After a long flight and a layover in the Middle East we arrived in Bangkok, Thailand. We were now worlds away from home, starting in on the next chapter of our journey. One that would test our tolerance of the heat, humidity, torrential downpours, and insects. And also the strength of our stomachs, our bargaining skills, and our ability to adapt to a whole new lifestyle way outside of our comfort zones.
The first day in Bangkok we added two new girls to our group, Erin and Erica. Erica and Kayley had met while traveling in Spain and Erin was Kayley’s friend from home. It was fun having fresh faces around we were excited to have a big group of girls!
We met a nice Thai man on our way in at the train station that pointed us in the direction of a travel agency. There they helped us out with our plans for the next couple weeks. We ended up scheduling a packed 17 days and arranged pick up and accommodation up front so it was one less thing to worry about. This was something we hadn’t done the entire trip. Mind you, before we were literally booking our flights and hostels the day before. It felt nice to have a route though! We decided to spend a couple days exploring Bangkok, then head up to Chiang Mai, and then back down south to the islands of Koh Pangan, Phuket, and Koh Phi Phi.
The first couple nights in Bangkok we spent filling our bellies with Phad Thai and exploring the city from the back of a Tuk Tuk taxi. Every ride we took was an adventure but also a bit sketchy as our driver would weave through the insanely packed streets where stop lights and traffic signals were just mere suggestions. People were riding 3 to a bike, with no helmets, and their kids just hanging off the back. Somehow we always made it to our destinations safely and spent the other half of our time in and out of massage parlors and nail salons; taking advantage of the insanely cheap prices. The average price for a massage was around 200-300 baht which was a little under $10! So you can imagine we had a few. We tried traditional Thai massage, oil massage, foot, back, and neck. Perfect for our sore backs having carried around 40lb bags for 3 months! After we were all relaxed we made our way through the markets sampling new tastes and the girls even tried scorpion! We walked through the shops bargaining down their prices swap meet style and checked out china town and the temples. Our favorite one was Wat Pho, also known as the temple of the reclining Buddha. It was amazing to see the ornate decor inside and out of these temples and the grounds surrounding them, so beautiful!
After a few nights in Bangkok we boarded our first 13 hour overnight train to Chiang Mai, ready for some adventure! (Random fact: at the train station there is a roped off section for monks only! So funny!)