Day 2: Bangkok, Thailand (Floating Markets and Chinatown)
I woke up around 02:30 in the morning and Miguel a short time after me. We both tried to continue sleeping, but it wasn’t with much luck (this probably due to the fact the we crashed before 8 pm, but still not so bad considering the horrible time difference). Finally, at 05:00, we decided to just head to the gym and get in a CF workout. It was nice as we obviously had the gym all to ourselves! Our box gave us a great list of travel WODs and after a good warmup and skills work, we got in a smoker WOD (and let me just say, practicing/trying to do pistols is so much harder than it seems…sneaky difficult movement).
Next was shower and breakfast! Our hotel included the breakfast which started at 06:00. Maybe everyone else there was suffering jet lag as well because it was packed with people by the time we arrived at around 06:45. I warned Miguel that we shouldn’t eat too much as we were due to go to the Floating Markets (which is basically all about sampling different food). I think he may have hated me that morning because there were lots of new, exotic treats to try. We opted for some dim sum and noodles with fish balls and chicken. It was delicious and just enough to satisfy our rumbling bellies for a little while (which is especially hard after a workout, because I am starving usually!).
We went to Khlong Lot Mayom floating market first. The taxi ride there was a little eventful. When you leave, the hotel puts you in a taxi, tells them where to take you and then gives you a taxi card with your destination, taxi information and the information of the hotel for when you want to return. The driver had the meter covered (not a good sign for you) and then asked us several times where we were going. He mentioned a few other markets and we told him, no..we only wanted this one (and not to stop anywhere! Apparently unwanted stops are common with Tuk Tuks but shouldn’t be with taxis). We were absolutely certain that he was going to cheat us when he asked for the fare. Well, he did, but only a little bit and the small amount just didn’t seem worth the argument.
When we arrived in Khlong Lot Mayom, we were again the only foreigners that we saw (yet again, cultural success!). We walked around, checking out all of the different types of food. It was really interesting seeing everything, although we could only guess at what some of the things were. While I wanted to be super adventurous, I still have a trauma in my mind from living in China and having chronic food poisoning and Miguel wasn’t so keen on guesswork (as a result, we were pretty conservative at these markets). Most of the market is actually not on the canal, but there are still plenty of boats preparing food. When we passed an area where what the people were eating looked good, we stopped. The woman let me try a sauce and a minute or two of pointing later, we ended up with a seriously delicious bowl of noodles. We joined the other locals on the low tables and gobbled it up (you are basically sitting on the floor…the stool is maybe 6 inches high). The noodles were a little spicy, so we got ice cream in a coconut half with coconut shavings, some type of fruit and sweet milk to cool off. Finally, we ended our culinary experience there with some grilled bananas in palm honey.
After exploring Khlong Lot Mayom, we headed off to Talad Nam Bang Nam Pheung. It was supposed to be more of a “touristy” market, but I thought it would be good to see both types. Truthfully, Talad Nam Bang Nam Pheung is more in the city (while Khlong Lot Mayom is way off the beaten path). It is a bigger market, but I wouldn’t say it’s touristy (we saw maybe 4 or 5 other foreigners while we were there). There were lots more options for food, but after a time, the food selection starts to repeat.
I had a nasty cut on my leg that I had been trying to keep clean, but wasn’t doing so hot (swelling, pain…lots of awesomeness). So, we headed back to the hotel to chill for about an hour and maybe ask after a pharmacy. We didn’t have much luck with the pharmacy, so we just went to Chinatown.
Chinatown was pretty incredible. If you want to try street food, this would be a great place to go! We decided to go for something in between and stopped in a little restaurant that had some roasted duck in the window. We ordered pork/shrimp dumplings, chicken with cashews and roasted duck with the clear noodles. It sounds like a lot of food, but truthfully wasn’t. Portions are more reasonable and splitting all of that was just enough. For dessert, we got black sesame balls in ginger honey (I first had these at a friends house when I lived in China…one of the most amazing things I have ever eaten and it tasted very much like it did back in Beijing) and some type of nut in a sweet milk. The best part about all of that deliciousness was that it was super cheap!
On a side note, don’t expect super quick or even good service when you go into restaurants (especially cheap, local ones). Generally, they will come take your order, but if you want anything after that (including the check), you will have to get their attention. It’s not about being rude, it’s just the way things are done (in China, people just yell out “waiter” in Chinese…so be thankful that in Thailand it is at least a bit more chill!).
Well, after all of that, we headed back to the hotel. We had about 1.5 hours to kill before our massage was scheduled. Before our trip, Miguel had convinced me that with my proneness to injury, travel insurance would be a great idea. So, I called them to see if I could get seen about the infection on my leg. It maybe would have been fine on its own, but we were headed to the beach in Ko Samui the next day and I didn’t want to be worrying about it. The first woman hung up on me, the second was horrible..it was a horrible experience that did end up working (four hours later I was informed a doctor would come to our hotel in the morning) but it was a fight. I’ll write a little more about that later.
The hotel across the street from us had a spa with a promotion (800 THB for a massage…more than a 50% discount). We know massages in Bangkok can be more pricey than in other areas and definitely more than Bali, but a massage seemed like a worthy reward for a whirlwind two days in Bangkok.
The whole experience at the spa was incredible. We arrived and they went over with us any areas of our bodies that might need to be avoided (like my leg that was about to fall off) and then brought us some tea. We had booked an aromatic Thai massage so they brought out four different oils for us to sample. we chose and then they brought us back to a couple’s treatment room. The massage was, amazing. It was different than the massage at Entre Cielos in Mendoza (the only other time I have had a massage). We both thoroughly enjoyed it and felt really relaxed afterwards (I would lie if I said I didn’t fall asleep for a few moments). Before we left, they brought out tea and cookies for us to enjoy. Everyone was incredibly nice and we left with a wonderful impression.
Getting back to the hotel, we were pretty beat. I had planned on us checking out a hot pot restaurant (I LOVE hot pot and have been in search for authentic Chinese hot pot restaurants since I left China), but we didn’t feel much like going back out. I pulled out the in-room dining menu and we ordered Pad Thai and a dish with minced meat and basil leaves with a bit of spice to it (Thai food will be ruined for us forever…truthfully, restaurants in the west don’t even come close). To cool our mouths after, we had mango with sticky rice and coconut milk. As with everything else we have had here…the presentation was well done, the portions an appropriate size to eat and try but not gorge yourself and the taste, of course, truly hard to describe . Miguel still insists that the meal we had in our room that nice was one of the best in our entire trip (unfortunately, I agree!).
Two days in Bangkok went by so quick! Still, it seemed like enough and Day 3 is Ko Samui!!!