September 15, 2018 – Traveling from Bangkok to Atlanta was going to be a long journey, but at least it wouldn’t be as long as the trip a couple weeks prior. We would be taking the same route through Seoul, South Korea, only this time our layover would only be an hour rather than 13 hours.
We gathered our things and went down to the lobby of The Intercontinental Hotel around 6:30 am to check out. Reception knew we would be checking out early and had someone to our room right on time to help us with our bags. We packed very light for this trip, but in hindsight, it wasn’t necessary. It was nice not to have to re-pack a ton of stuff every time we moved around, but unlike Europe, we rarely carried our bags for more than 10 minutes at a time. We checked our bags on every flight and every hotel had someone to carry our bags to and from our room.
After checking out, the concierge called us a taxi and then we were off to the Suvarnabhumi airport for the 3rd and final time.
I was optimistic that this taxi would be like the one Elena called for us the day before and we wouldn’t have to worry about getting scammed. However, I was still on alert as one always should be no matter what the circumstance.
We closed the doors of the taxi and the driver started to pull out of the Intercontinental driveway. That’s when I noticed the meter wasn’t on at all.
I immediately asked our driver to turn on the meter. He argued that there was too much traffic and the tolls would be expensive so it would be cheaper for us to pay a flat fee of 500 baht including tolls. Again, I was firm and made it clear we would not continue on with him without the meter running. Like the driver we had on arrival, he was irritated that he picked up two travelers who knew what they were doing (or seemed like it anyway). He didn’t try to argue a second time and turned on the meter.
I figured this would be a similar scenario where we would pay each toll as we crossed them. I had the money ready since I researched this before we even set foot in the taxi. There would be 3 tolls at 25 baht each.
The first toll appeared and before I could say anything, the driver paid it on his own. I felt like I needed to prepare myself for an argument once we reached the Suvarnabhumi airport. Was he going to try to pull a fast one on us and say that the tolls were more than they actually were?
I confirmed the cost of each toll that we passed through so I could add it to what the meter read at the end of our trip.
We finally reached the airport and the meter read 240 baht. Adding the 75 baht from the tolls brought our total to 315 baht.
My adrenaline was pumping as we got out of the taxi. Before our driver could say anything, Eric handed him 315 baht. I was prepared to argue, but surprisingly the driver accepted the amount and bid us a good journey.
Well, that was way easier than I thought it would be!
We headed inside, checked in to our flight, went through security, went through customs, then headed to a lounge by our gate to grab some breakfast before our flight.
Around 9:30 am, boarding began and then we were off to Seoul, South Korea.
The flight was about 5 hours and 30 minutes from Bangkok to Seoul. We were concerned about making it to our next flight because we would only have one hour in between.
Our meal on the flight was ok. I think I just don’t really like Korean food. I can’t really be sure because the only Korean food I’ve had was at a touristy restaurant in Seoul and on two Korean Air flights.
We landed in Seoul around 5:30 pm with about 40 minutes until our final flight to Atlanta. It was extremely foggy when we landed, but it made for a beautiful view.
Security must have gone quickly because I don’t really remember it. We were moving so fast, the entire layover seemed like a blur. I did manage to snap a few pictures of my favorite airport in the world.
We got a notification on the way to our gate that our flight was delayed. It was only by about 20 minutes, but it was a welcome delay.
They had already called our zone by the time we got to our gate so we basically just got to walk on.
As soon as we went down the escalator, there was a small security check next to the gangway. Of course, they pulled Eric for a random security screening. It was thorough too. He had to take everything out of his bag, take off his shoes, and get swabbed. It was intense and so random. We had never seen a security check right before stepping on the plane. But I won’t complain about extra security in today’s world. It wasn’t like they were going to leave us there right outside the plane door.
Eric passed the security screening and then we were free to board the plane.
We found our seats and settled in. When we left Bangkok, the seat in between us on our flight to Atlanta still showed empty. We were hoping that it would stay that way, but the flight looked completely full so it didn’t look promising.
All of a sudden the doors to the plane closed and we were left with an open seat! I couldn’t believe how lucky we got again.
So we settled in for the 14-hour flight. We each watched at least 3 movies and I worked on my blog a bit. I didn’t sleep at all which made the flight seem even longer.
What was weird was that we arrived in Atlanta the same day. We left Bangkok at 10:00 am and arrived in Atlanta around 7:00 pm. That’s a timespan of 9 hours, but we were in transit for 20 hours. Time is weird.
Anyway, we got through customs and baggage claim rather quickly and then we were in an Uber on our way back home. Not super thrilling, I know, but that’s what happened! It was an incredibly exhausting day and the fact that I didn’t sleep an ounce on the plane just made it even worse.
We arrived back home around 9:00 pm and crashed. What. A. Trip.
I can’t believe this Southeast Asia Diary is finally complete! I know it took a while, so thank you for sticking with me. Now I can start writing some fun guides and advice pieces to help you plan your perfect Southeast Asia trip!