This year my vacation began with Asia, specifically Thailand: Bangkok and ChangMai. Below is a snippet of some of the vacation.
Bangkok was like any other big city in that it was crowded and the traffic congestion was terrible. What else can you expect in a country of nine million people? Most of the time when we were in a car, or tuk tuk, I would close my eyes and hope for the best. What was really interesting to me is that Thai people do not get angry or ever experience road rage – they work things out peacefully. What a concept??? It would be nice if Americans could adopt this.
The heat was unbearable in Bangkok – worst humidity I had ever experienced 75%! It was mandatory to take 2-3 showers a day. Thankfully, the humidity for the rest of our vacation was bearable.
One thing that impressed me the most about Thailand is the love the country has for their King and Queen (Bhumibol Adulyadej and Sirikit). You will find large photos of the King and Queen throughout Thailand and every Thai home has a shrine in their honor. The King has done a lot for their country – from improving farming methods (converted opium fields to rice fields), giving lectures, leading the country through crisis and is the pillar of strength for the people
We saw many beautiful temples in Thailand. It was an amazing experience to stand inside these gorgeous places of worship. I appreciate the spirituality of the country. I also appreciate the locals for their gentle, kind and helpful nature. It is not surprising that Thailand is called “the land of 1,000 smiles.”
At Asiatique, a large outdoor shopping mall, I had a fish foot spa for the first time. It was complete sensory overload as I had hundreds of tiny fish nibbling all over my feet and ankles. Thank goodness I only paid for a 30 minute session as I don’t think I could have endured any more tickle torture.
In ChangMai we went to an orchid farm, an elephant sanctuary and Tiger Kingdom all in one day! The trip to Tiger Kingdom was the highlight of my day and my favorite part of our entire vacation. Tigers have always been my favorite wild animal. It was completely surreal to be in a cage with these magnificent animals. Although the tigers were docile having been raised in captivity, I am glad we did this excursion after lunch!
Kayaking the Chiang Dao jungle in Northern Thailand was also a treat. The creek like river winds itself through a bamboo jungle and temperate forest. Abundant bird life crossings, fish jumping and mysterious sounds from the forest accompanied our journey.