Monday, August 22, 2005

Traveling Thailand

This is a retrospective post since the events all occurred well before I was blogging :) It was written on 25 April 2008.

06Aug05 - 07Aug05: Bangkok, Thailand
We arrived in Bangkok fairly early on our first day (since we only had to come from Singapore) and had some time to explore a little of Bangkok. Our accommodation was conveniently located within walking distance of Khaosan Road, a fantastic stretch of road-side markets. We bought so many things here!

The next day we hit as many Wats as we could ... by the end of the day, I was most definitely all Watted out! Unfortunately I can't remember which Wat's (what Wats?) we visited, but I know we definitely saw Wat Phra Kaew (based on the photos ... it seems that all around the world, people take the same photos of the same things :) ) and Wat Pho, with the the Reclining Buddah.

But we definitely skipped Wat Arun (it being across the river and all). Traveling on the Water Taxis was also quite a fun experience :) The Wats were mostly exquisite and decadent. Decorated with gold and mother of pearl.

08Aug05 - 10Aug05: Chiang Mai
We then headed North to the jungles in Chiang Mai for a few days as well. While in Chiang Mai we visited our last Wat, Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. It is up a vast number of steps and delivers a beautiful view of the city from the top. Chiang Mia is also a fascinating city, built inside & around these giant old walls.

We also got to ride on an Asian Elephant. They're not as tall as their African counterparts and the experience was far from the same because you sit in a funny little chair that's been strapped to their backs. And we went for a Thai Cooking demonstration. The food we made was divine, but somehow you never get it quite right when you're back in your own kitchen :(

We also spent some time visiting local Hill Tribes, the Meo and Karen tribes specifically. which was very interesting :)
11Aug05: Bangkok
We go to spend another night in Bangkok while heading down from Chiang Mai to our island break. It was spent getting all the rest of the necessary shopping done on Khao San Road and a Thai Massage too :)

12Aug05: Bangkok to Kanchanaburi
We spent the day visiting a Floating Market in Kanchanaburi and the bridge over the River Kwai. Then we overnight-trained to Surat Thani for our crossing to Koh Pha Ngan tomorrow. The Thai overnight trains are fabulous and I would recommend them to anyone. Guys come round and fold down a bunk above your chairs and then your chairs slide and fit together making another bunk. You really can get some sleep, if you're not partying in the restaurant carriage ;)

13Aug05 - 17Aug05: Koh Pha Ngan
Ah, finally our beach break. Ko Pha Ngan is the middle island and as such not nearly as commercial as Koh Samui. We had a lovely time relaxing on the almost exclusive beach and enjoyed watching fire poi at night :)

We went diving (which I didn't think was all that impressive) and lazed about and also managed to go to a half-moon party, a rave in amongst the coconut palms. Great fun :)
Thailand has such amazing food and although one might think eating curry twice a day is simply not do-able, it was honestly one of the best food-experiences I've had while traveling. I admit to being disappointed every time I chose Western food and by the end of the tour would never have considered it! It's fascinating that they have hardly any dairy (cheese or milk) in their diet and you get quite used to it. My all-time favourite was their Watermelon (milk-free) Shakes. Oooh, I'd love one now!


Unknown said...

so cool to see the trips!
one day i will go that way...

phillygirl said...

@gallery - Thanks :)

noodle said...

I'm looking into going to Thailand at the end of the year… Got some Intrepid brochures, but not sure if we want to just to our own thing. I am such an OVER planner!

phillygirl said...

@noodle - it's an amazing place and not too tricky to do your own thing if you want. But I like doing tours because I sorta trust that they know the place better than I do and will include all the things your really must do while there :) Sometimes organised tours are better (like in Egypt), sometimes tours that just organise your accommodation & transport are better ... like the Imaginative Traveler tour we did for Thailand. Definitely investigate

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