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Thailand Adventures in 7 Days

Nida Spalding loves to read, travel, and spend time with family and friends. She believes that curiosity and persistence are key to happiness and success.

"Chai meter khrap," I told the taxi driver at the Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok, asking him to use the meter. Smiling, he points to the meter, nodding his head, to tell me it's on.

Thailand is called, "The Land of Smiles." This taxi driver personified that description. He was all smiles. Though he hardly spoke English, he tried to communicate with us. He listened to the upbeat music on the radio and reacted with good humor to motorcycle drivers who cut him off. This was truly my best experience with taxis.

My first utterance in Thai language was a mistake. Since I am a woman, I should have said, "Chai meter kha."

My brother did better. "Kup kon khrap," he thanked our taxi driver. At our hotel, Qui Sukhumvit, we learned the Thai greeting, "Sawadee kha" if you're a woman or Sawadee khrap if you're a man, means hello. This greeting is often said with palms momentarily pressed together in prayer position and a slight bow. Saying these phrases generated smiles and great service.

Hotel choices can make or break a vacation. Qiu Hotel Sukhumvit turned out to be a great choice. It is located on a quiet street, though a two-minute walk took us to a vibrant street, and On Nut station of the Bangkok Transportation System (BTS). The BTS Skytrain connects major tourist attractions in Bangkok. It is on an elevated platform, allowing passengers to see the city from above. We rode the Skytrain every day in Bangkok, always getting a one-day pass.







To see the sights, we took the hop-on/hop-off Chao Phraya Tourist Boat. These water taxis are a relaxing way to see Bangkok's temples, flower market, and museums. On one of the stops, we had luscious coconut ice cream.

I was determined to experience a floating market on my trip to Thailand. To get to Amphawa floating market was a challenge. A taxi was expensive. We figured out a cheaper, albeit adventurous way—take the Skytrain to Bang Wa station, a short taxi ride to the Southern Bus terminal, and then a 90-minute ride on a minivan.

Our overnight trip to Phuket from Bangkok was an experience. Our Air Asia flight took an hour and 15 minutes. Upon arrival at Phuket International Airport, an Air Asia employee approached us, telling us one of our bags was still in Bangkok. My brother's girlfriend had a battery pack inside her carry on. She agreed to have them destroy the lock, remove the offending item and get the suitcase on their next flight. Air Asia had a taxi deliver the suitcase to our hotel. The cost was 800 baht (about $27) for the taxi.

Phuket was a worthy side trip. Two Chefs Inn, where we stayed had a restaurant with wonderful staff, a varied menu, and live music at night. Kata Beach with its gorgeous sunset and wonderful restaurants was walking distance. I had the best soft-shell crab dish.




















A visit to Bangkok must include the magnificent Grand Palace. We allotted a half-day for this and saw the important spots including the Emerald Buddha and the royal residence. We could have spent more time here but my brother wanted to take his girlfriend to see ICONSIAM, Bangkok's newest luxury mall on the banks of Chao Phraya River. The first floor resembles a floating market with offerings of fresh fruits, desserts and seafood. I had coconut ice cream.

The best parts of my visit to Thailand? The amazing food, the Skytrain, the Chao Praya Tourist boat tour, coconut ice cream, and the smiling taxi driver.

~ Nida Spalding



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