Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thailand: The Itinerary, Bangkok

I realized the other day the details of our trip to Thailand are growing fuzzier and fuzzier. There are memories and photos that will last a lifetime...but all the details seem to be slowly running together.

So before any more of it slips away, and because people are still asking about our trip, I thought it was time to put it all down on paper (so to speak).

11/24-25: TRAVEL TIME!! We started out our travel day, which was Thanksgiving btw, in the very we hours of the morning waiting to catch the Van Gelder bus from Madison to O'hare. From there it was 22+ hours of travel...ORD>DET (1.5hr)>NRT(~12hrs)>BKK(~7.5hrs)

With travel time and time zones we arrive in Bangkok at around 11:30pm Friday. After navigating immigration and baggage claim, and figuring out how to hire a cab, we were on our way to the Radisson Suites Sukhumvit. The sights and sounds of Sukhumvit, from the safety of the cab, were mesmerizing and amazing, much as the sights and sounds of NY Times Square would be to a foreigner. Being that we had been traveling for so long we opted to head to bed and wait to explore the city.

11/26: Exploring Sukhumvit. I have to say, I found Sukhumvit, and Bangkok, to be much more endearing from the backseat of an air conditioned cab. Sukhumvit is the "hip" and touristy area of Bangkok, much like Time Square in NYC, only dirtier and seedier.
The streets are lined with vendors selling everything you could think of: Viagra, pocket knives, knock off t's, trinkets and sex toys. It's all there. It also, endearingly, smelled like rancid sewer. I can't say for certain if the stench was a result of the recently receded flood waters or if it is always that funky, but it was positively nauseating at times. Many of the restaurants along the street were either food carts or open air restaurants. I could not FATHOM eating Thai when all I could smell was sewage. SO instead we found solitude and familiarity in McDonalds.

Yes, we traveled a few thousands miles to eat McDonalds. On the bright side, in Thailand, McDonalds makes everything fresh as it was ordered. $3 for a 6 piece nugget, medium fry and a medium Coke, combined with A/C and refuge from the was a no brainer.

After eating our first official meal in Thailand we hired our first tuk-tuk and headed to the Divana Spa for a much needed massage and relaxation.

The streets are lined with massage parlors, but do your research so that you actually get the kind of massage you want...
Divana was a quaint home, complete with outdoor courtyard and garden. They greeted us with an assortment of fresh fruit and tea, and made us feel at home. We opted for a detoxifying and relaxing couples massage (which I cannot recommend enough when you've traveled as far as we had).

From there we headed to a local tailor to contemplate adding a few custom clothing pieces to our wardrobe....

Before calling it a day!

11/27: Weekend Market The Chatuchak Market, also know as the Weekend Market, was quite possibly my favorite part of Bangkok. That being said, it is worthy of a post all of its own (which I promise will be soon...).

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