Tell Me Stories
(The story portion)
After a long journey and a lovely 5 hour layover in Zurich Switzerland I finally arrived in Bangkok. I hopped in a cab which was maybe an hour, and quickly passed out. The cab was 480Baht but should only cost 400 Baht (about $12) I clearly need to work on my haggling skills. I checked into a boutique hotel (smaller than most hotels) and email Liza to let her know I made it and will be taking a snooze before dinner. Liza is my moms life long friend who lives in Bangkok, my mom, Anne (also a long time friend of the family) and Emily (my old roomy)will be arriving in 2 days which will commence our girls trip. Later that day Liza and I grab dinner at this outdoor restaurant an then have drinks at a roof top bar which has a fabulous view of Bangkok.
The 2 days fly by and Liza is a perfect tour guide, we got lots of shopping and sight seeing in which allowed me too get the lay of the land before the others join. We traveled by Boat, Train, Motorcycle taxi and Tuk-Tuk to get to all the various shopping areas like China town, the clothes market and one or 2 malls. I would have to say the gourmet supermarket was one of my favorites. Anne is the first to arrive a day before mom and Emily.
Finally the day comes for mom and Emily to arrive. Mom had told me earlier that she wanted me to meet her at the airport so I figured I could take the trains since I have been traveling by train for 2 days now, clearly I am a master…wrong. Well thank goodness Anne (who showed up a day before) decided to go with me because we got lost. I had told Emily a day before that if she didn’t see me at noon to just go on without me and I will see her at the hotel. We make it to airport at 1230 do a quick runaround to see if they happen to still be there, but we don’t see mom or Emily. I get a vague text from Liza, “Mom is on her way to the hotel but don’t know where Emily is. (insert loads of F-bombs here) It took us about 10 minutes to figure out how to make a phone call from a pay phone at the airport but we got a hold of Liza. Liza tells us that mom didn’t see Emily get off the plane because the wheel chair pushers took off with her before everyone else got off and she hasn’t seen her since their layover in China…Panic slightly sets in at this point. So now the question is, where is Emily?
Anne takes trains all the time and wasn’t going to let this beat her, I, on the other hand was ready to throw in the towel and get a cab. I realized my hangriness was also starting to get the better of me so we stopped and grabbed a quick bite and beer before getting on the train again. The entire time I was fretting about Emily as Anne is showing these trains who’s boss. An hour or so later we make it to the hotel. I get up to the room and Emily is there in bed, THANK GOODNESS! Such a flipping relief let me tell you. Emily says she told the front desk that she was my “lady” for the weekend and Americans like there women clean so she needed to shower…I am still not sure if this is true. And now the pre-adventure is over, here are the things we did. Thanks for reading.
The floating market is about 2 hours away from Bangkok and I booked it through asiadiscovery.com, which is great because they do a hotel pickup so no worries on getting out there. The floating market was one of my favorite things I did in Bangkok. I got on a long and slender wooden boat along with a few others and the boat rocked and rolled as everyone boarded. The boat made its way to to various vendors, if you pointed at something or looked in the direction of a vendor then the boat guide would pull over and the vendors would start to haggle prices, which is great except there is no escaping, we couldn’t just walk away from it, we had to wait till the boat guide eventually moved away. The vendors sold everything! Hats, fruit, cooked food, clothes, bags, paintings, there was even a sloth to take pictures with. The boat ride was 20 to 30 minutes long and didn’t cost much. The floating market is a great place to buy souvenirs and local food that they cook right there on the canoes.
ELEPHANT WORLD! What a great place! They really let you get involved in providing for the elephants. Elephant world is about 3 hours from Bangkok which we hired a driver for the day for 2500 Baht (about $80). Anne, Emily, my mom and myself hop in a cab at 6am and head out on our journey. After our lengthy drive we finally pull up to the gate and get out the car and 3 elephants walk passed us with their Mahouts(care taker) on top and say hello, at this point I think Emily is going to pass out from excitement, but she stays strong.
They put us to work! We fed the elephants, then we prepared more food by washing small watermelons and separating the bananas to be put in the elephant’s feeding basket. After that our guide had us make a grass ball which is a sweet treat for only 2 of the elephants. Emily and I crushed up pellets with water, and grass and rolled the mixture into softball size spheres. These elephants came running and there was nothing to stop them except this snack. They scarfed the treats down so fast we barely had time to reload. When the elephants had finished and left we washed the bowls and pans. Then headed to lunch, which was a very tasty buffet of rice, cooked meats and vegetables. After lunch we went down to the water and bathed the elephants. We stood in the water with the elephants and our buckets and proceeded to throw water on the elephants occasionally soaking the mahouts in the process.
One of my favorite things about this place besides the elephants were the dogs. They had dogs and chickens for that matter running loose and hanging out, but they were so happy and calm. One lady was scratching one of the dogs heads and you could see the happiness on the dogs face. Such a peaceful place.
Bangkok Ink. Mom and I were talking about getting tattoos while we were here and Anne mentioned that she had always wanted a toe ring tattoo, so what do we do you ask?! We head to a tattoo shop! Liza recommended a tattoo shop called Bangkok Inc. we head over there to see what we see and maybe get one then and there. Anne is the only one who got a tattoo of a lovely blue flower toe ring that day while the rest of us were trying to figure out what we wanted. A few days later Emily and I hop in a tuk-tuk which I strongly suggest doing at least once, and we head to Bangkok Ink to make an appointment and show them our designs. Bangkok Ink has a super friendly staff and clean facility. We take the train back to the hotel which is super cheap and easy like everything once you get the hang of it. A few days later we all head out to get our tattoos this time by taxi. Emily, mom and I are getting nervous sitting at the front desk area. Since Anne already got a tattoo she decides to get a much needed massage up the road. Mom goes to the back and they start tattooing, she was very brave and her tat looks great. Mom got 2 elephants on her wrist. Emily decided to get the old school bamboo method instead of the machine. Emily is in so much pain and she can barely walk when its over. She got a bunch of tribal by her ankle. Mom and Emily ended up being finished at the same time. Now its my turn. I got an elephant butt and it felt like a razor being drawn across my wrist, it’s a small tat so it took maybe 10 minutes, thank goodness.
Chatuchak Market. Cant forget the Chatuchak Market, this place goes on forever. if you have shopping to do, this place is where you do it. Merchandise is much cheaper here than anywhere else and they have everything.
Jim Thompson Museum. Our last day in Thailand before we all flew out that night, we went to lunch at Jim Thompson restaurant which is also a museum and store. What a beautiful place. We had a very tasty lunch by the koi pond then did some shopping in the store. I could have easily bought everything in the store. Clothes, purses, bags, and scarfs which were absolutely beautiful. Great patterns and fabric, a bit pricey but high quality. Jim Thompson brought the silk trade back to Thailand then went away to the jungle somewhere and was never found again. They turned his home into a museum, shop and restaurant. If I am ever in Bangkok again I would definitely go back.
Baipai Thai Cooking School. If you have time on your travels I strongly suggest a taking a cooking class. This was my first one and I had a blast. The chefs were great with good personalities, very patient, cheerful with good humor. This place was very well put together, great atmosphere and they gave everyone a book with the recipes that we cooked that day. I highly recommend it if you enjoy cooking.
The Grand Palace is truly magnificent, the architecture and detail are remarkable. I have more pictures than words for this one. If you go, make sure you have on pants and your shoulders are covered.
Thanks For Stopping By!