Bangkok – Days 264-269

You cannot spend more than a month in Thailand and not visit Bangkok. Can you? We decided you couldn’t, so we booked our last five nights in Asia at the Sheraton, Royal Orchid on the Chao Phraya River. Knowing how hot Bangkok could be, we opted for a well-air-conditioned hotel, some creature comforts, and a pool.

The hotel was right across the river from a Mega Mall with a nightly water fountain show (IconSiam) and a free boat shuttle to get there. Given Bangkok’s climate and oppressive heat, shopping malls are quite the scene with upscale restaurants and tons of action. We spent a lot of time at the megamall doing everything from eating Michelin-star roasted duck to entertaining the kids with a claw machine at the arcade (at only 20 cents per try, we actually won a stuffed animal). You could find every level of dining at the mall, which was great as the kids ate Japanese takeout while Mike and I savoured our last days of spicy Thai cuisine.

Most visitors to Bangkok can list all the impressive temples and palaces they visited with all their Buddha statues. Both Mike and I have been to Bangkok before and have seen the major tourist sites. We’ve also been to many temples over the last three months with the kids, so we discovered different things in the city this time.

On day 3, We decided it was time to split the kids up for a day. Isabella and Julie spend 24 hours a day together every day. They get along incredibly well and only fight about inconsequential stuff, like who gets to sleep with this stuffed animal tonight. But sometimes, we like splitting them apart and giving them one-on-one parent time. It is incredible how much Julie (the shy quieter one) opens up when you have her alone. Isabella just inundates us with questions about everything you can think of, from the tooth fairy to swear words. Anyhow, we split up in Bangkok on a stiflingly hot day and did not tell the other pair where we were going. Isabella and I took a taxi to a giant mall and went 10-pin bowling and shopping. Surprisingly Mike had a very similar idea and took Julie to a different mall with a trampoline park. Both kids finished off their days with special meals: steak for Izzie and Margherita pizza for Julie.

The next thing we did in Bangkok was go to the dentist. We are vigilant about going every six months at home and thought it would be cheaper to get this done in Bangkok than in Europe. We found a dentist who picked us up from our hotel and would take all four of us at the same time (many dentists would not take the kids). Mike was not impressed with the 60-minute car transfer (which turned into 90 minutes back during the evening rush hour) but the dentist’s office was something to behold. Apparently, he is known as the “rock star” dentist (you would not know this from the website) and his waiting room looks kind of like a Las Vegas wedding chapel. I was concerned when I saw how many people were ahead of us but we were quickly whisked into the celebrity dentist’s office and he examined each of us himself before letting us go for a cleaning. Julie was told that she is the best brusher in the family, a fact that she now reminds us of frequently. Mike and I experienced Air polishing, which we’d never had at home and we all left the office happy to have a fresh smile.

Another great part of Bangkok was getting to see my friend Chanisa again. Flashback to 15 years ago, my master’s degree program was a tiny class with only 25 close-knit students. Many of us now live in other parts of the world, and catching up is always fun. Chanisa planned an excellent day where we took a boat to a floating market with her family. We got to try some Thai foods that we would have never tried and the kids got to play with another kid which was great. A highlight was spotting water monitors in the river while we meandered through the canals. It is always nice to meet friends along our journey.

After the high of the liveaboard boat, Bangkok turned into a pleasant five days to relax, regroup and prepare for the next leg of the trip. We finally said goodbye to South East Asia and boarded a plane to Abu Dhabi.

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