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September 1st 2018
Published: June 27th 2019
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When I extended my vacation I knew two weeks was not enough time to do two dive locations, so I decided to spend my last four days in Thailand, on land. I’ve been there before, once in Pataya and once in Phuket; the diving was great. This time I wanted to embrace the tourist in me.

Searching for a place to stay, I was intrigued by the reviews of the Phranakorn Nornlen Hotel…a hard name to remember, but I will never forget the charm of this boutique hotel. The entrance to the hotel is less than appealing. It looks like a hole in the wall off a narrow side road. But it took me fifteen minutes to move to the reception desk, I was so busy taking photos of the charming little vintage vignettes that line the walls. The walls are full of 6 foot recessed scenes depicting different little shops; a newspaper shop, a sewing shop, a candy shop, a hat shop, just to name a few. And the creativity doesn’t end there.

My room was the Siamese fighting fish room, with murals on three walls…a trompe d’oeil of blue bottles, each with a carefully rendered different Beta swimming inside. Hemmingway’s typewriter and a globe were two other objects appearing to rest on a shelf that spanned one wall. Teapots planted with ferns hung over my balcony. The artwork is inspired, the common room/dining hall is relaxing and unique. A slate in the entry welcomes each guest by name. The neighborhood is full of street food carts, a massage parlor, and restaurants. It costs very little to get a trike to the large Bangkok flea market, or the western food street.

I thought the breakfast was way above average and I enjoyed a private tie-dye class; the teacher showed me how to make our own dye from marigolds. The design I chose took hours to execute, and I still haven’t worn the shirt. From the window of the craft room I could see the enormous standing Golden Buddha. Unfortunately scaffolding surrounded him as he was being cleaned and refurbished, but he is only two or three blocks from the hotel.

I spent a lot of time blogging. One day I took a trike to the flea market, in a rain storm…it was exhilarating. I shopped for hours, not my usual thing. It was fun talking to all the vendors.

I also took a trike to the street where the restaurants cater to westerners. While I was reading the menu and chatting with the waitress I read a sign saying $1.00 drinks. I suggested these were well-drinks and she assured me they were regular cocktails. So I ordered a marguerite and my dinner. The drink came first and I drank it on an empty stomach. It was huge and I was well lit by the time my food arrived. I drank a lot of tea, when I realized I didn’t know the name of my hotel, nor did I have any idea what part of town it was in. It was dark and rainy, I don’t speak the language and the little piece of paper with the ad for my hotel was dim, the print was rubbing off from the rain. I got back safely. It was a wonderful adventure.

I definitely would like to return to this charming little hotel. It was the perfect ending for a busy, dizzying trip.

Walking through the Bangkok airport I bought a beautiful glitzy long skirt for dancing. Why was it hanging right there where I could not miss it? The young saleswomen tried to talk me into buying a more conservative skirt, but this one fit and it was gorgeous. It was an impulse buy. I asked how much it cost after I got my card back. It was a bargain albeit an expensive bargain, and I still love it.

My flight connected through Japan so no more detentions for me in Chinese airports. I watched three movies on the way to LAX. Then it was a short hop back to Seattle. It was a great trip, despite all the trouble with Chinese tickets.

Now, the mountains are calling.

(June 28th 2019) Since I want to wrap up my lagging blogs from last year's trip, I'm going to go ahead and publish this blog although my photos have somehow disappeared. I will look into this when I return from my current trip. When I find them I will edit this blog and share them with you. Until then, you can google the hotel to see their photos - they are probably better anyway. It is an amazing little hotel.


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