5 June 2014
We set an early alarm to give us enough time to head out for one last breakfast at our favorite pho shop before we headed back to our hotel to catch a cab to the airport for our flight to Bangkok. After three weeks in Vietnam we officially have a love/hate relationship with the country. While there are many great sites, beautiful scenery, great food and some friendly people, we left with a feeling that this was one of our least favorite countries so far. While we did encounter a lot of friendly people the overwhelming impression is one in which you are treated simply as opportunity to make money (there is no walking down the street or through a market without being attacked by the ever popular ‘you buy something’ with crappy shirt shoved in your face) or be scammed. It’s a constant battle in every transaction to make sure you’re not being charged too much, receiving back the proper change and constantly being on guard to other scams. It’s unfortunate because it takes away from a country that on the whole has a lot of amazing aspects.
In searching for flights to our next destination, Hong Kong, it ended up being the same price to fly to Bangkok for a few days before flying onto Hong Kong so we decided to make a small detour back to what has been one of our favorite destinations of our trip so far. Needless to say we were excited to get back to Bangkok and bask in the warmth and friendliness of the Thai people.
After we arrived and dropped our stuff of at the hotel we set out to explore the city and of course get a massage to help our muscles recover from our trekking in Sapa as well as our not too pleasant blind massage. Walking thru Saraanrom Park to Wat Pho was a nice reminder of how lovely this city is, with people exercising in the park and a feeling that you didn’t have to constantly watch your back or have someone try to sell you something. After we found lunch, one of the spots we enjoyed was closed so we found something else close by, we made our way to Wat Pho for a nice relaxing massage. If I haven’t gotten the point across before, well then maybe when I say that the massage therapists at Wat Pho should officially be renamed to miracle workers, it will do the trick to describe why it is worth the time to come here. Plus there is a really rad reclining Buddha here that tourist flock to see.
Our “best of tour,” as we like to call it, would not be complete without daily stops for toast. After our much deserved toast at Mont, we began our walk back to our hotel. As we passed by an older gentleman he said a few things in Thai to us and bowed with a big smile. I could only assume that he was very thankful we were visiting his city. You can tell that tourists aren’t making their way to Bangkok right now as many of the street vendors around the tourist sites are gone, but in contrast there are plenty more in the schools and markets which worked out well for where we are staying. And on the topic of safety in this marvelous city, with the protestor camps cleared out of the government buildings, the razor wire gone, streets open and traffic flowing to us the city felt even safer than our prior visits.
And of course our evening wouldn’t be complete without visiting the local street food stall across the street for some pad kee mao, and then heading down the street for some coconut rice balls.
The chef’s (yeah, we like to think it’s that fancy of a dessert) at the coconut rice ball stand recognized us from our previous time in Bangkok a few weeks ago and we managed to communicate in broken English and hand gestures to each other that we were back for a few nights and would see them each night to get our daily intake. All in all I think we had a great welcome back day!
Today’s Travel: Hanoi to Bangkokvia VietJet VJ 8911
Accommodations: Feung Nakorn Balcony. Our second home; we really do love this place are very happy to be back. There really is something to be said for knowing your surroundings.