Same Same but Different
so we leave today, i know i speak for the three of us when i say
"oh Thailand we miss you already"
its a bitter sweet day, were leaving the land weve grown to love, to return to the people weve grown up with, cant wait to show you all our photos.
if any of you are planning on visiting thailand we suggest you check out http://www.tourismthailand.org/ it has been very helpful for us.
also, if you're just bumming around bankok this will help you out http://www.bangkoktourist.com/
We hooked up with a travel agent in Phuket and managed to get a sweet deal on boating and canoeing the islands….the options were either a boat and bus tour, or boat and canoe, the canoeing was a bit more expensive (hahaha nothing in Thailand is expensive….) but it was definitely the best way to explore the islands, and get into some places you wouldn’t normally see. We headed to Phang Nga Bay, or shall I call it “James Bond Island”(1)….. I love you James!!!!……..the lime stone cliffs jutting from the emerald water is completely inspiring(2). Aside from there being so many tourists I could have stayed there all day….
I will miss you Phuket!
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So today we hooked up with the Phuket Scuba Diving Club, http://www.phuket-scuba-club.com/ ( which took incredible care of us!) and spent the day cruising the surrounding islands and Suba Diving, thank god we took that diving course back in Calgary before we left, seemed a little pricy at the time but completely worth it!..... I can’t believe all the fish I’ve seen. This might be the most exhilarating moments I’ve had! It’s no wonder why the readers of the top diving magazines voted Phuket of the top ten diving spots of the world. I think my favorite spot was Phi Phi Island (mom, this is the island where “the Beach” was filmed(1)) its true that it was a little busy and touristy, but that didn’t seem to bother the fish one bit…. Sooooooo many fishies!!!!!!! Ummmm… I swam with sharks (2) today…. Didn’t mean too… the dive leader said it was a Blacktip Reef shark, (from the name you can tell that they usually hang out in the reef.. teeheehee) I guess if I would have done my research I would know that swimming with them is a pretty common experience, a little scary at first, they’re a little bit smaller than Erin, so I figured if we had to she could take them on. Show ‘em how we roll “cowboy” style (sooooo happy we didn’t have to beat up a shark…… teeheehee). The diver instructor said not to worry about them, they don’t attack unless provoked. We did NOT provoke it………and there was no problems had, but did make for some pretty amazing pictures (which will be posted shortly!)
Wow! So today we arrived in Phuket, I can’t believe how beautiful it is….. The beaches are so clean, there nearly no evidence of the tsunami left.
We finally did it, we rented a scooter, maybe not the safest idea considering the Thai driving rules involve ignoring all the rules and to keep going at all costs. But sometimes you have to live on the wild side and gain an experience. I mean, we didn’t get our international license for nothing. I think the scariest part next to the driving style is that we were the only ones wearing the crash helmet, people might make fun of us, but we’ll see who laughs last... BAHH HAA HAA!!! But yeah, other than cruising around the island we really didn’t get up to much else today, all in all, it was a day well wasted!
How could I forget to answer the most important question (or at least most important to me) yes, I do heart Thai Whiskey, I mean its not necessarily whiskey at all except that it is brown in color and has a very high alcohol content……….I’m not gonna lie, cheapest way to get blotto! Only about 50 bhats…………man drinking in Canada is going to be so expensive………the thought of it makes my heart break (and my wallet)
Anyhoo for the life of me I can’t see why I’m sitting in an internet café instead of drinking my Thai Whiskey (puts hair on your chest) and sitting on a beach………….........
ooh mom, you're gonna love this, while visiting Phuket we got an amazing deal for lodging....... were staying in huts on the beach
Hitting the town!
After several days of “wat-hopping”, we decided to take some time to wind down and do some shopping. What better place to do that than Bangkok? Some friends that we met at the hotel were talking about Siam Square and the Pratunam area. We decided to check it out and all I can say is- shopper’s PARADISE. With market stalls, malls, and shops as far as the eye can see, it’s hard not to walk away with something you love at an amazing price. Erin bought some gorgeous silk scarves, Sherri found amazing sapphires, rubies and jewelry, and I bought some new designer jeans and tops at an amazing price (Diesel jeans for $15CAD!!!) and a (not-so) designer knock-off bag. We spent the afternoon on a raft on the klongs (canals) off the Chao Phraya River looking at the floating markets and grabbing some local cuisine.
Last night we went out on the town. We went down to Pat Pong which, along with great shopping of course, had amazing nightlife. The people are so friendly here and we’ll be sad to go. On the other hand, I can’t wait to see what Phuket has in store for us!
Getting immersed in the history!
The last few days were spent visiting some of the classic sites of Bangkok. It's good to be familiar with the customs. For instance, in the future I will not point at people or places with my hands because locals consider it rude here. I’m so glad that Sherri brought her Thai reference book with her; I feel like I’ve learned so much history already! Wat Phra Kaew is actually in the complex of the Grand Palace, so we toured around there also. The Grand Palace complex is made up of several buildings,(1) and it was absolutely amazing to see with all of its mythological statues and gold enhanced buildings and temples. It was clearly fit for royalty, and it served just that purpose for over 150 years in the 18th to mid-20th Centuries.(2)
Arrival in Bangkok!
We arrived Sunday morning in Bangkok on the Special Express train from Chiang Mai. It’s funny that it is called express when all the trains seem to run on “Thai time” (up to an hour late). Nonetheless, about 13 hours later, we arrived and I am so excited! With hundreds of wats (temples) in Bangkok and not as much time as we’d like, we hit a few of the notable ones right away. We stood in awe of the reclining Buddha at Wat Pho; I couldn’t believe how huge it was! It’s over 151 feet long and covered in gold! (1)
Just when I thought nothing could top the giant reclining Buddha at Wat Pho, we went to Wat Phra Kaew. It is famous for housing the Emerald Buddha. (2) It was so beautiful and we were a little sad that we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the temple, but we wanted to respect their traditions. Instead we stayed there long enough to get a good memory of it.... oh, and we also picked up a poster at the stand outside.
19.02.2008 -17 °C
What an amazing past few days!! We road on ELEPHANTS!!! It was so cool, although Erin was a bit scared at first Lauren and Sherri were lovin it!! We didn't want to get off!! We did learn that it is sad to say but most Thai elephants are out of work and the quality of their life is low. (1) Many elephants roam the street in Thailand cities with their mahouts selling lucky charms and rides while begging for food. (2) The elephants were formerly employed in the forest logging industry used to haul heavy logs out of the forest. Well enough about that, we did enjoy ourself and donated some money to the locals while we were at it. We talked to a few other travelers that suggested that we check out Phi phi island and Ko Samuai, so we ll see if we have time to hit those places up!!
The website where we found our info on the elephant tour was: www.chiangmai-guideline.com check it out it has a lot of info on everything!!
Well we have had a few days to tour around the city and the sites have been amazing so many temples and gardens but they all have a different feel to them!! We visited Po Ping Palace which was the nicest site of all, we all voted and it won hands down. I guess that is why the royal family of Thailand has it as their summer home. (1) they are doing it big there..lol..!! The garden were so lush and green..wow! (2)
We are doing a lot of walking and jumping on scooters when we have the time to rent them for a full day. We also went to a tribal village and met a lot of locals, the language barrier is always hard but we usually find someone to translate or use our Thai English book (it has come in handy A LOT)!! We went for a wonderful Thai massage which was amazing, you can find them everywhere on the back streets or main streets of the Chiang Mai.
We finally arrived in Chiang Mai after our long flight we had a bit of a lay over in Vancouver and then on the long leg to Chiang Mai we all had a chance to finish up our research on all the places we are going to visit and some of the interesting facts about the cities we will be exploring. For example Erin informed us that Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second largest city and is referred to as the gateway to the countries north and it was founded in 1296. Chiang Mai does have an amazing mountain backdrop as all the research we did on the city stated, it is an intriguing city that has a population of 170,000 and over 300 temples. The city is very modern the people seem quite friendly and there is a certain international flavor with so much to offer us young creative energetic women!
We stopped for a bite to eat as we were dying for some real food after the long flight, we stopped at a place called Khrua Phuket Laikhram which is near by the Chiang Mai University we indulged in Thai food which was great!! Lauren had the Phad Thai Sherri tried out the Phad Si Ew and I tried the Gaeng Gieo Wan, we were actually lucky that we did not end up eating grasshoppers LOL..!! We enjoyed lunch which were actually stir-fry’s and salads and refreshed ourselves with Red Bull energy drinks which Thailand is the original home of… although they do not come in the cans like they do back in Canada they come in medicinal looking brown glass bottle, we did need a little pick me up before we hit our first market..WOOT..!
We toured around the city for a bit and of course had to get our shopping done so we went to the Ginger Market which they call girl’s dream come true which it was, we all stocked up on some colorful eye catching pieces some clothes and jewelry and accessories, as if we don’t stand out enough already 3 white chicks..lol..!!
We are now relaxing at Pornping Tower Hotel, I mean with a name like that how could we go wrong..HAHA..! It is in the city center so it is close near pretty much everything!! It has been a long day so we may just chill tonight or might step out..you never know what might happen we are in a different time zone then our boyfriends..so you know what they say…LOL..!!
The trip is just a week away and we are so excited!!!! With such little time left, Sherri is panicking and trying to make sure we don't forget anything. As she calls things out, Erin checked them off of her list. Canadian Passports good for 6 months after departure? Check USD Traveler’s Cheques? Check. English-Thai Dictionary? Check. Swimsuits? Double check! We’ll exchange some of our cheques for Thai Baht so we have local money when we get there, but for the most part we should be fine with our credit cards and cheques. Luckily the exchange rate is so high- 1 CAD= 31.75 THB!!! Sherri counts and recounts our travel days to make sure we are still exempted from needing visas. Since we are only there for 28 days, we will be fine.
Laaeo phop gan mai! (See you later!!)