Thailand, Part 7
Day 61, February 27
Oh glorious sleep! I slept hard for a solid 8 hours. Between no windows in our room and the curtain on each bed, the room is completely blacked out. I woke up at 10am and thought it was only 3am because of how dark it was. I finally got out of bed and headed down for breakfast at 10:30.
Breakfast consisted of coffee, toast and cereal. The set up was more impressive than the actual food.
After that we headed out for the Grand Palace. The heat and humidity was very hard to handle today. We walked close to a mile to the Palace and took pictures of the outside perimeters for a while before heading in. It sort of reminded me of Buckingham Palace with how all the streets were blocked off from traffic.
Before we could even enter the out perimeter, though, we had to show our passport and go through security. I learned that the Royal Thai Family lives in the there so being that is a working Palace, I understand the security measures.
We entered through the tourist entrance and had to get in line to get a skirt to cover our legs. Then we shuffled with the crowd to the ticket office to pay 500 baht each for entrance. It was so crowded and my patience was already wearing thin.
Pet peeves of mine: umbrellas, people who walk slow, people who yell instead of speaking and large, large tour groups. There is one group of people, in particular, that notoriously do all of these things and usually all at once. There were so many times I got poked with a stupid umbrella. I kept it together and kept my cool until I just couldn’t. I yelled at a lady to hold her umbrella upright and stop hitting people after I got poked from all different directions.
Back to the Palace. We paid our 500 baht to enter and started roaming around looking at the statues and temples. They were all very grand and visual stunning to look at.
There was an Emerald Buddha inside one of the temples so we took off our shoes and entered along with the huge crowd. You couldn’t get all that close and there a ton of people kneeling down praying so I got a picture from far away. The Emerald Buddha was also much smaller than I thought He’d be.
After viewing that, we got into another semi line to head into the Palace. Well we thought we were going into the Palace but instead we only saw the front of the palace from a distance and then were led out. In my opinion, 500 baht was not worth it. I was expecting/hoping to see some of the interior of the Palace.
I got separated from my sister at this point and headed back to return my skirt and get my 200 baht rental back. I waited for about 15 minutes because my sister had the slip of paper that had my rental on it. I finally found her on the opposite side of the fence looking for me. She thought there was more to do and I thought we were done.
Apparently we had a ticket to see how the coins or something like that are made, but at this point I had taken off the incredibly heavy and hot skirt and was done. So she joined me and we returned our skirts and got our deposit back.
As we were leaving, they were having a changing of the guards so we had to wait off to the side. This was probably the coolest thing I saw today. Watching them salute, walk, change their guns out and all of that was incredibly neat to see. We weren’t allowed to take pictures of it sadly but take my word for it, it was awesome to see.
Then we headed out of the area in search of food and/or the Giant Swing attraction; whichever came first.
The Giant Swing, as I learned, is a religious structure that was originally built around 1784 from teakwood. I read that in the old days, it was used as part of Tri Yampawai, a Brahman rite of which priests swing themselves in order to pay homage to Shiva God to celebrate his annual visit to the earth. But was stopped in 1935 due to accidents.
We ended up at the Giant Swing first so we quickly looked at it and took a few photos. There wasn’t much to see – no plaque to see or temple to enter. So we were done and off to find food within 5 minutes.
We decided to head back towards our hostel because we knew of a cafe nearby. I was so hot and hungry and had to go to the bathroom, I didn’t think I was going to make it.
I wanted something cold and fresh but this place didn’t have any salads or spring rolls. So I got the green curry with roti. It was good but too heavy for me since I was so hot and the roti was really greasy.
Luckily we were about 30 seconds from our hostel so after eating we returned there for some A/C and to rest. The heat really zapped me of energy today.
We learned about a viewpoint place nearby, so we waited until about 30 minutes before sunset to head out. It was only about half a mile walk to the Golden Mount and then 344 to the lookout point. It was really pretty to see all of Bangkok as the sun was setting.
I really got to see how big and crowded Bangkok truly is.
The sunset was covered by smog or at least that’s what I thought it was. So we didn’t get the full effect like we did on Koh Lanta but it was still a pretty view of the city.
After sunset we headed back towards the Grand Palace to find some place for dinner. As we were walking there, there were these annoying little bugs, not sure if they were mosquitoes or moths or what, but they were everywhere and would fly at our face. Everyone was fanning their face to keep the bugs away.
We stopped at the first restaurant we came to. I got the red curry with tofu and mango sticky rice for dessert.
As we were headed back to the hostel, we stopped at 7/11 for water and snacks for the airport tomorrow. The next few days will be extremely long and tiresome travel days for us so we are trying to stock up on snacks so that we don’t have to pay a fortune at the airport.
I am really sad that tonight is our last night in Bangkok and last night of this amazing 2 month journey. I could not have imagined all the amazing things I was fortunate enough to do and all the amazing people I got to meet. I wish this trip could go on for another 2 months because I am really not ready to give up this backpacking lifestyle just yet. It has made me realize that I want to live in another country as soon as possible.
Day 62, February 28
Last morning in Bangkok. I laid in bed for a while because I didn’t want to get up and get the day started.
I finally went down for breakfast around 9 and hung out there for a bit before returning to my bed and doing a final pack up. We had to check out at 11am and we our flight wasn’t until 9:45pm so we left our bags in a storage closet while we went out to explore.
The only thing we had left (& time) to see was the Jim Thompson House. Jim Thompson was an American born in Delaware in 1906. During WWII he was sent to Thailand as an operative in the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) but arrived in Bangkok shortly after Japan surrendered ending the war. While in Bangkok, he fell in love with the Thai culture and people and so decided to live there. He was really interested in the hand weaving of silk and decided to revive the craft while living in Bangkok. He also collected a lot of Southeast Asian art work and sculptures. In 1967 he disappeared while visiting Malaysia. At the time of his disappearance he had already gathered world recognition for rebuilding the industry. To this day, no one has ever figured out what happened to him or found his body. His house still remains in Bangkok with all of its art work he gathered while alive.
After the Jim Thompson House we went in search of our last meal in Bangkok. We couldn’t find anything nearby so we got in a tuk-tuk to be dropped off near our hostel. We found a place to eat but they didn’t have papaya salad like I was craving. So instead I got jasmine rice topped with a Thai style omelette.
Then we went back to the hostel to sit and wait out the 3.5 hours until our taxi came to take us to the airport. I was able to shower off the sweat of the day and rearrange my bag so it wasn’t so hard to carry everything.
Our taxi came early around 5pm so we said our goodbyes to the hostel staff and headed for the Bangkok airport one last time.
It took us about an hour and 45 minutes to get to the airport. The traffic was ridiculous. It sort of felt like I was in LA heading to LAX at rush hour.
We got to the airport, checked in and dropped our bags off and went to look for our gate. The international part is huge with a ton of shopping. We got a snack before boarding our flight.
We flew Korea Air to our 14 hour layover in Seoul. It was a double decker plane and really nice. We got blankets, pillows, slippers, headphones and food.
Day 63, March 1
We landed in Seoul at 4am so we immediately went to find the lounge area to sleep. My sister had done some research on the Seoul airport since we’d be spending so much time there and learned that they offer free showers so at one point she used that amenity while I continued to sleep.
The 14 hours, surprisingly, flew by thanks to having a comfy lounge chair and sleep.
Our next flight was 15 hours from Seoul to DFW. It was a full flight so we weren’t able to spread out like we were hoping. But we got blankets, pillows, food and drinks.
I didn’t sleep at all because they had a bunch of new movies that I wanted to watch. I think I watched about 6 or 7.
We landed and got our bags and found our mom that was waiting for us. We headed immediately to get some Tex-Mex.
I am sad that the trip is over but very thankful that we had such a great time. Now it’s time to sleep off the jet lag.