I have not written for a while now, a bit of writer’s block and lack of time. Not sure where all the time has been going. I was lucky to go on a trip to Southeast Asia. Was I nervous because of the coronavirus – yes a bit but not enough to cancel the trip. Our first stop was Bangkok. We flew from Toronto to Bangkok via Hong Kong – we had a connecting flight so we spent a few hours in the airport. Travelling to Hong Kong last April we noticed a huge difference this time around – no crowds, the airport was totally empty, we had to actually read signs to figure out where we were going as opposed to just following the crowd. A few increased measures such a temperature taking – before entering a new area, scanners detecting body temperature as well. We boarded our flight on Thai Air to Bangkok. I had sanitizer wipes with me and wiped down our area just in case it wasn’t done, not really caring if I looked silly or not. We saw a few people wearing masks but not many. Oh ya, forgot to mention the first leg of the flight was totally empty, our section only had about 12 people in it……
We met our group at the Bangkok airport and made our way to the hotel. We stayed at the Shangri -La Bangkok. Such a beautiful hotel right on the river. Before entering the hotel, your bags had to go through a scan machine and your temperature was taken. The front lobby had so many beautiful Orchids, just amazing since I can’t even keep one orchid alive for a month.. here were hundreds of blooming orchids.
Our first day was a tour of Bangkok. The Grand Palace, and the Thonburi Canals. Our first stop was the Wat Pho – The temple of the reclining buddha. As one of the largest temples in Bangkok the Buddha is 46 metres long, covered in gold leaf. Wat Pho is considered the leading school of massage in Thailand.
When visiting the reclining Buddha you must take your shoes off to enter, I recommend purchasing a bowl of coins which you can drop in the 108 bronze bowls which line the length of the walls on your way out. The money goes towards helping the monks renovate and preserve Wat Pho. Also remember to dress appropriately when you visit Wat Pho – no exposed shoulders or skin above the knee, and no shorts for the men – long pants. We walked the grounds, which were beautiful. From here we went to the Grand Palace, dress code was the same as Wat Pho.
We had dinner on a boat that night while cruising the river , enjoying the night lights.
The next day we went to Patom Organic Village – we toured the farm, and bakery. There was a huge market that many come to from Bangkok on a Sunday to buy fresh organic food. That afternoon we went to the market to do some shopping – absolutely craziness, so many stores. I picked up some linen pants and walked around, great to see all the shops.
We went to the Sky Bar, wow such a beautiful spot, you can see the entire city from there. The drinks were crazy expensive – about $50 US for a vodka soda – nuts but we had one drink each. No line ups, not crowded , we sat outside enjoying the warm weather and enjoying the city skyline. One of the waiters took our photos outside, he was hilarious, he kept telling us how to pose and where, we couldn’t stop laughing and the photos turned out fairly good.
Next stop was Phuket. We flew from Bangkok to Phuket, and stayed at J.W. Marriott Phuket. A large resort with beautiful rooms, beaches and pools. I was super excited because we were going to go to the Phi Phi Islands, (pronounce pee pee islands according to our tour guide). We took a boat there, sea was rough and a few people were sick. Leonardo’s beach is closed to all tourists because it was destroyed, we saw it from a distance. Since it’s closure the reef and area has begun to flourish again, which is very good. We snorkled off the boat, so refreshing going for a swim in the ocean, perfect water temperature. Saw lots of tropical fish. After lunch, at PP natural resort, and then stopped at a beach for an hour of swimming on our own. I walked on the beach, swam and took some photos. That night we we decided to go into Phuket for dinner and walk along the infamous Patong street. Our first stop was The Big Buddha. We walked around, saw a few monkeys – although the sign said not to feed the monkeys, people still brought bananas and proceeded to feed them. They were coming so close to us it was crazy. We had dinner at The Kitchen – a thai and international cuisine restaurant. After dinner we walked along the closed off street – wow it was an interesting place…. very crowded , someone in our group asked if they were afraid of catching coronavirus – but seriously that was the least of what they could catch … they were very aggressive in trying to get us to go into a “show”….. yuk I was actually afraid to take photos in there, didn’t want to get attacked or my phone taken away .. After walking around for a bit we decided to head back to the hotel. The next day we hung out at the pool and enjoyed doing nothing, that evening we went to Siam Niramit Phuket Dinner and Show. There was a minature Thai village that we went through and then into the show. As most places, tourist traffic was way down, so more that 3/4 of the auditorium was empty. The show was spectacular, a river with real water in the middle of he stage, lots of singing and dancing. An amazing performance. After the show the performers greeted the audience outside.
Have you travelled to Bangkok ? What was your favourite spot? How about the Phi Phi islands, what did you enjoy the most about these islands?