Notes From: Thailand

Thailand is known as the land of smiles. It could also be known as the land of malls, traffic, food, and energy. I was happy to be back in this country and show the family around. 

A Place to Call Home

Our house was very comfortable and sat atop a very, very popular and busy market. It’s so important to have a comfortable, cooled place in a country like this one. As I’ve shared many times: for rewarding international experience you should travel like a native in food, culture, and experience, but you sleep like an American. Comfortable beds and pillows. Strong air conditioning. A bathroom that’s safe to use in the dark. 

We had all of that, and more. 

Jane loved watching the cats run around on the surrounding roofs. Around the table we enjoyed family dinners and heated games of Hearts. We celebrated Will’s birthday with pastries and we watched a 6AM Super Bowl. 

Shopping and Eating

There is seemingly a mall on every block of Bangkok and they are all packed full. Candace and the kids did a little shopping. Purchases included jewelry and counterfeit Stüssy shirts with questionable collabs. 

In addition to the fabulous street food everywhere, we spent plenty of baht on banana muffins at the plentiful 7 Eleven stores. (Cole and Will would eat 8 muffins a day, clearing out the shelves of every store we passed.

Bangkok Gridlock

You can’t mention the beauty of Bangkok without admitting the downer part: traffic. There are only a small number of trains for public transport. This means busses, cars, taxis, mopeds, and tuk-tuks cover the streets during the day. Like every square inch. Even in the aisle between shops you’ll have to watch out for mopeds zooming around you. 

Even while staying in the city, it often takes 30 minutes for a car to come get you and then another 30+ to get where you’re going. This is all bearable if you plan with plenty of travel time, staying in a house where you want to be most of the time, and having a comfortable and cool place to return home to each night. (See above.) Even with all that, Cole mentioned that the thing he missed most is driving in a quiet, comfortable car on a wide open road. 

If you go out early in the morning (Stucki time) or late in the evening (not Stucki time) it can be much more pleasant to walk the streets. Or to pack all six Stuckis in a tuk tuk for a cruise. 

Thailand Temples

There are many beautiful temples in Thailand. You can visit the Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace. We were also excited to see the recently opened Thailand Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

We stopped there on the way into town but also went back for church on Sunday. (It’s fun to take a tuk tuk to church.) On the same grounds as the temple there is a second building only separated by a small courtyard. It contains a chapel for some local wards, a distribution center, patron housing (for those who travel for temple worship) and also the mission office.  The whole structure has beautiful architecture and offers a calm place to worship and serve. 

I especially liked that I could look out the door of the chapel and see the temple-facing Christus statue right down the hallway. What a treat for those Thai saints. 

We enjoyed the Thai language sacrament meeting and members. I went in shaking hands like a cowboy and had to be reminded of the simple Thai Wai, a nod of the head and pressed hands instead. It’s such a humble and kind welcome.

Other Thailand Highlights

Water parks were a welcomed activity in the hot and humid day. We visited one in Bangkok and another in Pattaya. It’s especially nice to have no lines at all. Just march that tube up the stairs and down the slide you go. 

We enjoyed a dinner cruise down the river. The sunset made for some nice views. The breeze off of the water was welcomed. The food variety was matched only the variety of the Filipino cover band playing classic hits from Frank Sinatra, Lauryn Hill, and The Carpenters. On Top of The World indeed. 

Speaking of The World

As we finish our time in Thailand, we also complete the first half of our trip around the world. It’s been so nice to have short travel between countries. It’s not like journeys past where I show up and need a couple days just to catch my breath and align my internal clock. With this schedule the time zone adjustment is minimal. Candace remains the most perfect travel partner. The kids are still heavily invested and happy. And we’re below budget…hooray US Dollar 2024.

Notes From” is a series where I share observations from recent adventures. You can read more of these in the “Notes From” category.