On to Bangkok

My last day on Koh Pha Ngan (paradise!) I decided to do something more than eat, nap, and laze around the beach all day.  I arranged for a cooking lesson with a local restaurant.  It was great because I got to choose three items from the menu and it was one-on-one.  I chose the Massaman curry, which I was obsessed with back in the states but it is twice as good in Thailand and ten times better at the Bamboo Hut Restaurant where I cooked in a small kitchen barefoot.  I also made Pad Thai and sweet and sour vegetables stir-fry.  I packed the dishes up and dragged them back to the hotel where some of my tour mates were thoroughly impressed.  But, I have to give credit to Gane (I think that’s her name) and her recipes.

The next day we left on our mammoth journey bck to Bangkok: 30 minute pick-up ride, 3 hour ferry, 1 hour bus, 12 hour overnight train and then we did an all-day tour to the River Kwai and the Floating Markets.  We finally arrived at our hotel at 6pm- a full 30 hours after we left the island!

Yesterday was the official last day of the tour.  It was sad to see everyone go but I’m looking forward to the next phase of my journey.  I had a busy day yesterday as well.  I had to go to the US Embassy to add more pages to my passport.  I also needed to find a new, more budget friendly hotel and organize getting the visas for the rest of my trip.  Proud to say that I had success all around even though I had a few bumps in the road.  I found it difficult to get a taxi to take me to the “US Embassy”.  They just didn’t understand me until I finally said “AmericanEmbassy.”  I used a visa agent recommended to me by the tour leader and will pick up my passport on Friday with, hopefully, a Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos visa in it.  I found a great hotel near the famous Khao San Rd but not on it.  Two years ago I stayed on Khao San Rd in a small, smelly room for around $15/night.  Now, I have a larger, pleasant smelling room including breakfast for around $20/night.  I guess my days of roughing it in cheap, budget rooms (hello? $5/night in India!) are over.

Khao San Rd hasn’t changed much other than some bigger neon signs, more streetside bars promising strong drinks and not to check id’s (but when have they ever checked id’s).  Also, the tuk-tuk drivers are still there annoying as ever but after asking me if I want a tuk-tuk they ask under their breath “ping pong?”  Do I look like I want to go to a girly show?!?

Khoa San Road is the epicenter of all SE Asia backpacking travel.  Travelers have either just arrived or are awaiting their departure home.  Everyone comes and leaves from Khao San Road.  It’s frantic, but fantastic!

Last night, I had an amazing facial on a noisy street with honking horns and blaring music.  And all it cost me including a generous tip was just over $7!!  I have forgotten how cheap Thailand is.  I might be getting some more of those before I leave.  The lady also gave me a shoulder, neck, and arm massage well more like a beating (and I’m not kidding a beating… I surprised I don’t have bruises).  No one said that Thai massage was supposed to be relaxing during the actual massage but boy do my shoulders feel much better now.

Tomorrow I am going on a day trip to Atthuya (I think that’s how you spell it), Thailand’s ancient capital.  I was planning to do the trip on my own as it’s just a 1.5 hour train ride a way but when I found out that the organized mini-bus trip including lunch was around $17 I signed up quickly.

Wish you all were here!  Bangkok and Thailand are great.


4 Responses to “On to Bangkok”

  1. 1 megan August 20, 2008 at 7:25 am

    sounds like you’re having a great time. Have been reading your blog for a while now so thought I should de lurk. Am visiting Bangkok myself in a few weeks time and your post has made me even more excited if that’s possible!

  2. 2 DAD August 21, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    looks like you finally hit a couple of places I’ve never been to. but i bet the fleet has more fun when they pull in. keep enjoying youself, but be carefull!!!!!!!!!!!

    love ya Dad

  3. 3 mandy August 25, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    hmmm, maybe bangkok would be fun… i’ll have to think about visiting next year maybe? 😉

  4. 4 Kathy September 4, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    Hi Stacy,

    I am so proud of you taking cooking lessons I would love to do that! Upon your return you will have to cook some of the dishes for me.

    I have already started buying baby stuff for our Neice 🙂

    Love ya bunches…….Aunt Kathy

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Stacy is in West Virginia and totally amazed by the power of Math. (Nerd, I know!)


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