Hello everyone. I am back in the United States! Last week I complained about the long and difficult journey home. However, it turned out much better than I thought. Today, I will share what happened.
Here’s a quick summary of the trip.
6:30 a.m – Drive to Chiang Mai airport and check in (2 hours)
8:30 a.m. – Flight from Chiang Mai to Bangkok (1.5 hours)
9 a.m. – 12 hours layover in Bangkok (12 hours)
21:00 – 5 hour flight from Bangkok to Incheon (5 hours)
4 a.m. – 12 hour layover in Incheon (12.5 hours)
4:00 p.m. – 10 hour flight from Incheon to San Francisco (10 hours)
9 a.m. – 2 hour layover in San Francisco (3 hours)
Noon – 1.5 hour flight from SF to Portland (1.5 hours)
2:00 p.m. – Return home from the Portland airport (0.5 hours)
totals = over 48 hours
Don’t break the trip ($30)
After complaining about the trip, I realized that I should try to cut it short. I booked a flight to Bangkok a day in advance so I could get a good night’s sleep before the long flights. Unfortunately, I messed up the ticket. At check-in, the agent told me that I booked the wrong month. Hehe, what a fool! Actually this often happens whenever I try to change something last minute. So I lost $30 on this flight that I’ll never use. At least it wasn’t too expensive.
The long, winding ride home was back.
Chiangmai to Bangkok ($20)
The trip from Chiangmai to Bangkok was fine. I booked this flight months ago. It was super cheap at $20! Back then, flights were not operating at full capacity due to the pandemic. Anyway, I have some tips for you. thai smile is the best local operator in Thailand. They have free baggage check! Other discount airlines charge around $30 just to check your bags. Thai Smile also serves snacks and a complimentary drink. I got a great deal for $20.
Oh, the best thing about this flight was that I got an exit row window seat. The middle seat was empty so I had good space. It was a great omen for the journey home. Turned out I got a window seat with the middle seat empty for the rest of the flights home! Very lucky.
We reached Suvarnabhumi airport on time and I stored my luggage ($3). Then I took the train into the city ($1.50 each way). I went straight to the hotel and checked in early ($40). After that, I went to have lunch with my aunt ($2).
After lunch, I went shopping at Terminal 21. I bought 2 shirts ($15) and a new belt ($13). This mall is great because they have local stores with quality stuff. Then I went back to the hotel and took a long nap. Then he showered, changed, and took the train back to the airport.
Oh, I went out to eat before I showered.
Pad Kra Pao is a classic Thai dish. It is meat stir-fried with chili, seasonings and basil. In recent years some young chefs have tried to elevate it. This dish used 4 types of chilies, 2 types of basil and topped it off with fried duck egg. You can even order it with 45-day dry-aged beef. I ordered the regular meat and it was around $5. You can usually get it for around $1 at a street food stand. Overall, I really enjoyed this dish. It is much better than the cheaper version. It’s nice to have more options.
The hotel room in Bangkok was a great idea. I had a chance to recharge and prepare for the rest of the trip. It was worth $40.
Flight to Incheon (points)
The flight to Incheon was fairly smooth. They served a meal and I saw Black Adam. The movie was fun, but The Rock was pretty dour. I like Shazam! further. That was more fun.
After eating, I took a nap. I also watched a Korean movie “6/45”. It was a pretty good comedy. A South Korean soldier lost a winning lottery ticket. The wind blew it over the DMZ and a North Korean soldier found it. From there, a huge curse ensues as they try to come to an agreement and redeem the winnings.
This flight was pretty good. I was able to nap more than usual. Empty middle seats made a world of difference. I was able to move around a bit without having to worry about bumping into someone else.
Free Transit Tour in Seoul ($11)
Incheon airport has a great free transit tour program. If you have enough time, you can join one of several tours. I learned about this from previous visits to Incheon airport. So this time, I registered online and got the K-ETA early. ($8)
When we landed, I went to the departure area and took a nap in the transit room. The tour started at 8am and we landed around 4:30am. I had time to lie down for a while. After my nap, I stopped by the Transit tour desk and was escorted back through security by an agent to clear immigration. Everything went well and I arrived on time to join the tour.
The maximum capacity of the tour was 16 people, but only 5 travelers attended. Other people were interested, but they didn’t get the K-ETA early. These tours will be much more popular once the border is fully open. Oh, this palace had a $3 entrance fee.
The first stop was Changdeokgung Palace. It’s great. I like its architecture and history. It’s also nice to see the living and working spaces of the king and queen. It is quite small! Some McMansions are bigger than this palace. Oh, the transit tour lent me a jacket. It was 0 degrees and I didn’t have the right clothes. It was hot and humid in Thailand.
Insa dong ($10)
The next was Insadong street.
This is a neat area to eat and find souvenirs. However, I didn’t want to buy anything because my bag was already full. I wanted to eat! The guide recommended beef rib soup at Gangnam Myeonok Insadong. It was great. I wish we had more time here so we could try more dishes. Next time, we will stay for at least a week.
Flight to San Francisco
The flight to SF was uneventful. Once again she had the window seat with an empty middle seat. I watched some movies, ate and took naps.
At the SF airport, I went through immigration and customs quickly. An agent was actually questioning the permanent residences. It took almost 10 minutes for each person to get through. He was crazy. I have never seen anything like it. Usually they just wave everyone in. This agent was asking all kinds of questions. Anyway, he made me look like an easy agent. Maybe it was a good cop, bad cop act.
I took my luggage and went back to check it.
Flight to Portland
The flight to Portland was short and pleasant. Luckily, it had the same seating configuration! Wow, I haven’t had an empty seat next to me on a domestic flight in years. It was a nice surprise.
Unfortunately, my luggage did not show up at baggage claim. I went to file a complaint and Mrs. RB40 took me home.
Phew! It was a long day, but I got through it pretty well. The empty middle seat made a world of difference, in my opinion. The flights were much more relaxing when you have a little more space. My luggage was delivered to the door at around 8 pm. All went well.
Total cost = $152
Alright, that’s it for my long ride home. Next time, we’ll break it up into segments. Have you ever had a long trip like this?
Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have a lot of projects in the US so check them out!
Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you achieve financial independence.
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