Most people have a list of places they want to travel to at some point in their life (Even my 3yr old). I on the other hand don’t really have a list. Truthfully, our family travel is based on where Aiden wants to go, cheap air fare, airline points, weather and many other factors.
Visiting Asia crossed my mind several times. I knew that if I did, Thailand would be the first country on my list. When I came across cheap tickets to Thailand, I didn’t have to think twice and immediately booked it. The cheapest ticket I’ve seen to Thailand so far is $350-$420 from LAX, so if you find a deal in that range, don’t hesitate to book it !!
There are lots of cities in Thailand to visit, and I narrowed down our choices to Bangkok and Phuket. After watching “The Bachelor”, even though I know it may have been highly exaggerated, I was curious about Bangkok. As for Phuket, I wanted to get to Phi Phi Island and I knew I could do a day tour from Phuket. I also checked to see how much a flight from Bangkok to Phuket would cost. I was happy when I found flights for as cheap as $36. I immediately purchased our tickets to fly into Bangkok from Los Angeles and fly out of Phuket to Los Angeles.
We flew to Bangkok from LAX and we had a very long layover in Beijing which I booked on purpose so we could do some sightseeing. (Click HERE to read about our Beijing trip). After a day and a half in Beijing, I was excited to leave. I was finally going to Thailand and I wondered if it would live up to my expectations. Before I tell you about our stay, I’m just going to let the cat out of the bag; Thailand lived up to my expectations and so much more.
We flew Air China from Los Angeles to Beijing and from Beijing to Bangkok. The food served on the airplane was bleh. It was about a 6hr flight, and as usual Aiden slept through the flight or maybe I did (the photo my husband snapped below says otherwise) .
We arrived in Bangkok at about 5pm. As soon as I turned my phone on, I received the dreaded message from Verizon “Welcome to Thailand $10 a day bla”. My Advice – buy a sim card at the airport. My husband got one for about 6000 Thai Baht which is equivalent to $10 and it worked perfectly well. It also had about 5gb of internet on it and when my internet didn’t work well I was able to tether from his phone. It’s much better than racking up a daily fee with your service provider (I’m nervous for the bill Verizon will send to us, lol).
The first thing I noticed in Bangkok is that lots of people at the airport spoke English. In Beijing, we did not meet anyone at the airport who spoke English, so asking for help was a lost cause (Remember to download a translator before taking a trip to Beijing or any other country for that matter. It helped us a ton). After my phone was on for a few minutes and it picked up my location, I got a pop up from Uber. Uber is sleek; the app knows when you are the airport and usually suggests that you get a ride. Well, perfect timing right. I prefer Lyft, but will use Uber too. I immediately requested for a ride on the Uber App and within about 5 minutes our Uber driver arrived to pick us up. He was such a nice gentleman and we chatted the entire 40 minute ride to our hotel. I was so happy with his service that I tipped him what our ride cost us in cash. First of all let me tell you this, Thailand is so cheap. Our 40 minute ride only costs us 425 Thai Baht which is the equivalent of $12.50.
We checked into our first hotel – Millennium Hilton Bangkok and we were upgraded to a spacious family room with a lovely view of the river. We booked this hotel on Hilton Points. One of the reasons why I love Thailand, super affordable, and points go a longggggg way.
The first thing I asked the lady at the reception was “Where can we eat authentic Thai food.” If you know me well, then you know my love for Thai food. She told us about a small restaurant a quick walk from the hotel so we rushed there. We were seated and it didn’t take long for us to order our food. The menu was familiar so I felt at home. The service was fast and the food was so good. It seemed like it had been ages since we had a good meal (between plane from and Chinese food) so we enjoyed every bit of our dinner.
(Phone memory erased so we lost quite a few photos, and especially of all the yummy food we ate)
After dinner, we rushed back to the hotel, took a long cold shower and fell asleep. We are so exhausted.
We were up bright and early this morning after a good night’s sleep. We went down stairs for breakfast and my oh my, there was so much to eat. American, Indian, Asian you name it – the buffet had a variety of foods. “Come hungry, leave happy” should be their slogan. We had breakfast and immediately set out to explore.
I don’t know how I missed saying this earlier, but Bangkok is HOT. Think about sweating in areas you didn’t even know existed. Picture sweat, and now picture it dripping, like rain, lol! Everywhere!! Sorry I know that’s TMI, but I wanted you to understand how hot and humid it was. I love hot weather, so I was okay. Hot but Okay
Our hotel was by the river, so we took the free hotel offered boat shuttle to another docking station, and then took the river shuttle from there and got off on the exit to the Grand Palace.
waiting at the docking station
hilton hotel shuttle
buying tickets for the river shuttle
love the view from the river shuttle
did I mention how packed it was
This was the first thing we saw when we got off the river shuttle. And of course Aiden asked to take a photo sitting on it.
we stopped to buy water on our way to the Grand Palace. Cold water is a MUST
Btw, we got to Thailand a month after the death of the Thai King Bhumibol. The Thai’s were still mourning his death so we noticed them dressed in black. On our way to the Grand Palace, we passed by a place that was set up in honor of him. There were several pictures and paintings of him on the wall and people playing music nearby.
we took several photos of the art which magically disappeared. Sorry I sorta stood in front of this one
Aiden was invited to join their band (did I mention how amazing and nice Thai people are)
After about a 10 minute walk, we got to the Grand Palace, and it was packed. Tighter than sardines in a can. (Advice – Get there EARLY!).
We decided we didn’t want to wait in the sweltering heat. We took a few photos outside and left.
Aiden had been asking nonstop about the Children’s Discovery Museum so we decided to head there. We walked out to the main road and flagged a Tuk-Tuk and told him where we wanted to go. We also asked how much it would cost before we got in. (Advice – make sure you negotiate prices before getting on. You don’t want to be surprised at the end of your ride). It was a fun ride. I’m not sure who enjoyed it more, Aiden or Myself.
The Children’s Museum was awesome. So much to do, indoors and outdoors. We visit Children’s Museum’s everywhere we go. Especially because Aiden is homeschooled, so it is important for him to be able to get his brain going with various activities that the museum has to offer.
After our trip to the museum, we flagged a Tuk-Tuk and asked him to take us to a place with really good Thai food. We ate dinner and took another Tuk-Tuk back to our hotel.
I booked an excursion for the floating market the day before at the front desk of our hotel. After breakfast, we met with our tour guide and driver in the lobby. Our guide was such a sweet lady; she carried Aiden every single stop we made, and our driver was such a gentleman; he opened the door for me each time we had to get in and out of the car.
Our first stop was “Chang Puak Camp”, super touristy. If I knew this before hand I would have totally avoided it. After Aiden took a photo with the small elephant, I turned around and noticed that people were getting elephant rides. This made me a little wary as I am totally against elephant riding. As soon as I noticed this, I told our tour guide I didn’t feel comfortable and I wanted us to leave. Please read this article “The Shocking Secrets Behind Thailand’s Elephant Tourism Industry” to understand why we completely opted out of it while on our vacation.
We went to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Prior to getting on the boat that was going to take us around, we noticed a few guys with snakes and I decided to shake off one of my fears by holding a snake and convincing Aiden to take a photo with me. Yikes, that was scary for both of us. The feel of the snake moving was just too much. My husband on the other hand wasn’t one bit scared.
We then got on a small speed boat and cruised around the market. It was such a great experience. We did some shopping (Advice – remember to bargain prices. But also remember to be reasonable. These people have families to feed).
After the floating market, we drove to see the Golden Buddha at Wait Traimit. Our guide explained the story behind the Golden Buddha which was very interesting. We got there, paid the entry fee, took our shoes off and walked in to see it. It was absolutely beautiful and sculpted completely from gold. We took photos, admired the temple and then left.
Prior to our tour guide picking us up in the morning we had checked out of our hotel. We had all our stuff in the car and so our driver dropped us at our new hotel – Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok (By the way this Hotel was also booked on Hilton Hotel points). Usually, If I can’t decide between 2 hotels, I usually book both. In this case, one of them was close to the river and temples, and the other was closer downtown and walking distance to several places. The check-in for Hilton Honor Diamond members was in the lounge. While getting checked in we were hungry and the lounge was perfect because they had food, snacks, wine etc.
they had an awesome rooftop pool. unfortunately we didn’t get to swim in it. our days were so jampacked
After check-in, we decided to walk around and found a seafood restaurant. We walked around with one of the attendants, picked out what we wanted to eat and they cooked it just the way we wanted. We picked a red snapper and asked for it to be grilled, crab and asked for crab fried rice as well as an assortment of sea food, shrimp, scallops etc for sea food soup. The service was top notch and the food was amazing.
On the walk back to the hotel, I noticed a massage parlor. I stopped for a foot massage while my husband and Aiden walked back to the hotel. I sat down put my legs up and dozed off. An hour later she woke me up and said “All done.” It was a great massage, plus it was super cheap.
We packed our things that night as we were heading to Singapore the following day.
We woke up, had breakfast and took Uber to the airport. Singapore, here we come!!
Technically, we spent 3 days in Bangkok and that was definitely NOT enough time. There is so much more to do in Bangkok for families, people looking to party, solo travelers, couples etc. I’m okay with the fact that we didn’t get to do it all, because that means I have another reason to visit Bangkok. Genuinely nice people, great city, amazing food, I mean – the list goes on.
Have you been to Bangkok with your family? What did you enjoy about it?