I had grand plans for a day and a half in Bangkok, but what I got was jet-lagged sleep, incredible Thai food and an amazing foot massage for just $4. When I got in, I checked in with my family to let them know I was OK, wrote a bit on the blog, snacked a little and tried to wind down. Ended up going to bed at about 7:00am Thailand time, which was about 8:00pm eastern time. I was already up, so I ate breakfast near the pool in the hotel, which was included with my room at the Adelphi Grande.
Photo Gallery: Breakfast at Adelphi Grande
When I woke up around 2:00pm Thailand time, I checked out of my room and asked the staff to help me book my transfer from Bangkok. I needed to either fly or bus to Chumporn, then ferry to the island of Koh Tao to meet my Project Getaway group. The staff were very friendly and accommodating – they called the travel agency for me, drove me to the nearest ATM machine and secured a taxi to take me across town to the tourist/backpacker area of Khao San Road so I could buy the ticket. (For some reason, I was not able to book online or over the phone using my credit card.) Although I know I paid too much for the taxi (200 baht, about $7) because it would have been cheaper with the meter, I was OK with paying a bit more just for convenience and to avoid the haggling – we were only talking a few bucks here, so no big deal.
The taxi took me to Lomprayah, the travel agency recommended by the folks at Project Getaway. They had great prices and I bought a combo bus and ferry ticket for 1200 baht, about $40. The bus would take five-six hours, then a two hour boat ride to Koh Tao. I was to meet the bus at Lomprayah at 5:30am the next morning, which drastically shortened my time to explore Bangkok, but at least the mission at hand was accomplished. Then it was time for lunch! I wanted to experience the famous street food of Thailand, so I went straight for a plate of pad thai, prepared by one of the vendors lined up along Khao San Road. People literally just set up their cooking stations on the street and make all kinds of yummy Thai food to order – popular dishes include pad thai, grilled fish, spring rolls, chicken satay and ahem, fried insects. Kind of like the hot dog carts and food trucks we have in DC!
Photo Gallery: Street Food for Lunch on Khao San Road
After lunch, I wandered around the streets for a bit, taking in the sights.
I stopped at one of the many shops advertising foot massages for 120 baht for half an hour, about $4.
The woman who did my foot massage took me upstairs to an air-conditioned room to give me a much-needed break from the heat! The massage felt so good, I fell asleep toward the end. “Full hour?” she asked. Nah, I was ready for a nap! I wish I had gone for an hour full-body massage, but I knew I would get a chance for that once I got to Koh Tao. I was so sleepy but it was about 5:30pm at this point and I still had to find a room close to Lomprayah so I wouldn’t miss my bus in the morning. I decided on a room at the Viengtai Hotel right on Khao San Road for $40, about 10 doors down from the travel agency. I took a nap for a few hours after I checked in, then went out to find some dinner.
I had read so many great reviews of May Kaidee’s Vegetarian Restaurant, so I decided to go there since it was also right around the corner from my hotel.
Photo Gallery: Dinner at May Kaidee’s Vegetarian Restaurant in Bangkok
My entire dinner only cost 200 baht or about $7. I’d NEVER get a delicious Thai dinner this cheap in the U.S.! I got a tuk tuk to take me there, but it was a short walk back to Khao San Road. It felt safe to walk around there at night, with everything lit up, music playing outside the restaurants and tourists everywhere.
I had a rough time getting to sleep when I got back as my room faced the street, with the noise of people partying late into the night. I SO wanted to join them – but my body was NOT havin’ it! And anyway, I had to get up around 4:00am to get ready to go to Koh Tao to meet my Project Getaway Group!
I took this ferry and was in Koh Tao by 3:00pm the next day…and I received such a warm welcome. Will share more in my next post with some lovely pictures of our villa and the view of the island!