As much as I’m loving Hong Kong, I needed a break from all of the hustle and bustle … which brought me to Bangkok. One of the perks of study abroad is that you can travel to some really cool places during your downtime—some of my friends have traveled to as many as 15 countries during their time abroad! I definitely won’t hit that number, but that’s okay. Quality over quantity, right? And speaking of quality, Thailand was incredible. Here’s a glimpse of what each day was like:
Day 1: Temples and the world’s best Pad Thai
Our first stop was the Grand Palace. It’s been home to the monarchs of Thailand since it was built in 1782 (although the current King doesn’t live there), and each building is stunning.
Next, we headed to the Reclining Buddha temple, which is named after exactly what it’s known for: a giant reclining statue of Buddha. There were also a bunch of courtyards filled with pagodas, or traditional South Asian towers. It was peaceful walking around and exploring, but after an entire day out in the sun, we were getting pretty hungry.
We decided to try our luck at a restaurant called Thip Samai, which is known to serve the world’s best pad thai. The line was out the door when we got there, but it moved surprisingly fast, and we were seated within 10 minutes. We ordered the most popular dish—a pad thai with prawns, that comes wrapped in a thin layer of egg. I’ve had some pretty good pad thai in my lifetime, but this was definitely the best—and I don’t say this lightly. I’d make another trip to Bangkok just to eat it again.
Day 2: Floating Markets
Bangkok is a food lover’s paradise. Every weekend, tourists and locals flock to the floating markets to do some shopping, but more importantly, to eat. Bangkok is known as the “Venice of the East” because there are multiple canals that run through the city, and vendors sell things like fresh produce directly from their boats. We went to one called Khlong Lat Mayom, and it was probably my favorite part of the trip.
After eating as much as we possibly could, we decided to take a boat tour through the canals. Our guide navigated through the narrow passages and all the commotion from the market slowly faded away until we found ourselves in the middle of a giant lotus pond. We were surrounded by blooming flowers, and it was so quiet and peaceful.
At night, we went to get traditional Thai foot massages. It was an interesting experience, to say the least. I’m super ticklish so I spent most of the time trying not to squirm around, but I did feel quite relaxed after the massage was over.
Day 3: Beach Day
We wanted to take it easy on our last day, so we headed to the beach. There are a bunch of small islands around Bangkok, but it’s a bit of a trek to get to them. We took a 5-hour bus ride and 45-minute ferry ride to get to an island called Koh Samet, and it did not disappoint. I read a book and relaxed on the beach, while sipping on some coconut water and snacking on sticky rice with mango.
I came back from Bangkok so much more relaxed (and probably a couple pounds heavier). It was a much needed change of pace, and I’m so grateful I could experience it with the new friends I’ve made. Thailand is definitely my favorite place I’ve visited so far, but I’m going to China and Japan over spring break, so I’ll report back soon!