a peek inside the fishbowl

29 Jul, 2019

Paris to Bangkok

Posted by andrea tomkins in: travel talk

What else can I say about an 11+ hour flight other than it was uncomfortable and I hardly slept? On the bright side, I watched Colette, which I quite enjoyed. (You can watch the trailer on YouTube right here.) The Bangkok airport took me by surprise. I’m not sure what I expected, but it wasn’t what I expected. When we deplaned and had to walk 1.2 km – mostly via moving sidewalks – to our connecting flight to Phuket. There’s a lot of concrete. Rows of floral displays. Religious motifs and tributes to the king and Thai monarchy.

Bangkok airport

The area around our gate seemed, what can I say, lower budget with a mild military flavour. We were fingerprinted, posed for a photo, and caught our connecting flight. Amazingly, the food here was the best airline food we’d had thus far.

Thank goodness our Airbnb hosts gave us an option to hire a driver to pick us up at the airport. I took them up on it but then debated the wisdom of my decision after finding out that mini-buses cost a quarter of what I had paid. (Which was $1000 Thai baht, the equivalent of about $42 dollars.) As we searched for our driver through bleary eyes, collapsing with fatigue, heat, and likely dehydration, I realized my money was well spent. We found our guy, climbed in to his SUV, and savoured the air-conditioned bliss. I tried to take in the scenery. The youngest was so tired her eyes were rolling back in her head and was barely coherent.

The driver was very nice, and a skilled one at that, which was comforting because the traffic was wild. Most drivers there are on mopeds and small motorcycles, oh and surprise, people drive on the left!

The drive to our place took about an hour. I dreaded it at first – the thought of sitting in a car for an extra hour was pushing me a little too close to the edge of my sanity – but it was 1000x better than taking a bus, given our state.

He dropped us off.

I had, of course, done a walk-through of the neighbourhood around our Airbnb before we booked it but I was wholly unprepared for how busy it was here. The main road was a near-constant stream of cars and motorbikes. The get from our Airbnb, which was actually in a hotel complex, we had to walk down a steep hill and pass through a block of multi-unit residential buildings. The units on the ground floor had big windows in lieu of a front-facing exterior wall and were very exposed. Sometimes men gathered outside, sometimes kids played. There was always a stray cat or dog.

Everyday stray

The road leading from our AirBnb

The walk to our AirBnb

Bayshore Ocean View in Phuket

It was only our first day and I’d already been outside my comfort zone a hundred times. Adding to this, it was so hot I felt like an old wrung-out face cloth in a George Foreman grill. What would the rest of our stay be like? I could only wonder. Would you think less of me if I confess that I was worried and afraid?

5 Responses to "Paris to Bangkok"

1 | Misty

July 29th, 2019 at 3:03 pm


On my Thailand trip half of our group had nervous breakdowns dealing with all the changes and culture shock! I don’t know why I adjusted so well, but Thailand and I seemed to go together like peas and carrots. Tokyo, on the other hand…I had my own nervous breakdown there ;)

2 | andrea tomkins

July 29th, 2019 at 7:08 pm


The funny thing is that many travellers might not know if they’re the nervous breakdown type until they get there! :D

3 | Jinjer

July 29th, 2019 at 11:04 pm


I would probably be crying by now.

4 | andrea tomkins

August 3rd, 2019 at 7:58 am


I can totally understand why this would result in tears for some people. It’s quite the shock to the system!

5 | a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive Finding heaven at the 7-11 - a peek inside the fishbowl

August 4th, 2019 at 9:45 am


[…] my previous update, I was trying to put on a brave face and hold it […]

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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