Starting in Thailand...
A trip to Thailand is not complete without a visit to Bangkok and The Grand Palace. The palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam since 1782 when construction of this complex was started. The king, his court, and his royal government were based on the grounds of the palace until 1925.
Hopefully it won't be years but only months before we can all travel again due to this unrelenting pandemic! My friend Kris and I took this trip to celebrate one of my milestone birthdays and what a trip we had!
Grand Palace up close and Statue of Pink Elephants also in Bangkok
A view of Bangkok's business center from Sirocco Roof Bar. Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and a bustling financial hub.
Traditional Thai dancer at the must see Jim Thompson House.
Jim Thompson House is a perfect example of traditional Thai architecture. Entrance is on the ground level and the common living space is on the second floor as a precaution against flooding due to near by water or water damage during the rainy season.
Sights of Bangkok are diverse and fascinating.
Everything can be found at the huge Chatachuck Market.
Charismatic street vendor. Thai food is amazingly delicious!
Lotus flowers at the Flower Market.
Mounds of lotus flowers and orchids for only a few dollars.
Being fitted for a custom silk Jacket at James Taylor.
A Tuk Tuk is a fun and life changing way to see the sights. We mostly traveled by air-conditioned van with our tour guide Alice, but a trip to Thailand is not complete without experiencing a Tuk Tuk and an EXPERIENCE it is indeed!
Another mode of transportation is the long-tail boat. Touring the waterway running through Bangkok, The Chao Phraya River, was an "eye opener". Life along the river includes rich, poor and everything in-between including at least one crocodile.
Anticipating the long-tail boat traffic jam at the locks. Yikes!!!
Traveling out into the country from Bangkok was so interesting. Thailand is quite a self sufficient country. The almost year-round growing season and access to the sea provides its citizenry with fresh foods and employment.
Had an opportunity to try our hand at salt mining.
Fresh produce is available everywhere but the most fascinating market was along the Maeklong Railway...
The vendors set up their produce along the sides of the tracks, knowing the drill so they take it all in stride. Once the train is in sight it's quite chaotic. Our guide Alice was very clear we needed to get off the tracks! Train passes and it's right back to business as usual. Truly amazing that no one was hurt. No produce was disturbed! Not sure why it makes sense to have the market right on the tracks but then again I am just a tourist! Whew...
Our day of "Beyond Bangkok" ended with a river tour to the Floating Market.
Next stop was Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. Chiang Mai has temples, monks, markets and plenty of Thai massage; however, my favorite take aways were from our travels to the country side... visiting the Patara Elephant Farm, rice farming using ancient farming techniques with water buffalo and beautiful green terraced countryside.
My friend Kris atop her elephant...brave lady!
Still farming with water buffalo - who are very friendly.
Beautiful green terraced hillsides.
There were may favorites from Thailand but I think our cooking class tops the list.
Phad Makauyaw Moo (Stir fried green eggplant with minced pork)
According to our guide Tippy, this is how families cook today. Outdoors over a wood fire with everything purchased daily or harvested from family gardens.
Truly a feast...
The Artisan lifestyle is flourishing in Thailand, particularly in Chiang Mai Province.
Hand-made and hand-painted umbrella.
Silk being made on a wooden loom powered by foot pedals.
I have such a love of brooms and baskets... kid in a candy shop!
Last stop of the trip - Krabi on the Andaman Sea in Southern Thailand...
Long-tail boats anchored at our hotel, The Tubkaak in Krabi.
Bird of Paradise grow wild everywhere in Thailand.
Breakfast at the beach!
Sun coming up over Andaman Sea.
View over the bow of our long-tail boat on our way to Hidden Lagoon in Koh Hong for a marathon kayak excursion through mangrove lined waterway and caves.
Following the leader...
I now know what a stalactite looks like!
Ah, there is light ahead.
Thai style, may the spirits protect you and wherever you call home...