Thailand Time

Sorry for the HUGE hiatus in posts! Southeast Asia has been keeping us busy. Thailand is known as the “Land of Smiles” and it was easy to see why. The Thai people we encountered were hospitable, kind, and quick to please. It’s no wonder we saw so many middle-aged Caucasian men wandering the streets accompanied by a Thai woman (we never saw a Caucasian female with a Thai man). Many Westerners retire to Thailand, where it’s not uncommon for expatriates to marry Thai women and remain in the country.

Thailand’s picture perfect beaches provided a phenomenal place to soak up the sun, take frightening scooter rides on gravel roads, spoil ourselves with candy-like pineapple, and get fat on cheap banana smoothies.  This probably sounds ridiculous, but for the first time in nine months, it truly felt like we were on vacation!

Ko Pha Ngan

When we got tired of paradise we stopped by the heathen side of the island to check out the crazy Full Moon Party in Ko Pha Ngan. This all-night beach party attracts 20,000 – 30,000 people every full moon. The beach was alive with neon paint, buckets of alcohol, thumping R&B and electronic music, and fire skipping ropes. We hung around just long enough to take in the scene and enjoy the fire dancers, who were quite impressive!

Then we went inland to explore some amazing caves. There were no lights and no handrails. We would have been lost without our flashlights, which also revealed the hundreds of bats hanging out not too far from our heads.  Had this cave been in the US, it would have been a popular tourist destination flooded with people. We were thankful it was off the beaten track and felt like Tom Sawyer, uninhibited with our exploring.

There were also plenty of peaceful shrines.

Then it was time to trade beautiful nature for the craziness of Bangkok!

And crazy it was. Zipping along the skytrain, gazing out at the endless skyscrapers, heading to the hospital again (this time for ex-rays to prove we don’t have TB so we can get Working Holiday Visas in New Zealand) and standing in a mall where each floor represented a different city from around the world, it was hard to believe that we were technically in a developing country. Thailand is considered a newly industrialized country; we’re guessing it won’t be long before its economy advances to the developed stage.

Thailand was a bit of a dream and difficult to leave. We’ve developed a habit of saying, “Next time…” Sometimes you can never get enough.

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