From Bali to Thailand -> First Impressions of Bangkok, Thailand

After 2+ years in Bali, I was ready to leave.

Don’t get me wrong.

Bali has 100% become a second home to me.

The people are the most inviting in the world, the land is exquisite, the culture is inspiring, and the energy is impeccable if you let Mama Bali’s magic wash over you. 

Yet, at the same time, Bali can be a small bubble that if you don’t get out every so often, you start to lose yourself and forget reality. 

So, I was feeling the pull to get out of there.

Not permanently, but I needed a change of scenery away from all of the new tourists getting the lay of the land for the first time. 

Thailand was always the original plan.

When my friend told me she booked a trip for mid-May and wanted to meet me there, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to bite the bullet and leave what I've called home for the past 2 years. 

I booked the flight, packed my whole life into a suitcase and backpack again, and said my farewells. 

And oh goodness, were they teary farewells.

I’m so grateful that Bali has truly become a place where I settled in and made friends that became family. 

I don't know when I'll be back, but I know for sure I will return someday...hopefully soon.

As Winnie the Pooh says: “how lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."

Nikki Leaving Bali
My local friends came to surprise me at the airport for one last goodbye.

They brought me the sweetest gift! 

Thailand Vs. Bali

It was a rude awakening when I landed in Bangkok, Thailand.

I haven’t traveled with my huge suitcase in a long time.

Wandering the streets with around 80 pounds of bulky stuff was a shock to the system. And my back. 

Thailand has a completely different energy to it than Bali that I’ve been trying to put into words. 

It’s similar, yet oh so different. 

Bali has a beautiful culture, yet at the same time they cater to tourists.

There’s a lot of hand holding when going to Bali.

I mean, it’s still culture shock, and takes some getting used to. Yet, there’s something about heading to Thailand’s biggest metropolitan city that feels so raw.

I do understand it’s a little like comparing apples to oranges because I was living in Bali in a stable villa for months all set up versus moving around hotels in Bangkok and staying in a tiny room while living out of my suitcase is a stark contrast. 

Also island vibes compared to huge city vibes is of course going to be drastically different.

What I didn't account for is how different I would feel.

My favorite attraction in Bangkok -- Wat Pho!

This is exactly the reality check I needed. 

I needed to have new experiences and problem solve in ways I haven’t in a while. 

I needed to be completely on my own with no “phone a friend” to help me option. 

Bangkok is something I have yet to put into words.

It's fast pace, exotic, yet down to earth somehow, swimming in culture, yet also a melting pot.

It's a big city that packs a punch and leaves a lasting impression.

There is so much nature juxtaposed next to huge buildings and honking cars.

There are gorgeous temples dripping in gold.

There is a ton of traffic filled with tuk tuks, taxis, motorbikes and MRT trains zooming past.

After 4 days, I was exhausted, yet enthralled by the city.

All I know is my heart is full and grateful to have had the opportunity to experience such a raw version of it. 

Bangkok, Thailand Travel Tips

1. Visit Wat Pho & Wat Arun 

You can easily visit both of these temples in the same day by taking the 3-minute water ferry between the two.

-Cost: 200 Baht ($6 USD) for Wat Pho and 100 Baht ($3 USD) for Wat Arun 

-Dress: If you don’t have your shoulders or knees covered, they will make you wear elephant pants and cover you up more. 

2. Chatuchak Weekend Market

If you’re visiting on the weekend, then this market is a must.

It’s got everything you could ever imagine. It's HUGE! You can most definitely spend hours and hours roaming around here.

There's still a dress that I saw that I've been dreaming about there.

I will have to go back and buy it. :) 

After you shop until you drop, there is a huge park next door to simply relax.

3. Eat All of Local Thai Food

Yep, it’s true folks!

Thai food is 100x better in Thailand. I feel like that's a given.

Try it alllllllll! I always go to stalls & local restaurants that I see lots of the locals at.

This is a good indicator the food is great and fresh.

Favs: Pad Thai (of course), Pad See Ew, Tom Yum, any basic noodle/rice dish (you seriously can't go wrong), fresh mango smoothies from the fruit stalls

4. Take Public Transit

There are many ways around the city…taxis being one of them.

However, the traffic can be horrible, so taking the MRT can help save you time and is super easy to use.

Also, I became accustomed to the local bus system. It's super easy to use with Google Maps.

5. Visit Rooftop Bars & Hit the Town

There's a reason Bangkok is known for its night life.

Khao San Road is an infamous backpacker hub with bars located everywhere you look.

I walked down Soi Cowboy, which is a road with all of the neon lights and bars. It was pretty dead when I went (maybe because its not tourist season quite yet), but it was still cool to see! 

Note that there will be lots of women in revealing outfits trying to lure you in for drinks.

I didn't get lured....but it was a spectacle to see what all the hype was about.

My personal favorite was going to the rooftop bar Above Eleven and the speakeasy Havana Social.

This was more of a fun, lighthearted vibe.

And you get a whole view of the city! 

Havana Social had a password to get in and reggaeton to dance to all favorite! 

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Mindset Travel Tips

Go with the floooooow.

I always try to have a loose itinerary of what I want to do every day, but I am consistently checking in with myself and how I feel.

Sometimes you might get really hungry all of a sudden and have to take a detour!

Be flexible.

Remember there is no pressure to see absolutely everything in a short period of time.

Allow yourself to actually enjoy what you are seeing without a strict schedule.

Vlog Highlights of the Month: 

Y'all...holy moly.... I had a video on YouTube hit over 100,000 views this month! 

How crazy! 

All about my incredible experience fasting for Ramadan.

As we know, I love diving into culture, so this was an eye opening experience.

Check out the video that went viral: 

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My Latest & Greatest Favorite Thaaaangs: 

The following items I'm sharing because I genuinely enjoy them and want to spread the word.

Also note that if you do use the affiliate links I share, I receive a kickback.

So if you're going to buy any of the items anyway, help ya girl out and use the link. :) 

1. I couldn't travel the crazy streets of Bangkok without this incredible travel backpack that has been my savior in trying times hahaha. Need a travel backpack to hold your whole life? I've got you:

2. If you want to document your travels, I use the Sony ZV1 to vlog and I’m obsessed with it. Check it out here:

3. I try to Gua Sha my face every night, and it’s become my favorite nightly ritual. Join me in this practice:

Want more travel and mindset tips? Let me know what else you'd like me to write about! 

Please feel free to reach out by sending me a message through the contact form or responding via email. I love connecting with you. :) 

Thanks so much for reading! 

Lots & lots of love,


Hi! I'm Nicole. A brain hacking mentor on a mission to help you optimize your mindset to achieve your goals and live a fulfilling and joyous life.

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