The wait is over, and we have arrived in Bangkok. We chose to spend our first 2 days at an out-of-the-way hotel on the edge of town to simply chill and get over our jet lag. Yet, our first day was interesting enough. We blew the circuit breaker in our room, walked through a Thai market, and had a delicious meal. Let me fill you in on our first 24 hours in Bangkok!
3 Miles to Our Hotel
We arrived in Bangkok around midnight, so our plan was to just get a place we could crash and recover from a day of travel. Our plan was to get well rested instead of pushing through like tourists on a time budget.
We chose a modest hotel about 3 miles from the airport, based mostly on economics. It was only $15 per night, and in a regular neighborhood – not a touristy area.
It was easy enough to navigate the airport and customs, and grab a taxi. We also could have taken Uber from the airport, but with the additional airport rates, a taxi was cheaper.
Our T-Mobile phones were able to connect to a 3G network right away, which made navigation extremely easy. Otherwise, simply getting to the hotel this late at night could have been a disaster. Our taxi driver didn’t speak any English, and didn’t know where our hotel was. With the use of Google Maps, I was able to show him where we needed to go.
Note: Thailand is a cash based society, so make sure that you visit the cash exchange and get some baht (Thailand’s dollar) before leaving the airport. We grabbed a few thousand before we left LAX, because we knew that getting money late at night was not something we wanted to mess with.
Rookie Mistake – Blowing Circuits Within 24 Hours
By the time we made it to our room, more than 24 hours had passed since we arrived at LAX for our initial flight.
We were exhausted, and despite the energy we were feeling from our arrival, all we really wanted to do was sleep. I noticed that the outlets in our room were 3 pronged, and grounded. This means that we would not need to use our adapter to plug our stuff in.
Still, since I’ve read plenty about power surges in Thailand, I wanted to run our charges through a surge protector. I went to plug the one that I brought with us into the outlet…
Flash, Pop, Spark… Darkness
It seems that the surge protector blew the circuit in our room. I instantly realized my mistake. Our surge protector is for 110 volts, and not the 220 volt outlets found in Thailand. What a total rookie mistake!
I felt pretty stupid, but we didn’t want to mess with it. We decided to go right to bed (since the lights were out), and deal with it in the morning.
Fortunately, no real damage was done. We contacted the front desk in the morning, and they came right up and showed us where the circuit breaker in the room was. It seems that they’ve had to do this before.
White Boy In A Market
The restaurant at the hotel was underwhelming, and we paid too much for an American style breakfast. I would have preferred Thai food, but the menu was limited, and we didn’t know how or what else to ask for.
Thanks again to Google Maps, we found a Thai restaurant with decent reviews, and it was next to a market. We decided to venture out for lunch.
Since our hotel is in a random neighborhood, and not a tourist area, we had to walk about a mile to the market as there were no cabs to hail. We received sideways glances from everyone we passed, and I definitely felt like a fish out of water. In this whole afternoon trip, I only saw 4 other white people. We’re certainly not in Portland anymore!
When we arrived to the market we walked around looking at the wares, and smelling the food. We did buy some apples and dragon fruit, and feel like we paid the foreigner price. We didn’t mind too much, as it’s still a third of what we would have paid for that in Portland.
While wandering through, Ali’s clothing caught a chair, knocking it over and spilling someone’s soup. We righted the chair, and placed the bowl back on it, and scurried away quickly while shouting out an apology that probably wasn’t understood. Then, I inadvertently kicked someone’s sandals that were laying at the entrance to a shop. I slid them back into place with my foot while receiving a scowl from their owner.
Near the market, we checked out our first 7-11. 7-11s in Thailand are the place you go to get your random every day items. In the US, you would relate it to Walgreens since the 7-11s there are more for drinks and snacks. I bought some “natural” deodorant spray because sweaty pits are going to be a thing for me here, especially on this January day that is creeping up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
On our walk to the market, we passed a busy restaurant, and decided that we would head back there for lunch. We wanted a good authentic Thai meal, and that place appealed to us more than the food carts at the market.
It was a great decision. The owner spoke decent enough English, and helped us make our choices. I chose the steamed beef with rice and Thai iced tea, and Ali picked chicken green curry and a guava drink. We finished lunch off with some kind of shaved ice dessert, and the entire meal only cost us $4.88.
We made the decision to learn how to say “thank you” in Thai because we felt that our English was not conveying our sentiments.
We grabbed coffees on our way out, and headed back to the hotel. Whatever plans we talked about for the rest of the day slipped away along with our consciousness. Our jet lag made us sleepy, and we fell out for the rest of the day.