May 11 – 13, 2018
We flew straight from Israel to Bangkok on El Al Airlines, the flight was about 10.5 hours and we left Israel at 11pm and arrived around 2pm in Bangkok. Francesca slept most of the ride, as did I. Daniel on the other hand got a few hours of sleep and occupied his time by watching movies. When the plane began its decent our little Francesca needed to potty. Of course you can’t get out of your sit, so we had another great spectacular potty training moment. Once the plane was about cleared Daniel took Francesca into the restroom to clean her up. We were the last ones off the plane. The flight attendance were a bit irritated with us but what are you going to do. Once composed we headed to customs.
Thailand is one of those countries that love children. We were given priority and directed to a special counter. We were able to by pass the long line of tourist entering the country, yay for us! We had purchased a six month multiple entry Visa for Thailand before we left Israel. Although this is not required, we could have come without a Visa and would have been granted a two month stay. We didn’t want any hassles since we were going to be house sitting for several months. We probably could have saved a bit of money by not getting the 6-month Visa and doing boarder runs but with the baby and our house sitting obligation we wanted to make sure we would be allowed to re-enter the country when needed and stay the required time. Thailand Visas are a bit weird, even though we have a 6-month Visa we have to leave every two months and come back in, luckily Myanmar is a short boat ride away.
Khaosan Art Hotel
Once we cleared customs and picked up our backpacks we headed out to catch a taxi to our hotel. The taxi ride was 500฿ (Baht) which included the tolls for the highway, with the exchange rate that’s about $16 for the 1 hour ride to our spot. We stayed at Khaosan Art Hotel, which I found on booking.com. We had to have a hotel reservation to give the Visa office when we applied. The location and price was right at 546฿ a night, around $17.50. There are tons of places to stay near Khao San Road, backpacker district, some cheaper and some not but not all of them are listed on sites such as booking.com , agoda.com, or hostelworld.com. You need to walk around and scope out a place but when you have a little one that’s not what you really want to do after a long flight and we were required to have the first night’s lodging booked to get our visa. Luckily, Khaosan Art Hotel was perfect for what we needed, the staff was very friendly (as most Thai’s are) and the location was a couple streets off the infamous Khao San Road, so we were a little ways away from the party.
At check in we were greeted with glasses of fresh juice and cheerful staff that loved playing with Francesca. They help us up the stairs to our fifth floor room that had a private bath, large king size bed, small balcony with a view of the river and an air-conditioner. Typically, Daniel and I would rather have fans rather than AC but man did we enjoy the cool air after being out in the sweltering heat. Bangkok is hot, I can’t even image it in April which is suppose to be there warmest month. After settling in and showering we were off to stroll around and take in the small section of the city we were staying in. We enjoyed a nice cold Chang beer, a local favorite originated in the northern part of Thailand in Chiang Mai. While Francesca ran around and played with the staff; they asked if she could have marshmallow candies and gave her high-5’s. Afterwards, we walked down the narrow side street lined with massage shops and trinket stores; stepping out of the way for the motorbikes and cars driving through. At the end of the side street the path widened; merchants selling all sorts of items, restaurants, food stands, massage and spa shops lined both sides of the street. Beautiful Banyan tree grew sporadically along the road side, creating shelter from the scorching sun. Overhead lights and decorations were hung enhancing the ambiance of the street, it was all very lovely.
Thai Food is Awesome
After strolling the streets for a bit we stopped for a bite to eat, it would be the most expensive meal we would eat in Bangkok. Thai dishes were around 150฿ each; Green Curry, Som Tom (papaya salad), Fried Noodles with minced chicken and a large cold beer. Everything was so delicious and we spent about 575฿ ($19). Francesca napped through dinner so when we returned to the hotel she was rested and ready to go. Daniel and I were exhausted but our little lady kept us up until 3:30am, or should I say kept Daniel up. Originally we had planned to take the bus south to Ranong making a stop on the way, in total the trip would take about eleven hours split up between two days. Daniel and I starting discussing the timing and with our obligation to be in Ranong, we wouldn’t have much time to see anything but the inside of a bus so we opted to book flights and stay in Bangkok for another night.
Taling Chan Floating Market
In the morning, while Francesca and Daniel slept, I extended our stay at the hotel I bought tickets to Ranong on Nok Air. For the three of us and our baggages it cost just under $200 and the flight was an hour and half. Money well spent to avoid a long bus ride and we got to explore Bangkok a bit more. Once the sleepyheads were out of bed we made our way to the Taling Chan Floating Market. We hopped on a tuk-tuk and rode across town. Francesca loved the neon colored tuk-tuk, she hung her head out the back and waved at the cars passing by. The locals smiled and waved back, some took pictures of the cute little blonde baby hanging her head out the side of the of the tuk-tuk as they drove by. Once we arrived at the floating market we strolled around gazing at the local wares. We bought Francesca a homemade popsicle, I thought it tasted awful but she seemed like it.
The floating market wasn’t exactly floating, some of it was but the majority was not. The only part that was floating was a stream of restaurants on the water, every 8 feet or so had its own chef cooking their speciality. The kitchen and its chef were perched on a long boat floating aside their section of the restaurant seating. It was amazing to watch them grilling, chopping and preparing their signature dish in the confinement of their boats. Across the water, in the section of the market on land, their was a band playing traditional Thai music and next to them was a small dock where the locals would come to throw there stale breads and cakes into the water to feed the fish. We watched as hundreds of hungry fish fought over the morsels of food being tossed in the water.
After are stroll around, Francesca lead us to a little Thai made jungle jim, definitely not up to US play ground codes. The completely metal handmade play set consisted of a ladder which led to a bridge that was bowing in the middle that gave the children access to a slide, and under the bridge were two swings. The compact play area reminded me of something my dad would have made for the backyard from scrap metal he had collected, when I was a kid. There was a young Thai boy playing on the swings when we arrived and Francesca made a new friend immediately. She was so upset when he had to go she started to cry, it was super cute. Once she was done playing we made our way back to the start of the market taking some photos along the way. It was a rather nice adventure even though I was a bit disappointed with the non floating aspect of the floating market.
Moka Coffee Shop
For the remainder of the day we’re walking around, we stopped for coffee and cocoa at a little shop called Moka. The coffee shop was decorated with adorable artwork created by the owner. You can check out her stuff on Instagram at Moka World. Her playful art style creates a fun and youthful vibe at her shop and you can watch her work while you enjoy your cup of joe. Later that evening we made our way out of the tourist area for a night time stroll. The locals were gathered in small groups sitting on the sidewalks having dinner, they were lined up at this one spot waiting for their tray of delicious food. There were no tables or chairs, once you got your order you posted up on a stoop or any available spot to enjoy your dinner with friends. We saw one group of ladies that laid down newspapers on the sidewalk as a table cloth. I love street restaurants, their kind of like food trucks with out the truck, of course. We even came across a free concert, some kind of Thai Heavy Metal band, it was loud and there were police security everywhere. We did notice that the Thai police do not carry guns, we joked that maybe its because they’re all trained in Muay Thai and other Marital Arts.
We had another late night with the little lady, traveling can really mess with the sleep cycle. When we woke up in the morning, packed our bags and prepared for our flight. Before heading to the airport we took a short walk and stopped for a bite to eat. Another delicious and inexpensive meal. I had sautéd morning glory and rice, it was so good and spicy just how I like it. I don’t even have to request spicy because most of the time the dishes I order come that way, its heaven to my taste buds. After lunch we got a taxi to the airport, the ride there was smooth sailing until we got to the exit for the airport. The traffic was backed up but our driver was a boss and juked the line, dropped us off in the arrival area save us a ton of time in traffic.
Our Bangkok adventure was over for now but time in Thailand has just began. For the next three months we would spend in Ranong, Thailand housesitting. We were looking forward to exploring a new area of Thailand that neither Daniel or I had been. We had been told there wasn’t a lot going on in the province that bordered Myanmar but that is just what we were looking for. It was time to slow down, enjoy time with our little one, discover the area, and center ourselves. We were excited for the next leg of our adventure.