We did manage to tear ourselves away from stuffing our face in order to visit a few tourist sites. First on the list was the Grand Palace. After that was Wat Pho for a look around. Both were gorgeous! I really recommend going if you have a day in Bangkok ;-)
After having a look around we had a well deserved Thai massage at the Wat Po Massage School. Thai massages are AMAZING… for those of you who aren’t familiar, Thai massages differ from other massages in that you lay on the floor and the massager uses their entire body – arms, legs, weight, whole body to stretch pull and swing you in ways you never thought you could!!! I looooved it! And what was even better was that a one hour session only set you back $6 - $9!!! Needless to say we got a few while in Thailand.
That next night we took a night bus down to the islands to RELAX RELAX and RELAX. Taking transport really tests ones patience. I was lucky to be traveling with Justin who is also laid back. I felt bad for the dozens of other tourists who were complaining, swearing, yelling at the locals for things not leaving on time or for transfers they didn’t know about. What I don’t understand is that they MUST know they are traveling in a developing country, so you can’t expect 5 star service, eh??? Plus all these little twists and unexpected turns are part of the adventure, yo!
We finally arrived to our first destination – Koh Lanta!!!! We were planning on hopping to another island or two during the week but we loved the relaxed chill atmosphere of the beach so much we ended up staying there the ENTIRE TIME! The hotels offered heaps of snorkeling trips, cave swims, island hopping tours… we did try one but then realized we had to exert way more energy than we wanted to! Hahaha… so we went back to our hammocks, sipped our fresh juices, ate to our heart’s content, slept, sunbathed, swam, chatted, journaled, read, and relaxed some more.
The sunsets were AMAZING every evening... pictures just don't justify the beauty...
We did decide to get our butts out of our hammocks one day to try a Thai cooking course. We learned about the different spices and how to use them. In one afternoon we cooked 5 dishes: coconut chicken curry soup, a sweet and sour dish, fried rice, masaman curry, and deep fried banana fritters. I’m in love with Thai food and it was all sooo good. Although we ate so much we couldn’t move for a day and a half.
I woke up Justin to help me carry her outside...
At least she got us mentally prepared to head off into the rainforest.
Instead we went for a hike on our own through the rainforest. We hit some traffic when we came across an entire family of monkeys playing in the road. We tried to sneak pass, but they would get angry and charge at us. Justin tried throwing a stick which they just threw back at us. Luckily after 30 minutes a British family came trekking by with a guide so we latched onto them and they helped us pass. PHEW!!!! They were our new best friends.
The next day we took a canoe trip down the river which was gorgeous. We felt like we were in a video game with the huge staggering cliffs, snakes above us dangling from the trees, weird creatures scurrying out of the water.
Back in Bangkok for our last day we met up with another ALT English teacher from Sendai and explored the city together. The night before we left we spotted a big group of Deaf Thai youth. Since sign language is not international, I normally have a hard time communicating with Deaf people from other countries… but decided to give it a try. To my surprise they could understand and used a lot of American Sign Language!!! I ended up hanging out with them and chatting for a few hours. They were so much fun. But sadly a lot of them were involved in the sex trade industry either as prostitutes, lady boys or strippers. I told them they should open up a foot massage parlor on the tourist drag in Bangkok! We chatted about a few ideas for them. They were really open and so excited to chat.
Before we flew out the next day we shopped for omiyage (souvenirs) for our teachers and students, and ate as much food as we could fit in our bellies before flying back to cold snowy Sapporo.
What an amazing trip!!! I'd really love to go back to Thailand one day and explore the Northern bit and go up into Laos.... I hear nothing but good things ;-)