ขอบคุณ กรุงเทพฯ!

My first international trip was about 10 years ago, before my dad went to Saipan for work. We set off to Bangkok, Thailand that summer before junior year in college, which was a lot of firsts that I unfortunately wasn’t able to document. I never got to blog about it in my old blogs because I didn’t know what to say, nor what to write about, partly because there was a time that I was a bit of a brat back then. :P

But I remember one time while we were there, I told my dad that I wanted to go back, and that I wanted to travel more and he said that it’s a good place to visit with friends. I remember planning a trip mentally with my college friends but that never materialized, and Bangkok didn’t become a priority destination for me…

…until some book club friends brought up the topic of an Indochina backpacking trip. And of course I said yes.

So last October, after lots of planning, booking hotels, and grabbing really cheap airfares for a trip, some book club friends and I set off to our first international trip together, to Bangkok, Thailand (and later, Siem Reap, Cambodia). I was excited, mostly because of the company and the idea of traveling again before the year ends. I was excited about the place, but it has been so long since I was last there that I could hardly remember anything, except that I knew I wanted to eat everywhere instead of restaurants, because I didn’t get a chance to do that on my first time.

Sawasdee-kha, Bangkok!

Batch 1: All sleepy and eye-baggy, but ready to go to Bangkok! (Delayed flight, boo!)
Batch 1: All sleepy and eye-baggy, but ready to go to Bangkok!

Looking for the hotel, got lost in another street. :D I like this trip alreadyyy.
Looking for the hotel, got lost in another street. :D I like this trip alreadyyy.
First lunch, from the stalls near our hotel. No idea what this is until now. But it's spicyyyy.
First lunch, from the stalls near our hotel. No idea what this is until now. But it’s spicyyyy.
And then dessert, also by the street. Fried bananas with pancake balls (or something like it).
And then dessert, also by the street. Fried bananas with pancake balls (or something like it).
Our first destinatiion for the day :)
Our first destinatiion for the day :)
Off to explore Bangkok!
Off to explore Bangkok!
On the boat to Wat Arun - express way, which sort of felt like a scam. Or that may be because the people we talked to were quite brash. Heh. The boat ride was a little scary, though. (Also, we may have illusions of a perfectly peaceful river cruise. Haha)
On the boat to Wat Arun – express way, which sort of felt like a scam. Or that may be because the people we talked to were quite brash. Heh. The boat ride was a little scary, though. (Also, we may have illusions of a perfectly peaceful river cruise. Haha)
By the river~
By the river~
This cat guards Wat Arun.
This cat guards Wat Arun.
Also known as: vertigo.
Also known as: vertigo.
I'm on top of the world, hey!
I’m on top of the world, hey!
Obligatory group selfie. :D
Obligatory group selfie. :D

I did say I wanted to eat, right? On our way back after Wat Arun, we went out this market, and saw this stall that sells mango sticky rice. Before we got to buy this, though, there was a group of monks there who sort of prayed over the woman who owned the stall. I wish I was able to take a photo, but I was kind of afraid that it wasn’t allowed. Nevertheless, the lady sold us this yummy little thing, and we were happy. :)

Mango sticky rice! ♥
Mango sticky rice! ♥
Blurry in the tuktuk!
Blurry in the tuktuk!

That night, we met up with Angus’ friend, Patrick, and we had dinner at another side street. I swear, these side streets are yummy. :D Also, authentic pad thai. <3

♥
First dinner in Bangkok :)
First dinner in Bangkok :)

That night, we waited for our friends to arrive, and fell asleep, ready and raring to explore some more the following day.

The next day, after breakfast, we set off to the Grand Palace via the river cruise. Have you ever had that feeling when you know there was something that was going to happen to you, and maybe you should have made a different choice earlier in the day? But of course you didn’t, because you didn’t think that premonition meant anything.

And then I lost my shoe.

Er...
Er…

So this is what happened: we were about to ride the ferry for the cruise when the heel of my shoe got caught right before I crossed over. The shoe was a little loose, so it slipped off my foot and I saw it slowly slip between the two tires that was tied to the side of the dock. I thought I would still be able to get it, but the ferry moved with the current, lodging the shoe loose and making it fall down into the Chao Phraya river.

This made us all scream, of course, much to the shock of the Thai people and the tourists in the boat. But it wasn’t like we could get the shoe anymore because it was quickly carried by the current. Good thing my friend Ranee had a sock, so I wore it there while the other tourists whispered (according to Angus, I caused an international scene haha), and by the time we got to the Grand Palace, finding another pair of shoes was the first thing I did.

Which I did, thank you very much. :D

Now back to touring.

Right after I lost my shoe. Hehe.
Right after I lost my shoe. Hehe.
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Looking for lunch near the palace.
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Pomegranates!
Pomegranate juice - didn't get to taste this until the next day.
Pomegranate juice!
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Don’t press the mangoes for optimum juice! :D
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Thai iced tea! :D Perfect for the spicy lunch. :)
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Incensed.

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The Bangkok Group :)
The Bangkok Group :)

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Heh. :D
Heh. :D

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Sad demon is sad.
Sad demon is sad.

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After the Grand Palace, we wanted to go to the Reclining Buddha, but we took too long shopping for things to bring home, so we missed it. Plus, it was raining. But our cab driver drove us to the standing Buddha instead. :)

The standing Buddha.
The standing Buddha.
Ronnie: Look into his eyes. He's so calm.
Ronnie: Look into his eyes. He’s so calm.

After a day of touring, we rested a bit, and we set off to have dinner…but first, a snack by the streets:

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Then we set off in search of a bookstore. Specifically, the Dasa Book Cafe, which is a secondhand bookshop near our hotel to check them out. We almost got lost, but thanks to free internet somewhere, we found the bookstore and spent our time there until it closed for the night. :D You can never take the book lover out of us. :D

TFG at Dasa!
TFG at Dasa!

We had dinner, then back at the hotel to prepare for our following day, which will start early because we are about to cross borders to go to Siem Reap. :)

At the train station!
At the train station!
Bye, Bangkok!
Bye, Bangkok!

But that train ride, and the Siem Reap leg of the trip will be for another post. :)

I had so much fun in Bangkok, despite the short stay. It almost felt like my first time there, and I was glad that I got to do the things I wasn’t able to do ten years ago. =) And my dad was right — this is a perfect place to visit with friends. :)

You were lovely, Bangkok. Khop khun kha! ♥

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