Early this month D and I had the chance to revisit Bangkok en route to Luang Prabang, Laos. We booked via AirAsia and given the cheaper flights entailed a few days’ stay in Bangkok, we took it as our lucky sign and embraced the opportunity. We haven’t gone together in Bangkok for quite a while that we were debating (and trying hard to remember) when was the first time we went there. All I know was it was early in our “traveler days”, so for sure it was before 2009. As for me, I remember I went there last with my sister in 2011. I won’t forget the dream I had when I was vacationing there – I dreamt I was being offered a role in a bank I sought for – and true enough a couple of months later I was offered the job. So, in a way, that trip to Bangkok was a milestone of some sorts in my work career.
So this first visit after a long time opened the gates to some new things we’re trying out: we arrived at the Don Mueang International Airport; we bought a sim for our pocket WIFI (no more data roaming this trip onwards); and we took a Grab to get to the hotel. I was pleased we got to the hotel within an hour from the time we arrived at the airport, as the Grab took the skyway so travel time was quick. I was bracing myself for a bit of traffic but then I realized our hotel wasn’t in the middle of all the action. On our first night we did not go out other than for dinner. Actually there really wasn’t anything much planned for our trip to Bangkok except to eat Thai food, have a good Thai massage, check out the street art and some museums. A decade ago I excitedly scouted for night markets and shopping malls, but now we are not zoomed in on shopping but pretty much just exploring.
On our second day we scouted the neighborhood for places to see. We stayed at Charoen Krung street which is reputable for gemstone stores. I admired the window displays and imagined I would probably not go anywhere else and splurge there if we happened to have visited late 2020 – when I was actively collecting silver and precious stones.
A few blocks away we chanced upon the Bangkokian Museum, a well-preserved heritage home of the Surawadee family built in the early 20th century. Entrance was free and D and I were the first visitors to have arrived for the day. There were three main galleries and we were welcomed by guides who walked us through the hightlights of each of the galleries. The Bangkokian Museum shows the middle class lifestyle in Bangkok, and our visit was quite educational. I recommend a visit to this museum if you are in Bangkok.
For lunch we headed to Baan Rim Naam, a vintage-vibe restaurant next to the Chao Phraya River. We watched boats passing along as we enjoyed our Thai food and fresh coconut juice. Afterwards we took photos of an old car parked along the road, and the Talat Noi street art.
The next day we hopped on a double decker bus for lunch via our Thai Bus Food Tour. It was an awesome experience as we got to eat various delicious Thai food, some of which are even Michelin starred. My favorite was the yentafo, a spicy pink soup. D’s favorites were the pad thai noodles and sticky mango rice. At the same time the bus drove to various tourist spots like those that we’ve explored in the past: Wat Traimit(Temple of the Golden Buddha), China Town Gate, a view of Wat Arun, the Grand Palace and Wat Pho. The tour also showed us places we have not gone to before: hua Lamphong Railway Station, Democracy Monument, Giant Swing, Wat Saket (Temple of the Golden Mount) and Loha Prasat Temple. This was probably the highlight of our Bangkok trip, and to this day I crave the yentafo.
The succeeding days were filled with art appreciation and good food, all a few minutes’ walking distance from out hotel. We also had a much needed massage at a nearby spa. And while shopping wasn’t in our agenda, we got to visit a couple of popular malls – the ICONSiam and Central World. On our last night in Bangkok we got to walk around the Lumphini Park.
Bangkok wraps up the last of our overseas travels this year. In a little over a decade a lot of things have changed and I feel we covered more ground in terms of getting to know the city and culture during this trip. We liked this visit a lot, and hope we can do it again next time. Until then I’ll keep a close eye on seat sales when any long weekend is coming up. We’d love to go back.