Today’s forecast: 7°C, sunny 🌞 (yup, definitely back in Canada)
Final mosquito bite tally: 16?
After an exhausting 24 hours in transit, I’m now back home in chilly Canada. I had a pretty terrible flight experience on the way back – crowded plane, maximal recliner in front of me, loud snorer behind me, screeching toddler audible from the other end of the plane, and intense turbulence. I guess I used up all my blessings from the airline gods on the arrival flight! Before the jet lag and daytime grogginess sets in today, I’ll recap my final day in Thailand.
Living large by the riverside
On the last day of the Intrepid tour, we said goodbye to our travel buddies in Vientiane and took the one hour flight back to Bangkok. We had been staying in fairly basic accommodations throughout our Intrepid tour, so decided to splurge on a night at the Shangri-La. We had booked a river view room but were very pleasantly surprised to be upgraded to the executive suite.
This place was fancy. Beautiful views of the Chao Phraya River, the most comfortable bed ever, and even turndown service, which I’ve never experienced before. We also enjoyed some complimentary canapés and cocktails before heading out to dinner. Nice to feel like a baller, if only for one night!
A splashy stroll for Songkran
We happened to arrive in Bangkok right in the middle of Thai New Year, Songkran. Our Intrepid guide had recommended checking out the festivities on Khao San Road, but I did some preliminary research and discovered that there are also major celebrations that happen on Silom Road, which was within walking distance of the Shangri-La. In fact, the Silom Road celebrations are bigger and seem to be frequented by more locals, whereas Khao San Road is more for the foreign backpacker crowd.
We were sprinkled and splashed as we walked down Silom Road, but this turned out to only be a primer to the real festivities. We were still in pretty good, dry condition when we passed by the Hindu temple so were able to stop for a quick look.
As we approached Lumphini Park, we discovered the section of the road where they had blocked off a couple blocks for some intense water fights.
Those wanting some protection from the sprays were able to observe from the BTS tracks overhead, but Mr. Chuckles and I got right into the action and were soaked. It helped us keep cool in the extreme heat and was a lot of fun. I actually found it more refreshing than the hotel pool!
A theatrical dinner at Gaggan
As I mentioned previously, we had secured reservations to Gaggan for our final dinner. This place has been featured on two Netflix specials, Everybody Feed Phil and Chef’s Table. It is a Michelin starred top 50 restaurant and was voted number 1 in Asia for several years. The reservation process was kind of cumbersome, as you have to submit an email form a few months in advance (we booked about 2 months ahead) and they can take several weeks to get back to you for confirmation. Then, you have to submit your credit card information to secure the booking, and it takes another couple weeks for them to respond again. In fact, most of the negative reviews for Gaggan centre around their disorganized reservation system.
Once you manage to get into Gaggan however, the experience is phenomenal. We were seated at the communal chef’s table (The Lab) and had the most fun, theatrical dining experience of our lives. There was a narrative, lighting, and music with each course presentation.
The 25 course bite size tasting menu was presented as only a list of emojis and we received a copy of the final menu at the end of the meal.
Every single dish was unique and each tasted better than the last. Very photogenic too, of course. Gaggan is actually closing in 2020 when chef Gaggan Anand moves to Japan to open his next venture, so I’m really happy that we were able to get to Thailand right on time to experience this place.
A great end to an overall amazing trip. Khob Khun Ka, Thailand! Kob Chai La Lai, Laos!