After Cambodia, we flew to Bangkok, Thailand for the last week of our trip, and guess who decided to join us?! My dad! Since my dad couldn’t take a whole three weeks off from work, he decided to join my mom and I for the final leg of the trip in Thailand. One of the main reasons why my dad decided to join us at the end of the trip rather than the beginning was because his brother (my uncle) Gary lives in Bangkok. Not only was I excited to experience Thailand and see my Dad, I was also super excited to meet my little cousins (Gary’s kids) who are half-Thai half-American.
Before meeting up with Gary and his family, my parents and I decided to do our own thing in the city for a couple days. Our first day, we went to see the Grand Palace. There is a huge wall surrounding the palace and all of these different people were trying to stop us and trick us into thinking the palace was closed. Basically, their aim is to scam you into a ridiculously overpriced tour with them. Luckily, I had read about this when I was researching the Grand Palace online, so we just ignored the scammers and made our way to the palace entrance. Unfortunately, though, I had not researched quite enough and we weren’t properly dressed to enter the palace. In order to enter the palace, you have to have your shoulders and knees covered. It was incredibly hot in Bangkok so we were all wearing shorts and I was also wearing a tank top. The palace did have clothes for rent, but the line was really long and you had to have the clothes returned by 4pm. At this point, it was already close to 3pm, so we would have to zip through the palace. We decided to still just do it that day and just do a quick tour of it. While it was rather rushed, I feel like we still got to see most of it and enjoy it. As you can see from the pictures below, it is quite magnificent. If you’re ever in Bangkok, the Grand Palace is something you cannot miss, just make sure to get there early in the day and dress appropriately so you don’t run into the same issues we ran into.
Another thing you can’t miss if you go to Bangkok is Wat Pho (aka the Temple of the Reclining Buddha). The dress code isn’t as strict for this temple, but I would still try to dress more conservatively. As the name suggests, there is a GIANT reclining Buddha in this temple which is the main attraction to see here. Wat Pho is also known as one of the best massage schools in Thailand, so it is the perfect place to get a traditional Thai massage if you need some relaxation during your trip. You could easily do both this and the Grand Palace in the same day as they are right down the road from one another. Both the Grand Palace and Wat Pho can be reached by taking the Skytrain (Bangkok’s metro system) to Saphan Taksin station located on top of Central Pier. From Central Pier, you can take a short boat ride over to Chang Pier and then walk from there to either the Grand Palace or Wat Pho.
One of the things we did that I didn’t like so much was the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. I didn’t particulary enjoy the floating market because of how touristy it was. There were just way too many people and a ton of vendors all selling the same junk. Instead of going to this floating market, I would suggest trying to find one that is a little more authentic and not crowded with tourists.
After exploring the city for a few days on our own, we headed to the “suburbs” of Bangkok where Gary and his family live. I finally got to meet my Thai cousins! The little boy is named Curtis and he is 10 years old and Kirsten, the little girl, is 8 years old. Curtis is OBSESSED with Legos and has more Legos than I have probably seen in my entire life. Kirsten is super goofy and loves to read. I became really close with Kirsten while I was there and loved making silly faces and saying funny things with her. Of course, it was also nice to see my uncle Gary and his wife Tik. Gary and Tik were so welcoming and were almost like our own personal tour guides.
For a few days while we were in town, Gary and Tik took us to a beach resort in Pattaya, Thailand–roughly a 2-hour drive from Bangkok. We had these cute, little bungalows that looked right out to the water (see featured image at the top). It was nice to relax on the beach, have a few cocktails, and take a dip in the ocean.
Soon enough, it was time for my parents to depart for America. I loved being able to see both of my parents and experience Asia with them. If I end up deciding to stay in China for another year, though, they’ll definitely have to visit me in actual China this time and I can be their own personal tour guide.
After my parents left, I was also on my way to the airport to head to northern Thailand for a solo adventure! Stay tuned for my blog posts on Chiang Mai and Pai, Thailand. 🙂