***Due to not feeling so well after my return from Thailand along with a busier than normal schedule, it has taken me much longer to finish my entries about my trip, but I hope to have published my last entries by the end of next week.
We made it!!! Hellllooooo Bangkok! Let the party begin!!! Sounds good, but we were really in need of a nap! In and out of cat naps on the plane left us in dire need of sleep. Plus, we were still looking like 24 hours ago! Baby wipes & deodorant get the job done while in transit, but there is NOTHING like hot water and soap! Thankfully our hotel was only about 15 minutes away from the airport. Customs was a breeze and the Thai exchanges offer no fees. Neither the ATMs nor the Exchange desks, so be sure to get your bahts at the airport. No need to get them prior to your trip. If you’re like my best friend and me, you’ll find yourself re-upping along the way, but finding no-fee ATMs throughout our stay was never an issue. They have 7/11s everywhere you turn and they usually have an atm. We chose to stay with one bank the entire we were there once we realized that some of the other ones didn’t accept our cards. Plus, it would help us keep better track of things later when looking at our bank statements. This was also easy as that particular ATM was everywhere.
Okay so now that we have our coins, let’s find transportation. IMMEDIATELY after leaving the customs area, members from transportation services spot you out as the tourist you are and offer you taxi service. Now, a few things to know. You are going to pay a little more when going this route as it’s immediate service. You pay and are then given a taxi number. You find the taxi number just outside the door and off you go! The other option (which we never used) was to go through the airport’s taxi line. To me, it felt like a public assistance office. You pull a number, look at the screen and realize that there are 133 numbers ahead of you. Lol yeah, I’m good. I chose to pay for the convenience. Oh and that same place you booked your taxi for transit to your hotel will also offer you different types of excursions and tours that they can give you for “SUPER DISCOUNTED” prices. We opted out of that fresh off of the plane, as we were too tired to be making any sort of decisions!
The first thing we noticed while checking out the scenery from the taxi window, was the love this country had for their King. I mean he was everywhere. The Thai people have great affections for their recently crowned King Maha Vajiralongkorn and it shows! Both he and his beautiful wife can be found on Giant billboards, murals and yellow ribbon adorned golden framed portraits around Bangkok. It was almost as if they were setting up for a Royal parade or something except, the parade was over. I could feel the pride as we road through the city.
The city view was your typical city view I’d say. Large buildings, high rises, digital billboards (a lot of them) and traffic. lol Oh speaking of traffic. Listen! I don’t think I’ve ever been as nervous while riding in the car with anyone, as I was in just about EVERY taxi or tuk-tuk ride in Thailand. They were like New York drivers on steroids. Pedestrians wheeeeere???? A lot of the locals drive these little scooters/motorbikes and I feared for their lives! They didn’t as they weaved in between vehicles like NASCAR drivers. So many moments when I thought we were just going to side swap one of them. I was definitely holding my pearls… and my breath! As we made it closer to our hotel, I began to feel nervous about what we were about to pull up to. Let’s just say that our hotel (along with most of the hotels) was a very well hidden jewel. We pulled up to a very chic and elegant establishment. I exhaled! Whew chile!!!
I found The Dream Hotel Bangkok through reviews I’d read online. We were only staying in Bangkok for one night before flying out to Phuket the following day. I knew that after all those flights, the last thing we’d want to do would be to jump back on another one, so the plan was to enjoy a night in Bangkok, spend three days in Phuket and the last 2 days back in Bangkok. A plan that worked out perfectly. We arrived an hour ahead of check-in time so our room wasn’t quite ready. We decided to head to the second floor and have lunch as we were quite famished! lol Shit, we were HANGRY! I mentally selected a few spots in the lobby where I knew would be whole photoshoot once we got cute later! lol As we walked into the restaurant, I was immediately impressed with this hotel. The hostess greeted us in, what we learned to be typical Thai fashion. A slight bow with their hands together in a praying position. We were seated and not only was my chair pulled out for me, but my napkin was also placed in my lap. None of these things did I expect or require but it definitely was flattering. So… can we get to the food??? Ya’ll! Listen!!! When I tell you that it was like… Like… Umph! Yeah… like that! It was really good! If that was a testament of how the rest of our food experiences there would be, this big girl was on cloud 9! Just before we finish our meal, the waitress tells us that our room is ready! Yes! The room was consistent with the parts of the hotel we’d seen already, so that was good. Truly none of that mattered at that point. Our only concern was getting to the shower, fresh clothes and that 4-hour nap we took! And VOILA!
We were ready to hit those Bangkok streets! The front desk receptionist was kind enough to give us a couple quick notes in Thai. Hello & Thank you!
The hotel was situated just perfect. It was off in the cut but very well lit, so it felt safe. We had no specific direction in mind, we just began to walk. I found out very quickly why Thailand as known as one of the sex capitals of the world! First, it was the casual selling of Cialis, Viagra, vibrators and MORE. THEN there were the guys AND gals with posters inviting us to Ping Pong shows, which I had no idea what the hell a Ping Pong show was… UNTIL. Initially, I just said, “no thank you” and kept on walking. That is until a group of Thai men had a more detailed poster described what one would see at a ping pong show. They laughed at my expression after reading it. Listen, I’m no prude, but I definitely found myself taken back a bit. What is a Ping Pong show? Look it up! That is all. lol
There are a lot of alleyways in Bankok. Some of them can seem quite spooky and unsafe but most of them were well lit and populated. We decided to walk down one and see if we could find our next meal. We decided to go with Pocket Pool & Restaurant on Sukhumvit Rd. They played great music and the food was really good. Between the walking, the long plane rides, a short nap and the itis that was slowly kicking in, we were fading. We decided to head back to the room for the night. What better way than by Tuk Tuk?
Once we made it back to the room and after taking our clothes out for the next day, we were OUT! Our flight for Phuket departed at 1:20 pm. We had arranged for a car to pick us up from the hotel and drop us off at the airport at 10:30 am. This time we were flying out of the Don Mueang International Airport. It was also about 15 minutes away from our hotel.
The check out process was very simple. Oh and for the record, unlike hotels here in the US, you have to turn in your hotel keys, so don’t lose them! Unless, of course, you want to pay. Our car was right on schedule. After telling us that The Dream Hotel was our home and welcoming us back in the future, Mr. Yo Yo (Chief concierge) made sure we got in our car and we were on our way!
Once we got to the airport, I guess we looked pretty lost and a member of the airport personnel offered to help us check into our flight.
Though very kind of him, he accidentally added my bag as a checked bag. I intentionally packed in a way that allowed me to carry all my bags on board with me, but so much for that. To avoid more confusion, I went ahead and checked my bag. After all, it was a short flight. What could go wrong? This is the first time, I’d boarded a flight by stairs which I thought was pretty cool. It’s the small things, right? The boarding process required you to ride a tightly packed bus which takes you to the plane. Not gonna lie, I was quite uncomfortable with rubbing shoulders (PLURAL) with people I didn’t know, but the ride was short and I was happy to get off.Can we talk about how rude some of the people were? Yeah, there was a real absence of “common courtesy.” So bad, that I had to constantly remind myself that I was in another country and the last thing I wanted to do was end up in a Thai jail system that I knew nothing about. There were a lot of “woosahs” and side-eyes, but in the end, we made it safely to Phuket! Time to Phuket up!!! Yeah..? Okay, I’ll stop.
SO remember back when I talked about how the flight was short and what could go wrong? Welp! As we are at the baggage claim looking for a bag, a man walks up to me and tells me that my bag was held back in Bangkok, because I had a rechargeable battery inside it and they needed permission to go inside and remove the charger. FIRST OF ALL… How did you know my name?? lol When your name is Ebony and you are one of only two black girls there, I guess its an easy pick! lol “I KNEW I should have kept my damn bag!” All good. It was out of my control and I just wanted my bag. I signed the paper to let them remove it and set it up to where they’d bring it to my hotel. I wasn’t going to let a small hiccup rob me of a great mood!
While making car arrangements for transit to our hotel, we were asked to take a photo, so that our driver would know who we were when they picked us up for our return. This COMPLETELY spooked my already paranoid best friend out even more! She just couldn’t understand why they’d need a photo of us! It didn’t help that this was completely different than our previous experience there. So, since they needed a photo of us, I decided that it was only fair that I also took a photo of them. I jokingly told them that I was sending it to all my friends and family in the event that anything were to happen to me. Our hotel was located on Patong Beach which is one of the most famous of the beautiful beaches in Phuket. It was also an hour away from the airport. Not a huge deal for me, but my bestie’s anxiety level was 83/100 at this point. The ride to Patong was definitely different from the ride from my airport in the US to any beach in Florida, but I wasn’t in Florida, so I wasn’t expecting the same here. I was, however, paying close attention to every turn! lol
Our driver takes a very short call in which he laughed right before hanging up. Let my best friend tell it and this man had just got a call from the abductor who was at the meeting spot waiting for us to be dropped off so that we could be turned into sex slaves for the rest of our lives. Needless to say, she watches a lot of movies! Now, let’s be clear. I am never completely comfortable when traveling out of the country. I’m always sure to be vigilant and I don’t miss much. I can’t say that the ride to our hotel didn’t put me on any sort of alert, but my bestie was having a full-on anxiety attack! She got hot! She was sweating! Her fear was not easily missed. There was a car that happened to be taking our same route turn by turn, but I assumed that it was fellow tourists trying to make it to their hotels as well. She thought it was back up! Oh man! So funny!
We finally arrived at a more comfortable scene and I was happy to feel her relief! And God said, “Let there be light!” And there was! The scene changed drastically. We’ve arrived! Just as I take in the beautiful picturesque views of the sea, what do I see???
Even though the elephants were being ridden and I knew what that meant, I was very happy to lay eyes on them at that moment. We arrive at the hotel but are on the opposite side with a very busy road in between. I already mentioned how crazy the driving is there. A gentleman from the hotel stopped traffic with his arm and a flag and escorts us into the hotel.
Much like the first hotel, we felt very welcomed upon arrival. Check-in was another breeze and we’d made plans to chill out by the rooftop pool for the evening. We found us some nice and cozy seating right next to the pool, licked our shoes off and just vibed! The infinity pool and beautiful city view was a constant reminder that we were far away from home. We ordered food and a couple drinks as the bartender (who was also the bartender) played 2pac, Biggie, Jay-Z and few other American hip-hop artists that he was excited to play for us every time we visited the pool. Literally EVERY TIME we showed up, his face lit up with excitement. I think he was happy for a new audience that would appreciate what he wanted to hear anyway! Either way, it worked out for us. My best friend brought to my attention that there were two other black women there and you know me! I invited them to sit with us and it turned into a beautiful exchange between two women of a “certain age” and two younger women. As we headed to our room, we stopped downstairs at the lobby where my bag had been waiting for me! It was a great night AND early morning! Our 6 o’ clock wake up alarm came quite fast! We had a date with some elephants!!! <—- Read about my day with the elephants here!!!! Part 2 of Thailand coming soon!