Thailand – Day 1 – Bangkok

I departed Calgary for my around the world flight to Bangkok on December 30th 2017, which meant that I had the unique opportunity to spend my 2017-2018 New Years in the air. I flew business class from Calgary to Frankfurt on Air Canada on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

I transferred to a Lufthansa Airbus A380 for my Frankfurt to New Delhi flight. This flight was great because it was mostly empty, which meant I could stretch out across all three seats to sleep, and I got to celebrate New Years on board the plane, where we were served a complimentary bottle of champagne. It was fantastic!

After arriving in India I realized I was slightly in over my head compared to my usual travels because the airport was fairly run down, disorganized and few people spoke English. I had to collect my Thai Airways ticket from this desk, where it was total chaos. After spending an hour collecting my ticket and consuming precious time before my next flight I walked to the gate and stopped to get some bottled water and a coffee from a shop.

I boarded a Thai Airways 787 Dreamliner for the final leg of the journey to Bangkok. The staff on the flight were so friendly, and the food was amazing! The flight was very empty so again I had the whole row to myself so I could lay down in a makeshift bed.

After arriving in Bangkok it only took me 10 minutes to walk and clear immigration / customs and then I boarded a train to the Center of the city, which only cost 45 baht (less than $2).

After arriving in the Center of the city I found a 7-11 where I got a huge bottled water for 7 baht, and then started walking towards my first stop, the Golden Mount. Half way there I decided I would try to catch a cab, the first one turned me down, but the second said he would take me. It’s routine for cabs to turn you down in the city if it’s not worth it for them; they don’t like tourist traps because they get caught in traffic and it’s not worth it to them.

I successfully survived my first panic attack I’ve had in years when I was at the Golden Mount. I was overwhelmed by the amount of people that were there and I literally couldn’t move and felt trapped, but the place was pretty cool.

After visiting the Golden Mount I walked to my hotel, the Warehouse Hotel, to drop off my bag. I wasn’t able to check into my hotel at this point in time, so I left my bag, grabbed a 25 baht cola and relaxed for a few minutes before heading to the Grand Palace.

The Grand Palace has free entry today because of it being New Years, which was great because I’d later use the 500 baht fee I was going to pay on some delicious Thai food! I’m lost for words on how to describe the Grand Palace; it’s grand, it’s a Palace, and it has so much gold and gems I don’t even know where to begin! It’s so fantastic!

I then walked across the street to Wat Pho, the laying Buddha. Pictures don’t even do this justice; it’s enormous!

I was starting to get fairly dizzy at this point in time due to lack of food and sleep so I stopped at a small restaurant across the street where I ordered Pad Thai for 150 baht. It was delicious, but the portion was fairly small. I also got some street food; homemade potato chips!

After eating my late lunch I boarded a water bus to cross the river to the other side where I visited Wat Arun which is an amazing white temple with a tall spire!

The next stop was Wat Kalayanamit, where there is a massive gold praying Buddha. This place was beyond words; it was so breathtaking watching hundreds of people pray to the Buddha.

On the way to seeing Wat Kalayanamit I realized I was not in the touristy part of Bangkok any longer because I was starting to see a lot of homeless people, and people that were living in tiny little shacks. One thing that really got to me was seeing these two kids laying on a bare mattress under a bridge watching a tube television that was plugging into this rats nest of wires that had been spliced into a main power line. Their fridge and propane stove were in the same cramped dark conditions.

I was getting sleepy so I took another water taxi across the river, and then walked back to my hotel, where I checked in and took a nap, which turned into sleeping all the way through to the next day. Stay tuned for more adventures tomorrow!