Before I knew it, the day was finally here. All the planning my parents and I had completed over the course of 6 months was starting to unfold. Getting that text from my parents that they are boarding their first flight from Phoenix to Minneapolis brought tears to my eyes. I just wanted to hug them but I knew the next three days were going to take forever.
As I mentioned early, my parents port of entry was Bangkok. Since my school was still in session, I wasn’t able to greet them. Thankfully, my dad had a colleague’s father who lived in Bangkok and who graciously offered to be their tour guide.
They only had one full day to explore the big city, which can be overwhelming, so I was happy that they had a local to show them around. Well, he’s an expat, but he’s been living in Bangkok for around 10 years.
They spent the day wandering the downtown area. He took them to several temples including Wat Pho and Wat Arun, two of the more popular temples in Bangkok. They took a trip down the Nam Wang, which is the massive river that cuts through Bangkok. They enjoyed a few different Thai cuisines and my dad had his first Singha beer.
Accommodation in Bangkok
Because I wasn’t going to be in Bangkok with them, my parents chose to stay in a more luxury hotel. They decided to stay at the Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel, which is a Marriot property. They didn’t tell me much about the hotel except “it was very nice and a great location.”
After their full day in Bangkok, my parents were back at the airport. This time, however, they were boarding their flight to me!
They flew on Nok Airways out of Don Mueang Airport, which is the smaller of the two airports. Their estimated arrival time to Lampang Airport was 1:30 pm. Let’s just say, I didn’t get much work done during the morning knowing my parents were on their way. Granted we were in finals, so I wasn’t doing much anyway. All my students and teachers knew they were arriving, so I was allowed to leave early to go meet them at the airport.
A good friend of mine came with me to meet my parents as my photographer. The photos truly show how important parent’s hugs are and how much I had miss them over the past year.
Quick City Tour
After I took them to my apartment to drop off their bags, we immediately jumped on our motorbikes and began exploring the city. I didn’t really have a solid plan but one thing I knew was it was time for food.
My parents were only in Lampang for a couple short days and I wanted to make sure I shared with them all my favorites. I decided to take them to one of the morning / afternoon markets for some pork noodle soup and my favorite Thai salad called Tam Kanoon (Jackfruit Salad). I loved watching my dad indulge in traditional Thai cuisine and soak up the environment.
After lunch, we continued to drive through the city, where I showed them cultural street and a little piece of Lampang history. That evening, there was only one place I wanted to take them and that was Muay Thai.
One thing my parents really wanted to see was my life and Muay Thai and become a huge part of that. I can’t even put into words how much it meant to me to introduce my Ajahn, Burklerk Pinsinchai, the other trainers, and my Muay Thai crew to them.
The Best Pad Thai
For dinner, it was time to share another one of my favorites, my Pad Thai lady. She runs the BEST pad Thai street cart in all of Lampang and it’s located directly across from my school.
I frequented her a least once a week and I told her I was going to bring my parents because I love her food so much. The moment we walked up to the street cart, she knew! She had our food ready in minutes after we arrived, even though she was busy.
I taught them the proper way to eat traditional pad Thai with a dash of chili powder, a sliver of lime, a few fresh bean sprouts, some green onions, a tablespoon (or three) of peanuts, and a few pieces of banana leaf. Let’s just say, they weren’t the biggest fan of the banana leaf, but they LOVED the pad Thai itself. It’s been 3 months since I’ve last had her pad Thai and my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
My parents trip to Thailand was timed with my semester break, but I wasn’t quite done with school. Their first full day in Lampang started with me having to work for a few hours in the morning. Thankfully, the location of my apartment was close to several coffee shops and they like to walk so I wasn’t worried about having to be with them every second.
They told me they ended finding a coffee cafe and then a breakfast place, which ended up being one of my go to lunch spots (cafeteria style with options).
When I was finally able to “sneak” out of school, I was ready to show them more of Lampang. However, since it was about lunch time at this point, I knew it was time to fuel up and I had the perfect restaurant.
I took them to Burklerk’s Muay Thai restaurant for a few more of my favorite dishes, including Gratiem Gai (garlic chicken) and Pad Gra Paow Mu (spicy Thai minced pork). In addition to Muay Thai, Burklerk (my ajahn) and his wife run an amazing restaurant where she does a lot of the cooking, and goodness, she’s a phenomenal cook.
Once we were fueled, I took around them to several temples with unique history showing the Lanna-Thai culture that’s prominent in Lampang. I also took them to the best Guay Tot, or fried bananas, in all of Lampang.
It was a fun mid-day snack before heading back to school.
Time for School
I finally got to introduce them to my Thai school family. Watching them interact with my co-teachers and fellow native English teacher was truly special. We wandered the entire school and I was able to show them classrooms that I would teach in. Plus, my students were waving / pointing at them for majority of the afternoon and it filled my heart.
It was also time for me to introduce my parents to my volleyball family. So, after we wandered the school a bit, I took them to the court. Kru Bee, of course, was over the moon to meet them, and as my students slowly trickled in from their finals, I could see them light up with smiles. They all kept saying, “Teacher, mom dad. Mom pretty.”
Some of them did get a little shy since I made them all introduce themselves in English, but none of it really matter. My parents just watched in awe as I ran and played a little game of volleyball with my students. It wasn’t nearly enough time connecting my parents with my school and volleyball family, but there were still more people they needed to meet.
Dinner and Goodbye
As the afternoon drifted into evening, it became time for my parents to experience one more type of Thai food, malah (spicy skewered meats/veggies). It also gave them a chance to spend quality time with two of my closest Thai friends and my fellow Farang teacher.
That’s exactly how we spent our final night in Thailand and it was perfect. My parents seemed beyond thrilled to have finally been up close and personal with my life in Thailand. Things just don’t always come across over FaceTime or emails. I couldn’t have asked for a more welcoming community I built.
Those memories made are going to last a lifetime, but like every good thing, our time in Lampang must end. It was time to head off on the next leg of our journey and for my parents to experience more of the beautiful Thailand has to offer.