We’re still on the island of Koh Tao in Thailand, and we’re almost all caught up on past travel. In this post, Mila continues, back in time just a little bit, to the short stay we had in Bangkok just before we came to Koh Tao. With this post, she will have caught us up! Three cheers for Mila!
Our overnight train from Vientiane, Laos brought us back into Bangkok safely. We arrived early in the morning and took a taxi to the Silom neighborhood, to Silom City Hotel, where we had stayed in October. The best aspects of the hotel are its cleanliness, kind staff, quiet rooms and perfect location. There is a great street market with fresh fruit and plenty of cooked breakfast and lunch options just one “soi” (small side street) away. Jette also gets special attention from the owner whenever we happen to see her. It’s become a nice “home base” for travel in Asia as there are plentiful options for travel in/out of Bangkok.
We had not pre-booked a room at Silom City, and discovered, sadly, that they were fully booked. They accommodated us for the evening and then, we moved to another hotel in the Bangrak neighborhood. Initially let down, we brightened when we concluded it would be really nice to stay in a new part of town, as comfortable as we had become in the Silom neighborhood.
The new hotel was also on a soi, rather than a busy main street. There was a big shopping mall at the end of the soi as well as many new food vendors, whose delicious cooking smells would tempt us as we walked about each day. Our very favorite vendor became the taro coconut pancake lady. The pancakes are a tantalizing slightly purplish color, warm, slightly chewy and totally, completely, deliciously addictive. We also had a chance to have a meal at a Bangkok institution, a 70+ year old restaurant simply named Muslim Restaurant. Jette was happy with a plain “roti” (doughy, slightly crispy Indian flatbread); I tried a “mataba” (chicken stuffed roti) and Waco sampled a “biryani” (seasoned rice dish). We also discovered that charcoal food is trending as a “detox”. You read that right, charcoal. Charcoal infused foods of all kinds were prominent in one supermarket boutique and we gave in to our curiosity with a croissant that was jet black. It was interesting. There was a very slight nuanced flavor and a slight gritty texture difference. We’re definitely not jumping on the charcoal bandwagon, but it was fun to discover and sample something new.
Our hotel also turned out to have a very popular and tasty restaurant on the ground floor. We enjoyed dinner there one night while people-watching and planning our next destination. Towards the end of dinner, as we waited for our server to bring our bill, I did a double-take. When I was sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me, I pointed, awe-struck, “There’s a turkey right there!”. Jette and Waco turned around to see a very large, live turkey standing in the middle of the road. It seemed quite comfortable to be where it was, on a small side street, late at night, in the middle of Bangkok. We paid for our dinner and walked slowly over to it. We took pictures and giggled at the surreality of the moment. Later that night, we could hear turkey “gobbles” as we turned out the lights and went to bed!
Our new location, near a shopping mall turned out to be perfect. I was able to replace a worn pair of sandals and Waco replaced a broken watch. Jette discovered an arcade and tested her basketball skills.
We all treated ourselves to foot massages one afternoon. There happened to be a very pampered little dog that had a bed behind the reception desk. We were all surprised when we realized it was hiding there.
If you know Jette, you know what an extreme connection she has with animals. Back home, she volunteers each weekend at Operation Kindness, and really misses her contact with the dogs she walks and bathes each week. During our travels, she has given love and affection to any animal that she comes into contact with. When we were in Singapore, we happened to walk past a “cat-cafe”. Cat cafes are cafes that also happen to have a group of cats that can be pet and cuddled. Jette had requested to visit one, but logistics prevented it in Singapore. Waco and I decided to surprise Jette with a visit to a place we found that would exceed all of Jette’s cat cafe dreams. We found True Love Cafe, a similar concept, but with Huskies, Australian Shepherds and one adorable dog named Momo, a Shih Tzu/Chinese Pit mix. We took a taxi to Phaya Thai, an upscale neighborhood about half an hour north from where we were staying.
Upon arrival to True Love Cafe, which we had kept secret from Jette, she quickly recognized the sign as one she had seen while researching cat cafes online. She was, in a word, ecstatic. The cafe is only open to the public during certain hours and a reservation is required. We checked in and were issued drink and cake tickets, which were included in the price of entry. The cafe is run like a very well-oiled machine and we were given a short time to order and consume our snacks. Shortly thereafter, the owner gave safety instructions in both Thai and English. The health and welfare of the twenty-nine dogs was explained as everyone was asked to wash hands and take off our shoes so that we were not exposing the dogs to any unwanted micro or macro-organisms. We were given sanitary, single use, blue plastic booties to wear while with the dogs. It was explained that the dogs were given outdoor play time five to six times a day, and that otherwise, they were in cool, air-conditioned indoor spaces. Our time with the dogs was during one of their play times. They received big metal bowls full of ice. They barked, jumped and played with each other for a while, and then some of the older, calmer dogs started to lay down to rest. We were instructed that the dogs that were resting could be approached. Jette found several dogs to pet and pet and pet. She found time, unsurprisingly, to do some gymnastics in the large outdoor space. Our time with the dogs passed quickly and soon, their dinner bell would ring. Visitors walked over to the entry of the building where the dogs would run for dinner and pushed “record” for videos. A rush of fluffy boisterous, excited dogs ran as a happy pack and each jumped obediently right into his/her own kennel. These dogs knew exactly what to do. We were so impressed with the owners and trainers for this beautiful group of dogs and were happy to experience and support True Love Cafe.
We took the Sky Train back to our hotel, sampling these Kanom Bueang on the way. They look like tiny tacos, but are actually like a mini crispy dessert crepe. They were too sweet for us, but yet another fun street food to sample.
We all decided that a beach destination would be next on our travels. The somewhat remote island of Koh Tao was chosen. After weighing our options, we booked a room with a sea view and were beach-bound!