Tea growing near Pu Mat National Park at Con Cuong, Vietnam.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Con Cuong (Pu Mat National Park), Vietnam.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Ninh Binh, Vietnam.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

First day in Bangkok

We figured we'd take it easy on our first day, but of course in true Kevin and Ruth style, we still walked our feet off! 

First on the agenda was to find a local SIM card for the phone. There are three major cellular networks in Thailand, but the AIS network is supposed to be the best. I did some research, and they have a corporate outlet in the big Fashion Island Shopping Mall which isn't far from our apartment. 

I didn't know it when I booked the apartment, but there is a brand new public transit monorail line here and it just opened in late November after many years of construction. And there is a station a ten minute walk from the apartment. So that's really convenient for us. 

Even better, it's totally free until the official grand opening December 18th. So we walked over to the station to go a couple of stops to the mall.

View from our top (8th) floor apartment.

Looking down on our swimming pool.

Walking to the monorail station.

View of downtown Bangkok from the monorail station.

Here comes our train!

Everything is totally automatic, and there is no driver. Trains arrive every ten minutes. It's all very efficient.

Arriving at the big Fashion Island Mall.

There are a lot of these little temples placed in random areas.

The mall is absolutely huge. Four floors of consumerism! It took us a while to find the AIS cellular store. It was pretty busy, so we figured we were going to have to wait a while. The guy at the entrance asks you what you need, and hands you a number. We went and sat down, and were surprised to see that our number was next up! 

When we were called, the girl serving us didn't speak English, but she deferred to a guy beside her who did. He was really good. The first thing they did was to take my phone and insert a live SIM card into it to confirm it will work on the network. This totally makes sense, and yet it's the first time anybody has done this, and we go through a new SIM card nearly every time we enter a new country.

Then they got a new SIM card ready, and we picked a 10GB package for 200 baht, with 50 baht for the SIM card itself. Total of 250 baht ($7.15 USD, $9.65 CAD). They installed the new SIM card, and confirmed everything was working properly before handing the phone back to me. Again, very efficient. We might have been in there 15 minutes!

Then later, I got a message on the phone saying I was eligible for a 10GB bonus. We probably don't need it, but I clicked the button, and sure enough got 10GB more data valid for a full month, and on the new 5G network.

Inside the mall. Yes, Dairy Queen as well!

A variety of personal sized birthday cakes.

Back outside, we got on the monorail again and went four more stops to the Minburi Market. 

So much Thai street food. Half of it, we don't even know what it is!



This place looked interesting for lunch, but it was too busy.

We chose this place.

Lunch is served!

Rice with chicken and shredded ginger.

Ruth had some kind of bamboo and beef on rice.

With two glasses of ice water, the total came to 70 baht ($2 USD, $2.70 CAD). Yes, that was the cost of lunch... for the two of us!

From there, we walked back to the monorail and took it two stops back towards where we came from. Got off there and had a two km walk ahead of us to the Kwan Roam Floating Market where there are also a collection of temples by the canal.

We passed this other canal along the way.

Colorful tour buses.

View of the busy street as we crossed the pedestrian bridge.

Entrance to the temple area.

We are not sure why these two bulls are here!

Fancy temple.


Cemetery.




One of the reasons we came to this area was a nearby gluten free shop that I had found on Google Maps. It was only a km or so further, so we carried on there only to find that it was closed up, and looked like it had been for a while. I noticed the last review was dated nine months ago.

Closed up! I guess there's not much of a market for gluten free in Thailand.

Children feeding fish by the canal.



Winnie the Pooh bus!

That's pretty colorful!

We walked the 2 kms back to the monorail and headed back to the apartment for a rest. Later in the evening we went out to find some dinner. We ended up at a noodle house where we had some kind of Tom Yum soup. 

Dinner!

We thought we had ordered two different meals, but when they arrived they were virtually identical except that Ruth's came with a separate bowl of liquid. Again, we're not in a tourist area, and there is no English spoken at any of the little shops we've been to except for the cell store earlier. So it's always a bit of an adventure when ordering food because we're not sure what we're getting. Ruth thought the noodles didn't look like rice noodles, so we asked the girl using google translate, but she insisted that they were in fact rice noodles.

Back at the apartment, we did a video call with our son Alex, then watched the most recent episode of Amazing Race. Then it was off to bed! Pretty tired again, after having done 22,000 steps!

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And in Canada...

5 comments:

  1. Such an adventure you are having. It's brave to order food when you don't know the language, but you seem to be doing pretty well! You two could definitely qualify to be on the Amazing Race. With all your travel experience, you'd be naturals. Have you ever considered applying? I love that show and all the wonderful places viewers get to see bits of. Slovenia this season was especially wonderful. I can't remember if you've been there, but I am guessing yes?

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  2. I figured you had been to Slovenia, and I know I read all your posts, but it is hard to remember all the countries you've been to, especially ones that were never on my radar before. That is cool that you camped at the ski jumping place!

    I still think you should consider applying for TAR while you are still fit enough to do it. I didn't know it was expensive to apply, but the rewards might just be worth it. If you were selected, as long as you were in the race, your travel would be paid for by the network, so that would be a savings in the end, I would think. Maybe not if you were the first to get eliminated, though! :-)

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    1. Where the ski jump was, is the area that we would have loved spend more time in, the mountains there were gorgeous. We also went for a nice bike ride along the biking path that went up to the ski jump area and into the town not too far away, Here is the blog post of the day we arrived and I believe the next post is the day we arrived at Lake Bled. www.travelwithkevinandruth.com/2021/10/starting-our-15th-year-with-slovenia.html

      It is only expensive to apply because I believe that if you get picked for an interview it is up to you to get yourself to the interview and depending on where we might be in the world that could get expensive plus you have no guarantee that you will go on to the next level of interviews, so just going to the first one could end up being for nothing if you aren't selected to go to the next round of interviews, plus the time that it takes. Just had a look because I wasn't sure, we can't apply anyhow, you have to be an US Citizen and hold an US passport and US driver's license, so that settles that! Having said that we could apply for Amazing Race Canada but it really isn't the same!

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    2. I went back and checked out your Slovenia post, and I had actually commented on it! Once I saw it again, I remembered, since I always enjoy when you post about bike rides. ;-)

      Ah well, I didn't know TAR had that US restriction - too bad. I am glad you looked into it anyway!

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    3. No worries, we have a lot of posts and been to a lot of places now, sometimes it is even hard to remember some of the places ourselves, Slovenia was one that we remember really well thought because we enjoyed it so much.

      I guess they have that restriction because it is just easier for getting in and out of countries when they all have the same passport, I know with Survivor that they now allow Canadians to apply.

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