We got to Thailand in the late afternoon and bought a sim card for the googling. 7 days, 5GB of data….179thb. For those of you keeping track at home that’s about $6. We got a taxi to our hotel being prepared to get extremely ripped off but the taxi driver was very friendly and told us how he loved picking people up from the airport because he loved when people came to visit his home country for there first experience to be a good one. We got our hotel, White Ivory Bed and Breakfast, and checked in.
Not exactly the place the internet had made it seem but the A/C was cold and the bed was super soft. We left and took a stroll down to the water and got dinner. I had my first introduction to Chang, a new staple of my Thai diet, and some of the best food I’d had in a while. Honestly some of the food we have in the states shouldn’t even be allowed to be called Thai food. But I digress. After a night of walking and a couple of beers we headed back to our comfy cold room and crashed.
I woke up in the middle of the night to a huge thunderstorm going on outside. I went to check what time it was on my phone, which I had left on the bedside table only to find it wasn’t there but instead out on the floor, 2m from the socket with the charging cable stretched eerily dead straight. Reached down and hit my phone. Nothing. Weird. Sat up and unplugged and repluged. Nothing. Then as I was sitting there I saw the outlet turn blue. 100% truth, blue, followed seconds later by a clap of thunder. And that’s when it hit me. The rats nest of electrical wires and phone lines I had seen on telephone poles that night probably didn’t have surge protectors…my phone was fried.
Then next morning we were changing places from a “hotel” to a hostel closer to Chinatown and the there there in Bangkok. We woke -and after me trying everything I could thing ok to resuscitate my phone we up and packed our crap which had inevitably exploded and set off. A walk and a ferry ride across the river and we made it there.
Our “private room” had a spectacular view…not. But hey it’s just a place to rest your head right.
We dropped our stuff and went exploring. Right under the hostel was a market where I got my first real taste of Bangkok street food markets. It was the first “oh shit toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore” moment of the trip and it was awesome.
The rest of the day was spent trying to go to markets and find some good lightweight pants so we could go check out temples and to see if there was a place to get my phone fixed. 3 hours later and 2 “istudio” shops later we found out it was beyond dead and BUT under warranty in the US, however they can’t send apple US won’t send warranty replacements to Thailand so shit outta luck. We went to DHL and shipped it back home to get fixed so I could have a phone when I get home. And luckily while we were there we met an expat who mentioned we should check out MBK for a possible replacement. So we went on another walk. MBK is a mega-mall complex where individual vendors sell everything from fake jewelry to “hugo boss” clothes to just my luck used phones .
And on the 4th floor is a slew of stands that buy and resell old phones. I managed to pick up an old iPhone 5 (with a truly shit battery) for about $90. At least it was something to listen to music and download photos to on the many long bus/train/plane rides to come. And that was pretty much all of the day so we headed back to our place and got drinks and food on the rooftop bar of our hostel.
The next day we headed to the grand palace. We jumped on a ferry that took us up the river. What a bustling river that is. Boats going every which direction but somehow not colliding. We got to the grand palace and had planned knowing the strict no shoulders or legs dress code had planned on wearing a sarong to cover my legs so I didn’t have to wear hot pants all day. Nope. We got turned away and had to go buy pants for me and a shirt for Athena at the overpriced street vendors outside. But it was worth it. The grand palace is somethin’ for sure. Sooo much gold. You could pay for a tour guide but we went it on our own and picked up facts here and there from other groups in passing. I heard tours in at least 6 languages, which is pretty impressive.
After the grand palace we hopped back on a ferry over to Wat Arun. Super cool porcelain temple with multiple levels and supposedly a great view of the city. Sadly the upper levels were closed so no view for us, but still and incredible place.
We grabbed lunch and headed back down the river to our hostel looking for a quick A/C break from the overbearing heat of Bangkok. At this point Athena and I both decided that while it was a cool city it wasn’t exactly our speed so we went back to the rooftop and planned our journey the next day (by bus) to Sukhothai.
The day being not quite done for the day we decide to check out the temple of the golden Buddha just 5 minute walk from our place in Chinatown. Many of the Buddha statues in Thailand are painted gold, some even using real 24 carrot flake, but the Buddha at Wat Tramit is 100% solid pure gold. Originally this Buddha was housed in the old capital of Thailand but right after it was made it was encased in plaster to conceal it from being plundered by invaders just on the capitals border. And so it sat as an unknown treasure for some 400 years until a piece of the plaster broke when the Buddha was being transported to a new temple. Pretty cool eh?
For dinner we had heard about a vegetarian festival going on down in the Hindi neighborhood and we both thought it was time Athena got a proper meal. We ended up stopping at a place called “cheaper and better street food” and it was pretty good food but even better they had signs for their affiliate business “cheaper and better Thai massage” so after a long day we said “why not” and followed one of the employees three streets over to a hole in the wall where we got 1hr massages for both of us for 400THB or about $13 not to shabby.
The next day we woke up and took the subway north to Chatuchak Park. We walked through the park and made our way to the bus station. We didn’t know exactly when the bus would leave but we managed to find our way there and get a bus ticket for the 8hr journey there north to Sukohthai. I used the hour and a half we had in the bus terminal to update my “new” phone with some music so I wouldn’t go insane and filled up on 7-11 munchies for the road.
Apart from the ungodly terrible smell the permeated the whole bus anytime someone opened the bathroom door, it really wasn’t that bad. The bus made a stop about 3 hours in for a bathroom break and some food which came included in the price of your 300THB ticket. As we got closer to Sukohthai we looked out the windows to find the open rice fields and jungle covered mountain sides. We both new immediately this was much more the speed of Thailand we were expecting.