Great street shot!
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Great street shot!
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Elephants are much loved in Thailand and riding one is a unique experience. You’ll get the chance to be the mahout when he gets off & invites you to slide down on the elephant’s neck! Don’t panic. He can control the elephant from the ground just as well.
Finally! What I’ve been waiting for all day! For the three of us, we had two elephants for our ride through the jungle. It was a bit wobbly, but really fun! Our elephant’s name was Fonda (see first picture), and if you say her name loud enough she will respond! The other elephant really liked to eat and was always stopping to eat. My friend actually got to sit on the neck of the elephant! Totally wish I got to do that!
Even though we were exhausted from all the elephant excitement, we hit up Khaosan Road. This is known as the hostel street, where all the backpackers come to stay and party! We came to have our feet be eaten by fishes, literally! This is known as a Fish Spa, where the fish eats the dead skin off your feet! After the initial shock of being tickled, it was quite enjoyable. A great way to end the day!
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Bangkok was fun!
We loved much about this city – the ‘bustle’, the parks, the river taxis, the sky train, the shopping malls – especially the classy Emporium - and the outdoor lifestyle.
We also really enjoyed The Jim Thompson House - well worth a visit, and the coffee shops, the street vendors and the many wonderful and bizarre things Bangkok has to offer.
Great shot, love that architecture!
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Chiang Mai Dragonfly
I was at a lake in Chiang Mai, Thailand when a dragonfly landed on my toe for a minute or so. Maybe someone out there knows if this might symbolize anything or is it just cool it happened.
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So we rode on an elephant! As I mentioned, we spent the day at Baanchang Elephant Park about an hour outside of Chiang Mai. The company picked us up at 8:30 am and drove us out there with the rest of our group. When we arrived, they offered us coffee or tea and told us about the work they do there. Basically, they rescue elephants who are being mistreated and bring them to their park. After learning about Baanchang, we changed into the outfits they require everyone to wear. The matching denim pants and shirts were incredibly unflattering; Jeff said we looked like we were at a concentration camp. Apparently, they want everyone to look the same so the elephants don’t get freaked out by the numerous strangers that visit every day.
Once we were changed, we got to feed the elephants bunches of bananas and big sticks of sugar cane. Most of them would grab it out of your hand with their trunks, but some wanted you to put it right in their mouth. The sugar cane made a pretty satisfying crunching noise when they bit into it. After feeding them, we learned how to get on and off the elephant since we would be riding them bareback in the afternoon. It was weird getting on because they bend down and you boost yourself up using their leg. You also have to grab on to their ear to pull yourself up. I’m sure they don’t feel it, but I felt bad doing it all the same. They then taught us the commands the trainers use to control the elephants and we each practiced riding them in a small area.
We had a surprisingly delicious lunch and rested a bit before we rode the elephants. We didn’t have a very taxing morning, so it seemed a little silly to rest, but they had some nice hammocks set up so we didn’t mind. Since Jeff and I were sharing an elephant (it was much cheaper), we took turns riding on its neck and back. The neck is much more comfortable, but it was still very, very far from actually being comfortable. They have the sharpest, coarsest hair ever and both our legs got really scratched up. We also had the dirtiest elephant so our legs were filthy after. Neither of us were that crazy about riding the elephant, so we were glad when that part was over.
Sounds like riding elephants is not all it’s cracked up to be.
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We spent a few days in Bangkok, where we visited a floating market, a tiger temple, and several Buddhist temples. The floating markets are exactly what they sound like, different shops and vendors working out of boats or stalls set up on the sides of a small maze of waterways. We hired a boat to take us through the markets, and did quite a bit of shopping. Next, we stopped at the tiger temple, which was a section of a wildlife park where visitors were able to pet live tigers. At first I was concerned, because I’d heard that the animals might be sedated so they were safe around people, but I did a little research and found that the tigers were worked out really hard in the morning, so they were tired by the afternoon when people were interacting with them.
After that we took an overnight train to Khao Sok national park, where we spent a night in floating bungalow on the lake. It was a little overcast but the water felt like bathwater, so we swam across the lake. Unfortunately it rained a LOT on our way over, so all our clothes were soaked, and it’s so humid in Thailand that nothing really dried.
After that, we spent the last few days on Koh Phangan, a beautiful island off the coast of southern Thailand. The resort was right on a beach, and had a couple of pools, one of which was an infinity pool. It was so beautiful!
Our last day we rode elephants and got to play with monkeys, it was a perfect end to an incredible trip.
Eventually, we had to say goodbye to Thailand and we flew “home” (back to Sydney.) On that trip I made several new friends, two of which were physics and math majors from UCLA, they happen to go to UNSW and live in our building here in Sydney. We have so much in common, and now we’re planning a trip to New Zealand with each other and one of my friends from Syracuse.
Wonderful pictures, and we just love elephants!
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Talking about Phuket, of course it is all about the beach. I did some research and decided that we should go to PhiPhi island. I know it sounded so touristy, but the island looks so nice and beautiful with its white sandy beach. Research told me to not bother to book online and just go to Phuket and book from travel agent there.
So after our hibernation, we walked from our hotel to find some travel agencies. The first one we found sounded too good to be true so we decided to take a look at others. After comparing some of the package, we went back and took the package from first travel agency. The trip to Phi Phi island would be first thing the next morning.
After booking the tour, we went to the famous Patong beach. First impression, crowded and a lot of tourist. Anyway for a first visit I guess doing all the touristy thing is acceptable. So there we were at Patong beach (I must say that whoever invent a tripod did a good job. You will know the reason why in my next post).
I saw some “flying monkeys” at Patong (nah I am just kidding). There were a lot of parasailing operator at Patong beach and you suppose to be accompanied by one other person when you are doing the parasailing. The incredible thing was these people who accompanies you doesn’t wear any safety harness whatsoever and they just hanging there to the rope like monkey on a tree. So although I wanted to try parasailing, I didn’t look safe for me. So no thanks..
Nice shots and thanks for the advice!
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This is a photo taken while I was relaxing on the beach in Phuket, Thailand on my honeymoon. I have henna on my feet which is traditional for a new bride in my part of the world.
Nice shot, pretty cool tattoos!
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This is a shot from my recent solo adventures down to Koh Tao in the gulf of Thailand! The trip came as a small personal reward after working for one year in Chiang Mai for a small NGO called ATMA SEVA, previously featured on this blog actually! This is overlooking Mango Bay on a day when I rented a motorbike to cruise around and explore the island. Such a beautiful spot overlooking the better part of the northern tip of the island. I felt so lucky to have been able to travel there and spend a few days soaking in the sun, getting my scuba certification and enjoying my last week in Thailand. Anyways hope you like the picture!
What a beautiful place! And thanks for all the good work you have done.
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In Chaing Mai, I took a Thai massage class at “Art of Massage”. I signed up for the Practical Course 1, and for four-hours I learned how to massage the upper back, neck and shoulders. My instructor was Ms. Wana, not only is she a sweetheart of a conversationalist, but she’s without a doubt the coolest instructor I’ve ever had. I was her only student that morning so she met me at Tha Pae Gate on her motor bike! and together we rode off into the horizon to her studio… what makes it more awesome? I did the common S.E. Asia thing and rode without a helmet ~ like the “Western daredevil” that I am (crossed that off my bucket list!)
This class is very hands on, and practical. To learn massage, practice time is essential to exercise and enforce the newly learned knowledge… especially for something as fast as one-day.
Ms. Wana’s place was nice and cozy. She offered me comfortable pants to change into before starting. I was then given a book with lots of space that allowed me to make my own notes. At first, Ms. Wana would demonstrate on me for a few portions, and then we would switch roles so that I could practice on her.
This was really helpful, as she could correct me me on what I needed to improve…I must admit, it was pretty difficult to stay awake when she was trying to teach me. That was my relaxing massage day **\(^0^)/**
Nice shot, you sure look like a happy student!
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When you live on an island in Thailand, one would think that perhaps holidays are not necessary. After all, isn’t a tropical island the place most people want to vacation in the first place? In defense of sounding completely greedy and ungrateful, I must say that I have come to the conclusion that when one gets used to living in a place–any place be it Thailand or Toronto–it soon feels humdrum and the itchy feet syndrome begins afresh.
So, when an old friend came to visit, Steve and I decided it was the perfect time to take a little trip and show her a couple of Thailand’s most famous beaches; Railay, Tonsai and Phra Nang in Krabi province.
A paradise lover’s dream, the Railay Beach peninsula is a remote outcrop of land on Thailand’s west coast. Though it’s not an island, it can only be reached by long tail boat…the jungle is simply too lush for roads to venture through.
The long tail boat pulls up in a lagoon in East Railay, the mangrove lined back side of the peninsula. Watch your flip flops as you hop into the water and walk through boggy terrain to the main path. From here, signs direct visitors to the triple crown of Thai beach perfection; Railay, Tonsai and Phra Nang.
Touristy Railay wins the prize for the softest, whitest sand. This is the most visited among the three beaches, which shows in the number of people dotting the beach and the steady hum of Bob Marley pulsing from the myriad beach bars lining the water. Grab a massage from one of the many women wandering the beach, or simply join the fray of body surfers bobbing in the azure sea.
Reaching Tonsai is more of a trek. Steve and I set out on a trail that began as a paved walking path, yet suddenly veered off into a vertical climb through jungle infested mountain. Terrified as I am of all things slithery, this was a bit alarming to me. Yet 40 minutes later we emerged unscathed, rewarded for our breathless efforts by the view of golden sand, emerald water and towering rock formations.
Phra Nang is tops for its sheer, wild beauty. Located on the south-facing side of the island, the coastline here is the most rugged. The waves roll in unimpeded from the Indian Ocean, The Beach (Leonardo Dicaprio, remember?) looking islands rise from the horizon and one has a general sense of wonderment at the immensity of the rock formations rising hundreds of feet in the air overhead.
Plenty of bungalows pepper the Railay peninsula, including the Railay Garden View Resort. Perched on a hill looking over Railay East, this collection of thatched roof bungalows offers the basic accommodations–think mosquito net, bed, toilet–for a very reasonable 600 Thai Baht ($20 based on two people). The best part? Watch for monkeys leaping amongst the treetops from your private deck.
Save yourself the trek and take a long tail boat to Tonsai (unless you are the hiking type like Steve, then by all means!).
Amble up to one of the funky beach bars to try a Samson bucket! This tasty concoction made of Thai whiskey and Red Bull comes in an actual bucket and is meant to be enjoyed with a few friends.
Great post! Another place we would love to see for ourselves!
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On the fourth day of our Phuket trip, we head out for island hopping! We were blessed with a glorious sunny day which gave me uneven tan and sunburn. Haha. All my hopes for a healthy glow ended up with peeling black patches on my shoulder. Boo.
Initially we wanted to visit Similan Island for some real snorkeling but it is close during the monsoon period, so we had little options and decided to visit Phi Phi Island instead. Bad choice, really bad decision here. Thankfully it was a beautiful day and we got some pretty pictures with a clear blue sky!
So back to the island hopping tour, we sat on a bumpy speed boat which died every 20 minutes and landed first at Maya Bay.
Awesome place! And don’t worry about those thighs, half the women on the planet wouldn’t mind having that “problem” lol
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