Hello there! Today I’m coming at you with the first recap of our amazing two-week honeymoon vacation in Thailand! Our first stop was Bangkok, where we only stayed for one day. We were told by friends who had visited Bangkok previously that we probably didn’t need to allocate more than a day or two to seeing Bangkok’s sights before moving on to the rest of the country, so we took that advice to heart!
Our trip began with a 9:50 p.m. flight out of Dulles the day after our wedding. That day was such a whirlwind – we woke up as husband and wife, enjoyed breakfast with our wedding guests, packed up everything at the hotel, came home to do some laundry and swap suitcases, and then headed to the airport. Phew!
When we arrived at Dulles airport, we realized we were able to access the airport lounges through a travel credit card that Fabio has (I think it’s Chase Sapphire Preferred, but I’m only like 80% sure about that). Anyway, we got into the lounge and took advantage of free champagne! Woohoo! Kicking off our honeymoon in style. 🙂
We then embarked on a 12.5-hour flight to Qatar via Qatar Airways. In case you’re wondering where Qatar is, it’s here:
The country is actually having some diplomatic issues right now so we weren’t sure if our flight would be affected, but luckily it wasn’t. By the way, Qatar Airways is very nice (it is usually ranked either the best or second-best airline) and we had a very comfortable flight. We were pretty tired from the wedding, so we slept the whole way!
As our flight was landing, the flight attendants came around serving breakfast to everyone (although it was early afternoon in Qatar and they called it lunch – it felt like breakfast to us). Fabio and I had read that the Doha airport in Qatar had tons of nice restaurants, so we decided to skip the airplane meal thinking that we’d get something to eat at the airport. Then of
Then of course we landed and the flight attendant made an announcement reminding us that since it was Ramadan, eating in public in Qatar is prohibited until 6:30 p.m. Um, what?? Noooo!!! We definitely were not planning for this, and I was wondering if I was going to have to smuggle one of the protein bars I had in my carry-on into a bathroom stall or something.
Once we got off the plane we asked more about Ramadan customs at the airport information desk, and we were told that while the restaurants remain open, it would be pretty disrespectful to eat at them, but ultimately the choice was up to us. I asked if drinking water at the gate was ok, and again was told that it was up to us. Well ok then.
Luckily we found another one of those airport lounges that we were allowed to access through Fabio’s credit card perks, and I was SO happy to see that everyone inside (who was also a tourist) was eating and drinking. THANK GOODNESS! I don’t know what we would have done otherwise, since we still had another 7-hour flight ahead of us to Bangkok. Phew.
There were some other interesting sights at the Doha airport, including this weird teddy bear art installation and some cool middle-Eastern/deserty things. 🙂
Then after a pretty uneventful flight, we arrived in Bangkok! We took the Bangkok airport skytrain (also called the Link) out to the very last stop on the red/blue line, Phaya Thai, and from there got in a taxi headed to our hotel near Khao San Road. Todo, we are not in Kansas anymore!
Quick note for anyone looking to book a stay in Bangkok: We chose to stay close to Khao San Road, which is a really fun/popular area with lots of night markets, clubs, bars, restaurants, etc., but we didn’t stay on Khao San Road because we’d read it can be kind of loud and noisy. Our hotel, Casa Nithra, was about a 10-minute walk to the really popular area, which wound up being perfect for us!
When we checked in to Casa Nithra, we were greeted with the most amazing chilled Thai tea drinks (something we found all throughout our Thailand travels!) and were thrilled to find out our room was ready early. Thank goodness, as we really needed to shower after all that time spent on planes! After freshening up, we headed up to the hotel roof to check out the view of Bangkok.
The area where we stayed is also much more “old city” compared to the neighborhoods with lots of modern high-rises, which I was ok with. I like seeing the old culture much more!
Then we headed out to begin our adventures! (BTW – Thailand is 11 hours ahead of D.C., so it was around 8:00 a.m. Tuesday morning by this point. Mind-boggling for sure!)
Our planned agenda for the day was to walk to the Grand Palace to visit the Emerald Buddha and see our first temple, Wat Pho, to check out the reclining Buddha, but a super sweet pedestrian stopped us in the middle of the sidewalk to ask us where we were going, and told us that there was a special ceremony for the King happening at the Grand Palace that day and that if we wanted to go, we’d need to be dressed in black with long sleeves and pants, and would have to wait about four hours to get in. Ok then, back to the drawing board. She helpfully told us about a few other tourist stops we could see nearby, and even told us how much we should pay for a tuk-tuk (basically little open-air, three-wheeled taxis) to take us to all the places.
Fabio and I were both waiting for her to sell us a tour or something, but with a friendly wave, she went on her way. This was our very first insight into the Thai culture and gave us a preview for the kind of generosity and hospitality we’d discover throughout the rest of our two-week Thailand trip. The people here are just genuinely kind (I think the Buddhist religion is a big reason for this) and so helpful!
Here we are in our first tuk-tuk!
Our first stop was Wat Intharawihan, a temple with a huge standing Buddha. The temple itself was really lovely, with lots of gold, ornate details (which we came to find is typical for almost all temples, or wats, in Thailand).
Then we saw the big standing Buddha! It was…big. Lol.
Then we hopped back in our tuk-tuk (the driver waited for us outside of each stop) and headed off to the Golden Mount, or Wat Saket. You had to climb 344 steps to get to the top of the Golden Mount, but there were lots of interesting little sculptures along the way to keep you entertained.
And there was even some “wildlife.” Yuck.
Halfway to the top, there was a little coffee shop (we came to find out coffee shops are EVERYWHERE in Thailand), so we stopped for iced cappuccinos. Yes please! It was hot in Bangkok!
We made it to the top!
And we looked like total tourists once we got there. 🙂
The wat was really interesting because there were lots of people praying and making offerings to Buddha, so Fabio and I just kind of quietly walked around and tried to be respectful. You are also supposed to cover your shoulders and thighs in wats out of respect, but since our plans had changed in the morning I didn’t bring anything with me for this, and it didn’t seem to be a big deal in these particular wats (there were others, especially in Chiang Mai, where I definitely had to wear extra clothing to cover myself).
After the Golden Mount, our tuk-tuk driver took us to a suit-maker! The Thais make excellent custom suits, so it’s a popular stop for tourists. Fabio wound up getting a couple suits and shirts, and spent tons of time haggling down the price. I always think this is so awkward, but it’s worth it if you don’t want to get ripped off.
The suits actually should be arriving at our house this week – they are quick!
After this stop we decided we were hungry, so we asked our driver to take us somewhere for lunch. I have no idea where he took us, but it was a cute little spot right on the river and we had fun watching some big fish and lizards jumping around in the water. Note to all: Do not swim in that river. Ever.
For our meal, we got some Tom Yum soup (with chicken since Fabio is allergic to shrimp, which is more traditional in this soup) and Pad Thai. Everything was phenomenal!! Sigh. I miss Thai food already. The flavors are so unique!
And even though we were full, we had to get mango sticky rice for dessert. It’s our absolute favorite, and this one did not disappoint! YUM!
After lunch, it was time for our final stop of the day: a boat tour along the canals! Our tuk-tuk driver dropped us off at the docks, and we couldn’t believe how cheap our day with him had been. For the whole day’s worth of stops, he charged us just 70 baht per person. This comes out to $4 total!! All of the other tuk-tuk rides we took during our trip were slightly more expensive than this, so it goes to show how much they increase their prices for tourists versus when we had the helpful Thai lady tell us how much to pay. Our tuk-tuk driver had also been really friendly, so we gave him a nice tip before saying goodbye.
Then it was onto the boat!
This was such a cool way to explore Bangkok, especially since so much of it relies on the canals and waterways. We got to see lots of cool houses, shops, and wats!
At one point we slowed down so a woman on a small wooden boat could offer us souvenirs and snacks. Ice cold beers? Don’t mind if we do!
The local Thai beer brands – Chang and Singha – are both delicious too!
At one point we stopped along a little set of concrete steps that led down to the water (these are everywhere, and seem to be like docks for the locals to access the river) and saw a little boy throwing bread into the water. Remember how I said don’t swim in this water? Yeah. There’s about a million big fish in there, and even some alligator-sized lizards. Yeesh! Fabio and I were both wondering how safe we were in our wooden boat. LOL!
Soon enough, our tour concluded at the Grand Palace!
Once again we thought about visiting the palace, but were told by a few other helpful people that we’d have to be wearing all black and would have to wait a long time because of the King’s special ceremony. Darn. Next time, Bangkok!
After this, we strolled around for a while, looked into some shops, got quick 30-minute foot massages (this is very common in Thailand and massage places are everywhere), and then headed back to the hotel for a much-needed nap. The jet-lag was catching up to us!
When we were ready to resurface, we got changed and ready for dinner at the famous Sky Bar! We had heard that Sky Bar was ridiculously overpriced (it was) but that the views were worth it (they were). Plus we received money from our wedding to use for the honeymoon, and we figured our friends and family would want us to have a nice, romantic dinner out!
We hopped in another tuk-tuk (about 100 baht this time) and made our way across town!
When we arrived around 9:00 p.m., we saw that it (thankfully) wasn’t too crowded and we were able to really enjoy the view!
Hello, Bangkok! You are beautiful!
A table was ready for us in no time, and we enjoyed some delicious cocktails while we waited for our food. We weren’t too hungry after the big lunch, and since the menu was pretty pricy we decided to share a steak dish. It was pretty tasty, but nothing crazy, especially considering the price. Clearly, you are paying for the atmosphere here.
Despite the relatively expensive bill, we had an amazing time! I’m so glad we decided to trust our gut and go to this beautiful spot.
Me and my husband!! <3
After Sky Bar, we took a tuk-tuk down to Khao San Road and walked around for a while ogling at the crazy bar scene. Most of the parties were in full swing when we arrived, so we had fun walking around and watching lots of rowdy and drunk tourists. We weren’t really in the mood to try to catch up with them, so we decided people-watching was good enough for us. We also passed a number of vendors selling all kinds of delicious-smelling street food, and even some trays of bugs for tourists to try! Eek! No thank you.
When we’d had enough, we walked back to our hotel and fell asleep instantly. What a fun day in Bangkok!
The next morning, we headed off to Chiang Mai! More adventures to come!
Question(s) of the day: Would you try eating a bug? Would you have gone to the expensive restaurant or skipped it?