Ok, here we go! I am back from Thailand and back from a jet-lagged 6 days of flying. If it wasn't for my second cup of coffee today and the fact that I am trying to get back on a time zone close to where I am, I would be sleeping for a long time....
So to get from Cincinnati to Bangkok to start off our trip, we had to fly from Cincinnati to Atlanta (and due to full flights we went via Greenville-Spartanburg), Atlanta to Tokyo, Tokyo to Bangkok. This is a loooong day of flying! When we arrived in Atlanta, I found out that our Tokyo flight was on a 747. I love these planes, I think the front looks like a cartoon bird's head.
I was super excited to find out that we were sitting on the upper deck of Business Elite (one perk of the job!) This actually made the day a lot easier than it seemed like it was going to be. (Granted, being on planes over 20 hrs in one "day" is never easy no matter where you sit!)
(Geoff looks very relaxed up front, don't you think?)
Minus the over the top, I need everything lady that drove us and the crew bonkers, it was a pleasant flight and I got to chit chat with the flight attendant helping us.
Once in Tokyo we had to sit for a few minutes while the Tokyo-ites working at the airport came in and scanned for Swine Flu. They all had the token masks and it was very ETesque. Apparently they are a little paranoid. Onto the last leg of the flight on United. I have never flown United before and for the 6.5 hr flight we were given Economy plus seating, which is supposed to have 5 more inches of leg room. If it does, I can only shudder at what normal Economy is like. Yikes!
We arrived in Bangkok around 11pm. Now, if you decide to plan a trip to Thailand, I suggest you read up on the SCAMS that are all over the web- they are true! Luckily Geoff's brother and sister in law had been and warned us of a few.
1.) Always use a metered Taxi and remember everyone is looking to sell you something.
We thought this lady was helping us get a legit taxi into town until she pulled out all her tours. We quickly spotted the taxi stand and off we went. It took about 30-40 minutes to get to Old City, where we were staying. But, since the exchange rate is really in our favor, it wasn't that much.
The taxi dropped us off at the start of Khao San road (where we were staying) and this is what we walked into.
It was packed with people, street vendors, people selling clothes, cds, bars. massage parlors, hotels and hostels... even a Starbucks... it was a backpackers dream street and ours too since we were starving. We checked in, changed and headed out for a bite to eat. We got Pad Thai and Spring Rolls from a street vendor right outside for about $2. Amazing!
After a good nights rest, we got up fairly early and headed down to breakfast (included in our super cheap hotel). We went across the street to the 7-11 and picked up some water and Thai Iced Tea's (which if you are in a Thai restaurant, you must try!) We were going to check out the Grand Palace so we decided to walk there (since it wasn't that far...) This is where Scam #2 comes in. Everyone will try and tell you that the Grand Palace is closed in the morning and opens later.
Seriously, I'd guess about 20 people stopped to tell us this. They offered to take us to a Standing Buddah (which is no where in my guide book) and back later in the afternoon. This is nooooot true! Luckily again, we knew better.
We actually went into Wat Pho first, which is Bangkok's oldest and largest temple. It is a huge education center and about 300 Monks call this home.
My favorite part was this room that had a giant "Reclining Buddah" in it. Very cool!
A few photos from around the grounds...
We grabbed some coconuts and headed on to the Grand Palace. (Remember, the one that is closed, but open... right!)
Afterwards we were starving and looking for someplace to eat. We headed down the street and onto a magical place filled with umbrellas, small booths and lots of food! It was amazing. We walked around and tried a few of the dishes and found the best mango i have ever had!
That night we had a massages, and then we headed to the Calypso show. I guess it is a tourist "must-do"... men turned women who sing and dance. Very interesting, but funny at the same time. After the show we walked around, got some food and drinks and finally headed home.