Archive for the Category ◊ Thailand ◊

18 May 2009 Tiger Temple, Thailand
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While in Ubud, Bali, we met a nice girl from Thailand sitting next to us in a cafe.  Since Thailand was our next stop we asked her what she recommended as the number one thing we should do while there. She told us of a place about 2 hours from Bangkok where there is a temple with tigers. Some of the best things we’ve done on this trip has been because of the advice of other travelers or locals, so when we passed through Bangkok for the third time, we told our friend Richie (who lives there) that we wanted to go to the Tiger Temple.  He told us about a special program where you go early in the morning and get to spend 4 hours with the tigers, instead of the afternoon program where you go with a huge tour group on a bus and only spend a little bit of time with the tigers. At the suggestion of the girl we met in Bali, we rented a private car to take us to the Tiger Temple. We left at 5:00am and got there a little after 7:00am.  We stopped along the way to pick up food to bring to the monks. The private morning sessions can have up to a maximum of 10 people, but we were lucky because it was just us and a nice older couple from Utah.

We started the day with breakfast in the temple with the monks, followed by bottle feeding the tigers.  First we fed the older tigers who sucked on the bottles vigorously. Then they brought out the 8 week old babies who were seriously the cutest things I’ve ever seen!  Some of them still had blue eyes and some of them were big time cry babies…one of them wouldn’t stop screaming crying while the monks were saying their prayer.  After they were done being bottle fed they all passed out in a cuddled up pile for nap time.  Next we each walked our own tiger to the waterfall play area.  The trainers told us to make sure to walk behind the tigers head because they are known for taking playful bites out of peoples hind legs.  One of them bit the lady from Utah and the back of her leg was bleeding a little bit.  Once we were in the enclosed area by the waterfall they took the leashes off the 8 tigers for playtime.  You could tell they were happy to play as they jumped in the water and tackled each other.  So that we could interact and play with them, the trainers gave us toys that consisted of some type of toy or water bottle tied to a rope which dangled from a long stick.  The tigers would jump up to get the toys we dangled in front of them.  After play time it was bath time.  We each got to bathe our own tiger, which was like bathing a large dog.  After the bath it was snack time and we got to feed them cooked chicken from the palm of our hands.  We didn’t think it could get any better, but then we got to feed them chicken from our mouth!  The couple from Utah did it first, so we figured if they could do it then so could we. It was a bit unnerving, kneeling down, face to face with this big tiger with a small piece of chicken in my mouth…but they took it so gently.

Next we got to take a really big tiger on a walk…or more like the tiger took Rana and I on a walk. These guys were so big that the two of us had to walk one together, although if at anytime he wanted to take off running he would’ve easily dragged us behind him.  After walking them down to a canyon, the trainers put us in a small caged area so we could observe the big tigers playing without being in danger.  Although they could have easily jumped over the front fence (it was only 4 feet tall), but there were about 10 trainers there to make sure that the 9 tigers didn’t jump in the cage with us.  It was amazing to watch the tigers play and especially to see how the trainers interacted with them.  One of the trainers even sat on a tigers backs like he was riding a pony, and another trainer stood on a tigers back while he was in the water.  There seemed to be a mutual respect between the tigers and the trainers and you could tell that the trainers were not scared of the massive friendly tigers.  One of the bigger tigers broke an empty milk jug off of a toy and refused to let any of the other tigers or even the trainers take it from him.  Finally, when play time was over, one of the trainers splashed water in the tigers face to try to get him to drop the milk jug, but that stubborn tiger took the water torture for several minutes and then ran to the other side and finally dropped it.  Our experience ended with us getting our picture taken next to the biggest tiger.  It was such an awesome day!  We couldn’t stop smiling the entire time.  The staff was so nice and they were really good about taking pictures and video for us.  They also had a lot of other animals there as well.  We saw peacocks, a cheetah, water buffalo, a huge turtle and several different types of deer.  This experience is definitely at the top of our list of highlights of the trip so far!

16 May 2009 Back to Bangkok
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We were very happy to finally arrive back in Bangkok after our bus fiasco from Cambodia. We wanted to stay in a different part of the city this time (away from the hustle & bustle of backpacker central Khao San Road) so our friend, Richard suggested Suk 11, a really cool hostel located in a trendy part of town off Sukhumvit. We were surrounded by great restaurants, bars and conveniently located close to the Skytrain. Suk 11 has tons of character…you sort of feel like you’re on the set of a movie as you walk down the dimly lit wood paneled narrow halls with occasional exposed brick walls and an eclectic mix of furniture and decorations hanging from the walls and ceiling. The staff are really friendly and helpful.  As you climb the stairs the walls are covered in signatures and comments from previous guests from around the world that rave about how much they enjoyed their stay at Suk 11. If you’re looking for a great place to stay in Bangkok check it out at www.suk11.com

Sherri getting comfortable at the movies

Sherri getting comfortable at the movies

We only had a few days in Bangkok this time around, but since we’d already visited the tourist attractions we were taking it easy. We were happy to wake up to a rainy day…perfect time to hit the movies, as we had been told how amazing the theaters were in Bangkok. Angels and Demons had just been released and was playing in one of the deluxe theaters. It was the best movie experience ever! You check in and are shown to a lounge where you can order drinks and food before you go to your seat. The seats are very deluxe! Super soft leather that fully recline and you even get a blanket & pillow to keep you warm. The waitress shows up with your snacks and cocktails (yes, you can order cocktails as well!) and then you can have her return with another round as often as you like…it was awesome & we were so comfortable that we didn’t want to leave the theater after the movie had ended. To top it off, it was not much more expensive then going to a regular movie in California and you get so much more!  Just before the movie started they played the King’s Anthem and showed a short video of the King and of work he’s done to improve the country. During this everyone in the theatre stood up…I guess it’s similar to how we have the National Anthem at sporting events. It’s interesting that they do it before every movie. They really take pride in their King as you can see pictures of him just about everywhere you look in Thailand.

We ate some really great food while in Bangkok…from nice restaurants to yummy street food at the weekend market where Richard took us to one of his favorite places for some amazing grilled pork that was so flavorful and tender it makes my mouth water just to think about it. One restaurant that really stood out was Cabbages & Condoms. Besides serving great Thai food they have a very unique concept in which the restaurant is creatively decorated with condoms. Cabbages and Condoms is run by the Population and Community Development Association (PDA), which was founded in 1974 by Mechai Viravaidya as an organization to promote family planning. PDA established community based distribution networks throughout Thailand, providing villagers access to birth control pills and condoms. The name “Cabbages and Condoms” comes from Mechai’s belief that for the program to be successful, birth control should be as accessible and easy to buy as vegetables in the market. PDA has grown over the years and has multiple locations of the Cabbages and Condoms restaurants located throughout Thailand. PDA’s basic philosophy is that villagers have the ability to manage development projects in their communities if given the opportunity to do so, making local participation essential to all programs. PDA has expanded to not only help with family planning but also water resource development, environmental conservation, environmental sanitation, AIDS education and prevention. The Cabbages and Condoms restaurants also feature a handicraft shop where they sell crafts handmade from the villages they are working to help in Thailand. If you are ever in Thailand this is definitely a place worth checking out.

We had a couple great nights out! We danced one night away at a Bed Supper Club, a very modern club decorated all in white with plush beds and pillows for guests to lounge around on while taking a break from dancing or to relax while sipping cocktails. We had only planned to go there for a drink after dinner but we ended up having so much fun that we didn’t leave until nearly 3am. We walked back to our hostel, Suk 11, to find a party going on in the lobby. The staff and some of the guests were dancing up a storm, so we joined the party & didn’t make it to bed until 4:30 in the morning!! Richard also took us out for a night on the town…we visited a ladyboy bar (part of the Bangkok, Thailand tourist experience) which was crazy…some of the “guys” really did look like “girls”. He also took us a really cool club that had a DJ playing great techno music along with a guy that was playing the drums! Richard got up and played the bongos…it was awesome as the live drumming just enhanced the beat.

Our trip back to Bangkok was awesome! It is a great city with lots to do and see.

16 Apr 2009 Thai Farm Cooking School – Chang Mai
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Rana and I both love Thai food, so we were super excited to take an all day cooking course on an organic farm.  They picked us up in the morning and took us to an open air food market and taught us about several of the different ingredients.  Then they gave us a list of Thai dishes and told us to each pick out 5 that we wanted to make.  Rana and I picked out different dishes so that we could try each others.  Before we started cooking they gave us aprons and large straw hats and took us on a tour around the farm and showed us several of the fruits and vegetables that we would be cooking with.  The first thing we made was a curry paste, which consisted of about 10 different ingredients finely chopped and then put into a stone mortar…this is where you get to let your aggression out by pounding and grinding for about 10 minutes until you have a paste.  I was so happy when my red curry chicken and chicken coconut milk soup turned out just as good or better than any restaurant I’ve been to…since these are two of my favorite dishes I can’t wait to make them at home.  My spring rolls also turned out great.  It was so much fun!  Everything Rana made was delicious as well and we especially loved the sticky rice and mangos.  The only bummer was something made Rana break out in a rash.  We weren’t sure if it was from heat or the food.  The next day she got it again, but since we weren’t in the heat we figured it must be something from the food.  We think it might be from fish sauce so she’s been staying away from that and it hasn’t happened again.

13 Apr 2009 Thai New Year in Chang Mai
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After two blissful weeks in the islands of southern Thailand, we headed north to Chang Mai to celebrate Thailand’s New Year called “Songkran”.  It starts April 13 and lasts between 3 and 10 days, depending on where you are in Thailand. The word Songkran is from the Sanskrit meaning the beginning of a new Solar Year.   It is also known as the “Water Festival” as people believe that water will wash away bad luck.  According to many of our new friends, Chang Mai is the best place to be in Thailand for the celebration.  The city basically shuts down for several days for a full blown water fight.  Our friend Trevor, from Bangkok, also flew up for the festivities.  We all got water guns with backpacks attached.   The majority of the mayhem was along the man made river, called a moat, that surrounded the main part of the city.  People had buckets with ropes attached that they would drop into the moat and fill with water to throw on people who were walking or driving by.  There was also beds of pickup trucks full of people who had large garbage cans filled with ice cold water that they would dump on people as they drove by.  Whenever we got someone wet they would always flash us a big smile…no one ever got mad because it’s fair game…no one is safe, even on small side streets.  The water fight would last all day until the sun went down, but even in the evening hours there were always a few overzealous people who would keep the game going.

09 Apr 2009 Koh Phangan Island – Full Moon Party
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Forget Ibiza, Koh Phangan is the place to party, especially the week of the full moon.  About 10,000 party goers swarm to the Island for this big event.  Packed bars line the beach with neon body paint artists camped out front and if you want to get really smashed there are rows of bucket booths where the vendors yell out to you to try to get you to come to their booth for a bucket drink and then reward you for choosing their booth by giving you a free flower lei and a flower shaped ring made out of straws.  There’s even places where you can buy mushroom shakes…or so we’ve heard.  A fun place to meet up with friends in the late night (or early a.m.) is the pool party at Coral Bungalows and the taxis will give you a free ride there, which was convenient for us because our hotel was also nearby.

We arrived 4 nights before the full moon and the town of Hat Rin was already in full swing.  On the trip over from Railay Beach to Koh Phangan, we met two very cool guys from Chicago, who are both named Nick.  One of the Nicks had already been to two full moon parties before, so he became our travel guide.  We all had such a blast!  The night before the full moon us girls ended up staying in for the night due to a big rain storm, which was good because we were able to get up early the next day and have a great time exploring the island.  We rented a jeep for the day and drove to the other side of Koh Phangan.  It was pretty scary in the beginning because we were driving on a super hilly windy road next to cliffs and we had to drive on the left side of the road and the stick shift was on the left hand side.  To make things even more complicated, the guy who rented the jeep to us said that we shouldn’t shift gears while going up or down hill, which was hard because most of the drive was up or down hill.  By the time we got to the other side of the island we all needed a drink.  We found a cute little boutique hotel in a beautiful cove and had yummy cocktails while we watched a huge storm roll in.  Then we decided to drive to another beach we’d heard of called Bottle Beach.  The drive to get there was so muddy and steep with ditches all over the road that we were afraid that we wouldn’t be able to get back up, but since we had 4 wheel drive (and don’t like to back down from an adventure) we went for it…and we were well rewarded…the beach was beautiful and I have to admit that I loved driving back up the steep muddy mountain…I think I was laughing the entire time, I even got to drive through a small river.  On the way back to our side of the island we stopped at an elephant park.  Since it was still raining a little we didn’t get to ride the elephants through the jungle, but Rana and I did get to feed them bananas.  They were so cute and super smart.  The baby elephant swung a hula hoop around his trunk while playing the harmonica…I couldn’t believe it!  After that we went on a waterfall hike and then headed home…it was a wonderful day!

That night we started off the full moon celebration with a group of friends at the Outback Bar and then from there headed to the beach, which was already quite the spectacle.  The other nights it had been crowded, but that night the entire beach was a sea of people having a great time and enjoying life.  We had an incredible time and will never forget our full moon experience!

01 Apr 2009 Krabi – Railay
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Our journey south to the islands of Thailand was long but definitely worth it. After the islands of Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Lei we headed to Railay (also spelled Rai Lei and Rai Ley) which took a little over an hour by boat. Railay is a small beach town that feels like an island but is actually at the tip of a peninsula that is inaccessible by land because of the huge limestone cliffs. There were no cars or motorbikes in Railay, not even a pier, which we soon discovered as the large boat we were on pulled into the bay and we had to quickly jump onto a long tail boat. To make things a bit more complicated it was raining and the seas were choppy as we were trying to get from one boat to another. The tide was low and the long tail boat was overloaded with people and luggage so we had to unload about 75 feet before the shore and carry our bags over the water. Luckily we are traveling light with only our large backpacks and small travel packs because there was no wheeling your luggage here. We arrived on West Railay (the more expensive side) but a short 5-10 minute walk across the island and we were on East Railay. We stayed in a cute backpacker style resort, Yaya’s.  The rooms were built 3 stories high with large balconies and steep, narrow wooden staircases (they looked more like a ladder than a staircase) going from level to level…it had a cool jungle feel…kinda like the tree house in Swiss Family Robinson.

Ahhhhhh…paradise. We quickly settled into the mellow pace of Railay with its gorgeous beaches, turquoise waters and hypnotic views of limestone cliffs and nearby islands. We were happy as could be lounging in the sun. Vendors walked up and down the beach selling food, drinks and all sorts of things…our favorite snack was corn on the cob barbecued right there on the beach, drenched with yummy butter and salt and an ice cold Chang or Singha (Thailand’s two most popular beers). Most afternoons a storm would roll in and it would rain for an hour or so…it was a nice break from the hot sun and the perfect opportunity to read or write in our journals. Our evenings were spent sipping cocktails or cafe lattes from one cool loungy spot to another…most of them were rasta themed bars with low platforms and lots of cushions. Some of our favorite spots were The Drop Inn Bar, The Bamboo Bar, The Joy Bar, The Stone Bar and The Skunk Bar. We played many rounds of cards (gin rummy) and just about every bar had games…connect four and jenga were the most popular. The bartenders (which are usually climbing instructors by day) were friendly and always eager to challenge us to a game and most of the bars had fire dancing. There were also lots of good restaurants to choose from in Railay and we soon added a new street food staple to our diet, the Thai pancake. There were quite a few stands to choose from but we found one lady that definitely made the best ones and had the freshest ingredients. A Thai pancake is similar to a crepe, it’s very thin and the contents can range from sweet to savory. Our favorite combinations were tuna-onion-tomato, cheese-tomato and pinapple-nutella. A great budget way eat, as the Thai pancakes only cost about $1-$1.50.

Originally we were only going to stay in Railay for 3 nights but we were enjoying ourselves so much that 3 nights turned into 6 (plus the guesthouse we were staying in let us stay the last 3 nights for a good discount).

On our 3rd day we hiked up a steep cliff, in which you had to use ropes to pull yourself up through some parts, to the viewpoint where you could see the beaches of both East and West Railay. It was amazing! From there we continued on down some very steep cliffs, lowering yourself down while hanging onto a rope to the lagoon in the middle of the rocks…it was an adventurous challenging hike, especially since we were not harnessed in, but absolutely worth it!

Our favorite beach was Tham Phra Nang, which was about a 10 minute walk down a little path just south of East Railay beach. This beach was also home to the Princess Cave, which had a shrine of phalic symbols in all shapes, sizes and colors (see photo).

Railay and the area of Krabi are world reknown for rock climbing. Sherri and I had taken a few indoor rock climbing classes a few years ago and really enjoyed it so we were excited to try it outdoors on the beautiful limestone cliffs. We did a half day climb with a guide and we got to try about 6 different routes. Our guide, Ques, was great! He would climb up, set the line and make it look super easy.  The first route was a pretty simple climb and not too high but they definitely got more challenging as we went on. It was an amazing adrenaline rush being super high above the ground…rock climbing is such a great workout for your whole body. We definitely felt it for the next few days and had the bruises to show for it!

29 Mar 2009 One of the best days of our life!
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We started the day off by going on two boat dives near Phi Phi Don Island. The 1st dive was off Bidah Nok and the second dive, known as Whale Shark Corner, was off the island that the movie “The Beach” was filmed (Phi Phi Lei). The diving was beautiful…tons of fish everywhere and lots of colorful coral.  The dive staff at Island Divers were super nice and fun.  After diving we went back to Phi Phi Don and had lunch at our favorite Italian restaurant, Amico’s, where we had lunch every day (great thin crust pizza).  In the late afternoon we went on our second boat ride for the day back to Phi Phi Lei Island to spend the night on the beach at Maya Bay, famous from the movie “The Beach”. We stopped in the middle of the bay and to go kayaking and snorkeling…the water was a gorgeous shade of turquiose!  At dusk they loaded us from the larger boat onto a little Duffy boat and took us to the beach, but the tide was super low, so when the bottom started scraping we had to get out, grab our stuff and walk the rest of the way in the water.  During the day Maya Bay is packed with boats full of tourists, but at night it was just us, the 15 other campers and the Thai crew.  Well prepared travelers that we are, we made cocktails with the bottle of rum and cokes that we brought with us.  Armed with cameras and cocktails in hand, we walked along the beach and saw the most amazing sunset over the ocean between two huge cliffs.  Back at camp the locals had formed a circle and were singing and playing the drums.  Instead of joining the group of campers, we decided to join the circle of locals instead.  They were all so sweet and so much fun!  They had us cracking up as we all tried to remember the lyrics to the songs they were playing…it was definitely a group effort to get through some of the songs.  That night on the beach was probably one of the most beautiful things we’ve ever experienced…it’s hard to describe with words, but I’ll try.  There was the most amazing plankton in the water that glowed a whitish blue and glittered like diamonds…you could go in the water and move your hands and feet and it would light up all around you. The mountain cliffs were silhouetted against the bright star filled sky behind them…we even saw shooting stars. The cliff to the right of the bay looked like a monkey head and the one to the left looked like a gorilla’s head.  To top it all off there was a lightening storm rolling in overhead that was lighting up some of the white puffy clouds in the sky…it was like a light bulb was being turned on and off.  It was absolutely stunning! 
 
After they performed a fire dance show on the beach they gave us straw mats and sleeping bags to lay on the sand.  It was too warm to sleep inside them so we used them for extra cushions and slept in our light weight sleep sacks instead.  Shortly after we got settled and laid down it started to rain.  Everyone grabbed their mats and made a mad dash for the end of the beach where the cliffs gave some shelter…the rain still hit my feet but it didn’t bother me because it was still so warm. It only lasted for 10 minutes, then the sky cleared up and we moved our beds back to the beach under the stars.  Apparently the people who decided to stay under the cliffs had problems with rats and crabs crawling on them while they were sleeping and some guys even wanted to be taken back to their hotels…but we were okay since we slept by the water, we may have had a few crabs crawling around us but I was so tired I barely noticed. 
 
The next morning we woke up early and walked to the other side of the island to watch the sunrise.  Then we did yoga on the beach, had breakfast, took a group picture and went for a swim…it was so nice, it felt like our own private beach. They started loading everyone up on the boat to head back to the big island, but we were having such a great time that we didn’t want to leave, so the owner of the camp and island said that we could stay longer and go back on his speed boat with him and his two sons instead of going back on the slow boat with everyone else.  It was so much fun racing across the water next to the beautiful huge limestone cliffs.  He even took us snorkeling in a gorgeous little bay that was surrounded by tall cliffs on all sides. Then he took us snorkeling at Monkey Beach where we saw tons of beautiful fish and the coolest neon purple starfish with black pricks coming out of it and a white sea snake that almost blended in with the white coral.  After that he took us to the back side of Phi Phi Don Island.   To thank them we invited him and his sons to lunch, but he had to go so only his younger son, Adam, joined us.  Adam is so sweet and speaks great English and French.  Since we were all a little stiff from sleeping on the beach we asked him if he knew of a good place to get massages.  He said his mom’s friend (who’s a ladyboy) owned P.P. Garden Massage, so after lunch he took us there.  It felt so amazing that one hour wasn’t enough, so we got 2 hours instead and were in sheer bliss!  What a wonderful 24 hours…it couldn’t have been any better!

27 Mar 2009 Phi Phi Don Island Pics
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26 Mar 2009 Bangkok – March 26th: 20,000 Red Shirts Protest
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On our last day in Bangkok before we headed to the Islands in the South, we decided we wanted to go watch a movie in one of their super plush movie theaters. You basically get your own lazy boy style reclining chair with a foot rest and they give you a blanket and pillow and serve alcohol and food to you while you relax in your chair. We planned on walking to the river and taking a speed water taxi (called a “khlong”) to the theatre. On the way there we were amazed to find that the street was full of thousands of protesters wearing red and shouting “Truth Now”. They seemed pretty peaceful and smiled at us, so we weren’t too concerned and were just happy that they were marching in the same direction that we were headed in so we would have to walk against the crowd. We had no idea at the time what they were protesting about…luckily then it was a peaceful protest that became less peaceful while we were away in the Islands.
I looked up the following information on the National Post:
Supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra march toward to Government House during a protest on March 26, 2009 in Bangkok, Thailand. Thousands of anti-government protesters are demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, the dissolution of Parliament and fresh elections. More than 20,000 protesters surrounded the offices of Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Thursday, distracting his government as it began giving cash handouts to the poor in a bid to stave off recession. In the latest episode in Thailand’s long-running political crisis, protesters derided Abhisit’s handling of the economy and vowed to stay at Government House until he resigned. “We want to get rid of Abhisit. We will stay until we achieve our goals,” said Jatuporn Prompan, a leader of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), which backs former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, ousted in a 2006 coup. Thousands of police and unarmed anti-riot soldiers ringed the Government House compound as the red-shirted crowd waved “Abhisit, Get Out” banners and speakers hurled abuse at his three-month-old government. The demonstrators had earlier pushed through police lines to get closer to the compound, but did not try to enter. The crowd was calm as night fell.
24 Mar 2009 Bangkok, Thailand
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Bangkok is an incredible, busy city that never sleeps. We arrived late in the evening and the streets were packed. We stayed in a guesthouse near Khao San Road…which is known as the backpacker district.  Our 1st day we walked to the Grand Palace which wasn’t too far from where we stayed and we were drenched in sweat by the time we got there. It was sticky hot! Not to mention that there are hardly any pedestrian crossings and tons of cars and motorbikes!  We waited for a Thai person to dart across the street and followed quickly behind. The Grand Palace was amazing…it left you speechless.  So overwhelming with all the detailed statues and structures glinting gold and jeweled colors. The grounds were huge with one ornate building after another. Did I mention it was hot? The Palace is a sacred place with many temples and Buddhas (one of the most famous here is the Emerald Buddha) so you have to be appropriately dressed with skirts down to our calves and shirts with sleeves.  To enter the temple with the Emerald Buddha you must also take off your shoes. It was a very spiritual experience with people from many different cultures, including the monks dressed in their orange robes, kneeling down in prayer and meditation. We also visited another temple, Wat Pho, which has Thailand’s largest reclining Buddha. It was huge and so beautiful!  Over 150 feet long and 50 feet high!

From there we headed to the river to try and catch a cool breeze and a ride. We got on one boat and we were all excited as it pulled away from the dock but that was short lived as we realized we had gotten on the wrong boat…this one only took you across the river to another amazing temple. Luckily from that side we were able to catch a large gondola down the river…it felt so good to be on the water with the breeze; a temporary relief from the heat. We got off the river and hopped on the Skytrain which was a great way to see the city…the views were amazing and there was AC!

The day flew by!  It was already after 6pm and we needed to get back to the other side of town to meet Trevor and Richard (friends of friends that didn’t know each other but both live in Bangkok) but it had taken us awhile to get here via the gondola and Skytrain…a taxi wasn’t a good option either since it was prime time traffic. A quick look at the map and guidebook we discovered a smaller river with a public water taxi, the Khlong. For only 8 baht (about 25 cents) you jump on a long skinny boat packed with people (mostly Thai)…it was fun and fast! Racing down the narrow canal with other Khlong’s heading in the opposite direction…there were sheets of plastic on the sides that you pulled up while passing other boats so the passengers don’t get too wet. We arrived back to our side of town in no time and hopped in a tuk-tuk (a small motorized taxi) for a short ride back to our hotel where we met Richard and Trevor.  Over dinner we were able to pick their brains on where to go and what to see in Thailand…1st hand traveling advice is priceless! Plus Trevor just finished writing the Cambodia guidebook for National Geographic so we got some great advice on where to go when we get there as well.

We had a great 1st day in Thailand and managed to try many new means of transportation.