Perfect Sunday

Last Sunday I accompanied my buddy Roman to the Pak Klong Flower Market so that he can pick up some goodies for his girl who came to visit from Germany. This market always makes me so happy because it is just full of life, fragrant and absolutely beautiful. It is the biggest fresh flower market in the city where the streets are lined with local vendors selling roses, daisies, orchids, chrysanthemums and much much more.

Picked up a little treat for myself.
Simple Happiness.

I managed to get in contact with my grandfather’s neighbor from years ago when he was living in Vietnam and from them, I got in touch with my grandfather’s youngest sister. They were separated over 50 years ago when they left China. My grandfather went to Vietnam then to America in the late 70’s and she settled here in Thailand since then.

Was quite emotional for me to meet her because I had lost my grandfather last year and seeing the resemblance in her and our family…was just really special.

Spent this Sunday evening with her, her son and grandchildren. She had many photos and stories to share with me from and about my grandfather and I also filled her in on our life back in America.

Truly the most memorable day for me here in Thailand so far.

I never imagined that studying abroad would lead to the discovery of long lost relatives but am so happy that it has.

Happy Holidays from my Thai Family & I!




I’ve Moved!

On the 30th of November I managed to pack my bags, stuffed all my belongings into a taxi and moved into my new studio in one trip thanks to Luke being here to help me 🙂
I’ve decided to relocate for the remaining 6 months here in Bangkok mostly for a change of scenery/more convenient location, to save some money on rent as I am now paying half what I was paying before (with have the amenities of course) and hopefully a slightly different experience.

I’ve moved to an area best known as Victory Monument which is a huge central hub for bus transportation here in Bangkok. I’ve really enjoyed this aspect of living here because I am now within walking distance to the sky train and a multitude of buses which has been extremely convenient and a whole lot cheaper than taking a taxi everywhere! Also, there are tons of shopping centers and local eateries surrounding this area so it’s always, always very busy around here which can be a little overwhelming at times but for 6 months…..I think it’s going to be a great experience!

Here is the view of the Victory Monument (built to commemorate soldiers, policemen & civilians who gave their lives in service for the country), from my apartment!! And possibly one of the busiest roundabouts in the country!

View at night. (courtesy of google) One of these days…I’ll attempt to capture a shot of my own :p
Daily Night market just below my balcony!!
After moving and unpacking a bit, Luke and I had to pack and caught a sleeper train this same night for a 12 hour journey to the North of Thailand, Chiang Mai where we spent 4 days before heading south for 6 days.

The sleeper train through Thailand is a very unique experience and one that we both enjoyed very much. We slept quite soundly and woke up early in the am to catch the sunrise and incredibly scenic landscape outside our window. Lush rain forest, banana trees, open plains of rice paddies, lakes and isolated sleepy villages.

A few highlights from our days spent in Chiang Mai:
After arriving at the train station, we headed to old towards the main city area which is surrounded by a square shaped moat which was designed to  Burmese invaders and now surrounds a vastly touristy town with tons of western restaurants and cafes serving steaks and burgers, pubs, massage parlors and internet cafes…making it a little difficult to sense the charming Thai traditional life that seems to be quickly on its way out. What a shame! Though their progress is quickly catching up to that of Bangkok, there is still so much history and natural beauty to be seen here.

We settled into our guesthouse, rented a motor bike and headed up to North Thailand’s most revered temple, Wat Phra Doi Sutthep. Absolutely stunning!

The following day, we booked a tour for Maetaman Elephant Camp where we got to watch a brief elephant show which was so much fun! We were amazed at how talented the elephants are and the trainers for training them because they were able to do all sorts of tricks! I found it most entertaining when they were able to hold a brush with their trunks and complete an entire painting then walking towards the crowd with their trunks out to accept tips & food…they are too funny!

After the show we were able to go for an elephant ride…fun but very bumpy! Went bamboo rafting down the river, had lunch, oxcart riding and ended the tour at the orchid farm. All this for about 20 bucks! wooooo! oh, how we love Thailand.

Oxcart riding

We spent a couple evenings in Chiang Mai temple hopping as there are beautiful historic temples just around every corner.

Love, love finding me a cozy cafe in every place I visit. Nice cup of coffee and people watching.

We booked another tour to visit Doi Inthanon National Park which consists of the highest mountain-top in Thailand. In addition, the Royal Chedi’s, Karen Weaving Village and amazing waterfalls.

On our last day in Chiang Mai we took a cooking course at a local organic farm and this was our favorite activity in Chiang Mai. We got to visit a local market, learn about the various herbs, veggies and fruits used in thai cooking on their farm, learned how to make jasmine & sticky rice, made our own curry paste and learned how to cook a few other Thai favorites.

Luke REALLY enjoyed this course.His creations: he made a red curry with his very own paste he pounded, tom yum soup with shrimps and chicken with basil.Few other dishes we made. Papaya salad, Pad Thai & mango sticky rice

After stuffing ourselves with all the yummy food we made, were off to the airport and headed south for 6 days!! First stop, Phuket. We only spent one day here, rented a motorbike and explored the town, visited a few viewpoints, big Buddha of Phuket, enjoyed some fresh seafood, strolled around Patong city which was much too crowded. My impression of phuket: far too developed and definitely did not feel like an island but more of a city and since the weather was a little cloudy we skipped the overcrowded beaches for this day.

Next morning we woke up early and caught a ferry to Koh Phi Phi!!
The famous Maya Bay where “The Beach” was filmed. I was very impressed at how clean the beach is considering how often it is frequented by tourists. So beautiful!

We Met Thomas and Carolina (from france) in Chiang Mai and kept running into them coincidentally. From Chiang Mai to Phuket then to Koh Phi Phi! We decided to spend both evenings in Koh Phi Phi with them because it was apparently ‘meant to be’ for us to keep meeting! Enjoyed a brief trek together to the Koh Phi Phi viewpoint, snorkeling, fresh seafood dinners, many conversations over beer Chang and thai whiskey. Good times.

Decided to spend our last couple days in Koh Lanta which is a part of Krabi Province so that we can catch our flight from Krabi back to BKK. Koh Lanta was our favorite among the islands we visited this trip because it was completely peaceful and quiet, no bustling tourist areas here! This island was filled with unspoiled nature, a charming old town, some great eateries and cafes.

Loved this cafe so much we went twice in the two days we were visiting Koh Lanta. Really good coffee, food and an awesome ambiance. Drunken Sailors.

So nice to have this sweet face at the other end of the table again, over lunch.

Exploring the jungles on our motorbike.

Old Town lanta.

Beautiful Lanta Sunset w/ my love.
After a couple days full of relaxation and just enjoying each others’ company. We headed back to Bangkok for couple days before saying goodbye to each other again 😦
Had some cocktails at Vertigo, a rooftop bar on his last night.

Happy Holidays from Thailand!
Was a great time traveling together for a couple weeks…and quite sad saying good bye for another 5 months just before the holidays. womp womp womp.

Speaking of the holidays, it has been so different this year and frankly it doesn’t even feel like xmas over here in 90 degree weather and being miles away from my people. But…there is always next year. Will be spending my time off exploring more of this wonderful country, possibly Laos at the end of the month. Cambodia next month and Lunar new year with my mom in Vietnam!