Sunday, February 10, 2013

Arrival in Bangkok

After we paid our, "exit fee" of about 1,500.00 pesos because we were in the Philippines for over a year, (I know right) we landed in Bangkok at the Suvarnabhumi Airport with no problems. The airport was very nice and getting through security, customs etc. was easy. We met up with our good friend Johanna right outside the baggage claim area where there are several places to eat, exchange money etc. We found that the exchange rate from peso to baht was 0.51 at the airport and from dollar to baht was 30.

From the airport we headed out to meet up with some other Peace Corps friends Justin and Marlo who live and work in Bangkok. We rode the airport train for 35B each into the city and then had to transfer to another equally nice train for 25B to get to our friends house. Once we got off the train and down to the street we were surprised to see a plethora of gem and Buddha relic hawkers. They were everywhere and busy with patrons looking at relics with those diamond magnifiers to see if they were legit. ...I'm guessing not...  We got a taxi which took us just the few final blocks to our friends house because we didn't want to get lost, it was pricey at 100B without the meter (we had already let a few cabs go because they refused to turn it on).

We got a nice lunch with out friends for the low price of 50B including Thai coffee which is ridiculously sweet and delicious. If you don't drink coffee now, start and get used so you can appreciate how amazing it is in Thailand. We had dinner one their roof with some well welcomed Leo beer instead of the red horse or san miguel we had been drinking for two years!

View from our friends rooftop patio in Bangkok
We planned to spend one night in Bangkok with our friends and then head up to Chiang Mai in order to catch the Lantern Festival or Loi Krathong. We had booked a room with MD House which another friend had recommended but we were able to find an even cheaper place, albeit a bit further from main festivities but still within the walls of the old city for 450B per night with a/c. MD House was about 1,000B a night with a/c. It was called the Mountain View Guesthouse and had a beautiful entrance and nice restaurant area. The three of us shared one room with two beds and was very small but we were always out and about anyways! 
The entrance to our first guest house in Chiang Mai

We took a very quick taxi to the bus station at Mo Chit to buy our tickets to Chiang Mai ahead of time. Mo Chit is the bus station to use when going north and tickets to Chiang Mai cost 657B per person which included drinks and snacks. The buses were very nice and room with chairs that vibrated. The bus was overnight to Chiang Mai so we got to sleep most of the way. We left at about 8 pm and arrived early the next morning at about 6am.
Buying tickets up to Chiang Mai
Double decker bus to Chiang Mai
Plenty of leg room!

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