I’ve have not been looking forward to writing about this trip that we took back in 2010. I fully enjoyed our Southeast Asia exploration (Thailand, Hong Kong, Macau and South Korea), but I was so fully immersed into it, I don’t remember details like the names of places and how we even got there. But I’ll try my best.
My bucket list consisted of 1. Petting a tiger, and 2. Riding an elephant. A trip to Thailand was needed to fulfill these achievements. For over five years, I’ve been planning a trip to Thailand only in my head. So when our friends said that they knew people in Bangkok willing to provide our accommodations and show us around – why not? And this is why I don’t remember the names of places, we were just following… that, and the fact that Thai names are so damn long!
We arrived in Bangkok and was picked up by a personal driver who took us to our apartment. Upon our arrival to the apartment, we were greeted by our dinner left for us by our friend’s sister-in-law. We were so hungry, we didn’t unpack and just dug in. This was our first meal of authentic Thai food – chicken rice. Sounds simple, right? It was the best damn chicken and rice I have ever eaten!
- Elephant Camp and Tiger Temple. I don’t know the exact name of these two places and I’m sure that there are lots to choose from in Bangkok. It was quite a drive out and near the River Kwai. We went to the Tiger Temple first and you should know that this is a Buddhist Temple and women are not allowed to wear shorts. It’s hot in Thailand and I was wearing shorts! But not to worry – you can buy a pair of pants (and in Thailand everything is cheap, so no big deal). It wasn’t very fashionable, but I got to go in. In the temple, there are tigers everywhere. We walk to an open field where the tigers are laying down. You approach a tiger (who has about 4 trainers each) and hand your camera to one of the volunteers. Another trainer will guide you to the back of the tiger and you can kneel down and place your hand on its butt. The person with your camera starts taking picture after picture and you end up with about a dozen or so pictures of you and the tiger. I chose the smallest one – Jay went for the big boy. At the elephant camp, we got to ride an elephant. Jay and I nicknamed ours “Monique” because that’s what the boy kept yelling out. Monique walked us around the camp, where the trainers actually lived, and into the river. I got to sit on its neck while Jay stayed on the bench, looking like the king of something. Towards the middle of the ride, I wanted to get off. Not because I didn’t like riding an elephant, but because the boy kept yelling at Monique and poking her in the leg with this spear looking thing. Monique would actually cry and start walking. I was done.
- Muay Thai Boxing. Our friend’s sister-in-law tried to get us in by passing us as locals. No can do, they heard us talking in English. Oh well, we had to pay full price (tourist price). It was more interesting watching all the locals betting and cheering and yelling than it was to watch the actual fight. It was an experience.
- Floating Market. I actually took a picture of the sign, so I know this floating market was called Damnoensaduak Floating Market (don’t ask me how to pronounce it). At this time, the market was empty. I don’t know why and I kind of wish it was a bit more crowded, like I’ve seen in pictures. Vendors actually come along boatside to sell you their goods. Being with Jay, we were only interested in the food. And the food was really good!
- Chatuchak Weekend Market. This place is HUGE! It’s an open market filled with all kinds of goods such as trinkets and scarves and furniture and food. It was pretty overwhelming for us and we almost got separated (a little bit of panic) – plan a meeting spot before venturing into the deep. And get a map.
- Thai Massage. Go get one – it’s cheap! Only like $10 or something. But don’t expect it to be a relaxing massage. They are on top of you, pulling your limbs and gouging into your muscles. Jay and I were next to each other and giggling (we both discovered ticklish spots) and almost crying. At one point, towards the end, the girls who were giving us the massages started to bend us forward while in the cross-legged sitting position. Guess who let one rip! All Jay could say was, “Oops, sorry!” as the girls laughed and left the room. I could not stop laughing! That moment alone was worth $10.
- Ortorkor Market. We visited this market three times during our visit. Three times! Jay kept looking at food he wanted to try – and they were all good!
- Jay sees this restaurant on Bizarre Foods and he insisted we go. Why? Pig’s brain and pig’s penis. Really? Yes. And that’s what we ate. Yes, “WE”. Even though I just had one tiny bite of each, at least I can say I tried it. The penis was rubbery and the brain was the most disgusting texture I ever ate. I nearly barfed it right out – it actually melts in your mouth and not in a M&M’s kind of way.
- Lady at Chinatown. We stopped at a vendor selling pomegranate juice and asked him where we could get some good Pad Thai. He led us to this lady and he was right. She makes awesome Pad Thai and Pad Thai only.
- I don’t know what this dish is called. It’s like a lettuce wrap, but it’s not a lettuce leaf. You put hairy pork (basically dried shredded pork), a lime wedge – skin and all, peanuts, ginger, onions and jalapeno and pepper into the leaf and eat. The explosion of flavors bursts into your mouth – amazing!
- Thai Omelet. Jay orders this at a Thai restaurant at home, but it doesn’t compare. We found this lady with her cart near the subway station and ordered two. It was so yummy, the next morning we went back and ordered four! If we stayed longer, we would’ve eaten breakfast there more – one Thai Omelet was only $0.65 – how do you beat that? Cheap and it taste good!
I’m going back to Thailand again someday. We went in November and it was pretty hot. I heard summer months are way worse, though. I enjoyed the food there and it made it even tastier knowing that it was so cheap! Getting around the main part of Bangkok was made easy with their subway system. Yes, Bangkok has rail – Hawaii needs one too!