September 13, 2018 – While traveling from Bali to Bangkok would take most of our day, at least it didn’t have to start insanely early. Our flight out of DPS wasn’t until 12:16 pm, so we didn’t have to leave for the airport until 9:30 am.
We were still up early since we were used to it, but we got to take our time packing and getting ready for the day.
After we were ready and packed, we walked out to the open-air dining area to enjoy breakfast. I was so excited to finally get to enjoy a leisurely breakfast at The Amala.
We ordered so much food. It was a little ridiculous, but the waiter kept questioning us just like our concierge did. “Are you sure that’s all you want? You can get more!” They truly spoiled us at The Amala.
I was able to get some additional pictures of the main parts of the resort too. It was so beautiful.
Once we were full and beyond happy, we reluctantly went back to our room to gather our things and make our way to the reception area to check out. With our stay, we got one free airport transfer, which worked perfectly since we only needed one.
Four concierge staff were waiting at reception to see us off. They gave us the sweetest gift and handwritten card signed by all of them. Then we all hugged and I almost cried. We had only been there for three days but they felt like family. I left a little piece of my heart at The Amala.
I couldn’t believe our time in Bali was over. We did so much in our five days there, but it definitely left me wanting more. We will go back one day. There are so many places around Bali that we didn’t get to see.
If we ever go back When we go back, Komodo Island will be a priority along with the Gili islands.
We arrived at the airport almost exactly two hours before our flight. After checking our bags, we went through customs and security which didn’t take as long as we thought it would.
There were two lounges at the Bali airport right next to each other. To find them, we had to go upstairs after we passed through duty-free. We went to the second lounge and it was ok. It was a weird time (10:00 am) so there were some old breakfast items out, but not much of a selection. They did have bottles of water so we made sure to stock up on those.
At our boarding time, we headed to our gate. The flight was completely full, so we didn’t get an open middle seat like we had on the way there.
The flight wasn’t as terrible as it was on the way there. The AirAsia staff on this flight seemed like they actually knew what they were doing which was comforting. The views from the plane made it tolerable.
We landed in Bangkok at the Don Mueang airport around 3:00 pm. I was so anxious about getting to our hotel, The Intercontinental Bangkok. There was an option to have them pick us up, but that was not in our budget at $100 for one way.
I was anxious because Bangkok is notorious for its taxi corruption. Just like Seminyak, except on a much larger, sometimes violent, scale. The taxi drivers are all licensed and in the system with their department of transportation, but there are rarely any repercussions for taxi drivers who commit fraud. The drivers make so much money from scamming people and at most get a slap on the wrist. So why should they stop? Other than the fact that it’s immoral.
Customs for this leg of our journey took forever. We had already been to Don Mueang once, but it was on a domestic flight so we didn’t have to pass through customs. There were only three windows open for a line of over 100 people and growing.
We got halfway through the line when one of the windows closed. The line was considerably longer at this point so I was confused. Now, only two windows were open.
It took about 45 minutes to get through customs at Don Mueang. At least we didn’t have another flight to catch.
Once we were done with customs, we headed to baggage claim where our bags were already off the conveyor and in a pile on the floor next to the stairs.
I read online that the official taxi stand for Don Mueang was at gate 8 and to not listen to anyone calling out “taxi” along the way. It was also important to note that there would be a 50 baht surcharge for using the official taxis from Don Mueang in addition to the fare. The most important advice was to make sure that the driver used the meter and to be assertive about it. I felt as confident as I could be, so we got in the taxi queue.
As we were standing there, I noticed a huge sign that explained all of the advice I read ahead of time. They also explained how to report taxi fraud should we encounter any. I knew that was a joke.
It was finally our turn to get a taxi. Our taxi driver ran inside and handed the taxi stand lady a slip of paper with his taxi license on it. The lady wrote down our destination on the paper and then she gave us a copy and the driver a copy.
Looking at the paper, it had the driver’s taxi license number on it along with his name. There were also instructions on how to report taxi fraud just like the big sign inside the airport. The bottom of the paper had a statement in big bold letters that said, “IT IS ILLEGAL FOR DRIVERS TO NOT USE THEIR METERS”. Surely with this much fanfare, our driver wouldn’t try anything.
I spoke too soon. Our doors to the car weren’t even closed yet when our driver turned around and started going on and on about the terrible traffic at this time of day. He assured us that not using the meter and just paying him a flat 500 baht fare would be a steal at this time of day.
I didn’t even hesitate and told him he needed to use the meter. He argued. Was this going to be another Bali incident?
I was firm, “Please use the meter or we’ll get out.”
He said something under his breath then flipped on the meter. I knew that there would be 120 baht worth of tolls so I had it ready. Another typical taxi scam in Bangkok is where the taxi driver will pay all the tolls assuming the passenger knows nothing about them. Then at the end of the ride, they will charge the passenger double what the tolls actually cost.
We went through each toll without incident. There was a considerable amount of traffic, but we made it to The Intercontinental Bangkok with only 200 baht showing on the meter. Adding in the 50 airport surcharge and the tolls brought our total taxi cost to only 370 baht. So his 500 baht no-meter rate was way off.
I was so relieved to have finally made it safely to our last hotel of the trip. And what a hotel it was.
We did not fit the profile for the typical Intercontinental guest. It was very upscale and business focused. Luckily, we didn’t have to walk in the doors with our backpacking packs on since they took our bags for us before we even exited the car.
The Intercontinental Bangkok was MASSIVE. I had to use all caps because “massive” wasn’t a big enough word on its own. It had almost 400 rooms and 37 stories. There were also several restaurants, bars, and a rooftop pool. I was almost a little sad that we didn’t leave one day to just relax at the hotel. Almost.
It was around 5:00 pm when we finally got in our room. It was beautiful and probably the most modern out of everywhere we stayed so far, but this was expected. We had an incredible view of downtown Bangkok.
When we booked our stay, I mentioned in the notes that Eric and I were celebrating our 4-year wedding anniversary. I try to always tell hotels that we are celebrating something when we travel because you just never know what you’ll get. The Intercontinental went above and beyond. There were rose petals in the tub, on the bed, and a half dozen in a vase on the table next to a plate of fruit.
About 10 minutes after we walked into our room, there was a knock at the door. Another surprise! The Intercontinental sent us a happy anniversary cake. It was a sweet gesture for such a huge hotel.
After we enjoyed our treat, it was time to explore. First, we headed to the roof to check out the pool. It was amazing! I was determined to get at least one drink at the pool bar before we left Bangkok.
We were both starving so we decided to head to the lobby to look around and grab a bite to eat. The lobby was enormous with two restaurants and a piano bar. There was also a shopping area with a cafe and multiple conference centers.
Neither of us wanted to venture out into the city for dinner so we decided to eat at one of the hotel restaurants. Their Italian restaurant, Theo Mio, had buy one get one free drinks until 6:00, so we decided to have an early dinner there.
We decided to just eat at the bar because the restaurant was almost totally empty. We were first served a basket of different types of warm Italian bread which filled Eric with joy. Then we ordered a pizza to split along with a couple of drinks. It was all delicious. If you didn’t tell me I was in Bangkok I would have thought I was in Italy. It was that good!
Traveling from Bali to Bangkok left us exhausted and since we had to be ready to go at 8:00 am the next morning, we decided we would call it a night early. Our one full day in Bangkok would be spent with a private tour guide exploring the various temples in the city.
Continue reading the travel diary here: Day 18: One Day in Bangkok
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