After a wonderful whirlwind trip back to the States we boarded a late night flight at LAX on Cathay Pacific back to Bangkok via Hong Kong. Our flight left LAX at 1030pm on December 28th and we landed in Bangkok on the morning of December 30th. We completely lost December 29th last year.
We journeyed back to Bangkok to celebrate New Years with some friends and await the arrival of Chris and Jen, my brother and sister-in-law who would arrive on Jan 2nd.
What was unbelievable about spending New Years in Bangkok was having friends from the US in town to ring in 2015 together. We had persuaded Alex and Raychel to join us while they were visiting us in Budapest. In the meantime, Alex had invited her boyfriend Clint. And then we had a last minute addition to our clique as Andrew had decided to flee the US to kick-start his year in Bangkok as well. So we were set with a full crew.
Clint, Alex and Raychel were all landing on the same day as us in Bangkok, within a couple hours of each other, on three separate planes. So right as we stepped out of customs and immigration we were greeted by Alex and Raychel at the welcoming station. It’s a thrill to land at an international airport and be greeted by familiar faces. Shortly thereafter Clint walked through the arrival doors and we met him for the first time. Not your typical place to meet for the first time when everyone in the equation lives in Los Angeles. Certainly exciting. Alex and Clint collapsed into embrace.
We had a day before New Years Eve so Peter and I enjoyed taking our friends around Bangkok showing them a favorite city of ours. The first night we took them for an authentic Thai meal at a local joint called Sabai Jai Gai Yang on Ekkamai Road. Afterwords we worked out the travel kinks with cheap $5 massages.
The next day we we introduced them to the various forms of transportation one can take in Bangkok: tuk tuks, water taxis, regular taxis and the BTS (elevated transit system) while exploring different neighborhoods. We even had lunch at a mall’s food court, as one does when they are in Thailand. Bangkok has a huge mall culture. The free air-conditioning is a seductive retreat from the heat of the city and cuts down on the electricity bill in a place where air-conditioning is so expensive. But as any one who has traveled to Bangkok realizes, malls aren’t filled with just clothes shopping. It’s a lifestyle. The malls are filled with unending places to eat of all gourmet levels, the best movie theaters, bowling alleys, IMAX, live music, aquariums, hair salons, karaoke, bars, socializing and more. One even has a water-park attached to it. Peter’s the last thing from a mall-lover but actually enjoys them here in Bangkok.
The night was December 31 so we kick started things off at a hipster artsy bar by the name WTF. About 5 years ago, Peter ran into Ryan Gosling and Eve Mendes at this bar and has carried a fondness ever since. Its hidden down a small, non-discreet alley and boasts an art gallery on the second floor. Andrew and his friend Tukta joined us, completing our wolf pack.
After our pre-dinner cocktails we headed to dinner at Soul Food Mahanakorn, a top dining restaurant in the city, where we indulged in their expansive tasting menu for the night. We enjoyed good food, champagne toasts, lots of laughs, and great people.
Just before the countdown we bolted outside to the sidewalk where there was plenty of room to bring it in for group hugs and toasts to 2015.
After ringing in the New Year, those of us not clobbered by jet-lag headed to Funky Villa, a club in the neighborhood. We secured a table and a bottle on the outdoor patio allowing us to experience the club-atmosphere without being amidst the sardine packed bowels club. Bangkok has a huge club scene. Even if you aren’t a club goer, which we are not, its a fun scene to experience as its playful, silly and good natured.
After a packed and fantastically fun filled full day we all retreated home ready to take in 2015.
The next morning, New Years Day, came quick. Peter and I hosted everyone for a brunch in our serviced apartment at the Pan Pacific. What better way to keep the good times rolling than a boozy brunch? Very convenient for Raychel and Andrew who were staying in the same complex. At some point the brunch transformed into an epic game of never-ending charades. In a blink the day turned to night and we ordered pizza for dinner and tossed on a movie. Good sign of a great time when you invite people over for brunch and they stay till evening falls.
The next day was our last before the arrival of Chris and Jen. With our friends still in town we did some more Bangkok exploring, including a trip to Lumpini Park. The park is bustling with activities and people. Free aerobics classes are offered shortly before sunset with hundreds of people participating. The girls and I dutifully jumped right in. What a quick mood booster. How can you not instantly be put in an elated mood while doing this with your friends?
That night yet another delicious Thai dinner at Bai Meang Indy, a restaurant on Soi Suan Plu, the street Peter lived on when he first moved to Bangkok. This restaurant used to be nicknamed, “Viet” and Peter and Andrew claimed to have lunched at this restaurant over 500 times as it was close to their office. Peter’s mind was wandering down memory lane the whole time. After dinner we strolled around the streets of Suan Plu, Sala Daeng and then Silom taking in the sights, sounds and appreciating the buzz of Bangkok. I was loving all the Christmas decor that was still adorning the streets.
One more sleep till my brother and sister in law arrived in Bangkok. Peter and I were grateful that we rang in the New Year with great friends and now we had family coming to visit. How lucky were we?
I am not a superstitious person at all, except for one thing…how I spend New Years.
When planning New Years I want it to be as enjoyable, easy, and fun as possible. I feel that however you spend that day and particularly how you spend and feel ringing in the new year is foretelling of how the year ahead will be. The year that Peter and I got engaged we spent New Years together just the two of us eating pizza, watching movies, and were very happy. This past year we spent it with friends and lots of laughter. I didn’t know it at the time, but 2015 so far has turned out to be the year of friends with a surprising amount of people who have joined us on our adventure. Something I am so appreciative of and grateful for.
I hope 2015 is the best yet for all!