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Tag Archive: Thailand

10/23 Back to Thailand

We flew from Siem Reap to Bangkok, spent 15 hours in the Novotel at the airport, and flew to Ao Nang the next morning. 8:30 AM flights always sound like a good idea until the alarm sounds at 4:45AM for a quick shower, breakfast, check-in, security and a bus to the plane, of course! I’m trying to figure out if airlines pay less for their gates if they don’t get a jetway and just park the plane on the runway.

Now that we know how the Bangkok Airways bag drop works, it didn’t take long to drop our bags, print out a boarding pass and head to the gate at the domestic terminal.  We showed our boarding pass to get to the gate area (no security) and THEN we showed our ID and boarding pass and went through security to actually get to the gate. Our gate was across the aisle from the Coral Lounge (Priority Pass). They have a lovely massage lady who walked around and offered neck and shoulder massages to waiting passengers.  I took her up on her offer.

Ao Nang beach bar. Expensive beer at $2 each since they had a great location for watching sunset
Ao Nang beach at sunset

FAQ for us – What do we do at the beach? Not much but here’s a rundown of the week:

  • Eat breakfast and wonder why Thai restaurants never have big napkins
  • Catch up on the diary, photos, and the website IF the wifi is good enough
  • Drop off and pick up laundry
  • Hang out at the pool or more often in the pool to escape the heat.
  • Watch people at the pool. British guy by us had a bad sunburn, complete with blisters.
  • Get massages – about $30 for one hour
  • Check out the 7-11 and Watson stores. They are everywhere and have interesting snacks
  • With the time difference, we watched college football games on the phone by the pool. Watched Stanford beat CU in 2 OT
  • Watch the rain downpour some days
  • Had to scoop up a little gecko climbing on my suitcase and deposit him by the pool.

Our flight to Nepal was booked from Bangkok and we flew from Ao Nang to Bangkok, spending 5 days catching up on activities that a major city made easier. We used hotel points to stay at the Westin in the middle of Bangkok and spent a bit of time talking to the general manager and interns and restaurant manager. When you’re American and staying more than a night, we stand out. We learned a lot about the hotel and liviing in Bangkok as an ex-pat.

Some tasks we accomplished in Bangkok (other than trying potato chips):

  • Did a little shoe shopping for Nikes for Susan. Found a HUGE Adidas store, Skechers store and Nike store. A very nice guy helped me at Nike. I finally found a pair that fits. Size 8 is pretty popular! This took 12000 steps to accomplish!
  • KFC has green curry chicken rice bowls using fried chicken.
  • Cheesecake Factory is opening in December; Krispy Kreme, Tim Horton already in Bangkok along with dozens of Starbucks.
  • Applied for Visa on Arrival paperwork for Nepal and printed it out in the Business Center. One page says you’ll get a QR code – but it wasn’t on the page they tell us to bring in hard or soft copy. They need to hire me to work on their website!
  • Susan had a massage by the Robinsons grocery store – best one of the trip.
  • Changed our address so we can vote overseas for the November election. Colorado makes it so easy to vote wherever you happen to be.
  • Had our laundry done. I’m not going to want to go back to washing my own clothes.
  • Went shopping for necessities – Qtips, alcohol wipes, and wandered around the department store. I have never seen that many bras in one store. Of course, the biggest size is about 38 equivalent.
Finding a laundry is high on the list of things to do. This one was in an alley in Bangkok. Prices are by the kilo. Washed in cold water and hung in the alley to dry.
Bangkok traffic
Our favorite – Din Tai Fung

Denver needs this technology

luggage video in airport

Screen in screen technology at the Bangkok airport. In the upper right corner, you can see luggage moving along.

We flew Bangkok Airlines to and from Koh Samui and we checked bags both ways – don’t ask!  At the Bangkok end, we waited quite a while (about 20 minutes) for our luggage to show up (and this was after a potty stop). The airport entertains passengers with ads on a big screen above the carousel.  At some point, we noticed a  little screen was added to the big screen.  Then we figured out we were seeing suitcases moving through the luggage system at the airport.  THEN, we saw our 2 suitcases fly by on the screen.  This gave us some hope that the luggage was on the way or at least was in the bowels of the airport someplace.

This is pretty cool technology. Think DIA (DEN) would ever install a few cameras in strategic locations in the luggage areas?  At least it relieves the boredom of just standing and waiting.

10 days in Koh Samui

Sawadee!  We’re back in Bangkok after 10 days on Koh Samui hanging out at the beach.  The weather was pretty warm and humid and rained more than it should have.  The Thais even complained about the heat!  The food was great tasting and cheap. Dinner was a whole $10 total when we did take-away and bought beer at the Family Mart.

 Romantic Bamboo seafood spaghetti

Romantic Bamboo was up the street from our hotel. It’s owned by an Italian guy and his Thai wife. She does all the cooking. He is perfect for a restaurant – personable, friendly, talkative, describes the food well, makes great suggestions. We ate there three nights.

Speaking of beer … Thailand has regulations on what time any alcohol can be sold and we never could remember the times!  The Family Mart and 7-11 all post the times on the refrigerated cases, thank heavens.  I know beer can’t be sold until 11 AM and, I think, it’s until 2 PM.  Then sales can start again sometime in the late afternoon.

We used some SPG points and stayed at two different properties – Sheraton and Le Meridien.  We liked them both but liked different things about each property.  The beach at the Meridien is covered with white soft sand and a reef protects it, making the water nice and calm.  The Sheraton’s water has many more waves, making it a great place if you’re into playing in the waves, but the sand is much coarser with lots of tiny shells in it.

Sheraton beach and waves

This beach is by the Sheraton Samui. The waves were pretty big while we stayed there.

rocks on beach

Soft sand by the Le Meridien hotel on Koh Samui. This beach was easy to walk on in our bare feet.

Sunset on a Koh Samui beach. Must be Happy Hour time!

Each hotel is located in the middle of a little village with restaurants and LAUNDRIES meaning we had clean clothes for about $1.25 per kilo of laundry. We’d waited awhile to do the wash so our bill was about $5.   We dropped the dirty clothes off in the morning and could pick it up the next day, clean and folded.  One day, the drying took a bit longer after the downpour we had in the middle of the night.  The lightning and thunder woke us both up about 5 AM and kept us awake for about an hour.

We took the wine glass from the air-conditioned room to the patio and it steamed up, along with my watch and the camera lens!

82 F feels like 91F

Notice the “Feels like” temp

weather report

84% humidity at 82 F. This is VERY humid!


If you need a drink or food at the pool, just push the buzzer on the table by your beach chair.

meridien do not disturb

This is the “Do not Disturb”
sign at the Le Meridien hotel in Koh Samui. It really is NOT a monkey picking his nose.

fungi on tree

We walked by this tree every morning. I have no idea what the fungi are that grow on the tree, but they’re pretty interesting.

Bangkok, Thailand

Shrimp Chips and Green curry chips in the same bag

Shrimp Chips and Green curry chips in the same bag


We don’t know what this is but the chips were really good!

Hot chili squid chips

Susan loves to hunt for different flavors of potato chips when she visits different countries. (This all started in Bhutan.)  These are ones we found in various grocery stores in Thailand.

Then there are the signs on public transport. Obviously, spending too much time looking at cell phones is a problem all over the world. These signs are posted on the SkyTrain metro system in Bangkok. And, yes,  cell phones are everywhere!

The Scotland trains aren’t the only ones who think we should talk to each other!

Don't look at your phone all the time

And look up!  Mark reached the point he doesn’t move for someone walking and looking down. He just lets them run into him.

We’ve been traveling for almost 5 months and haven’t had Mexican food the whole time.  Mark found this place, Sunrise Tacos,  that gets good reviews and it’s right near our hotel.  Why not?  The food turned out to be pretty good Mexican.  They even had spicy sauce for Mark’s burrito.  You say … but Thais know how to do spicy! That’s true but we’ve discovered they are somewhat reluctant to serve it to westerners. We don’t know if they think that all Europeans and Brits and US people don’t like spicy, but Mark has to convince most people that he actually likes HOT food!  Even Susan can eat medium spicy in restaurants for tourists.

Susan with a margarita

This was our first Mexican food in 5 months. We ate at Sunrise Mexican in Terminal 21 in Bangkok. The margs were pretty good and the glasses even better!

Mark enjoyed the margarita, too. We sat by a couple we think were from Russia and they liked the food, too.

We couldn’t take the lovely wine glasses out of the Executive Club Room so they gave us to-go cups for our wine to take to our room.  Too funny!

to go cups of wine

To go cups for wine to our room in Bangkok. The wine was almost done, anyway.

Thai Air first class!

We both have a bunch of United points saved up and we’ve been using them for many of the flights on this RTW trip on Star Alliance members. We decided a long time ago to do one splurge flight with points.  Thai Airways first class from Europe to Bangkok was the route we chose for our splurge. After our month in the UK, we headed off to Asia and routed ourselves from London to Munich (overnight) and then onto Bangkok.  We flew Lufthansa Business class from Heathrow to Munich. This flight is nothing special since Lufthansa doesn’t even have Business class seats on these short flights.  They simply block out the middle seat and call that Business Class.

The flight wasn’t crowded, though, and the flight attendant was really nice. She wanted to know all about our year of travel.  We landed on time in Munich and then waited for 40 minutes for luggage since the airport, in their infinite wisdom, posted one carousel for the luggage and then delivered it on another one!  Susan finally went to ask Customer Service. Her reply “The luggage is in on Carousel 8”.  We were all standing at 14!

After a night at the Novotel by the Munich airport, the next day was the fun flight on Thai Airways on an older 747 so no pods but super service.  Only 6 people were flying 1st class and it seemed as if we each had own flight attendant.

Dom Perignon champagne was offered as soon as we got on the plane and we readily accepted!

Thai dom champagne

Yes, this is what we drank!

Thai champagne bottle

No one else was drinking champagne. The flight attendant just put the bottle in the ice bucket and left it between our seats for us to help ourselves.

Everyone gets a pair of Thai Airways pajamas to wear during the flight and they are yours to keep.  I changed into the top while I tried to sleep just because the top was so comfie.  Not much sleep, though, because the flight leaves at 1 PM – not an ideal time for sleep.  No pics of the pj’s.

Dinner starts with caviar, followed by whatever your special request was.  We made the reservation so long ago – February, 2017 – and couldn’t remember what we’d ordered.  Somehow the Thai reservation system let Mark order TWO entrees – steak and lobster – and the check-in people were quite confused.  They had a special note for Mark to talk to the flight manager to clarify the mix-up.

Thai lobster

Lobster for dinner with more champagne

Thai caviar app

Caviar was the first course in dinner.

We landed on time in Bangkok to a downpour. The plane was rocked by wind as we landed and we could hear thunder and see lightning while we taxied to the gate.  At the gate, the crew was sort of prepared for the rain, grabbing towels and blankets before they opened the door.  They, obviously, knew that the jetway door does not match up exactly with the 747 door and, sure enough, the rain was pouring in the space between the plane and the jetrway.  They tried to use umbrellas to shield the passengers as we left the plane to not much avail!. My shirt sleeve got soaked!

Thai Airways has little electric carts meet these flights to transport the first class passengers to immigration.  Sure enough,  we saw the signs with our names on them.  They took us to immigration and then had additional guys on the other side of immigration to go with us to get our luggage and transport it for us to whatever transport we used from the airport.  Due to the rain, lightning, and thunder, the luggage was delayed but the helper guys hung out with us until it showed up.  We took the Rail Link into the city and told the helper we didn’t need him when our suitcases finally came off!

Thai delayed luggage rain

The downpour and lightning caused a ground delay and we had to wait a bit for our luggage to show up.

Summary … the use of points was totally worth it to use an Asian airlines and fly first class!  I’d never pay for the flight but use points?  Sure!  The U.S. airlines could take a few lessons in Customer Service.

Always take beer along on kayaking trips

We learned a valuable lesson from a couple we met at the hotel yesterday while having drinks.  The couple is from Illinois – one U. of Illinois grad and one U. of Michigan grad.  You can’t avoid the Big 10 people no matter where you are in the world.

They went sea kayaking and took along a bag with wallet, money, credit card, passport and 4 beers in cans.  As they kayaked, they drank the beers and returned the empty cans to the bag to be safely and responsibly disposed of at the hotel.  As they got back to the beach with the kayak, they realized the bag had fallen out of the kayak so off they went to retrace their rowing steps.

Right as they got up to a dock up the beach, what did they see?  Amazingly, his bag was floating happily in the water.  They give all the credit to the empty beer cans for keeping the bag afloat!  The contents were a bit wet, but everything was still in the bag.

See, beer and kayaks go well together!

koh samui beach Sheraton

One of the beaches on Koh Samui. This one had rough waves over the weekend.