As I stare out my bedroom window into my backyard, I think about Narnia. Yes, the first day of Spring was just a few days ago, but looking outside, I am expecting the White Witch to draw me in with Turkish Delights any second now…
Having just experienced a snow day, it’s crazy to think that just six days ago, I was laying on a sandy beach, with my toes in turquoise water, basking in the 95 degree heat. While I sit here reminiscing about where I was two weeks ago, let me take you with me on my journey to Thailand, where I spent my Spring Break.
I spent a week in Thailand, splitting my time among basically every landscape this country had to offer. I spent the first few days of my trip in Bangkok, which is the capital of Thailand. Bangkok is a bustling city, one in which you will never run out of things to do. From endless markets to bazaars to nightlife to visiting temples, I could have easily just spent one week in Bangkok. But unfortunately, as my time was limited, here is what I did in Bangkok:
- The Grand Palace –
- Wat Arun – Also known as the Temple of Dawn, I was lucky enough to have a hotel room right across from this beautiful temple. Honestly, neither words nor pictures can do the intricate, beautiful design of this temple justice – you have to just see it for yourself. (And if you do, take me on your flight to Thailand please!)
- Wat Pho – Another temple complex in Bangkok, that is also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. You want to know why? Well, because it houses a reclining Buddha that is 150 feet long and is covered in gold leaf! Also, the temple is considered the first public university of Thailand, and has a school for traditional medicine and message. I, of course, had to check out the famed Thai massages myself, and I got one here – let me tell you, I could have stayed at that massage center for my entire trip. It definitely soothed me of all of my exam stress that I had.
- LOTS OF SHOPPING AND EATING – I don’t even know if this part of my trip needs an explanation. Bangkok is bustling with market after market and had the best street food I have ever eaten in my life. Honestly, I think I ate the equivalent of six meals a day, because I just wanted to experience everything. But all of the shopping and haggling (which is expected) that I did definitely burned off all of those delicious calories. After all, Deborah Cater said it best: “you have to taste a culture to understand it“.
Next, I flew to northern Thailand, where I stayed at the smaller, more rural city of Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai was beautiful as it is situated amongst the highest mountains in the country so I always had breathtaking views. The highlight of my trip to Chiang Mai was visiting the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, which is a joint initiative between members of the Karen hill-tribes and Chiang Mai locals who were concerned about the welfare of elephants in Thailand. Their mission is to provide as many elephants as possible with the good health, freedom and happiness that they deserve by raising awareness, providing miles and miles of land for them to roam on, and helping create a future where elephants are not ridden, poached, overworked or abused. Honestly, while many people may be doubtful of these sanctuaries, I could tell that the elephants here were very loved and looked after; you could visibly see the bonds created amongst the elephants and the caretakers. Additionally, this sanctuary provides many Karen people with employment, education and financial support. My day with the elephants included learning about their history, learning about the sanctuary, having a delicious Thai lunch, bathing in the river with the elephants, and something I could never say I expected to enjoy, taking a mud bath with the elephants!
(In case you were wondering, I also ate a lot in Chiang Mai. Just assume from hereon that I ate a lot of everything and I ate it everywhere.)
For the last leg of my journey, I flew to Phuket, which is one of the southern provinces of Thailand. Phuket consists of the island of Phuket, which is the country’s largest island, and another 32 smaller islands. From Phuket, I took a ferry to the Phi Phi Islands, where I went on various boat trips exploring the many islands of Thailand. I absolutely loved my experience in southern Thailand as I was able to swim in the beautiful Andaman Sea, canoe in caves, see the legendary James Bond Island, learn about a historical Muslim Floating Village, and hang out with monkeys. There’s definitely too much to write about for this part of my journey, but hopefully these pictures will give you a glimpse of my relaxing few days in southern Thailand.
Overall, Thailand was one of the best experiences of my life. The people were so friendly – I was always greeted with a smile or a head bow (unless I was haggling for a souvenir…my bargaining antics were not always met with a smile). The food was delicious. Truly, if you go to Thailand for anything, go to eat. I can’t stop raving about the food because everything was amazing, from street food to restaurants to the food found on floating markets that you had to eat in the boat. The views were breathtaking and I am thankful I was able to experience multiple sceneries, from the view of Bangkok from the steps of a temple to the views of the mountains in Chiang Mai to the most amazing sunset I have seen in Phuket. If you ever have a free week or honestly, a free couple of weeks so you can really see everything, book your flight to Thailand. This post and these pictures don’t do it justice – you really have to see it for yourself.