Bangkok and Pattaya Thailand
November 10th - 17th, 2010

Like so many other spur of the moment adventures, I joined up with my good friend Dan Lee who was already in Bangkok, Thailand with his girlfriend.  Johnna had started a new job in the summer and we had already taken a week vacation in August where she was not eligible for any more vacation time, where I still had two weeks to use, so with her permission, I went.

Dan has been to Thailand six times before and was well acquainted with the transportation system which made getting around easy.  Also, Dan had rented an apartment for a month near Victory Monument across from the King Power Hotel which was also very conveniently located near the city rail system and airport train system.  Getting around in Thailand is very easy as most signs are also in English and most of the country speaks English.

The American dollar was converting 1 to 38 Thailand dollars (BOT).  This made everything very inexpensive.

November 10-11, Wednesday and Thursday

I flew out of Houston on the 10th at 10:45am and after 20 hours of flying plus layover and time zones, I reached Bangkok at 10pm on Thursday.  The flight was Houston to Tokyo, Japan and then to Bangkok.

November 12, Friday, Bangkok

To start the day, we went to the hospital chain called Health Land where Dan was getting very intensive muscle therapy, supervised by Doctors.  I got a two hour massage that was very close to being torture but supposedly therapeutic.  In the afternoon, we toured around town seeing things and in the evening, Dan talked me into a facial Dermatology Laser treatment at the world famous Yanhee Hospital which caters to thousands of Europeans as well as others.  Dan's girlfriend had done the same treatment the week before.  The Laser treatment burns off freckles, moles and age spots where I got 39 lazer-ed off leaving my face for a few days looking like I was shot by a shotgun.  In the USA, each Laser shot is between $150 to $200 along with other costs that can push the total cost to around $5,850 +, but I only paid $180. 

1 Apartment lodging in Bangkok
2 The rail station near the apartment
3 Front of "Health Land" early in the morning.  By mid day it becomes very packed with locals and vacationers.
4 Arial view of downtown Bangkok from one of the building
5 Miscellaneous photo of a downtown walk way near the main part of downtown.
6 Underneath the railway station where #5 photo was taken which is the start of a common market where we shopped.
7 Photo of one underground rail stations.

November 13, Saturday

Continued touring about Bangkok and also went to see Grand Palace and Temple of Emerald Buddha.

8 This Buddha shrine is in front of our apartment and is similar to what is at nearly every building.
9 Approaching the Democracy Monument.  Traffic was too heavy to stop.  Notice Buddha in car front?
10 Inside the Palace #1
11 Buddha Monks
12 Murals surrounding many of the walls on the grounds.
13 People about to worship at the palace temple
14 The main temple entrance. 
15 Off limits photo of the Royal Families quarters.
16 More of the interior.  Can you find Keith? 

November 14, Sunday, Pattaya

We took a mini-bus ride down to Pattaya, which is a beautiful coastal city with several islands that are reachable by boat / ferry.  The Islands have very nice beaches with local restaurants and refreshments.  When down at Pattaya, we initially were going to stay two days and one night but ended up staying three days and two nights, jumping between two very nice five star hotels.  While we were also down in Pattaya, we rented motor scooters for the entire time where we ended up riding for hours and hours each day traversing the city seeing as much as we could but not exhausting things to see.

An interesting observation was the very large Russian presence in the city.  Most signs were in of course Thai and English but also in Russian.  The hotels, beaches and tourist attractions were inundated with Russian families.  In case you are wondering, we did not run across a single American.  A final observation was the advertising for ways to meet and marry a Thai which apparently a lot of British men have and are doing. 

17 Our minibus transportation vehicle fueling up on Natural Gas.  Almost all vehicles run on Natural Gas.  The red/black cable is pumping in the Natural Gas.  Since this is so unknown here, I got a photo.
18 View from the hotel room at the Pullman Hotel showing the ocean
19 View of the pools and beach from the hotel room
19.5 Panoramic View from the hotel room  (large file)
20 View down the beach in front of the hotel's private beach
21 Keith on his motor scooter
22 This shot is late in the day when water got choppy from boats passing.  Also this 20 miles from the Pullman Hotel.  The peninsula in the far background is the same you see in #20.
23 Photo of Dan at the same location showing the ocean in the other direction.
24 Night time on one of the main streets where there is shopping and restaurants.  The American 7-11 stores are everywhere in Thailand... practically on every corner.
25 Photo of Russian Karaoke Bar.  Having visited Moscow, I got a kick out of this.
26 Back at the Pullman Hotel.  View of the beautiful back courtyard and pool.

November 15, Monday

We took a trip down to an Elephant preserve for a two hour ride with lunch which also included an Ox Cart ride.  During the excursion, we also got to see a silk processing harvest and catfish farm.  Later in the day we checked into the Zign Hotel which had a very beautiful tropical feel, a stream running through the entire complex and awesome pool which I swam early on Tuesday morning.

27 Keith feeding one of the elephants who just had given birth
28 Keith and Dan riding one of the elephants on the trek.  Dan on the phone taking care of some quick business.
29 After the elephant ride, they conveniently had a monkey "Lucy" with baby to see.  In the background there is a boat that is pulled by rope over a long lake that is a catfish farm which several kids fed with food pellets as we were pulled across. 
30 Eating at a nice restaurant back in Pattaya
31 Zign Hotel rooms.   Very Asian.
32 Swimming club area at the Zign Hotel.
33 The water stream and plants next to all of the rooms on this part of the Hotel where my room was.

November 16, Tuesday

We took a hour ferry ride to Koh Kut Island which had several very beautiful beaches.  When we got there on the far side of the Island the beaches seats were nearly all taken by Russians.  We found very nice seats underneath low hanging trees which covered all the beaches that we could see.  The day was awesome but unfortunately at the end we got a fluke rainstorm for this time of year that got us all wet.

34 The Pattaya Boat Dock.
35 Keith on the back of the Ferry at the boat docks in Pattaya.  Russians are behind me and Chinese to the right.
36 Coming up to the second Island of Koh Hut
37 Approaching the back side of the 2nd Island where we had to take a pontoon type boat to get to the beach
38 A view from our chairs underneath the trees.  It looks concealed but it was actually very open and nice because it blocked the direct hot sun.
39 View of the crystal clear blue water.  We swam for several hours.
40 This is a photo of a Russian who sat next to who was taking a photo of the approaching rain storm that eventually got us all wet on the pontoon trip on the last way out at 6pm to the ferry.  Notice even the swimmers are looking towards the rain cloud.

November 17, Wednesday - The long, long trip back.

On the last day, I got up at 5am back in Bangkok.  Late on Tuesday evening we took a two hour cab ride back to Bangkok.  I travelled back to Houston on my own where I unfortunately had two stops making for a very long trip arriving in Houston on Thursday at 7:45pm.