“Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore”…This was our reaction stepping off the plane in to the Bangkok airport. We left quiet, orderly Japan and arrived in louder, unorganized Bangkok.
Although we and Thailand got off to a rocky start, we’ve grown to love it. The activities have been so much fun, and extremely reasonably priced. The food has been delicious and dirt cheap. Plus, not having to get dressed up for dinner every night was just what the doctor ordered.
The Thai people have been extremely friendly and are just as trustworthy as the other Asian countries we have visited. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect because I had read some things about Bangkok and tourist scams that made me have my guard up (though I am sure the scams/pickpockets even in Bangkok pale in comparison to Europe).
Here are the pictures for Thailand…they are in a random order (because of the different cameras used to take them) and some of the pictures were taken by Patara (the elephant place) or Tiger Kingdom. The rest – as always – were taken by us. Some pictures are below; all of them are available in full size at the link to our smugmug site:
For our last full day in Chiang Mai, we hired a tour guide to drive us to see some of the main attractions in the city. It seems like this would be an expensive thing to do, but the whole day with the tour guide only cost 50$. This is almost what we paid the taxi drivers in Japan to take us to dinner!!
The temples in Chiang Mai were pretty different from the temples in Japan. They were much more crowded and louder than Japan (although, I think anything would be louder than Japan!)
The first temple we saw was Wat Chedi Luang. It was a local Buddha temple that had many people praying. The tour guide explained to us that their religious days were based on the moon. There was an area where locals brought food offerings to the temple.
We just got back from the Patara Elephant Farm!!
This was an incredible day that gave us a wonderful and up-close experience with elephants. There are many many different “elephant encounter” type places in Thailand; however, many of those places do not give the elephants the care and attention that Patara provides. They focus on the health care, breeding, and conservation of the elephants. Most of the elephants at Patara have been rescued from circuses, log rolling camps, or from the streets of Thailand. This experience is pretty much the reason why we wanted to stop in Chaing Mai.
We just go back to our hotel room after a really fun day!
One of the popular things to do in Thailand is to go to a cooking class that teaches you how to cook local Thai dishes. There are many many different companies that do this, but Justin’s extensive research led us to “Alot of Thai: Home Cooking Class.” It is a family run business. The chef, Yui, spoke wonderful English and was a pleasure to spend the day with. Her husband, Kwan, picked us up from our hotel (in an adorable light blue VW bus), along with the rest of our group.