Monday, January 14: This morning we fly from Phuket to Bangkok. We part ways with the lovely Club Andaman Beach Resort.
Once we arrive in Bangkok, we spend most of our time sitting in traffic trying to get to our hotel.
Bangkok is a modern city with horrible pollution – the air is actually a gray color. Many of us get flu-like symptoms upon our arrival, and it becomes clear why people are walking around wearing surgical masks. Traffic congestion is a huge problem. Every time we travel by bus in the city, it takes us at least an hour to get to our destination. Taxi cabs, mostly Toyotas and Mitsubishis in bright colors of royal blue, red, yellow, hot pink, and purple, abound, but it’s faster and more convenient to travel by the sky train.
Finally we make it to our hotel, where we’re given some free time to settle in and relax.
Later in the evening we go to a touristy venue to eat a traditional Thai meal and watch traditional dancers.
Then we all take turns riding elephants around the square. It’s not really my idea of an authentic elephant ride, as I imagine riding elephants through lush jungles.
I really dislike this kind of venue that is set up expressly for tourists. I find out on this trip that I really dislike group tours of any kind. I think if I’m going to travel, I need to do it alone, or with only one or two close friends.