Memories, moments, photos and souvenirs. I can make lists of the things I loved in Thailand, but I know I won’t forget, because they are part of me now.
8. Mekong River Boat Ride to Laos
Up at the Golden Triangle in Northern Thailand, as you gaze across into Myanmar & Laos, you can rent a motorboat to you over to a small island which is part of Laos. It’s a total tourist trap, and it’s only stalls and stalls of stuff for sale, and not one part of it is authentic Laotian culture. But that boat ride, just breezing down the Mekong River, feeling the spray on my face and the wind in my hair. Worth every baht.
7. On The Rocks in Phuket
Some of the best places are the little known secrets. The restaurant & bar we found in Phuket, On the Rocks, was one of these places. Tucked into a rocky corner of Kata Noi beach [my favorite of the main Phuket island beaches], my husband and I enjoyed one of the cheapest meals in Phuket, with delicious food and an unbeatable view. We watched the sun set into the crashing rocks and we finished up our pad thai, made friends with the expat couple sharing the bar with us, and just blessed to be traveling through Thailand together. It was our last week in the country, and it just the perfect spot to enjoy a meal and reflect over the 2 months.
6. The White Temple
Thailand is not short on temples. But Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai, Thailand, was by the far the most memorable we saw. The temple is pure white, parts covered in reflective mirror surfaces to give a shining appearance too. Creepy imagery surrounds the entire building, from statues to this pit of hands & arms reaching up from the underworld. Inside, the walls are covered with surrealist art, as if Thailand’s Salvador Dali had left his mark. It’s eerie and remarkable at the same time.
5. Chai Yen
Why yes, my top moments in Thailand include a beverage in a bag. I had lots of things in bags in Asia. But Thailand’s national milk tea, chai yen, if you want it iced, is top notch. It’s creamy and sweet and orange. And it’s cheap. And it’s everywhere. Quickly, this ritual became a daily event for us. Breakfast in the hotel, chai yen for the road.
4. Tien Beach @ Koh Larn
Just off the coast of Pattaya, Thailand, I found paradise. On the sandy white shores and turquoise blue waters of Tien Beach on the island of Koh Larn. After a month of exploring the hilly north of the country, this tropical oasis was a welcome sight. As a Florida gulf coast girl, I don’t like waves with my ocean, and this calm & serene coast was perfect. I also underestimated our location to the equator and left quite crispy. But worth it in the name of travel.
3. Sunset in Bangkok
I’ve seen sunsets, but then I saw THE SUNSET. High atop Bangkok, enjoying drinks at the Sky Bar at Lebua Hotel, we were in awe of this beautiful blue sky light up with pinks and oranges and yellows and purples and fade to black as the city lights came alive. Forever a memory.
2. Elephant Riding
If you haven’t ridden an elephant in Thailand, have you actually been to Thailand? Debatable. It was one of those bucket list moments to say the least. We went with a company that was real out of the way, and not touristy at all. We were the only people there other than the employees! We paid for a half hour and rode for over an hour. The guide even took my phone so he could capture these photos for us. In this case, the memory is probably better than the moment. Because riding an elephant is actually a little dull. It’s slow and lumbering, hard to stay on him, and rather uneventful. But I have photos of me on an elephant in Thailand, so I am therefore, happy.
The Thai do New Years right. Their festival, called Songkran, lasts for up to a week depending on the region you are in. We were in Chiang Mai where they party the hardest and the longest. For 5 days, anytime we left our apartment, we risked getting soaked. For the first few days, we joined the madness. At the moat, which is the center of Chiang Mai, is where you can barely drive because it’s just packed with people. If there are people driving, they are in pickup trucks throwing even more water on the people by the moat. We made the mistake one day taking a songthaew [an open taxi] back to our place, which was often stopped in traffic allowing any passer by to shoot water, sometimes filled with ice, at us sitting ducks. It was wonderfully miserable. It was one of the best cultural experiences I had in Asia.