Today is the big day. Our upcoming 11 hour and 5 minute flight to Bangkok has us feeling all jittery.
Here’s what we have planned for our first few days. (I’ll let you know if the real thing actually works out the way we thought it would.):
Arriving in Bangkok
The fact that I am in a different country typically hits just as I am walking out the doors of the airport. We plan on getting a taxi straight into the part of the city where our hotel is. As much as we’d love to be cheap and take the bus to the hotel (approx $5), a taxi costs $10 or less and is way quicker.
Hotels – Here’s a site (or app) worth using if you aren’t already: Booking.com. I first came across it in Oxford when I was hanging out with Jammie, my sister and some close friends in Blackwells, the largest bookstore in town. I compared what we found on Booking.com to some other hotel sites and the accommodation listings in some travel books and in the end the winning hotel had the following:
1) A very solid average rating out of 2000 reviews.
2) Gorgeous rooms with all the amenities
3) Gym / hot tub / steam room
4) Fitness center / Private theater / international restaurant
5) LAST AND BEST: We got four nights for a very reasonable $57, so $14.25 per day.
Will the actual experience live up to how the hotel was advertized online? Look for my review in a soon-coming post:)
Apartments – This was a tough one. We only want to spend $300 or less on our longer term housing in Bangkok. You can pretty much get anything you want in Bangkok – from shack to palatial – it is all there. We have been researching apartments options with a blend of excellent price and location (we want something fairly centrally located) and excellent natural light. There are a lot of apartment rental sites for Bangkok and many are in English as there is such a huge expat population. We haven’t decided on anything yet. We will visit a handful of apartments in person in the first few days following our arrival. Then we will make the decision in person.
It was all I could do not to put this at the top of the post. We are so excited about this part since we both love Thai food. I’ve been doing some research on where the best spots to get Thai food are. What I’ve been finding so far is that the best eateries are often not the upscale joints catering to wealthy tourists. Often the hole-in-the-walls are best. We will shamelessly be soliciting suggestions as soon as we land.
If you have any good ideas for where to go in Bangkok for the best of the local cuisine, let me know in the comments. There’s nothing like a personal recommendation!
Making Friends – Currently we have a handful of friends living in Thailand, none of which are Thai. Our plan is to hit local churches, Rotary (business networking) clubs, Toastmasters (public speaking) clubs, Chambers of Commerce and the Swedish, Filipino and American embassies as we kick off our round of networking.
Do you know of anyone that could be helpful in terms of finding worthy nonprofits for which we could volunteer? We are looking for ideas. We would be good for tutoring, writing, fundraising and English-based PR work. Let us know if you think of anything. In an upcoming post I will share some info about a Thai-based anti sex-trafficking nonprofit that we will be volunteering for in our quest for savvy, global do-gooding.
OK, gotta wrap this up as my sister and her husband are coming to pick us up for our airport ride in under an hour. If you have any other tips for navigating the first few days in Bangkok, let us know in the comments.