When we knew we had the opportunity to meet up in Thailand with the people from our favorite Thai restaurant in Edmonton, Thai Orchid, we knew it was going to be special.
With so many factors coming together to make an experience like this even possible, it was truly a once in a lifetime kind of day that we will never forget.
How did this day come to transpire? Let’s start at the beginning.
Early in our dating relationship, Thai Orchid became our favorite restaurant. Nestled beneath the Econolodge on Gateway Blvd, Thai Orchid charmed us and kept us coming back for their sweet coconut rice, incredible Pad Thai, and their unique version of cashew chicken. We fell in love with the authentic feel and humble, diligent hospitality, and it was at Thai Orchid that our dream of visiting Thailand began.
Last July when we were back in Edmonton for a visit, we mentioned to Wanna, a lovely Thai Orchid employee, that we hoped to visit Thailand sometime in the coming year.
In January, we were in touch with Wanna again by phone, to ask where we might be able to find a dish similar to their cashew chicken dish in Thailand.
In March, we received an email from Wanna’s sister, Sawanee, letting us know that she and her family were planning on traveling to Thailand (from Edmonton) around the same time as us. As itineraries were shared, we realized that our time would overlap in Bangkok, and Sawanee kindly offered to meet up with up with us. It turned out that Wanna was able to make the trip to Thailand as well, and we were absolutely amazed at the idea of hanging out with our favorite Thai Edmontonians in Bangkok.
Early in the morning of our first day in Thailand, we received a phone call from Aswan, welcoming us to Thailand. Sawanee, along with her husband John and daughter Alyssa, and Wanna met us at our hotel, and together, we rode the bus further into Bangkok’s China Town district to explore some temples.
First stop: A visit to the Golden Buddha, the world’s largest solid gold statue. Located in the temple of Wat Traimit, the Golden Buddha stands 3.3m tall, weighs 5.5 tonnes, and is estimated to be worth 250 million dollars.
We strolled through some markets in China Town, where we saw all sorts of interesting animal parts- dried, in brines, deep fried, and other forms. I tried not to pay too much attention to the contents of the buckets and baskets beside me, but focused my attention on trying to get some shots of the others.
Sawanee helped us navigate the streets of Bangkok, and we experienced our first tuktuk ride.
For lunch, Wanna treated us to an epic Thai feast at the Royal Thai Navy Restaurant.
The food was amazing- steamed fish, a delicious lemongrass curry, fresh coconut smoothies, and pad thai (almost as good as Thai Orchid’s) were a few of the Thai delicacies enjoyed amidst great company.
A visit to the Grand Palace in the afternoon proved to be very enchanting.
The elegant, refined, detailed nature of the Thai culture was very much present in the design of the temples.
We marvelled at the intricacy of the architecture, and all the fine details which gave the temples such grand allure.
We popped in to say hello to the giant reclining Budda before taking a boat ride down the Chao Phraya River to a new development in Bangkok: Asiatique.
Asiatique is a vibrant, modern shopping district on Bangkok’s riverfront.
After an invigorating fish pedicure with Alyssa (the fish eat the dead skin off your feet), and a bit of boutique shopping, we finished off the night by watching the sun go down over the water.
It was an epic day, for so many reasons. We experienced the ancient, the modern, the chaotic, and the refined of Bangkok, in a stretch of 10 hours. It was so much more than we could have ever experienced on our own- and all the richer because of the people we shared it with. The chances of a day like this happening were so slim, but we are so amazed and grateful that it did.
A massive thank you to Sawanee, Wanna, Alyssa, and John for showing us a first day in Thailand more incredible than we could have imagined. You are amazing and generous people, and we look forward to connecting with you again once we are back in Edmonton.