Our cruise ship stayed overnight in
Thailand. This was the only overnight stop in the entire cruise
itinerary. The ship docked at Laem Chabang, a port in close proximity to
Bangkok and Pattaya. We decided to visit Bangkok on the first day. This
time, we also teamed up with another cruise friend to save taxi cost.
It took about 2 hours to drive from Laem Chabang port to Bangkok. Our
first stop was finding something to eat. A friend of my cruise
ship friend recommended a local place for tom yum kung, an
authentic Thai soup. Unfortunately, the place closed one day a week and
that was the day it closed. Talk about a coincident! We all jokingly
said we should have bought a lottery ticket for that "luck". We went for
plan B. This time, we ate at a street vendor for 40 baht per order. It
was a casual Thai soup with various kind of meat and vegetables inside.
For 40 baht, it was a great deal.
We decided to see the Grand Palace. I was told if we visited this place,
we should have a pretty good idea of what the temples in Bangkok should
look like. It was a crowded place. Tourists pay 500 baht each for
entrance fee. Locals don't have to pay. We had to fight our way to go
around since this palace was really packed with tourists and locals. To
respect the local culture, we must have proper clothing to enter the
palace. If the clothing doesn't cover shoulder and knee, we need to
cover up or else, we will be denied the entry. After the Grand Palace,
we went to see the lying Buddha. On the way there, we passed by a local
market selling street food and tropical fruits. It's always fun to visit
local markets in Southeast Asia and this place is no exception. There
were some tropical fruits we saw before but almost forgot what it looked
like until we saw it again on that day!
We planned to stay overnight in
Bangkok to see the night market there. However, we forgot to bring a
copy of our passports. For security purpose, hotels can't accept
foreigners without a passport. For that reason, we took a taxi to get
back to Laem Chabang. Since it was still early, we asked our driver to
bring us to dinner. The driver was kind enough to bring us to a local
night market for food and fruits. Night market is one of popular tourist
attractions in Asia. We had fun walking around to explore local culture
and food. We had an authentic Thai casual dinner for a relatively cheap
price. We also had durian and longan for dessert. After dinner, I looked
for a restroom without knowing we have to pay for it. Fortunately, my
taxi driver gave me some changes in Thai baht. If not for his kindness,
I would have a long drive back to the cruise ship terminal.
We got back to the cruise ship on time for the night. Pattaya will be
our next visit.
Khai Minh, UCLA and Investools
Los Angeles, 29 Jun 2019