My mom arrived in Bangkok. Her flight was delayed. Even with a long wait at the wrong exit, we eventually found one another. It was late, but everyone arrived safely, which was the important part. I had already checked into the hotel after taking the 25-minute ride from the airport to the hotel downtown and back. UBER in Thailand is very inexpensive. I hadn’t really put the math to it until now, but I recognized quickly that most of their fare is likely made in tips rather than the fare to the driver. If you are taking an UBER in Thailand, that should be your default. Even for a small ride, tip 100 Baht or so, especially if they are assisting you with a bag or two. A 24 mile/39-minute ride from the Airport to the hotel cost 419.74 Baht, or $13.16. Now I’ve taken roughly the same trip from O’Hare to Skokie for about $50.00. This was a deal if I ever saw one.
UBER wasn’t available everywhere in Thailand, though. We had a tough time getting good UBER service in Chiang Mai and Phuket, and had a much easier time with Grabtaxi. While it is difficult to say why, I think that the adoption rate just isn’t as high outside of a large city.
The next day we had coffee and walked around some of the shops and markets across the river form the hotel at River City Bangkok. The fabrics and art were remarkable. While I am sure that one could barter the prices down in the shopping center, I found them to be very expensive compared to the other shops and markets. This was prime tourist location. We stopped at a pub and had lunch, which amounted to a meat and cheese tray, a couple of Hoegaarden—which just might be my favorite beer for this trip, since it is everywhere—and returned via UBER to the hotel to freshen up before the dinner cruise.
Loy Nava Dinner Cruise
We had a 6:00 p.m. reservation for a dinner cruise on the Chao Phraya river from the Millennium Hotel. The dinner cruise was easy enough to book. I located the website and filled out the form in English and sent a text message to the number provided. I was contacted via phone for confirmation. The Loy Nava Dinner Cruise is a river cruise on an antique rice barge. The cruise boasts Thai traditional music and classical dance. It was lovely and very well done. The performers danced and played the Khim, a stringed musical instrument similar to the hammered dulcimer. That seemed an appropriate way to spend our last night in Bangkok. The Khim was first introduced in Thailand from China via Cambodia and Laos. It was just a week ago that I was introduced to Thailand, from China, myself.
The meal was traditional Thai with a slight emphasis on seafood. We had a choice on the form to do a half/half seafood/Thai, or even vegetarian, should one need to do so. With the stay at the hotel, we were able to walk down to the pier from the hotel lobby, just about 50 meters. We waited the typical amount of time for the boat to show. I don’t know if Thai late is a thing, but it sure seems that way when roaming the river in Bangkok. Of course, the pace of the river is slow and methodical, so when on vacation, I paid it no mind. The boat made several stops to pick up passengers prior to picking us up. After a few moments, a host greeted us on the pier and ushered us to our seats. It was a mere moment or two before a Mai Tai arrived.
I don’t think that either one of us had ever had a Mai Tai.