Greetings from Thailand

Thaimaa - 9.7.2018 20:37

We have arrived well in Thailand and are getting used to the tropical sauna and the spicy curries. Our time here has been relaxing. We’ve been staying with my family in Bangkok, enjoy the resort lifestyle, and did one week of traveling to the jungles of the north in Chiang Mai and the beaches of the south in Krabi.

Bangkok alone has already been the great holiday. Great food at Heather’s kitchen, with amazing views of the city and the river full of life. Starting the mornings with a run at the gym and relaxing by the pools after breakfast (homemade Karelian pies!). Then playing boardgames(Agricola!) or shopping during the day and delicious dinners in the evenings.

In Chiang Mai we were the chefs for one evening when we took a Thai cooking class. The half day class started by going to the local food market to get to know the ingredients, after which we went to the home garden to learn about the different spices and vegetables. With pink aprons on we started cooking our first dishes, the stir fry. I had chosen the famous Pad Thai while Deb chose a local delicacy Hot Basil Chicken, so we could experiment both. First we prepared all the needed ingredients and then cooked the stir fry. Pad Thai was supposed to be a fairly complicated one to cook, but it turned out well! Next up were spring rolls, which Deb had previous experience of already, so she mastered making a neat looking tasty deep fried roll with crunchy vegetables. There were still two more dishes to make, the curry and the dessert. I made red curry while Deb made panang curry. We had to make the curry paste ourselves by crunching a ton of chilies, and then it was adjusted to the dish. My curry would have needed some more fish sauce to have enough salt, while Deb’s panang curry was delicious! Finally we learned how to prepare the famous mango sticky rice dessert, which was finalized with a pretty blue flower (that had also given the blue color for the rice). To do it again at home, we both received cook books at the end of our class. I would highly recommend this wonderful experience when in Thailand!

Another day in Chiang Mai we spent taking care of rescued elephants. The elephants were rescued from logging, tourist trekking or other activity where the elephants are being ill-treated, drugged, punished, controlled by fear, and don’t live the life elephants should. The way Elephant Nature Reserve rescues these elephants is simply to buy them from their previous owner and take care of them. Our guide told us that the price of an elephant can be from 35,000$ to 150,000$ depending on the gender, age and health of the elephant. And they eat an enormous amount of food every day, so keeping them must not be cheap either, plus all the medicine and rehab needed to get the elephants back to a good health. So we spent a day in the jungle taking care of three female elephants in their 40’s. We fed them a lot of watermelons and pumpkins. Apparently that’s how you make friends with elephants. Then they were happy to go for a couple of hours hike with us in the jungle. It’s impressive how the gigantic animal can walk so smoothly, and even manage narrow paths and steep muddy hills. Once in the forest we kept of feeding them with bananas and rice balls we made. The bananas they grabbed with their trunks but the rice balls we could feed to their mouths. After this we were so dirty that we took a bath with the elephants in the river, and that’s how our day ended with the elephants, giving them a bath. They are such cute and calm animals, very adorable. Huge, yet not scary.

We were in Chiang Mai altogether more or less 4 days, which was enough time to do some activities and also explore the old town. The food there is great! Also lots of temples, but we enjoyed rather spending our time with a good foot massage, Deb took a manicure and pedicure, and then together we had two hour full body massages by ex women prisoners. A long massage like that still cost less than a meal in Europe. Also, lots of things were for sale at the busy Night Bazaar, which was nice to visit since it was so bustling with life compared to the more quiet old town of Chiang Mai.

Transportation in Chiang Mai was convenient with Grab, a local version of the Uber app. We had bought a local sim when we arrived, which was really easy, and made it possible to use the phone with data. It was also useful for finding recommended restaurants when in town. Otherwise, it’s also possible to just jump on Red Trucks that take you to a certain direction for about 1$. There are also lots of bicycles for rent, and even motorbikes, but the traffic looked too busy for an enjoyable ride, and apparently the rental companies try to scam the tourists there, so better just rent bikes once in a smaller town.

From CM we took a 2 hour flight to Krabi, but arrived when it was getting dark so arriving at our final destination at Railay beach was interesting since we still needed a bus and a boat to get there. In CM it got dark quite a bit later than in Krabi, it’s a long country! Fortunately there was still a boat from Ao Nammao beach to Railay after 19:30. We arrived to our honeymoon hotel safe and sound, and were happy to get and upgrade to our room as we arrived.

It’s the monsoon season, so weather at Railay has been more or less (mostly more) rainy, all the time. Therefore we haven’t been able to enjoy the beach and work on our tans much, nor go rock climbing, but we have eaten and rested well, recharged our batteries by reading books, playing games and watching movies. We still have almost two full days here before we head back to Bangkok, so let’s hope we get some dry weather still. But now, to watch Belgium-France! Even though the game starts here at 1am, we must watch and support the Reds!

Family time in Bangkok with Dad and Heather Father-Son time Some more Father-Son time Views of Bangkok and the river, scary high up! Some say, the best pool in Bangkok..?   Our hotel room in Chiang Mai was very nicely prepared Making your own curry paste is HARD work Thai cooking class Pad Thai à la Lauri Mango with sticky rice Preparing the apero for the elephants  Feeding the trunks  Happy! The elephant looks amusing too Gentle touch of a lady Taking the elephants for a walk ...and then for a bath  Eating out in Chian Mai (Ginger & Kafe) Enjoying good treatments in CM   Not a wedding photo Night Bazaar in Chiang Mai Womens' massage center (ex prisoners) in Chiang Mai The weather in Krabi at the moment Dreaming in a cafe on a rainy day Rainy day activities   No matter the weather, food is good!  At Railay beach  Hard to smile when you have salt in the eyes.. ;)  

 

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