Celebrating a birthday in a different country is already an incredible thing, but everything about this birthday celebration made me want to adopt her birthday as my own. My own 30th was a couple years back, my (now) husband put together a great time on a party bus around the bay, and I loved it. Most of us want to celebrate certain birthday milestones in a big way. 30 is a good time to do it big.
After another riverside outdoor breakfast of fresh fruits, soup, rice and curry, noodles, and more, we met up with Mr. K (our cab-driving friend from yesterday) to spend the birthday on a never-ending adventure. Mr. K ready, with a noticeably fresh and clean cab to take us all over. Without further ado, we jumped into the new floor mats and took off for an hour trip outside of Bangkok.
Photo of the warning stickers inside Mr. K’s cab. Aside from the obvious ones (like no weapons), there was a no cursing, no having sex, and no durian. Can you guess which one was which? Hint, the buffalo does not mean no buffaloes.
I don’t even wanna guess what “pussy needle” or “pussy magic razor blade” is.
Our first stop? Damnoen Saduak floating markets!
Leaving early in the morning, we were able to cut though what would normally be traffic. We kept entertained on the trip by talking to Mr. K, checking out the various farms on the roads out to the markets, and reading the interesting taxi-lit (which basically is laminated pages hung inside a cab to show various tourist items, like a map or attractions or various “pussy shows” that you can check out around Bangkok). The floating markets are exactly what it sounds like, someone takes you on a small private boat on a river that has markets both in other boats on the water’s edge, and along the banks of the waterway. You can jump into shops, or just sit in your boat and negotiate prices without having to move. We were able to hop on and off at a riverside temple, to visit with a python and a loris, and check out a coconut farm, which we did, but didn’t stay long because of the heat. Most of the time we spent drinking beers and eating coconut pancakes and fresh fruits on the river. It was about 3 or 4 hours lazily going down the river with our driver, we didn’t know his name, but he reminded us of our friend Danny, so we referred to him as Danny #2. It was a great way to start off the birthday day. As a traveller, some things to note: 1. if you run out of bahts in the market, they all take IOU’s, you just pay the boat driver at the end and he passes it along. 2. Some things are not a deal, it’s one of the largest and busiest floating markets in the country, so some things are over priced. I wouldn’t recommend doing all your souvenir shopping there, but you can haggle with the shop owners so don’t be shy. 3. The coconut ice cream was probably one of the best purchases here. A couple scoops of ice cream in a coconut shell, with shavings of soft coconut meat, and topped with peanuts. I didn’t think I was going to like it as much as I did, I still dream about it. Mmmmmm….
The infamous coconut ice cream.
This loris was so sweet, all she wanted to do was hug.
Yep, that’s a big snake. I held him for a second and can check that off the list, but there were moments that I could feel his muscles moving around your neck and definitely got a little nervous.
Beers on a boat. Cold drinks were readily available on the floating market.
Some of the shops are along the water, some are only on other boats, and some are large enough to get out of the boat and walk around the inside of the shop.
Interesting finds at the floating market.
The first of three “coconut pancakes” that we had out in Thailand. I don’t know the Thai name for it, but this one was made in a pan similar to a Hong Kong Waffle. It was sweet and gooey, and it was made and sold from a boat.
The second of three “coconut pancakes”. This lady was so sweet, probably because she was getting (sugar) high on her own supply. These pancakes were more like desserts wafers, thin and crispy. Think similar to a Belgian Stroopwafel, a little crispier on the edges, but having a coconut flavor.
I loved finding a fresh fruit boat on the water because I got to introduce Rachelle to longan and mangosteen. Would have loved to find some lanzones but maybe they weren’t in season. I hear lanzones are the best from Thailand.
Our boat driver, “Danny #2” who had the need for speed at one point.
We headed back to the hotel in traffic with just enough time to get showered and ready for more activities.
In full-on Bangkok traffic, we zigged and zagged across the city for dinner theater at Nopparat. At this point, we were so hungry from the day and we were not disappointed. Small dishes of noodles, curries, and soups of surrounded our plate of jasmine rice. We ordered a couple mai thais at the bar, as you should if you were two gals celebrating a birthday. We realized that the ice in it was probably not good for consumption, so our solution (throughout the whole trip) was to drink the cocktail as fast as we could before the ice melted into our drink. Haha, dangerous, I know. Our table was only for 2 and we had a stage-level first row. It was a great view of the traditional Thai band and dancers who performed various cultural performances. I’m really glad we got to see this, I was reminded how much my daughter loves the Michael Jackson video “Black or White” and I was excited to show her the photos of the performance. There’s something about seeing cultural dance is so interesting, from the way people see their stories and showcasing whats important to them. We did have a plate of deserts brought over for both of us, but no candle and cake. My birthday travel partner, Rachelle, didn’t fret… she grabbed our romantic table candle, and I sang her “happy birthday”, and she made her wish.
Cutting across town to make it to our dinner show. A beautiful view of Bangkok from over the river.
The last time we curled our hair on the trip required a mirror selfie. This was our one night we planned to look nice and go out, but hair and makeup will eventually melt away in Thailand heat, even at night.
The birthday wish.
I’m not really good at the food pic thing, but the spread was awesome.
Mr. K hooked it up so that we would have our own private table just for the two of us.
We also had great seats to the show.
The show and dinner were great, how do you follow that? LADYBOY show!
I am not sure if Mr. K thought we would love it or if he thought we would think it was funny, but he scored us front row tickets for the Bangkok Ladyboy Show at Mambo. We seriously were front row in seats 1 and 2. Apparently they were coveted seats, because we had to get the usher to come kick (unwavering) people out of them when we arrived. We were dancing and singing with all of them, and the “girls” were so fun. We were getting high fives and blown kisses from the stage. I’ve been to drag shows in Chicago and in San Francisco, but Bangkok really put it on a new level. The energy from the crowd and the energy in their performances was addicting. Costumes and make up were on point, and they looked amazing. The end was a bit of a bummer, because they all line up at the doors and try to take photos with the crown for 50 bahts each. Some of the girls were a little grabby, pulling my arms to try and get me closer. Some of the girls were so nice though, offering to take photos for free because they were just happy for a good show. Can’t hate the hustle, but not a fan of pushiness.
Stairs and high heels is not an easy thing to do.
Costumes were incredible.
The beautiful “ladies” of Mambo.
Two shows and a floating market, and the day isn’t over yet!
Mr. K took us to the Asiantique River Walk in Bangkok to stretch out a bit and find some street eats to munch on. Everything we ate was great, and we enjoyed having the company. He was interested in my camera, so I showed him how to shoot and he had a great time playing around with it. It was kinda cool seeing what he came back with, photos of Rachelle and I doing touristy things and checking out all the shops and food stands, but from his perspective. He took a couple of us checking out a silk flower shop, and suggested we just go check out the real thing at the flower night markets. Whaaaa?!! Heck yeah! We jumped at the opportunity, grabbed some coffee, and headed to the markets.
Quail eggs and some seafood pancake with a fish sauce dip. Yum!
Mr. K, Rachelle, and I sat at Asiantique for coffee and conversation until the mosquitos started feasting on us, then we walked around some more.
Flower and night market adventures.
We got dropped of in a busy area where Mr. K showed us where he would wait with the car, and we jumped out in excitement. I don’t think we really thought about finding our way back to Mr. K as we were so in love with all these tropical flowers around us. The smell of the jasmines and orchids filled the air and the place was bustling for being so late at night. We walked until we ended up at the neighboring night market, which was a great place to find fake sneakers for about $7. Of course we walked around there too, just taking in the sights of Bangkok at night. We must have been roaming for a bit because I looked over my shoulder and I can see Mr. K creeping behind us in the taxi.
Blocks and blocks of flowers line the streets. I imagined this area would smell better, but I think the fumes from the traffic covered anything.
Even with the fumes of the traffic, I was able to catch a whiff of this Jasmine vendor. She was stringing them together as I walked up and I got to watch her in her craft.
The flower hustle is start early and ends late.
The bootleg sneakers looked pretty legit.
We ended the day getting beers together by the hotel. It was so late when we got back to the hotel that we basically had some time to pack everything up and find a way out to the airport to get to Chiang Mai. I didn’t have high expectations for Bangkok, so it was a pleasant surprise to really get such amazing experiences around every corner. My friend, Rachelle, and I survived our first city together and it was a great sign of how we travelled well together. I really love that she is so excited for new adventures like me, and that she’s always game to dance in the front row at a ladyboy show or chug a beer while cruising down the river.