When researching flights from Chiang Mai, Thailand to Siem Reap, Cambodia there were no direct flights and we had to fly through Bangkok. Because I don’t like taking more than one flight in a day, we decided to stay for 6 nights. It was a good excuse to spend a little time exploring the biggest city in Thailand, but that was not to be. First, Blair woke up on our travel day with food poisoning which made for an uncomfortable flight and took a couple of days to resolve. Then I had a follow up eye doctor appointment which we already had in our plans, but still took up an afternoon at the hospital. Then Blair had a broken wisdom tooth and we had to scramble and get him to a dentist. Bangkok is a well known hub for medical tourism, and he got an appointment less than 48 hours after we contacted the dental center.
How did this dental situation come up? The day before we left Chiang Mai, Blair broke off a piece of a wisdom tooth. It was one that had chipped years ago and it finally broke. He was not in any discomfort when it happened but shortly after we arrived in Bangkok, he began to feel some discomfort. Not wanting to wait until we were in Cambodia, he did a lot of research and settled on the Bangkok International Dental Center. The reviews were good and after he had made his appointment, I found some positive comments from fellow nomads who had been there, so we felt comfortable with the decision. The last time Blair had wisdom teeth pulled the dentist commented on how difficult they were to extract, so Blair warned the dentist this time and these ones were equally as challenging to get out, this probably contributed to the amount of pain Blair was in after having both teeth surgically removed. It must have been painful because Blair has a very high pain tolerance, and he said it hurt 😢 But, he felt it was a good decision to get the work done in Bangkok. His overall opinion of the facility, the dentist and the procedure was positive and he would recommend this clinic if anyone found themselves in need of dental services in Bangkok. The cost for the surgical removal of two wisdom teeth was 17,360 Baht (USD $491.78), which included prescription painkillers and antibiotics. Perhaps a bit higher than usual due to the difficulty of extraction and stitches required.
Because of our medical issues, we saw very little of Bangkok but the couple of places we did get to were interesting:
Across the river from our hotel is the upscale Iconsiam Mall and as we mentioned in an earlier post from Kuala Lumpur, malls are a popular place for locals to meet and hang out. The mall was a welcome respite from the heat and humidity of Bangkok. Leaving our hotel, we walked one block to the Chao Phraya river and came to the Sathorn ferry port where boats of every description are available. We wanted the 5-minute trip across the river to the mall and found a boat that does just that, back and forth all day long. The roundtrip cost for the ferry was 16 Baht each (USD .47 cents).
Iconsiam mall is a vast, luxury mall with hundreds of high-end shops, restaurants, an indoor floating market, Imax theatre, a gorgeous ceiling waterfall and much more. The 6th floor of this mini city is designed with the atmosphere of a Thai rice field with gardens, water features and 16 restaurants on this floor alone. We popped into Fallabella, a Thai/Italian restaurant for a fancy cocktail (for me, not Blair 😂) and to enjoy the views of the Chao Phraya River and Bangkok skyline. WOW, what a mall this is!!
We came back the next day for a look around the main level which is designed like a floating market with a wide variety of food vendors. Following a walk through the food stalls we headed back to Fallabella for a pre-dinner drink overlooking the river before going to Hong Bau, an upscale Chinese restaurant. Dinner was not cheap by Thai standards, but the food was exceptional.
Assuming Blair would be out of commission following his dental surgery in the afternoon, we headed to the Grand Palace at 8:30am and toured the grounds for a couple of hours. The palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam (Thailand) since 1782 up until 1925. These days the Grand Palace is used for royal ceremonies and state functions and attracts over 8 million visitors every year. The palace complex is roughly 218,400 square meters, surrounded by walls on all sides. There are numerous buildings, halls, pavilions and gardens so it takes a while to walk around and see the important bits. The most popular, and most beautiful, building is the one containing the famous Emerald Buddha, which is not actually made of emerald but carved from a block of jasper, a semi precious green stone similar to jade.
Following Blair’s surgery we spent our final two days in Bangkok at the hotel giving him plenty of time to rest and recover. It was a lazy couple of days watching the Australian Open tennis tournament before saying farewell to Thailand.
Our next destination, Siem Reap, Cambodia…..