You are heading to Thailand and you have over 30 hours of travel time ahead of you. Sounds exhausting, even daunting. But listen up, the journey is part of the adventure. I am here to tell you not to overlook the extended layover and embrace each stop that big silver bird makes on the way to your destination.
The first time I went to Asia after college, I had a 40-plus hour journey to Mumbai. Getting to the airport in Chicago and boarding that first plane, I couldn’t help but say to myself, “I’m never f****** getting there, no way.” The first layover was 12 hours at Heathrow (LHR) in London. It was 1:00am Chicago time when we arrived and instead of confining ourselves in the airport, my buddies and I bought Oyster cards. We hopped on the tube and headed to central London. For the next 5 hours or so, we went straight zombie mode on London.
I had another 5 hour layover in Bahrain on the same trip and we did not venture from the airport for two reasons: 1) it was about a billion degrees and 2) they were having a slightly violent revolution on the streets.
Earlier this year I was headed back to Asia with my girlfriend. We flew Los Angeles (LAX) to Bangkok (BKK) with a flight time of just over 20 hours. We had one stop both ways at Incheon Airport (ICN) in South Korea. We had about 4 hours of layover time and boy was I happy that we did. Korean food is dope, like real dope. And at ICN they have these food courts offering all sorts of goodness. Oh yeah, I also learned how to say “thank you” in Korean: kamsahamnida.
Don’t be afraid of having long travel times to your destination. See where they stop and for how long. Do some research and see if you can explore another country (no matter how tired you are) for a few hours, or at least try to immerse yourself (stuff your face) in their culture. You’re going on an adventure, so treat every stop along the way as part of it!