Posts Tagged 'THAILAND'

September 12

Align CenterChiang Mai is gorgeous! It is so different than Bangkok and Phuket. The mountain drive was all green and lush, and you can tell the wildlife is just rampant here. We booked a tour the minute we got into Chiang Mai and did so many things!! We white water rafted, rode elephants, zip lined, and had lunch with a really fun group!

riding barebacked

this is how far out in the jungle we were! can you find us?!

This elephant was just too cute. She was just letting off riders, and I was petting her. We wanted a group pic with her, but her ears were flapping like crazy, and it smacked me in the back of my head. I’m mid laugh here, and i just love the candidness of this image.

We went zip lining as part of the package. This is probably the most fun activity during the day. We zipped through 19 platforms in the jungle and the last platform zip lined over the river with all the elephants bathing!

our really fun tour group for the day!

getting ready to zip!

Tien’s first run…she is scared out of her mind

a walk across the bridge

a sheer drop!!!!

a waterfall is always refreshing

a mini waterfall i slid off of

a gorgeous temple we passed by on the tour

our usual drinks of choice

street food is ridiculously good. this is egg noodles with wontons

September 10
Phuket is stunning. The beaches are pristine, and since we are here in low season, we basically had any beach we wanted to ourselves. We stayed in Karon at this gorgeous hotel only minutes from the beach. The street bazaar is filled with street food, street vendors, and even some American restaurants. Luckily, our hotel was a stone’s throw away from one of the most amazing food carts that served spicy braised beef soup with egg/rice noodles. The turnover rate and amount of locals picking up to go orders was insane.

Phuket is very different than Bangkok. It’s more relaxed here than in Bangkok, and the tourists are just from a different crowd. The resorts are very secluded, and exceptionally luxurious, so we did not have the pleasure of enjoying it….but we were not deprived from any fun! The beaches are free, the street food is better than restaurants, and we got our own private tour guide from a very wonderful local named Ski. He drove us all over the city to see all the different beaches, to Karon Kata vista point, and then showed us where the locals go for bar-b-que and seafood.

Karon Kata Viewpoint

Buddha Temple @ Phuket

you have to rub this for good luck, but it’s very hard to get sound from it!!
i barely got a sound, but watched some very skilled kids make the most incredible sound from this gong

touring the grounds still under construction

the smaller golden buddha

All the proceeds from postcards, marble tile with etchings, and other random things go back into the construction for the buddha. We made our mark on the etchings as well. Tien did one for herself and Shawn. Kat and I did one for our big bar trip. We write what we want etched into the marble, and they will put that peace at the bottom section of the buddha when it is time.

a day at the beach, doing absolutely nothing but reading, sleeping, and eating

the best larb i’ve ever had

September 10

One of the most interesting things to see in Thailand are the ladyboys. Ladyboys are very famous in Thailand. They are transvestites, men who have taken on the persona of a woman completely, physically and mentally, and they are stunningly gorgeous. We had so much fun watching the show, but seeing them in person afterward really makes you question your femininity! The cabaret itself was really entertaining, especially since most if it is so flamboyant and corny.

We saw Calypso in Bangkok, held at Asia Hotel. This cabaret is a bit smaller than the Simon Caberet in Phuket, but we got to take a lot of pictures with them after the show, and it was a smaller stage so we could be a lot closer. I couldn’t stop snapping photos of them during the show, but thank god it didn’t need any flash.

Mine and Tien’s favorite part was the Wonder Girls routine. They looked identical to the real one hit wonder group…actually maybe a little better! The dance moves were exactly the same as the video so we were laughing and singing along to it the whole time.

“I don’t want nobody nobody but you!”

watch the video! it’s awesome!!!!!

September 08
Kat was feeling under the weather so she stayed in to sleep. Tien and I walked around the area to see what the other hotels looked like and just explore. In an alley across the way, we saw a sign for cooking classes and inquired. Normally the rate for these thai classes ate about 35 per person and up. Here, it was only 20 per person and they cook with all organic food!

If you are in Bangkok, you MUST take cooking classes here. Orn is the most amazing woman. The spirit of this woman is beyond anyone I’ve ever met. She is so vibrant and funny, she dances and sings while she teaches and the result of each learned dish is beyond fantastic…mainly because love sweat and maybe even some tears were put into each dish!

I have never had so much fun cooking in my life. Two others, a mother and son traveling to Thailand on their way back to Tokyo, joined our group and we hit it off right away. The class was only supposed to last 1-2 hrs and consist of 3 courses. To our delight Orn showed us 9 in a span of 3 hrs! She started off the class by showing us how to muddle our own green chili paste, which is the base for most Thai dishes. We also cooked red curry, green curry, phad thai, phad seu, tom kha, tom yum, seaweed soup and peanut sauce. During our cooking and dancing frenzy, we made so much food we couldn’t even eat it fast enough.

enjoying one of many dishes

September 07

We LOVE Thailand. Not just because it’s the land of smiles, but also the land with less humidity than what we have been experiencing lately! In Vietnam, it was 91 degrees with 90% humidity. In Cambodia, it was 96 degrees with 65% humidity during the rain. In Thailand, it is 85 degrees and the humidity dropped to 55% and we drank it in. We found Khaosan Rd, the backpackers area and found lodging in the middle of the street but much quieter because it is set farther back from the main road.

We spent 2 nights in Bangkok and I am so in love with the city. The street vendors are a bit pushy but nice, and the street food is ridiculously good. We got fresh phad thai, fried rice with egg and chicken, sweet corn, and veggie egg rolls. For 20-40 baht ($0.50-$1.00) per order, it’s so hard to refuse!! We refrained from going to nicer places because we couldn’t justify the prices when such wonderful things were being sold on the street. The only time we ate in a restaurant was the cooking class… and we got more than what we paid for, tenfold!!!

Standing Buddha temple
our tuk tuk driver took this pic of us thinking we were going to fall for his scam!

We took a tuk tuk around the city the first day. The scam on Khaosan is that they offer to take you to the Standing Buddha, and then the TAT office, and the Royal Palace. The “scam” is when you arrive at the Standing Buddha, a mole was already stationed there to “guide us for free.” He warned us of the dangers of Thailand and wanted only to help us from that danger of being robbed or scammed by foreigners. They also try to take you to a tourist agency where they get commission, and from there, they sell you on a package deal for more than it was worth and they get free gas for the whole scam. We didn’t fall for the scam because we didn’t book anything from them, but did take them up on their offer to tuk tuk around the whole city for the day and then used all the info they gave us to make our own plans via the internet and book our own excursions! When they realized that by the end of the day, we three “naive looking girls” were not going to fall for it, the driver stopped being incredibly nice, and dropped us off on the corner of the industrial district, and told us to take a taxi home. Earlier, he had promised to drop us off at Khaosan after we listened to a tourist agent, and when we didn’t fall for it, he just stopped driving us. It didn’t matter since we knew how much it was going to cost to get back to Khaosan [$1.50] but we gave him a hard time anyway, and then taxied back. We basically got him to tuk tuk us around the city for free, and we even pulled out money to tip him for all he did…until he became as asshole!!!! We connected the dots later on and the next day…and came to the consensus that the planter at the Standing Buddha was the best scam artist we’d ever encountered. He never sold us anything, or pushed us to do anything, but was looking out for our best interest the whole time. He spoke perfect English and told us he studied at UCLA. Everything he said was believable, and we would have booked at least some sort of excursion with him had the TAT agents not been so scummy and gross. When we referred back to Lonely Planet, the first warning was about the tuk tuk scams. Thank god we didn’t fall for it…financially anyway! We took the scam up for the free ride, and then got off when they made us pay…so we kind of technically scammed THEM! *_*

We couldn’t get into the Royal Palace inner grounds due to lack of coverage, but it was so hot, we spent the afternoon in the park across the street instead. Also, there was a Thai ceremony at the time, so tourists couldn’t go in anyway.

we are so tall

he’s wearing my pants!

another tuk tuk

This internet cafe was on Khaosan Rd. For a backpacker’s area, this cafe was incredibly nice. It reminds me so much of Chaya back home. Books to trade filled the shelves, good coffee, amazing smokey chicken wings, and a separate room with a big table for us to blog, read, and update everyone! They even gave us ipads for menus and checking email!

journaling and blogging while tien skypes

indian pants bought in bangkok, thai shoulder bag, REI tank

I bought a bunch of these Indian pants in Bangkok. They are so comfortable to travel in, and so bright, so the pictures pop! We are staying in the Khao San Place, where most of the backpackers congregate. It’s a whole street filled with bustling restaurants, bars, and street vendors. These pics are from the day after we arrived, in an alley in the Khao San.