So after a night in Bangkok and a cycling tour of the city we boarded a van and headed to Kanchanaburi. Never heard of it? Well neither had I. It's almost like a mellow version of Kihei, but with less stores, shops and etc. Here's more info on na.tourismthailand.org/About-Thailand/Destination/Kanchanaburi if you're interested.
From the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, Kanchanaburi was a sight for sore eyes. Very tropical, clean, quaint and full of historic sights this was one of my favorite destinations of the trip. They also have a line of bars on the main road that lead to the surprisingly beautiful resorts. We stayed at Good Times resort along the River Kwai, and it took my breath away. The moment we stepped on property we were greeted with fresh, cold, refreshing juice, cold towels and the landscaping here is gorgeous. The pool is very inviting with the tropical greenery surrounding it.
After a dip in the pool, shower and a moment to relax we had some of the best meals here at the hotel riverside. The food is so cheap it's unreal. I ate a whole fried fish and sipped on fresh cocktails then we walked to a bar in town and played pool, danced and had a "good time" haha.
The next morning we went on a cycling tour of the city, to a museum, to the temples and visited a huge golden buddha perched atop a mountain. There's a lot of history here with much to learn when it comes to WWII memorials, museums, the Burma Railway and what transpired during the POW times. But with this darker side of history you will also see the importance Thailand had back then and even now. There are a lot of hidden caves, under ground temples and much to see here, but also the chance to relax and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you.
After an amazing time spent in Kanchanaburi, on a floating raft house and at the Erawan National Park we ventured off to Ayutthaya. Known as the former capitol of the Kingdom Of Siam -- there are lots of historic sites, archaeological ruins and ancient temples to be seen here.
We spent the day on a cycling tour of these amazing sites and also visited the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. On this cycling tour we also spotted elephants, many statues, the famous Buddha Head in tree roots and the temple of the reclining buddha (lying down on its side).
The weather was beautiful and although a bit hot, we always had lots of water to drink. The local sweet treat served in this area is sugar cane wrapped in a colorful type of crepe. The cane is colored beautiful pastel colors and the crepes we ate we a light green. Such a nice simple treat when you need to refill your calories and replenish. There are massive temple ruins here and lots to see.
We didnt do any research on the places we were going to visit so we literally took everything in each day. We stood in wonder and amazement every morning of the great things we experienced, say and tasted. Here's a look at the cycle tour around Ayutthaya.
I am a sucker for waterfalls, what can I say. As most ladies who love adventure, rainbows, seashells and blue lagoons this was one of the highlights of the trip for me. Located in west Thailand, this national park features seven-tiered emerald and turquoise waterfalls. The park itself is lush, tropical and a delightful evergreen forest with fish, lizards, birds and butterflies.
Known as "the most beautiful waterfalls in Thailand" the most amazing thing about this attraction is how well maintained and manicured it is. The trails are enhanced with natural looking steps and railings, the surrounding areas are clean, free of litter, and offer restaurants, restrooms and gift shops in the parking lot. The experience overall was like the seven scared pools on Maui, but less dangerous, a bit more refined and better controlled when it comes to visitors.
Personally, we didn't make it to the top waterfall because of a downed tree. I was perfectly happy spending the day under one of the falls that featured a bit of a cave below. A few of our friends joined us as we sat under the falls and dove into the water, floated, swam, took pictures and laughed. One of the funniest things about the water here is the little fish in it. They has little suckers for mouths and swim to you and try to suck on your legs and feet. I also recently experienced this while in Kona. A very similar fish that doesn't bite but loves to get a bit too close for comfort and suck on your skin. Such a funny feeling that will make you scream if you are not ready.
This gorgeous, tranquil and breathtaking experience was one for the books. We had a whole waterfall to ourselves for about an hour until a handful of other visitors came to swim. I loved every moment for sure!
More info on the park can be found here: Erawan National Park
As our Thailand Adventure continued... A new experience awaited us. After a few hours spent on a van which traveled from Kanchanaburi to a floating raft house community nestled along a lake, we didn't really know what to expect. We exited the van perched atop a mountain and took in the beautiful sights below. Homes that resembled town homes were floating on the water. What an interesting concept. I thought "this will be cool to sleep in one of these homes". But after the brief hike down the stairs and once nestled into our room. The house was no longer anchored on shore and instead was pulled by boat to the middle of the lake. Now this is amazing.
As the entire house with restrooms, bedrooms, showers, dining area and etc glided across the water a storm became visible in the distance. Hard rain, howling winds and then nothing. Just a passing shower. We anchored on a mountain in the center of the lake and took in the vast view. This is the definition of peace and quiet. This was literally a single townhouse now floating on the water in the middle of a beautiful lake.
We spent the day swimming, inner tubing, kayaking, eating, drinking and hanging out. The water was a deep green color and there didn't appear to be anything of interest in it, except for a few fish here and there. I spent the entire time in the water and when I wasn't paddling or jumping in and out I was floating atop a life vest. This was a clever idea because it was the perfect balance of floatation without taking away mobility.
Our hosts brought dinner to us by boat and it was amazing. Fresh fried fish, curry, soup, rice, fruits, salad and more. We ate till our hearts content, played cards, drank some more, showered and then went to sleep. The next morning we had breakfast. Typical "American" breakfast in Thailand consists of eggs, meat and toast, nothing super special but good enough to fill our tummies and prepare us for a day of hiking and waterfalls.
Aloha everyone! So sorry it's been a while since I have been in touch, but as you can imagine I've been very busy. I am going to start a series of posts about my greatest adventure so far and that was just over 2 weeks spent in Thailand. What an amazing trip. Our journey included bike tours, hiking/trekking, kayaking and camping overnight on a remote island.
Here's where it all began. To celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary we planned a trip to Thailand and Japan. The Thailand portion was something I will never forget, in fact I dream about it to this day. I have been to Japan now 7 times, China and other faraway places but not Thailand before.
Upon arriving in Bangkok, the air is hot and humid almost like New York on a hot summer day but with a bit more humidity. Unlike Hawaii there wasn't any trade winds. They drive like crazy there on the shoulder lanes and weaving in and out of traffic. We got to our hotel and it was beautiful and air conditioned. Compared to the outside where it is smelly, dirty and a bustling city. That night we ate the best green curry ever and also one of the best noodles pad see ew in recent years. Before we met with our guide and other members of our group we explored the city a bit by walking around. There are many temples in Thailand and everything is quite lively as you can imagine.
In the evening we met our other G Adventures tour mates and also had a briefing. We were jet lagged so we stayed at that night and woke up early to our free breakfast buffet (many hotels in Thailand offer breakfast buffet included in the price). The first full day in Thailand included a cycling tour through the city and then through some of the residences along the river, freeways and bridges. It was really interesting to see how people like so close, on top of each other, everything open and their lives on display. We ate street food such as coconut mochi, fresh fruits, something like a malasada with curry meat in it, durian, and of course Thai dishes like pad thai, green papaya salad and curry. Seriously, I could not get enough of the Thai food, its so much better than anyplace I know here in Hawaii. The flavors are complex, ingredients are fresh, portions are generous and of course the price, you can't beat the price. We ate like royalty for $15-20 bucks for 2.
Here's a look at Bangkok. Honestly, I would say to skip Bangkok, it's not the best place to visit in Thailand if you can go straight to Chiang Mai that's what I would recommend but I am glad we went there and saw it. Very interesting.