A monk chanting session at Wat Pho in Bangkok, Thailand

Abandoned in a Bangkok Monastery … and other travel stories

My Headphones Went Missing on the Overnight Bus

After Phuket, our next stop was back to Bangkok to pick up Carrie’s new passport (her old one was about to expire) and head to the airport to fly to Bali. As it was only a few bucks more than doing it ourself, we went through a travel agent and booked an overnight sleeper bus to Bangkok.

An overnight bus in Thailand
An overnight bus in Thailand

We were told that a minivan would pick us up at our hotel and take us directly to the bus, but we wound up being in three of them before even arriving at the bus station. After a two hour wait during which we wandered around town with the loudest and most annoying man I’ve ever met, we finally sat down on our uncomfortable sleeper bus.

Ten hours after boarding, at the unholy time known as 4:40am, we arrived in Bangkok and quickly headed to the US Embassy. When we were there two weeks earlier we discovered an office building across the street whose lobby had a food court and comfy chairs so we went straight there to sleep until the embassy opened.

At around 6am I heard employees begin to shuffle in shortly after I fully woke up to the sound of the cleaning lady trying to set up the chairs for the day…probably wondering about the sleeping Americans in them.


Hanging Out in an Office Building Lobby

Picking up Carrie’s passport turned into a nearly five hour ordeal, during which I was sitting waiting in that same chair as the business world moved around me. Unfortunately, I also realized that I had left our headphones on the bus and began the process of trying to get them back.

I then proceeded to spend the next three hours calling dozens of numbers trying to track them down. A few Thai people even helped out, trying to get answers in their native language, but to no avail. Most of them actually laughed when I told them I was trying to recover lost property from the bus.

By the time we left I had spent more than a standard work day at the Thai office building and still had to buy new headphones. Wanting to salvage our day, we next headed to a Buddhist monastery that our book said offered free meditation workshops.


Abandoned in a Bangkok Monastery

Along with a pair of Brits, we listened to a Monk explain some basic principals to us before leading us downstairs to practice meditation by walking and sitting. He got us started, then left us on our own for what we though would be 20 minutes.

Wat Mahathat Basement - Bangkok, Thailand
The basement of the Wat Mahathat where we sat meditating with 2 UK guys for 1.5 hour after the monk left us there

An hour and 40 minutes later, the four of us were still sitting in the basement, sweating, joking and swatting away mosquitoes with no sign of the monk. We finally banded together and went upstairs, where the monk was just sitting around.

He said, “are you done?” We still don’t know if we were supposed to come up on our own and had failed some sort of test or if he thought we were meditating that whole time or if he just plain forgot about us. Regardless, we were done with him and went out to kill some more time before heading to the airport to sleep on the floor for five hours.