Thailand 2017 – Arrival in Bangkok
Oct. 31 – Nov. 1
Daniel and I love to travel together. Before I began my 2017 PCT hike, we discussed the possibility of traveling abroad after my trip was over. But we lost track of the idea during the summer and I had all but completely forgotten about it when I returned home. I was exhausted and battling a cold and barely able to get off the couch.
When the cold symptoms faded to a lingering cough and post-hike depression was starting to kick in, Daniel looked at me one day and said “Hey – what do you think about going to Thailand?” Post-trail depression is a common issue that plagues many long distance hikers. Going on another adventure seemed like a good way to avoid the post-hike blues. Also, we figured that it was a good idea to get any traveling out of the way before I got a new job.
And so, less than a month after I returned home from Yosemite National Park, Daniel and I found ourselves on our way to Seatac airport to begin our Thailand adventure.
The Breakfast of Champions. Taipei Airport.
We flew to Bangkok with a 4-hour layover in Taipei, Taiwan. I’ve never been to Taiwan before and enjoyed our layover there, even though it wasn’t long enough to leave the airport. Our flight arrived around 5:00 am local time and we groggily wandered around and watched the airport spring to life. The building was pretty quiet when we arrived, but transformed into a bustling center of commerce as vendors opened their stalls for the day.
The Lamphu Treehouse Hotel
We arrived at the Bangkok airport around noon local time on November 1st and exited the gate to find an impressively large crowd at the Passport Control station. Mobs of people from every conceivable country were packed into a hallway, jostling one another and trying to inch forward. Eventually we were funneled into a line and made it to one of the Passport Control officers 1 1/2 hours later. We took so long going through Passport Control that our bags were no longer on the baggage carousel and we had to track down an airline employee to locate them.
By this point we had been traveling for over 25 hours and I was about out of my mind with exhaustion. But it could have been worse. I watched the couple next to us literally get into a shoving match after they retrieved their bags. At least Daniel and I were still on speaking terms with eachother.
The Lang-Bamphu Canal
We got into the taxi queue and were soon on our way to our hotel in the old part of town. Bangkok is enormous and the traffic is legendary. Cars and mopeds and tuk-tuks wove in and out of lanes to jostle one another for position. I was sure glad that I wasn’t driving.
We were staying at the Lamphu Tree House Hotel, a quiet guesthouse on the banks of the Lang-Bamphu Canal near the famous Khao San Road Market. Our moderately-priced room was tiny but cute and had a balcony overlooking the city.
View from the Rooftop Deck
It was about 4:00 pm by the time we settled into our hotel. I had expected to be completely wiped out but I got a second wind after I showered and brushed the inch of fuzz off of my teeth. We planned to stay up as late as possible to adjust to the local time zone and wandered to a local place down the street for our first Thai meal.
First Dinner in Thailand! Tasty Pork Sausages and Rice.
Fried Donuts in Orange Sauce for Dessert
Afterwards we walked down the street towards Kao San Road and found ourselves on Rambuttri Alley. A lively atmosphere pervaded as crowds of tourists and revellers bought food from carts and sipped on cocktails.
Food Cart on Rambuttri Alley
Hostels and restaurants lined the streets and paper lanterns hung jauntily from the trees. Vendors selling clothing hawked their wares to passersby. We were entranced and stopped for a drink and to people watch.
I can’t believe I’m still awake
I can’t believe he’s still awake
We next walked over to Kao San Road and were a bit disappointed. The street was really loud from bars blasting music and crowded with vendors and tourists. At least 10 different vendors aggressively approached Daniel trying to sell him a custom-tailored suit. It was overwhelming after the enchanting atmosphere on Rambuttri Alley.
By this point our exhaustion caught up with us and we headed back to the hotel. We were asleep by 9:00 pm, happily surprised to have even stayed up that late given how long of a day that we had traveled to get here.
The Lang-Bamphu Canal at Night