Bangkok or Bust: Longest travel day ever, or was it?

Bangkok this way
The days leading up to our big trip to Thailand from Costa Rica were very busy; saying goodbye to so many wonderful people, cleaning, packing, taking care of last minute things, and for me in particular...worrying!  For those that don't know me, I can be honest in saying that I do this regularly.  I try not to but I just can't seem to help myself.  This time the main worry was not about setting sail across the world, but instead that the flight itself, all 30 hours, was going to kill at least one of us.  I worried about sleeping, keeping the kids entertained, fighting off my own boredom, not irritating the other passengers, and a slew of other things.

Ready to get going
Sunday morning came and we were off to the airport at the crack of dawn.  First day was the easier of the 2, Costa Rica to Los Angeles by way of Arizona.  The morning started off with our first glitch at the airport when they had no confirmation of our tickets.  A few phone calls and we were all set thanks to the patient staff at U.S. Airways and our good friends.  Exit taxes paid, permission to leave the country for our youngest son who's a Costa Rican citizen, security done with only one loss (a playdoh tub) and off to wait for the first flight.  We had little time to think about this momentous occasion as in only a few minutes we were set to board.  Yeah we usually cut it pretty damn close but luckily no missed flight yet!  Well, there was that one time....

We always board LAST, not sure why the airlines ask that people with children board the plane first.  To me it seems crazy to coop up kids any longer then necessary, so we opt out of that insanity.  Soon after getting settled we heard the roar of the engines and it finally sank in that this may be the last time we see our home.  Tears start to fall for myself and my middle son as we watch Costa Rica become a tiny spec in the distance.   It was the first time that I cried, or really felt sad, about leaving at all and it felt great to finally have that rush of emotions!  The landscape outside our window for the next few hours helped us to feel better, as it was so beautiful!  Volcanoes, snow capped mountains, and crystal clear lakes.  Having never flown this route before, we were all amazed at seeing the stunning Central American landscape from the air.  We know we'll be back at some point!

Beautiful volcanoes in Central America
The flight went smoothly, we were able to meet up with some old friends in Arizona, and onto our connection for the last leg of the day to LA.  This flight was completely packed!  I thought, if the long flight is like this we are in big trouble.  My 2 oldest are real troopers, but our 4-year-old was a bit restless, as he's an active guy with admittedly a fresh streak.  He may or may not have gotten from yours truly.  Again, thankfully it was a short flight and when we got to the hotel, we relaxed by the pool, ate some amazing salad, and got a great night's sleep.

Hollywood sign during our decent!
Next came 15 hours straight on a plane with 3 children, a husband who's a smoker, and me, a anxious flier! I was really nervous, but right away there was a sense of peace with my clan.  Everyone knew it would be a long flight and settled in.  The airline, EVA Air, was amazing!  Really I can't find a single bad word to say about their service or actual plane.  They set us up with toys and coloring books and served food and drinks practically every half hour.  Each seat had a touch screen system of TV, movies, and video games to help with entertainment.  There were so many options that my children never even opened their own DS's or iProducts.

Once the lights turned off after dinner, all 3 boys seemed to fall fast asleep.  They sort of dozed off and on as did my husband and I.  13+ hours passed and every one was still doing great.  I am so proud of all of us.  The last hour was tough as the baby was sick and tired of being on a plane.  We also hit some pretty strong turbulence that sent me straight to anxiety alley but I pulled through and didn't throw up, hit anyone, open the plane doors, or cry...well maybe a little bit of crying but lets just call it welling up!  With the lights on and the strong turbulence it was hard to relax but we made it!

Our "big" plane from LA to Taiwan
The 1 hour layover in Taiwan was pretty easy.  The airline moved the bags themselves and we didn't even have to remove our shoes going through security, good thing because the screaming toddler I was holding had  fallen asleep.  Of course it had to be the minute the plane touched down.  No one wanted him woken up again!  When he did wake he was pretty cranky and seemed to find every opportunity to push our exhausted buttons.  Luckily, when we boarded the plane to Bangkok he and I fell fast asleep, only to wake up 20 mins before landing!  I mean does it get any better then that?   I was sure this would be the toughest leg of the trip but, thankfully, I was proven wrong. Although it was 2:30am in Bangkok, we were there!

We were tired but super excited to finally be in the country that I had spent so many countless hours researching.  We headed to immigration where, again, I was a bit nervous.  No questions were asked and we got our 30 day visa.  Luggage all made it and the hotel staff was there ready to help us.  Five minutes later we were on the shuttle and within 15 minutes we were raiding our min-fridge in our hotel room!  Sleeping at that point is a whole other blog post.  But it would be fair to say that jet lag and being on the opposite side of the world felt a bit like being an infant that has their days and nights reversed.

All in all, the travel day was a great experience thanks to a great airline and an awesome family.  I was able to see a couple things that surprised me; one was that my children are even more adaptable then I ever gave them credit for, two is that my husband is amazing and maybe not quite so addicted to nicotine than he lets on, and lastly, that I should never worry about things until I need to.  What a waste of mental space!  We all rocked the 30+ hour trip to Bangkok and I am so proud!  Everyone we encountered was kind and helpful.  Although this was a really long travel day, it wasn't so hard after all.  

If a long day of travel is holding you back from seeing the world, don't let it. But make sure you have a couple weeks to tackle the jet lag and enjoy!


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  1. Best of luck in your new adventure! I'm looking forward to following your discovery of a new land and culture. Being the kind and generous people that you are, I'm sure you'll soon be encountering some wonderful people and experiences that will ease the transition into your new home.

    Thanks for your friendship and generosity in Costa Rica.

    -Your old neighbor, Mike

  2. We booked a Bangkok day tour with Thai Private Tour Guide. Thanks goes to guide for a great day out in Bangkok, visiting temples and markets to get a feel for the city and learn it's rich history. Right from the booking process it was very easy to arrange once greeted us for the day, we felt like she'd really take care of us. We had a range of experiences, even using every transportation means available so we knew the lay of the land on subsequent days. There were temples, a boat tour and walk through a market. he wasn't just a chauffeur; she explained the history, symbolism and significance of places we visited and aspects of Bangkok and Thailand in general.