  Overall, it felt good after a long journey.

I booked a full-day tour with Bangkok Day Tours a few days prior to our departure from San Diego.  It’s a bit pricey, but had really good reviews on TripAdvisor.  I found it well worth it because the pick you up and drop you off at your hotel.  It was also a more intimate experience as it was just the two of us, driver, and tour guide!

Our driver picked us up at 7am and we stopped (I’m guessing by their office?) briefly to pay the rest of our dues and receive snacks.  It took about 1.5 hours to get to the floating market.  Since we arrived early enough before the tourist rush, we had a pleasant and relaxing thirty-minute boat ride, checking out the souvenirs the different shops had to offer.

After we got off the boat, we purchased souvenir magnets.  I don’t recommend using the toilets there.  You have to pay to use squat toilets, whereas the driver knows of stops with good, clean toilets!  Luckily, I still have some muscles in my thighs!

Next, we drove about about a couple more hours to meet our guide Anda and eat a buffet lunch (included in the tour, except for drinks) at a floating Thai restaurant overlooking a River Kwai bridge.  Justin enjoyed the food, especially the spicy pork salad.  Unfortunately, I got sick from the long flight so I lost my sense of taste!  Luckily, it was only for that day.  Anda gave us a history lesson and we walked across the bridge.

It started to get hotter and crowded, so we hopped back into our car, where the driver greeted us with a wet towel and cold drinks, and continued on to the elephant farm.  Anda offered me menthol from his inhaler stick when he noticed I was sniffling.  Actually, I had trouble breathing for nearly half the trip!  The menthol was quite helpful.  Apparently most locals use menthol sticks on a daily.  Justin even bought a stick in Phuket to do as the Thais do!  Okay, back to the tour…

We got to the farm before a big tour bus arrived, so we were able to hop on an elephant straight away!  Our handed my camera and phone to Anda, who took a million photos and videos.

The wobbly ride was about thirty minutes around the farm grounds.  The part that made it fun and unforgettable came soon after the ride.  We sat on the elephants while they entered River Kwai and bathed with them!

Needless to say, we were a bit scared to straddle the elephants without any type of gear!

I was too chicken to be tossed around by an elephant as much as my husband did.  He was definitely sore the next day!

Bathing with the elephants was definitely the highlight of our whole trip!  We took quick showers and didn’t think to bring towels.  On our way back, Anda offered to take photos of us in front of the Tiger Temple, offered at other tours, where you could interact with tiger cubs.  The driver dropped off Anda before heading back to Bangkok as Justin and I took a good nap on the reclined seats.  We were so exhausted we took a long nap and opted for room service as it was late and we were too lazy to leave our room.

The next day, we went to the Grand Palace via river taxi.  On our way back to the hotel, we calculated it was cheaper to take a regular taxi but it was a cool experience so I definitely would recommend the river taxi!

They are strict with attire.  The guards will stop you if you are not properly covered, however, they do provide shawls for a small deposit (refundable upon returning the shawl).  The palace is quite grand, though I have been to Versailles and nothing gets more grand than that!  Afterward, we started to walk toward Wat Pho, but a local told us it was closed until 1pm.  We opted to take a tuk-tuk to Chinatown.  I wish I did more research as to a specific location in Chinatown since it’s quite a big area!  We just walked around for an hour passing different shops.  Since we had a big, delicious buffet breakfast at our hotel, we weren’t hungry so decided to go to Wat Pho and wait til it opened.  Turns out it was open (and probably open the whole time!).  The reclining buddha was the reason I wanted to go to Wat Pho:

Truly a site to see!  We headed back to our hotel and walked around to find a place to eat.  I ordered what I thought was Thai tea but it ended up being milk tea.  Sort of a bummer!  We napped (we took a lot of naps in Bangkok and Phi Phi!), then got massages at Silom Bodyworks, a short distance from our hotel.  It was more expensive than the first massage place, but for good reason.  We got one-hour shoulder and back massages so they could focus on areas that we cared more about.  They offered us tea at the beginning and end, along with soaking our feet before our massage.  They still massaged our feet and legs, but focused more on our shoulders and back.  The massage would have been more relaxing if our masseuses weren’t laughing throughout.  I’m pretty sure they were laughing at us as my husband would turn the wrong way and I had trouble breathing (she even offered me tissue in the middle!).  We had a late dinner at the hotel lobby restaurant since most restaurants around us closed at 11pm.

The rest of the night and early morning were spent, watching either HIMYM or Shameless on the iPad, and taking an hour power nap before getting ready for our 5am flight to Phuket!

Here’s our three-day Bangkok itinerary summarized:
Day 1 –  Arrive in Bangkok
Roam along Silom Road
Dinner nearby
Massage #1

Day 2 –  Bangkok Day Tour
Floating Market Damnoen Saduak
Lunch by historical bridge over the River Kwai
Elephant ride and bath with elephants in River Kwai

Day 3 – Siteseeing
Grand Palace
Chinatown
Wat Pho
Massage #2

To see all photos from my trip, check out my Google+ album!

Enjoy Ginet

  • http://Website Maria

    Beautiful photos– the elephants look like a great time! Sounds like a wonderful trip.

    • http://graciousdelights.com Ginet

      It was such an awesome trip! Thanks for stopping by and I hope you’re staying tune for my other recaps :)

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