Thailand (Bangkok)

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I’m running out of adjectives to describe how much we’re enjoying this trip. Terrible problem I know!

Oh well, despite the risk of overuse we are having a fantastic time in Thailand. Thailand and India are the two places we’re spending the most time in and so far it’s proving to be a very hot, but very great decision.

We flew into Bangkok last Wednesday and spent two nights at a hotel on Sukhamvit road. It was a business hotel that had mostly positive reviews online. As a side note, thank you to everyone who has ever left a hotel or hostel review online. So far this has been our primary method of choosing where to stay and, knock on wood, quite effective. Anyway, when we got there they had decided to upgrade us to a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment. For those of you who know how little we’re traveling with the image of Greg and I with only our backpacks staying in this fairly large apartment was quite amusing. We were also close to the Skytrain and thus had easy access to more of the city where we went exploring and found some great food (thanks Gary for the recommendations).

Knowing that we’d be back in Bangkok again before flying to India we decided to spend the next day trying to get visas for Myanmar. This was something else we’d attempted before leaving the US, but that didn’t work on our pre-travel timeline. Reading instructions and reviews online we showed up at the embassy in Bangkok around 7:30 in the morning to wait in line until it opened at 9. I held our place while Greg went down the street to a local convenience store that runs a side business of helping people fill out the visa applications and making requisite photocopies of passports and travel itineraries. Despite the balmy 95 plus degree weather the waiting really wasn’t that bad and I was impressed with the level of solidarity of those waiting as we all held places for one another and gave hopeful assurances that this process would work.


When 9AM rolled around we were impressed with how efficiently the whole process took place. We were ushered in, given a number and very DMV-style sat until our number was announced and a screen told us which window to go up to. As we left for Koh Samui the next day we needed to get a same-day visa in order to have our passports back in time to fly. Despite the signs that told us we needed to have confirmed plane tickets to Myanmar in order for this to happen (which we of course didn’t have) we pled our case, paid the expedited fee, and were told to come back between two and five that afternoon.

As this was only a few hours away, and we were almost an hour from our hotel, we decided to stay relatively close and kill some time in the easiest source of air conditioning we could find - a local mall. To make the non-tourist experience complete we stopped for breakfast at Starbucks and then saw Iron Man 3 (two days before it was released in the US). I love going to movie theaters while traveling abroad and that sense of disorientation when I step out and for a moment forget what country I’m in. This illusion was only broken for a bit at the beginning of the movie when after the previews when we followed the crowd and stood up while the national anthem was played and a video montage of the royal family was shown. I have a new appreciation for King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Greg cracked up trying to convince me that movies in the US would be so much better if we had an Obama home video before every show.

After the movie, we successfully retrieved our visas and went home for an early night before our flight the next morning to Koh Samui. While we didn’t actually see much of Bankok during this first pass, we were immediately impressed with how friendly everyone we came in contact was and how well it seemed to exemplify organized chaos. The metro seemed to have the crowds and personality of Beijing and Hong Kong, but a level of organization closer to that of Singapore. Hundreds of people lining up to get onto the metro at rush hour, but when one train filled up the line simply advanced and waited for the next one. Very surprising, impressive and hopefully a good sign of things to come.

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This page contains a single entry by Kat published on May 12, 2013 5:09 AM.

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Thailand (Koh Samui) is the next entry in this blog.

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