New Year’s Day in Chiang Mai

After breakfast, we were in the mood to try a Thai massage, so Mom directed us to Lila Thai Massage, a really great business that gives newly released female prison inmates  a 180-hour training course in massage.

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New Year's Eve in Chiang Mai

This was a photo-heavy, content-light day: lots to show, little to say! In the morning we walked around the Old City section of Chiang Mai. We saw a ton of temples from the street but didn’t go inside any. We admired little details like lovely bridges crossing the moat that runs around the Old City and orchids planted on the sides of trees.

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Chiang Rai, Part Three

Oh look, another temple! Ken next took us to Wat Haus Pla Kung, a temple with a strong Chinese influence. There was an enormous statue of the (a?) goddess of mercy, visible well before we arrived at the temple. There was a new temple under construction, and we did go look at the old one, which was a unique design compared to the temples we had already seen, but our energy was fading and we did not linger there long.  Continue reading

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Chiang Rai, Part Two

Our next stop was Wat Rong Khun, better known to Westerners as the “White Temple.” This temple was packed with tourists, and had much more of a Disneyworld feel to it. Nevertheless, it was stunning, and Ken did a great job steering us through the crowds, imparting information and reading our mood to get in and get out. The White Temple is more of an exhibit in the style of a Buddhist Temple rather than a practicing religious temple. The designer and owner, Chalermchai Kositpipat, opened it in 1997, and it’s been drawing visitors ever since. Continue reading

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Old Year – New Year (*Not a Thailand Post*)

I need a break from prepping all of my Thailand posts, so I decided now would be a good time to reflect on 2016 and 2017. Warning: this will probably be a fairly long post, so if you want to read it all make sure you have caffeine handy! Continue reading

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Chiang Rai, Part One

Friday morning, we had a 7am pickup for a private tour to several Chiang Rai temples. I got up at 6 and got ready, then checked with Domingos to see if he felt well enough to go. Luckily, he was fast on the mend, and although he was pretty low on energy, he was able to come along and enjoy the tour. Our driver and guide, Ken with Pagoda Tours, was right on time and was really wonderful all day. We explained that we were both in recovery, and he made sure we always had water and Sprite, and asked if we needed restroom breaks at every opportunity. His English was excellent, and he was always quick to offer to take photos for us. He really made the day a stand-out, and gave us excellent information on each temple we toured. There were so many great photos from the day that I’m going to have to split the tour over three blog posts! Continue reading

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Thailand Interlude

We basically lost two days of our vacation transitioning from Koh Lanta to Chiang Mai, as I woke up quite early on our Koh Lanta departure day feeling a lot less than 100%. I lay around in misery most of the day, interspersed with bouts of worshipping the porcelain god, while Domingos finalized all of our packing and departure details at The Houben. He was a superstar and I can’t imagine how awful it would have been if we were both ill at the same time. The two-hour transfer to Krabi was better than expected, but once we were on the plane I had to make several mad dashes to the airplane lavatory. So much fun! Our Airbnb hostess was an absolute wonder and picked us up directly at the Chiang Mai airport. The townhouse we rented from her was in the Hai Ya district just south of the Old City, and about a 10-minute walk from the apartment where my parents stay. Continue reading

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Koh Lanta: Cave Climbing and Sea Kayaking

I somehow stumbled onto what might have been the best day trip we’ve ever done when I found the website for Talabeng Sea Kayaking. The day started early, with the owner Farid picking us up in a songthaew at our hotel just after 8am. From there, it was an almost two-hour drive to where his boat was docked, and we made multiple stops along the way picking up more people for the tour (it maxes out at 12, which is how many we had). The other people were  friendly, and since we were all pretty squeezed into the back of the truck (4 eventually rode inside), that was a good thing! Continue reading

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2016: Very Good Reads

Of 200 books read in 2016, here are my VGRs:

Crooked Heart, by Lissa Evans: This was an excellent book set during WWII in London. Noel, aged 10, has been living with his godmother Mattie, a former suffragette with an unconventional lifestyle. When she dies, Noel is evacuated to the suburbs and is taken in by Vera, a woman in her mid-30s with a very messy life. Together, they come up with an unscrupulous scheme to get money and form an unlikely and lovely friendship. Continue reading

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Free Day in Koh Lanta

The day after Christmas started with a very exciting breakfast. As usual, we were eating at a table in the open air restaurant by the pool. Near the end of our breakfast, a large monkey came running into the restaurant and jumped up on the empty table next to us. The waitstaff hadn’t noticed anything at this point, and the monkey calmly looked us over, jumped down, then came over and grabbed part of a poached egg right off Domingos’s plate! I made the mistake of stomping my foot at him instead of standing up to look more threatening, and he hissed at us, baring his extremely large fangs. Egg’s all yours, buddy. At that point a waiter finally noticed and chased the monkey off. That will get your heart started on a sleepy morning! We did witness the monkey return a while later and manage to grab something else – it looked like a coffee mug, but that seemed like an odd choice.

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Christmas in Koh Lanta

On Christmas Day, we booked a private longtail boat tour for the day. A songthaew came and picked us up shortly after 8, and we were driven to the pier in Lanta Old Town. Our guide Amin, who met us at the boat, was a very nice young man from Malaysia. The first part of the trip was rather uneventful. The longtail boat motor is very loud and it took about an hour to get to the first snorkeling spot, so we just put our headphones on and enjoyed the gorgeous views. The captains of these boats must suffer significant hearing loss.

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Koh Lanta, Arrival and Day One

After an overnight at a Bangkok airport hotel, we set out for the real start of our vacation with a short flight to Krabi, then a 2-hour car transfer from Krabi to the southern end of Koh Lanta, where our wonderful boutique hotel The Houben was located. From the moment we arrived at The Houben, we were treated amazingly well – everyone was friendly and helpful, and our room was spectacular. Continue reading

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Easy Weekend Breakfast

I love breakfast food, and I like to exercise a little creativity when making breakfast for Domingos and myself on the weekends. This morning, I decided to make breakfast pizzas and they came out perfectly!

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Olympic Park

Last weekend on a beautiful fall day, Domingos and I decided to check out Olympic Park, where the 1988 Olympics took place. The park was actually built in 1986 for the 1986 Asian Games as well as the 1988 Seoul Olympics. In the middle of the park, there’s an old site known as Mongchon Fortress, where there were large areas covered up with tarps that appeared to be archeological digs in progress. Hundreds of sculptures are scattered all over the park and there are many walking paths. Continue reading

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What Really Matters

Eating and drinking, of course! I know you’re all dying to know what I’ve been eating lately. The answer is: there haven’t been a lot of new places to share as I’ve been visiting old favorites, but here are a few great new locations for consuming calories. Continue reading

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