On Being Ripped Off

We were ripped off more in Bangkok, than anywhere else we travelled to. I left Jerusalem missing my students but ready to go back on vacation for another few weeks. This last leg I was travelling with my sister and my mom. Shout-out to MIT for covering my flight back to Southeast Asia.

Sunday, August 11

I landed super early in the morning and met up with my family at the airport. After dropping off our things at the hotel—finally a real blanket!—we headed out for lunch at Rung Reung Noodle Shop. They had 20000 reviews online, which were all well deserved. They only made pork noodle soup but it was delicious. Full, we headed back to the hotel to take a taxi to the port. We then took a boat ride to the Grand Palace area. The lady at the boat place originally tried to sell us tickets at $33 a person. After speaking to another seller, we were able to get tickets at $20 per.

The boat ride was marketed as an hour but lasted forty minutes. Once docked, we started walking to the Grand Palace but were stalled by a man who told us that the site was closed. We ignored him and it was not. There were about a million tourists inside however. This would provide great foreshadowing for our future travel in China.

Super hot and dead, we snapped a few photos and visited Wat Pho and the Emerald Temple as well before stopping to grab a coconut ice cream on our way to the ferry. This coconut ice cream would be the first of many. We then went across the river to visit Wat Arun before grabbing a quick dinner and heading back to our hotel to go to bed.

Monday, August 12

The next morning, we woke up early for breakfast at our hotel before heading out to see the floating market at 9 am. Food that wasn’t IASA food was amazing. I’d been subsisting on a combination of peaches, yogurt, cereal, and chocolate for the past few weeks. After a two hour long drive, we reached the docks, where again we were quoted a price three times our researched amount.

While we were able to get our salesman to lower the price to a reasonable amount, the poor Americans at the next table weren’t able to. We headed out on our boat to tour the floating market, which consisted of salespeople constantly trying to hawk their goods at us. While we ended up not buying anything but food, I had the best coconut ice cream and pork skewers I had ever had.

After another three hour ride back to the city, we headed straight to the Jim Thompson House Museum. Jim Thompson was an American fashion giant who fell in love with Thailand and mysteriously disappeared after a trek into the Malaysian jungle at age 61. Trekking in the Malaysian jungle doesn’t seem safe at any age. His family donated his modern Thai-style house to the government as a museum. The house was beautiful—filled with modern amenities and decorated with ancient relics. It could have been Pinterested right out of the 1950s.

After Jim Thompson, we were quite hungry as it had been some time since the pork skewers. We headed to Siam Paragon, a local mall, to have dinner in their food court. They have these street food vendors set up on the ground floor and everything we was extremely tasty and cheap. We polished off dinner with mango sticky rice at The Mango Garden. My mom got a free coconut water because it was Mother’s Day in Thailand.

After we headed back to the hotel, I went to the gym for the first time in months. Then I went straight to bed.

Tuesday, August 13

We woke up late and had breakfast at the hotel buffet right before the buffet closed. Then, we headed to Lumphini Park to walk around. Unfortunately, by this time it was already quite warm, so we just took some photos and took a Grab to Chinatown.

I had looked up some of the best street food stalls in Chinatown previously and so we just made our way through the markets, eating. Our first stop was Nai Ek Roll Noodle, where we split the famous noodle soup and pork on rice for less than $3 a person. I picked up a pomegranate juice along the way. We meant to eat at Jok Kitchen, which was recommended by the Michelin Guide, but it turned out it needed reservation. It was located in a secluded corner of the local market behind this wall. We picked up some shrimp dumplings and sat in a coffee shop to eat.

For the evening, I had booked a street food tour. Our guide Sascha was an expat from Germany who had been living in Thailand for the past eight years. We wandered the market in the Phra Khanong area. Everything was delicious. A lot of the food was Burmese and so I had never tried them before.

Stuffed, we headed back to the hotel to rest before grabbing a drink in a bar the red light district. Yes, we did bring my mom. We stayed for about an hour before heading to bed.

Wednesday, August 14

After another late breakfast, we took another cab to the Siam Paragon area, where we continued to eat until our afternoon flight to Chiang Mai. I had a Koi Tea, my favorite bubble tea which Wyin introduced me to in Japan, and a pork skewer before lunch. After lunch, we split a thai tea bing su which was as incredible as it sounds.

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