When we were choosing our honeymoon destination, our only criteria was that it had to be far away destination neither of us had ever been. When else can you take two full weeks off without getting the stink eye from your boss? We perused Pinterest and Barnes and Noble to get inspired. Should we sail around Croatia? Safari in South Africa? Flop around on beaches of Tahiti? After months of indecision, we finally decided on Thailand. A perfect blend of culture and beach-side relaxation. And boy was it perfect.
In all fairness, getting to Asia is a long and expensive journey. We flew out of Boston and connected in Dubai. With the layover, our travel time was 21 hours. Luckily for us, the supervisor at the Emirates check in was kind enough to offer us a honeymoon special on a business class upgrade. That made the first leg of our trip much more enjoyable. TIP: If you're travelling for a special occasion, be sure to let agents know. It never hurts to ask for an upgrade and people usually willing to do something nice for you to make your experience more memorable.
In Bangkok, we stayed at the W Hotel in the bustling Silom neighborhood – full of skyscrapers and luxury hotels. It was a 45-minute taxi ride from Suvarnabhumi Airport. TIP: Print out your hotel names in both English and Thai. Many Thai speak excellent English, but it never hurts to be prepared.
We spent our first day relaxing. After all, we just had a really big weekend so we needed to ease into the trip. The W has a pool overlooking the city on the 6th floor. It’s an urban oasis with W-class drinks and bites, with a modern flair. Bangkok in May is extremely hot and humid, so we could only spend a few hours sun bathing. After a luxuriously long nap, we ventured out to our first night market.
Asiatique is large open-air, modern market on the Chao Phraya River. After indulging in some Thai food at one of the stalls, we headed straight for the Ferris wheel to take in views of the city.
The second day was dedicated to exploring historic Bangkok. We took a cab to Wat Pho and walked to Grand Palace, the amulet market and even ferried over to Wat Arun from there. TIP: Pack flip flops, light pants and t-shirts for visiting temples. Ankles and shoulders must be covered, and shoes are not allowed in homes or sacred places.
After a full day of exploring, we headed to the Vertigo Bar at the Banyan Tree Hotel. It was supposed to rain, but it held off long enough for us to enjoy champagne, overlooking the city from the 61st floor roof deck. You can also enjoy a fine dinner here, but given the weather, we opted for a spot nearby where we could try Northern, Isan food called Somtum Der. Highly recommend the fried Isan sausage and pork neck (shellfish safe, but more on that later).
We spent our final day exploring the Jim Thompson House. Jim Thompson was an American who single-handedly helped revive the Thai silk trade by selling it to fashion houses in New York, London and Paris. He built a traditional Thai home in Bangkok, where he collected various art and heirlooms, still on display today. Visitors can tour his home, shop silk goodies (we got these adorable silk elephant napkins and pocket squares for Tim) and learn about his mysterious disappearance in Malaysia.
From there, we headed to Siam Square, full of modern malls and Thai stalls. We checked out MBK, where you could find all the knockoff electronics, souvenirs, designer purses and gold your heart desires. It wasn’t quite for us, so we stopped by Siam Paragon, which was much more our scene. SP is by and large the most magnificent shopping center we’ve ever seen. Each floor is themed – from famous American must-haves to high-end couture, this place has everything you could possibly want. For more than you pay in the US. TIP: Here, you can also find the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre as well as Madame Tussaud’s.
For dinner, we decided to dine like locals at Soi 38. Here, we enjoyed Pad Thai ($1.50), street meat ($.50 for 10) and our very favorite Mango Sticky Rice ($3). We ate at various tables lining the streets as cars, motorcycles and people buzzed by.
Overall, we loved Bangkok. It was our favorite stop during the trip. We felt like we got a good amount of site-seeing in three days, but there were many things we didn’t see. However, our travel style is more relaxed and we always like to leave some things unseen. For next time.