TRAVEL: Thailand, Part I – Bangkok

E and I are coming up on our 4 year wedding anniversary in August, which means the 4 year anniversary of our honeymoon is fast approaching! We visited Thailand (Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Koh Samui) and Cambodia (Siem Reap). I researched the trip for MONTHS. Our itinerary was 16 pages!

Now, almost 4 years later, we still have friends who ask for the itinerary. I thought it would be easier (and more fun) to blog about the trip. There will a total of four posts; one for each city we stayed in!

And away we go!

Getting There

We flew a combination of ANA and United to Thailand. There was no direct flight available from JFK to Bangkok so we flew ANA to Narita and then United to Bangkok. It was a LONG flight. 14 hours to Narita and then another 7 hours to Bangkok. We stayed overnight in Narita and even managed to squeeze in a little touring!

The service on ANA was MUCH better then on United. When the ANA flight attendants found out we were on our honeymoon, they brought over a bottle of wine and bag of special snacks. It was so sweet! No such luck on United.

When we finally arrived, we deliriously sleepy so we hopped in a cab to our hotel, the Sukhothai Bangkok.

Where to Stay: Bangkok

Sukhothai Bangkok

We stayed at the Sukhothai Bangkok at the suggestion of friends who had stayed there on their honeymoon. It is gorgeous! Upon arrival, they offered us the opportunity to upgrade our room. It being our first hotel on our honeymoon, we said why not?! We were so happy we did! Our room was HUGE!

They have a pillow menu and they put a little silk elephant on your bed. Our package came with breakfast which was pretty extensive. They had everything you could have wanted and more! There was a selection of Japanese, Thai, American and British cuisines. I started each morning with an omelet, a pretzel roll and a salad. They also had a variety of fresh squeezed fruit juice. After breakfast, I was full for HOURS!

The service at the hotel was excellent as well. Upon our arrival in our room, we had a beautiful bouquet of flowers, a bottle of champagne and a handwritten personalized note welcoming us to the hotel and congratulating us on our marriage waiting for us. It is personalized touches like this that really made our stay so enjoyable. The staff were very knowledgeable and were able to help us navigate Bangkok quite successfully. We would definitely stay here again!

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1Phu + Pillow Menu + GnomeTRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1The Welcome Wagon

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part I - Bangkok

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part I - Bangkok

TRAVEL: Thailand - Part I, Bangkok

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part I - Bangkok

Le Bua at State Tower

We flew in and out of Bangkok so on both ends of the trip we stayed overnight. At the back end we stayed at the Le Bua at State Tower, aka the hotel from The Hangover Part II. As big fans of the Hangover movies, we were really excited. Unfortunately, the service was not what we were expecting. While all other hotels made an effort to acknowledge our honeymoon, the Le Bua did very little. On the bright side, the Le Bua has a delicious breakfast (including fresh sushi flown in from Japan and some of the best pretzel rolls I have EVER eaten), amazing views and is conveniently located near the water.

On New Year’s Eve, we had a SPECTACULAR view of the fireworks display over the Chao Phraya River. If I was able to find an affordable room at the Le Bua, I would stay again but I wouldn’t pay a premium to do so.

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1Drinks On The RoofTRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1On Our Way Up To The RoofTRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1Day ViewsTRAVEL: Thailand, Part I - BangkokBreakfast Is ServedTRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1New Years Eve from Our Patio at the Le Bua at State Tower

What to See/Do: Bangkok

Ride a Tuk Tuk

Riding in a Tuk Tuk is the easiest and cheapest way to get around Thailand. We had never been in one before, so our first ride, the evening we arrived in Bangkok, was a bit of an experience. The drivers drive RIDICULOUSLY fast! It is like riding in a New York City taxi without any windows and doors! I wish I could find the video we filmed of our first experience.

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1

The Grand Palace

On our first day in Bangkok, we set out to see all of the sites! Our first stop was the Grand Palace. Even though the temperatures were in the 90’s we made sure to dress appropriately for our visit. Both men and women must wear long pants and have their shoulders covered. Don’t worry if you forget. For a small fee, you can rent a pair of long pants or a shawl at the front entrance. When you make it inside the gates, you will enter one of two lines. One for locals and one for foreigners. We found the signs amusing so of course E posed near one.

The opulence and grandeur of the Grand Palace was second to none. Everything was plated in gold and gemstones. The floral offerings left for the many buddhas were plenty and beautiful. We brought Phu along for the ride and photographed him all around the Palace.

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1My ForeignerTRAVEL: Thailand, Part I - Bangkok

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part I - Bangkok

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part I - Bangkok

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part I - Bangkok

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1All Of The TouristsDSCN0904

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1

Wat Po (The Reclining Buddha)

After the Grand Palace, we wandered over to Wat Po. We could’t wait to see the Reclining Buddha in all of its glory.  It was even more impressive in person! It spans an ENTIRE building and is covered in gold. Stunning!

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part I - Bangkok

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1

Wat Indra Viharn (Big Buddha)

At the suggestion of our hotel concierge, we visited the Big Buddha. You have to take a tuk tuk to get there. We could see it on our approach from miles away! It clocks in at 32 meters high. It is HUGE!

TRAVEL: Thailand - Part I, Bangkok

Ride a Boat Up the River

First, we accidentally ended up on a pirate ship! And when I say a pirate ship, I mean not a government boat. While we spent more then we wanted to, it ended up being a lot of fun. It transported us to our desired location, and all the while we enjoyed the amazing views!

We learned our lesson the second time around and hopped on a government boat. The government boats are more like ferrys.  It was inexpensive and functional but not as much of an experience.

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1Phu Enjoying The RideTRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) at Sunset

May Kaidee Vegetarian Cooking Class

E and I LOVE Thai food. When I first started researching for the honeymoon I learned that there were cooking classes available. I found May Kaidee’s Vegetarian Cooking Class and immediately signed us up! What better place to learn how to cook Thai food than in Thailand?!   One important note: DO NOT EAT BEFORE YOU ATTEND THE CLASS. You will be eating while cooking and you will need lots of stomach room!

When we arrived, we were greeted by May Kaidee herself! She handed us our aprons and bandanas and off we went! Don’t you love our spiffy outfits? We learned how to cook the following dishes: Tom Yum Soup, Tom Kha Soup, Issan Vegetables, Fried Vegetables with Ginger and Cashew Nuts, Pad Thai, Peanut Sauce, Masaman Curry and Green Curry. Each dish was more flavorful than the next.

We truly learned how to cook each and every dish from start to finish. We learned about each of the ingredients and how they all worked together to create cohesive flavors. We had such a great time! We have made the Pad Thai at home a couple of times with delicious results.

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1

Where to Eat: Bangkok

Street Food

We ate street food EVERYWHERE in Bangkok. We ate some of the best pad thai we have EVER had at street stalls. The ingredients were fresh and the flavors were authentic. Other street food items we throughly enjoyed were sticky rice with mango, street curry, fried rice, chicken balls, and other food made fresh to order. The list goes on and on.  We had been warned ahead of time to bring Imodium, which we did, but we didn’t use it once! We didn’t eat any durian though. You could smell it from a mile away! We only took photographs next to it.

DSCN0798

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1Prickly DurianFullSizeRender_3

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TRAVEL: Thailand, Part I - Bangkok

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part I - Bangkok

Where to Shop: Bangkok

Jim Thompson Silk

We had planned to stop at the  Jim Thompson House but didn’t have enough time in the end. We did, however, make a stop into their store at the Paragon Mall (Siam Paragon). Jim Thompson was an American businessman who helped revitalise the Thai silk industry in the 1950s and 1960s.  While I don’t have any photos of the store, it is MUST SHOP! The colors and patterns of the silks are GORGEOUS. I walked out with two beautiful scarves. I couldn’t resist!

Universal Tailors

Before we left for Thailand, many of E’s friends had suggested we visit a Thai tailor to have him fitted for a custom suit. After a lot of research, we settled on Universal Tailors. Universal Tailors is owned and operated by Ronnie Singh. I reached out to him before we left for our trip and arranged an appointment. The shop was conveniently located a short tuk tuk ride away from the Sukhothai Hotel. Ronnie had several suit and shirt patterns and colors for E to choose from, and was very knowledgeable about what would look best together. He even made two custom fitted dresses for me!  We met again with Ronnie in New York City last year and ordered even more shirts for E, as he tours around several major US cities once each year to meet with clients.

TRAVEL: Thailand, Part 1E Looking Spiffy

NEXT TIME: Siem Reap, Cambodia

5 thoughts on “TRAVEL: Thailand, Part I – Bangkok

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