A return to Bangkok for a months expedition, a warm heart opening, and loving experience. To you my love, my heart is full. To you my Bangkok, I am now complete.
One of my most favorite cities in the world. A place I feel a deep connection to. I am, so they say, a daughter of Thailand so I must be a sister to Bangkok 🙂
I’ve been to Bangkok a total of 4 times and every time I leave, I’m just dying to come back.
In this little Blog I will attempt to tempt you into gathering your unnecessary courage and visit the capital of Thailand and immerse yourself in all its wonderful glory….
First a quick Run down on Bangkok:
- Name: Bangkok
- Population: 8.5 million as of 2015
- More than 14 million people live in its surrounding Metro area
- Founded as a capital of the Kingdom of Siam in 1782
- Currency: BAHT ( pronounced as you read it 🙂 )
- Home to the monarchy and the Royal Palace
It had been 11 years since my first experience in Thailand and Bangkok respectively. That’s a long time!!!!!!
My how Bangkok has changed. The city is electrifying , modern, clean ( to say the least) and I’ve finally been able to tap into this amazing energy… This is my Bangkok.
I decided to return to Bangkok after so many years, to finally complete a part of me that has been stuck in limbo for 30 + years. If you’ve read my previous post on Bangkok, you’ll understand that I have had some special things done to me. The last time I was just short of completing it all, alas, my heart, my spirit and my mind was not in sync with where I needed to be and the timing was not right. I’d started to have heavy dreams about it about 9 months prior to my journey back to Bangkok. I even out of the clear blue sky decided to visit a well known Psychic in Hawaii just on a crazy whim. The first few things she told me was that I was going to Thailand, I was going to complete my surgery, and how much it was going to cost. I was blown away as I had already been planning everything and been in contact with the clinic prior to my visit with her. So you can imaging how her cosmic knowledge solidified everything.
Why did I choose Thailand? 1. The is #1 in the world, 2. The experience I had before at their hospitals was superb 3. There is a spiritual energy there that I was trying to grasp the first time , so I knew there must be something phenomenal there. So there I went.
Journey: This time I traveled with one of my best friends Julia, who I knew I could trust, and who also displays a very calm demeanor. Something I the perpetual crazy, needed ..
We left Honolulu International Airport enroute to Incheon Korea via Korean Airlines. No more steerage class for me, as I needed the extra comfort for my return journey since I will still be in healing . My last experience to Thailand on China Air was dismal.
Korean Airlines was PHENOMENAL. Their aircraft was beautiful. I flew on their Airbus A333-300 in Business class. AT that time, their aircrafts still had the angle lie flat seats which is still amazing especially for the time, but now they are all outfitted ( except for their 747-400) with fully flat beds. The lounge at HNL is cute but unfortunately they were trying to deny my friend entrance because she did not share the same ticket that I did. Well, a few words, and she was in 🙂
The flight was just amazing. Korean Airlines really have one of the best service I’ve ever experienced. Their Business and first class cabin crew go above and beyond to ensure you are happy and comfortable. The first meal was a 5 course meal , served to perfection.
It was really nice to be able to stretch out an lay down and sleep on the 11 hour flight to Korea.
Lay Over: Korea
We arrived in Incheon Airport and I was blown away. The last time I flew into Korea was through their now domestic airport Gimpo Airport.. Now with their absolutely gorgeous Incheon International Airport. It is absolutely modernly beautiful. A quick layover and we were off for another 5 hour flight to Bangkok.
Sawatdee Kah… We have arrived!!!! Wait, this isn’t the airport I remembered from my first travels to Bangkok. This is something totally new and absolutely stunning!!!!
This is Suvarnabhumi International Airport and it is gorgeous.
We strolled through Customs and Passport control and was exiting and noticed immediately our driver holding a sign welcoming us. Our driver had a nice fully air-conditioned and comfortable van and we were off to our hotel. Our appointment to meet my doctor would be the following day.
We arrived at our hotel: Legacy Bangkok where I rented the Legacy suite for a month for a very very good deal. $2000 That is about $66 a day for a one bedroom suite with full kitchen and living room, gigantic King Sized bed, Walk in closet, separate shower and bathtub and just the most comfortable settings. I chose this hotel as it was in my budget. It was higher up Sukhumvit on soi 29 and in-between two BTS ( skytrain) stops Asoke and Prom Phang, a Subway station MRT at Asoke, 2 malls : Terminal 21 at Asoke and The Emporium . So the location was perfect. Equally perfect was that on my street there was a fabulous and beautiful Thai Restaurant, and a $7 an hour foot massage where we visited daily. Also there is a few restaurants nearby as well as a convenience store where locals and expats shop at and where we picked up all of our supplies. To add to this all, my hotel had an amazing daily breakfast with the most delicious Passion Fruit Jelly, a full on Japanese restaurant, a hair dresser, and very very good air-conditioning. Trust me its the most important in Bangkok in May when its at its hottest.
Next day we were picked up promptly and taken to the PAI Institute ( now properly named after my doctor) and I was again blown away. My how much Bangkok has changed . No more back ally offices, now there is a state of the art beautiful clinic. I had my consultation and decided to do it 2 days from that day so I would have enough time to gather all supplies for my hotel and so that Julia and I can go sight seeing before we are stuck in the hotel… It was a really nice meeting and everything seemed perfect. I paid my $$$$$ which was a relief as I was scared of carrying so many thousands of dollars on me. Felt so drug deal hahahaha
We had a long list of things we wanted to do before we had to buckle down and prep for surgery.
First on my list was to visit the Grand Palace , Wat Pho ( Reclining Buddha, and Wat Arun)
We immediately left for the Palace as early as possible as i heard the crowds and the sun can be a pain. Our driver dropped us off in the front and we paid and got in easily. The Palace is unbelievable. It is extremely ornate and just so beautiful exotic. There is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha within its walls. Just solidifies how important buddhism is to this beautiful country. We really enjoyed every ornate detail of the palace.
Exhausted from the heat we sought shelter immediately after exiting the palace for some sustenance. I must take this time to let you know, that I am vegetarian. Yup…. so sometimes finding food is hard. I can’t remember the name of the restaurant we stopped in, but it was nice and air-conditioned and exactly what we needed.
We then walked over to the Reclining Buddha ( Wat Pho) where I have been before, and released our inhibitions and sucked in all the beautiful energy of this most holy and spiritual place. Something about this time in Bangkok has really changed. I was now tapping into the true beauty of the place. Its sprit, its magnetic energy , It’s healing powers. I felt so connected. So when I entered the temple complex, I immediately felt at peace , in awe, and so humbly grateful. The Buddha is really really long and depicts The buddha it his sleeping position , and from what I have gathered is what he looked like before he past on from his human form and entered the ether as the symbolic and holy emblem of purity that his is known to be. The complex has many different little temples as well and I made it a point to visit and pray to each and everyone of them. I am not buddhist, I am not christian, I am Loving Kindness and I believe in it all. I connect with it all and it is no different for me than being in a Catholic church ( which I equally love and reminds me of my childhood.) Exhausted from the heat again, we decided to step into one of the many Thai massage schools in the city, but this one belongs to the temple and it was so necessary. I was twisted and turned and stepped on in every possible way. I left there smelling like Tiger Balm and in total Peace.
Next stop we boarded a river boat and crossed the Chow Phraya river towards Wat Arun. Wat Arun is an ancient temple with steep stupas that you can climb. In humble reverence I continued my journey that day up and up the temple reaching the top and gazing upon the immense beauty of Ancient Siam and Modern Bangkok. I was so filled with awe and gratefulness. It was so worth it and so beautiful.
What a day that was… Our first full day of Bangkok Sightseeing. My heart is so full….
The following day first on my list was to visit the Erawan Shrine in the heart of the city.
Via Wikipedia: The Erawan Shrine, formally the Thao Maha Phrom Shrine (Thai: ศาลท้าวมหาพรหม; rtgs: San Thao Maha Phrom; “Shrine of Lord Brahma the Great”), is a Hindu shrine in Bangkok, Thailand, that houses a statue of Phra Phrom, the Thai representation of the Hindu god of creation Lord Brahma. A popular worship attraction, it often features performances by resident Thai dance troupes, who are hired by worshippers in return for seeing their prayers at the shrine answered.
And worship I did. I prayed to the 4 faces of Brama asking for many things. First off a successful surgery. Secondly a successful transformation for my spirit. Third, my family and friends 4. For the world to be at peace. It was really beautiful .. I know I say this a lot but beauty is beautiful in all its forms. I felt ready now….I watched as the beautiful performers danced and sang for people and it made me cry. I did return a week and half later to make a monetary donation and offerings of incense and flowers, and paid for the girls to sing and dance a chant to the Lord Brama in full gratitude for having all my wishes come true.
We crossed the street to visit the Gaysorn shopping center. Still trying to get my bearings here in NEW Bangkok. Bangkok that has the best the world can offer now. Full of excitement. As you may recall, my one and only mall i ever been to prior to this was the MBK Mall where you can find everything at a very deeply discounted price. Well the Gaysorn Mall was filled with top of the line Thai designers. It was amazing. We went to the roof top because I heard that there was a little altar to Lakshmi. There I prayed again .. I kept praying and was so full of the spirit while there. I found myself back at the legendary MBK Shopping Center to show Julia what I was talking about. Now, there are 5 malls built around it all boasting beautiful state of the art facilities and prime shopping. Yet, I really wanted to show her what bargaining is like in Thailand. I found there 2 beautiful statues of my patron Mother Goddess/ buddha Kwan Yin who is a bodhisatra and my protector. Picked them up to place around my hotel and eventually hospital room
We returned to our hotel to drop off our pickings and ordered everything on the menu from room service since i won’t be able to eat come midnight and I will have to start cleaning my system out with this horrific drink …. It was essentially the Last Supper..
The next day we were picked up bright and early and headed to hospital to check in and get all prepped up… I have to admit that when I was laying on the operating table , a wave of emotion took over me and I cried like a baby. Until…. I was out!!!!!!!!
Woke up in pain until the next morphine injection hit me. The next 5 days was spent in the hospital healing and being treated like a queen by the excellent staff of the Piyavate Hospital. It wasn’t easy …. But I survived.
Fast forward 5 days later, I’m being discharged and heading back to the hotel … I arrived and told Julia that I need to get the hell out and see the sun and do something… We decided to go light and see a movie. Dark Shadows was playing but where to see a movie. After much research, we found what looked to be the most amazing soon to be had movie experience of my life. The theaters located in the drop dead gorgeous Siam Paragon Shopping Center was out of this world for its time. There was a traditional seating theater which remained me of old hollywood with ushers etc, and then there was the then called Kodak VIP theaters … We chose for the VIP experience. At $20 a head, it better be good.
The theater was amazing. You first enter a beautiful lounge where you are treated to a small cake and cookies and a drink of your choice ( all part of the price) Because at this point i really can’t hold anything down and have no appetite ( which lasted for months ,,, skinny !!!!!! ) I really didn’t enjoy the treats too much. The theater is gorgeous… Every seat is a loveseat recliner which goes almost flat like a bed. You’re given a blanket and pillow and it feels as if you are watching it at home in your own private theater. It was amazing, even though i had to go bathroom every 15 minutes.. Something that happens from the surgery.
The next few weeks and days were filled slowly by shopping, entertainment, and more shopping. I made myself get out of the hotel everyday to walk and gain my strength back. It’s really difficult as I have to go bathroom constantly and to which we ended up coining a term called Terminal 21 when I need to go bathroom. This happened because overtime I left the hotel to walk toward Asoke station where the Terminal 21 mall is I would have to go bathroom. Their bathrooms are amazing. Each stall has the Toto toilets which operates like a bidet so I felt totally clean constantly… Another thing that happened once was when we were at the BTS station I walked through the turnstiles only to be slammed right in the kitty spot where I was healing because I didn’t move fast enough. Fortunately a work mate of mine Uncle Dave, who visits Thailand frequently taught me a quick Thai word to avoid the turnstiles and have the staff open up the special gate. Jeb Mak Mak ( soar stomach) lol So overtime I caught the sky train I was Jeb Mak Mak after Terminal 21 ing hehehehehehe….
Everyday I gradually got stronger and my spirit was at an all time high. I was full of emotion and full of gratitude. I was now a daughter of Thailand and a sister of Bangkok and I was in love with this city. We met so many funny people who must’ve thought we were equally funny. We shopped till we dropped, had wonderful high tea at the Lebua Hotel, hippie watched down hippie backpacker ville Kao Sahn Road, entered the gigantic Flea/ market of Chatuchak, prayed at more temples , and watched some great shows.
This time around I ended up really taking in the stores. There are so many new ones back in 2012 and even more now. The stores are state of the art and really amazing. You have everything you could possibly want . There are the more economically priced ones and the luxuriously amazing ones. Here’s where we went and demolished:
Siam Paragon: State of the art, gigantic food court, amazing theaters, top of the line designer shopping
Central World: Typical American stores, excellent shops, fun atmosphere
Terminal 21: Moderately priced , local designers, every floor a replica of a airport around the world
Emporium : High range designer, excellent tea lounge, One day there was a macaroon festival.. definite sugar high
Pratunam: Amazing knock off and cheap clothing and accessories. Really nice things
Platinum: Next to Pratunam connected by a walk way and equally cheap
MBK: Cheap and great place to bargain.
As I had a hard time eating, I cannot really comment on any great places to eat. My eating was very simple but stay tuned for my next Bangkok installment to learn of all the new places I’ve been
I did enjoy the street fruit though. We would daily enjoy a refreshing Madarine Orange freshly squeezed drink from some street vendor..
Rambutan is also a very delicious fruit which is similar to the Lychee.
However we did do an english High Tea at the Lebua and it was fabulous and just enough for me to eat
Besides that amazing movie theater experience we watched this amazing show called Siam Niramit Show Which tells the tale of how Siam and Thailand came to be with all it different cultural influences. The performance was beautiful. The only problem I had was their use of elephants. An elephant is a sacred being to the Thai ( and to me) but its just sad to see it working instead of enjoying their days in the jungle. The show really was visually beautiful and the performance superb. I highly recommend people to watch this.
We tried to do something different everyday as you can sort of tell. One day we ventured all the way down town to view the Jim Thompson House . Jim Thompson was an American who helped revitalize the Thai Silk industry in the 60’s. The museum is a traditional style Thai house and was a very interesting visit. They also have a fabulous restaurant which we indulged in.
Money: Yes its still and will forever be the Baht. But this time, instead of changing money at sketchy side street banks, I used my atm card to withdraw what I needed. I cannot stress this enough, how convenient it is to withdraw local currency when you travel, from ATMS. You get the full accurate and current exchange rate, its safer, and you don’t have the burden of carrying large sums of cash. It made my trip so much easier. Ofcourse it is important to find a bank that does not charge your foreign transaction fees !
There are various types of course the traditional TAXI : which is great when shopping and its later on in the day . Otherwise if there’s traffic be prepared to set up camp as it take a year to get to your destination 5 minutes away.
Bus: Saw them everywhere. Very ramshackle but I fortunately never took one 🙂
BTS: The BTS ( skytrain) is godsend … Its very clean and nice, fully air-conditioned and can take you to all the main places of interest with in the city easily and swiftly. All except for the Grand Palace and Reclining Buddha..Its so easy to figure out and also very cost efficient
MRT: Subway mass transit. I was so surprised how beautiful it is. Its super clean, and not too many tourist take it which is ideal 🙂 It doesn’t take you to all the places the BTS does but it is quite great.
Tuk Tuk: ( Took took) Motor Rickshaws .. Not my favorite at all as they are quite dangerous and more expensive than a taxi.
Motorbike: You can hop on back of a motor bike for pennies and be whisked away to your destination. Just make sure you hold on tight
Parks: We didn’t list many parks even though there are a lot in the city. However we did see Lumpini Park which is quite lovely .There are lakes and lots of foliage to enjoy and relax during a hot day. It’s not large but large enough.
All in all this was one of the most memorable and spiritual journey I ever took in my life. I thoroughly enjoyed my extended stay in the city and I got a really great feel for it. When we were there back in 2012 there were a lot of buildings going up as 5 star condos were on the rise. The city is electric and forever growing in the absolute right direction. The people are kind, funny, and very beautiful. I got to see and do so much even with my healing impediment . I know I only began to scratch the surface and couldn’t wait to return. Return I did , back in 2014 which I will save for another blog. But It just goes to show how much I fell helplessly in love and devoted to this beautiful city.
Thank you again for taking the time to entertain my travel memories and stay tune for the last installment of Bangkok and Thailand with hopefully many more to come in the near future.
Krap Khun Kah