Breia and Ryan decided to share their vacation with us and do a bit of travel in Asia with us. We spent a few days before they arrived in Bangkok getting our visas to Myanmar sorted out, doing a bit of city exploring for ourselves and enjoying being back in the city (I even got a haircut) with the vast amount of food and shopping available in Bangkok. When Breia and Ryan arrived, we booked rooms just around the corner from one of the more notorious areas(Nana Plaza) for Bangkok’s seedy nightlife. Breia and Ryan landed about 2am, and found us waiting at a makeshift bar on the street in front of the hotel at about 3am with some of the entertainers from the nearby bars playing Connect Four over beers. After a round of drinks and a few minutes for Breia and Ryan to drop bags in their room, we ran back down and caught a cab to Talad Pak Klong (Market at the Mouth of the Canal) which is a huge 24/7 flower market that is busiest in the overnight to very early morning hours. We spent until after dawn watching people unload flowers and produce, prepare floral displays, give alms to the monks coming through the market and sleep wherever they could. We caught a cab back to the hotel for naps before do a bit more exploring of the city that afternoon and evening.
After our quick BKK visit, we were off to the islands to get in a bit of tropical beaches before exploring Myanmar. Koh Samet is one of the closest places to Bangkok to get a really nice beach vacation. We stayed at the lovely Lima Bella resort(thanks Breia and Ryan!). We had a great time in the pool while we caught a bit of rain the first evening, then got caught in the rain dashing back from a super nice bar/restaurant on the quiet North Shore of the island. On the way we popped into a tiny shop with no visible name, but a small grill and big mortar and pestle and Isaan dishes written in thai on boards leaning out front. We had Som Tam, Nam Tok, Moo Det Diaw and khao niew. Everything we had was excellent. We were so excited that not only did we come back, but we asked the nice lady who ran the joint if we could come back and watch while they prepared food. She agreed and our impromptu cooking class was on for the next day(great idea Breia!).
The next day we rented motorbikes and did a bit of exploring around the island. The island was great. We puttered around from beach to beach exploring the island on little motorbikes. I showed off my magical ability to change color from pasty to lobster red. We dipped our toes in the water and lounged on white sand beaches. We drank from fresh coconuts, ate pomelo and enjoyed drinks with umbrellas on white-sand beaches. In general we had a great beach vacation, and followed it up with more Isaan food and cooking lessons. Later, Breia and Liz enjoyed massages while Ryan and I enjoyed beers on the beach while watching the sunset. We hung out for a while on the beach polishing off our Beer Changs from 7-11, listening to atrocious karaoke and watching the stars in the sky and squid boats’ lights on the water, hard to get a better island night than that. The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel (humming at full-capacity for the weekend) before catching the boat back to the mainland to make it back in time for some Chatuchak Market shopping before the weekend market closed.
We wrapped up the night in Bangkok with a bit of shopping and beers at the newest Talad Rot Fai (Train Market), near the hotel. The descriptions of it as a hipster market are pretty spot-on. Lots of fun, bars playing music, drink specials, lots of types of food available including grilled cheese sandwiches and shave-ice. In addition to antiques, collectibles and general market wares. We had a bunch of fun and were treated to a stunningly good bit of a magic show by Ryan’s friend Jeff who just moved to Bangkok. We got back to the hotel late and tried to sleep quickly before our early flight to Yangon.
Every now and then I leave my camera tucked away for a few days in a row. This was one of those gaps.