Joe and I like to take a cultural tour of every city we visit, and Bangkok was rich with sites to see and explore. We hired a tour guide, Ms. Pukky (pronounced "pookie"), who was awesome and really knowledgable about the city and surrounding areas (I have her contact info for anyone who wants it!).
Our day started at the Railway Market, which is located about 30 minutes outside of Bangkok. The stalls at the market mainly sell food and the market is huge! The main market area got so crowded, that stall owners started setting up stalls anywhere they could, including right up to the edge of the railroad track. This is how the market got its name. As you can see in the photo to the left, the people here make the most of every square foot.
We walked past stalls selling every food you can imagine, from frogs to crabs and chili peppers to mangos. Some of it looked really good, like the colorful fruits and veggies. Some of it, however, was a little more on the scary side for me. We saw a lot of bloody sea life as people were chopping heads off of fish and different creatures right in front of us. Ms. Pukky stopped to buy some mangosteen and rambutan for us to try. The two types of fruit are really funny looking (I didn't know how to peel and eat them at first), but they were pretty good. Somewhat fleshy with a nice, mild sweet taste.
As we wandered through the market, Ms. Pukky surprised us by telling us that the railroad track there is still in use. Trains use this track four times every day. I couldn't believe this! It amazed me that the shop keepers would set up so close to the tracks, knowing that the trains were coming. We happened to be touring at an opportune time, because a train was on its way through the market. As soon as all the stall owners heard the horns, they started pulling their goods away from the track. Awnings were disassembled and folded and people huddled in little nooks and crannies as they waited for the train to pass. The train came through very slowly (probably so it wouldn't hit anyone), and not even seconds after it passed, the stall owners had started pulling their goods back out near the tracks and setting everything up as if nothing had happened. It was an amusing experience.
Contraption used to make coconut sugar
Following the market, we made a rest stop at a traditional Thai home. The owner had turned his home into a tourist site by showcasing his work of making things out of coconut. He sells everything from coconut oil and lotions to coconut sugar and water. It's pretty incredible that you can make so many things out of one fruit.
The showcase of his shop was the process for making coconut sugar. He has a big oven-like device right in the middle of the store. Dried palm leaves are used to feed the fire, which is extremely hot. The fire heats a pot of boiling water in which coconut flesh is boiled. This is then cooled to form granulated chunks of sugar. We had a chance to taste the juice that is derived from this process as well as the sugar. Both were tasty.
The Thai house was interesting to explore. While the first floor contained the shop, the second floor had the owner's living quarters. The house was constructed entirely out of a type of really nice wood (which we guessed had to be treated extremely well to survive the humid conditions in Thailand) and was very simple inside. There was a big area that I'm guessing serves as a living room, with a small shrine room off to one corner. On one side of the room there was a slight divide that led to the bedroom, which was little more than a mattress on the floor with a mosquito net. While the home was certainly pretty, I can't imagine that it's very comfortable.
After seeing the house, we walked through the fruit grove on the side of the home. The owner had mangos, bananas, pomelos, and lemongrass growing abundantly. It was neat to see what the trees of some of my favorite fruits look like. I wish I had a mango tree in my backyard! It must be fantastic to go out and pick fresh fruit whenever you want.
One of the highlights of this stop was a friendly dog-like duck. It's funny how we always seem to encounter cute creatures on our tours. The duck greeted us when we arrived, quacking and shaking its tail. It came right up to us and let us pet his feathers. He was just like a puppy!
The floating market
After the brief rest stop, we continued our journey to the Damnaoensaduak Canal, home of Bangkok's famous floating market. We got to see two sides of the site - the really touristy market part and the more serene residential area.
I had been warned by online reviews that the market would be overrun by tourists, and the reviewers weren't lying. However, it was a fun experience to explore a floating market by boat. We boarded a very basic wooden rowboat, similar to the ones we rode in at the floating village in Halong Bay, and were rowed around by a strong little old lady.
In the floating market, goods are sold either by boat or through stalls set up around the canal. The boat "stores" make stops along the canal, offering a wide variety of things from fresh fruit to trinkets. Some of the boats even had little stoves on board with which the rowers would stop and cook some fast food, like pad thai, for passers by. This was incredible to see. We made a boat purchase along the way - I got a chance to eat fresh pomelo, one of my new favorite fruits.
After exploring the market, and getting caught in several boat traffic jams, we drifted through the canal to the quieter residential area. The homes along the canal are stationary buildings that are built on poles that are firmly planted into the ground (or at least I hope so!). The people who live along the canal have very modest living conditions, and rely on the boat "stores" to pass by so they can grocery shop for their daily needs. It's a very simple way of life.
After the visit to the canal, we made the drive back to Bangkok to visit the many temples of the city. But before this part of our journey started, we took a break for lunch at the Methavalai Sorndaeng Restaurant. The restaurant was very old-school with Victorian decor and staff in what looked like sailor outfits. While we enjoyed a lot of great Thai food, the most notable dish of the day was the chicken panang, a traditional Thai dish I had never heard of before. Ms. Pukky highly recommended this, saying CNN had written a story about the food. It was really good - a slightly sweet red coconut curry that went really well with rice. (Rick, if you're reading this, you must find this dish back in the states!).
In front of the Grand Palace grounds
Our first stop after lunch was at the Thai Grand Palace, a sprawling complex filled with temples and royal buildings. Before entering the complex, we visited a small museum at the gate that houses the royal family's jewels and heirlooms. Unfortunately, we couldn't take photos in the museum. I would have liked to have shared with you images of the ornate jewelry. From emeralds to rubies and diamonds, the sizes of some of the jewels were incredible!
The entrance to the Grand Palace is filled with numerous temples decorated with gold leaf and shiny glass tiles. Around these temples are countless statues of demons, guardians, and angels. Many of the symbols were similar to those we saw in Cambodia, such as the multi-headed snake and three-headed elephant. Funny enough, the Grand Palace houses a replica of Angkor Wat. It was funny to see the small model since we've seen the real thing!
The Grand Palace houses the famous Emerald Buddha. The statue of Buddha is actually made of jade, but it is called emerald because it's green. We were told that the statue was carted all throughout Thailand due to various wars and conflicts. The Buddha is very tiny and we could only take photos of it from the outside of the building (so I didn't get any great shots). This statues sits at the top of a very high shrine. It has three different outfits made of gold, one for the rainy season, one for summer, and one for winter. Every time the season changes, the Thai king himself visits the Emerald Buddha and changes his clothes.
Part of the Grand Palace grounds is more modern than the many temples and statues, and has a heavy western influence. We were told that several of the buildings were inspired by buildings in London. Many of these buildings are for the royal family's personal use. Because of this, there are royal guards posted by the gates. They are similar to the Buckingham Palace guards as they stand very still and don't move. We, along with other tourists, had fun posing for photos with one of the guards. I would never have the discipline to stand so still for such a long period of time!
While we were in Bangkok, the Thai people were excitedly awaiting the visit of President Obama (he flew into Bangkok the day we left). Ms. Pukky pointed out some of the buildings he would be visiting to meet with the King of Thailand, including the King's special changing house where he and other important people are dressed in traditional Thai garb for special occasions.
Big Buddha! The reclining Buddha statue
Our sightseeing ended with a visit to Wat Pho, a temple most notably known for its enormous reclining Buddha statue. Huge doesn't even begin to describe how monstrous this statue is. The Buddha is made out of steel and is covered with gold leaf. It's feet are a significant part of the statue, as the soles of his feet have 108 inscriptions related to the Buddhist faith.
After walking around the statue, Joe and I took part in a traditional Thai wish ceremony. Along one side of the reclining Buddha temple, there are metal bell-shaped pots that are lined up single file. We made a donation to the temple to receive about 30 small coins. We walked along the wall of pots, depositing a coin into each one as we made a wish. It was a lot of wish making for one day, and I wished for the same thing the entire way, so I hope my wish comes true!
Wat Pho is also known as a massage and meditation school for Buddhist monks. The practice of the Thai massage is a very old tradition, one that is highly respected. Around Wat Pho, we saw tablets of the human body with lines depicting different parts of the body. We learned that these are used during anatomy lessons to learn about pressure points and things related to massages.
At the end of our Wat Pho tour, we stepped into another main temple with a very ornate, gold buddha statue and shrine. We sat quietly and watched Buddhist visitors praying to the statue as Ms. Pukky quietly explained a little about the Buddhist faith. It was a peaceful way to end a very busy day of touring!
The Chatuchak Weekend Market
Bangkok may have the most markets I have ever read about. Several review sites had lists of "must see" markets in the city, so Joe and I explored a few of the biggest, most well-known locations.
The Chatuchak Weekend Market was by far the largest market I have ever explored. And, our adventure started before we even got there. Joe and I traveled by Bangkok's sky train to get to the market. The sky train is really easy to navigate and is far more convenient than taxis as you get to avoid the city's terrible traffic. However, Chatuchak is the last stop on the line, and seeing as how everyone in the city seemed to be going there the day we went, we encountered foot traffic. With hundreds of people taking the train, Joe and I were packed into a train car like sardines. The crowds seemed to multiply when we got to our stop and we succumbed to the fact that we were going to have to endure crowds everywhere we went.
Chatuchak is an expansive market where you can find anything from electronics to puppies (the puppies were super cute!). The market is organized into different sections according to the goods that are sold to add some sort of order to the shopping experience, but Joe and I still found ourselves getting lost at every turn. We explored the market without any goal in mind, wandering past the many different stalls. Most of them sell cheap, trinkety tourist items. However, there were some nice boutiques scattered among the stalls that I was surprised to discover. And, the market has a great food section with loads of Thai street food that looked and smelled delicious.
Patpong Night Market
Joe and I also visited the Patpong Night Market along Patpong Road on the way to dinner one night. This market is far smaller than Chatuchak but seems to have about the same level of chaos and crowdedness. Many of the stalls are set up along the sidewalk, leaving little room for pedestrians. Joe and I pretty much had to walk single file the entire time, hitting "road blocks" whenever someone in front of us stopped to look at something. The stalls at Patpong sell various trinkets, similar to what we've seen at markets all around Southeast Asia. Bangkok certainly is a shopper's dream if you like searching for treasures at markets and have a good eye for this sort of thing.
Our night on Patpong Road ended with a little adventure. By the time Joe and I were ready to head back to the hotel, the sky train was already closed. So, we tried to hail a cab, which turned out to be an almost impossible task. As we waited along the side of the road, a tuk tuk driver asked us if we wanted a ride. I'll admit, I was a little skeptical about taking a tuk tuk in Bangkok because the traffic is far worse than what we experienced in Cambodia (tuk tuks were our taxi of choice in Cambodia). And, unlike Cambodian drivers, the drivers in Bangkok didn't seem to have the same sense of awareness and courtesy towards anyone who wasn't driving a car. However, Joe convinced me that the tuk tuk would be safe.
Luckily for us, traffic in the direction we were heading seemed to have died down significantly throughout the night. We sped along, enjoying the ride, and got back to our hotel safe and sound with another new experience to remember!
Joe's first mango sticky rice
We are back from Myanmar and had a lovely time. But first things first - it's time to catch you up on our trip to Bangkok.
Our trip to Bangkok happened thanks in part to Joe's job. He had a business trip in the city, so I excitedly tagged along to turn it into a mini vacation for the two of us. Although Joe had already been to Bangkok once before for work, it was my first time there.
My first impressions of the city were that there are a lot of people in Bangkok (locals and tourists), the traffic is horrible, and the Thai's like to display very large photos of their royal family all around the city (seriously, their faces were on billboards, random signs along the freeway and streets, and on buildings). Joe and I hired what I'll call loosely, a car service, from the airport to take us to our hotel. Our car turned out to be a hearse-like car that I guess is supposed to be a replica of black cabs in London (according to signage in the car). I felt that the car's design was well intended, just not carried out very well. While we had a ton of leg room, the cab was very old and extremely hot thanks to the poor circulation of the air conditioning. Thus, our journey into the city was a comical one as Joe and I sweated profusely and I tried not to get carsick from the constant weaving between traffic and stop-and-go driving.
We got to our hotel with just enough time for lunch before Joe had to go to his first business meeting of the day. Our hotel was in the Sukhumvit section of Bangkok, a bustling economic center with many modern and new buildings. Joe and I had our first meal in Bangkok at a cute little Thai restaurant in the basement of a mall (unfortunately I didn't remember to record the name of the restaurant). We ate some of the best pad thai either of us have ever had, and Joe tasted mango sticky rice for the first time. For those of you who are unfamiliar with mango sticky rice, it's a very popular dessert in Thailand. Glutinous rice is cooked with coconut milk and is slightly sweet. The rice is served with mango and comes with a little coconut sauce drizzled on top. It is delicious and you feel slightly less guilty indulging in this than in a chocolatey dish.
The inside of Terminal 21
After Joe went off to work, I indulged in a day of beauty and pampering since services in Bangkok are really cheap. My experience was wonderful, to say the least.
I accomplished my entire day of indulgence at the mall next door to our hotel, Terminal 21. Luckily and conveniently for me, most of the spas that came highly recommended online all happened to be at Terminal 21 (I didn't feel like facing the crowds and traffic of Bangkok on what was supposed to be a relaxing day).
Terminal 21 is a very cute concept. The seven-storey mall is themed as an airport terminal with each floor representing a different location. As you can see in the photo above, one of the floors is San Francisco with a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge. Other floors include the Caribbean, Tokyo, London, and Hollywood. The mall has a wide mix of stores, restaurants, and a movie theater.
My day of pampering started with my first ever massage... and perhaps, the last one I'll ever have. I went to a spa called Let's Relax for a traditional Thai massage. My masseuse was a little old lady who was so small I wondered if she'd have enough strength to administer a massage. She showed me. Thai massages are full-body massages that include some stretching. The masseuse dug into my muscles, making me squirm at some points because it was either slightly painful or extremely ticklish. Since the masseuse was so small, she had to stand on my back at one point to twist my body to stretch my back. I'm not one for people touching me because I'm extremely ticklish, so the experience took a little bit of a mental toll on me as I tried not to kick or flinch lest I hurt the masseuse! I do, however, see the merits of massages because I did feel very relaxed at some points... enough so to fall asleep. I think the best part of the experience was the smell of the linens which was extremely aromatic and relaxing. The one hour massage only cost about US$16.
Next, I headed to the Take Care salon to get a quick haircut and manicure. My hairdresser, a Thai man, understood English well and executed a great trim for me. He and his assistant teamed up to blow dry my hair, going over it again and again to make sure my hair set in perfect waves. It was a great experience and only cost US$16! Then, I headed to the manicurist's table for a relaxing manicure that included lots of great smelling scrubs, skins masks, and lotions. The manicurist really had an eye for detail and did a great job. Again, I got a pretty good deal... only US$16 for the 45-minute manicure.
I can't believe I only spent US$48 for a full day of pampering. This would have cost far more in Singapore or the US. I can see why people love visiting Bangkok!
Shortly after this, I met up with Joe and two of his colleagues from BASF for dinner. We ate at Terminal 21 at a restaurant called MK Restaurant, which is a chain in Southeast Asia that's famous for its Thai-style "suki" (also known as hotpot). Each table has a burner in the middle with a pot full of some sort of broth. Diners order different types of raw meat, vegetables, and noodles. All of this is dumped into the hotpot and cooked, then everyone ladles what they want into their own bowl. This wasn't one of my favorite meal experiences in Asia, but it was interesting and I felt very healthy. There is very little fat or oil in suki and I didn't feel stuffed after eating a ton.
To end the night, Joe and I did something we don't normally do on trips. We saw a movie. Yes, a movie. I had read that seeing a movie in Thailand is quite an event... and it was. Combine this with the fact that the last Twilight movie had just come out and that we don't see movies in Singapore because they are censored (we don't want to miss the good parts)... and I'd say we had good reasons for visiting a movie theater.
Going to the movies is pretty cheap in Thailand. It was about US$12 combined for Joe and I to buy tickets. And, the nice part about Thai movie theaters is that you purchase an actual seat as if you were going to a concert. This way, you don't have to worry about getting to a popular movie early to snag a good seat.
The movie theaters in Thailand are really nice with big, plush comfortable chairs. I would have liked to have taken a photo, but cameras are not allowed in theaters. I suppose this is because many people illegally film movies to sell on the black market. Theater staff make you check your camera battery with them before you can enter the theater.
Before the movies begin, all of the theaters play a tribute video honoring the Thai king and the audience must stand for this. It was kind of odd starting a movie this way, but the locals love the royal family and really get into the montage. At the end, they even salute the king, muttering some sort of phrase.
While the theater experience was interesting, Twilight was terrible. Good thing we didn't spend a fortune to see it!
We got back from Hanoi late last night and head off to Bangkok early tomorrow morning. Joe has some business meetings in Thailand, so I decided to tag along to make a weekend trip out of the opportunity. Due to this quick turnaround, I'll probably wait until we get back from Bangkok to write about Hanoi and Halong Bay (along with Bangkok). I'm going to be a busy blogger next week!
Our last day in Phuket was relaxing and there isn't really much to tell about the day. So, I've designated this posting as a photo showcase of the Thai food we got to experience in Phuket. Well, I guess I should say the Thai food that Rick experienced. Joe and I were a little homesick for American food and took the opportunity to eat American dishes at Le Meridien (it's part of the American Starwood hotel chain, so it had good American food along with Asian cuisine). I know, it's not my typical style to avoid the local dishes, so I'll have to make up for this the next time we're in Thailand!
Joe catches a crab on our room key
After our exciting adventure exploring Koh Phi Phi, we spent the next day relaxing on the beach and at the pool. We got an early start to the day to take advantage of our little paradise.
As Joe, Rick, and I explored the beach, we noticed some quick scurrying on the sand. Taking a closer look, we discovered many cute little sand crabs. They blend into the sand and run really, really fast! I managed to corner one in a footprint and I must have scared it, because it decided to play dead. Squealing with excitement, I asked Joe to catch the crab for me. We weren't sure if the crab would pinch, so Joe scooped him up on our room key. Crablington (I named the crab) sat still and didn't try to leap to freedom.
As this was happening, Raul was making his way down to the beach. Being from Puerto Rico and having caught many crabs before, Raul showed us how to properly hold Crablington (in other words, Raul isn't a wuss like the rest of us!). Then, Joe took a turn while I declined. Creepy crawly critters aren't my thing.
After playing with Crablington, we set him free (see video below) and decided to scour the rocks along the beach for larger crabs. We found a whole bunch of them clinging to the rocks. As we did this the tide got stronger and stronger and stirred up the sand where we were standing... to the point where we couldn't see what we were stepping on. This made me nervous because I didn't want to step on any crabs... and I was especially creeped out when a crab scurried across Joe's foot! While the crab didn't pinch, Joe said it felt really sharp. And so, that was the end of the crab adventure for us!
Our cabin on the boat
Get ready for a long read... this posting is full of info!
Our journey to the Phi Phi Islands (koh = island in the Thai language) started early with a one-hour van ride across Phuket to Ratsada Port (Le Meridien is on the east coast of Phuket and Ratsada Port is on the west). We booked a day tour through Easy Day Thailand, which I highly recommend. We took a larger boat for the initial ride to Koh Phi Phi (rather than the cheaper speed boat option, which would have been a long, bumpy ride!) and spent a little more to sit in the VIP cabin of the boat. The extra comfort was well worth it. We had complimentary refreshments for the 1.5 hour ride as well as air conditioning. Additionally, our private tour guide, Jame, was fantastic. He was really concerned about our comfort and took extra care to make sure we had the best experience possible. He made sure we were always the first guests off the boat at all the stops and the first back on.
The views throughout our journey to Koh Phi Phi were stunning as we were blessed with great weather. The sky was a rich shade of blue as was the ocean. Every once in a while we passed small islands that seemed to appear out of nowhere, and they were covered with vibrant, green foliage. We spent most of the ride at the front of the boat, enjoying the wind in our hair and snapping what seemed like a million photos. Click the photos below to enlarge the images (all of the photos I post are clickable for a larger image).
Our first stop was the Koh Phi Phi Port and the ride into the port was spectacular. I captured video because pictures didn't quite do the experience justice (sorry the audio is a little rough... it was really windy!).
At Koh Phi Phi Port, all of the passengers on our boat made transfers to their final destinations. I noticed many guests had luggage and were staying at resorts on Phi Phi. They were picked up and shuttled to their hotels by really cool wooden Asian boats. Each one had a small engine and was steered by hand. We had a different ride, and were picked up by a speed boat for our day of island hopping and snorkeling.
Monkeys on Monkey Beach
Our island hopping started with a visit to Monkey Beach. I'll admit, I was a little weary of going to Monkey Beach, considering my history with monkeys (read the MacRitchie Reservoir post for more info). In short, I think monkeys are kind of mean and they scare me.
As our boat approached the beach, Jame threw bananas on shore to lure the monkeys our way. Joe and Rick also took part in the feeding, and the monkeys eventually made their way onto our boat. As they scurried around, I made sure to run the opposite direction on the boat (which, as you can imagine, was quite comical because the boat was really small and there wasn't really anywhere to go). Di was also unsure of the primates.
However, Joe, Rick, and Raul were highly entertained and didn't think the monkeys were aggressive. In fact, they got really close to them. Joe told me they had soft fur. I took his word for it.
Underwater view of fish
The next stop on our journey was Bamboo Island where we had an amazing time snorkeling! This was only the second time I had ever snorkeled and it was far different from my last experience (which was when I was 13 and I snorkeled with manatees). We had an underwater camera to capture the experience on film.
Jame threw some bananas into the water to attract a school of fish towards our boat. Even from the boat, we could see the hundreds of vibrant, neon fish because the water was crystal clear. Then, we geared up and hopped into the water.
At first, it was a little weird to jump right into the middle of the school of fish because I felt like I was going to smash into them, but the fish just swam around us as if we were one of them. I'm guessing they are used to humans from the thousands of tourists that flock to Koh Phi Phi. In any case, it was neat to swim alongside the fish. And, the sights in the ocean were awesome. We saw coral (including a vibrant blue coral), big spiky sea urchins, neon fish, tiger fish, rainbow fish, and other sea creatures. I could have spent hours just wandering around and exploring the ocean floor if it wasn't for the fact that swimming is exhausting! I had to take several breathing breaks back on the boat.
I'll be sure to post more photos to the "photos" section of this blog soon. For now, here's a few for you to look at.
After an hour of exploring the deep, blue sea, we made a pit stop on Bamboo Island for lunch. We ate a fabulous buffet lunch at one of the resorts. We were greeted by the delicious seafood platter you see to the left, which included crab, prawn, calamari, and fried white fish. Yum!
The Phi Phi resorts looked incredible, and I would love to go back to Thailand to spend more time in the area. After lunch, we hopped back on the speedboat which took us out to sea where we were transferred back onto the big boat for a quick journey back to Koh Phi Phi Port.
Jame led us off the boat at the port for a quick walking tour of the main island of Koh Phi Phi. I was amazed at how clear and clean the water was at the port, despite the number of boats in the little harbor that go in and out every day. We could see the many fish in the water that lurked around the port for bits of food from tourists.
Again, Jame had some bananas handy and we fed the fish. Raul loves fishing, and got a kick out of having the fish eat right out of his hands.
Welcome to Koh Phi Phi
The small town on Koh Phi Phi was like many others we've seen in Asia, with narrow winding paths and dozens of vendors selling touristy trinkets. As Jame led us through town, he explained that many of the hotels on Koh Phi Phi offer cheap accommodations. Some were only about $60 a night, although I'm not sure if these were nice places because we couldn't really see any of them from the town.
Within about 15 minutes we had walked through the town (it was pretty small) and came across a beautiful beach in a little cove. The scenery was spectacular, like most of the scenery we had already experienced earlier in the day. Vibrant, green hills surrounded the beach, which had soft, white sand and crystal clear aqua water. I wanted to jump into the ocean and spend the rest of the day there!
Saying goodbye to Koh Phi Phi
The end of our excursion came all too soon and it was time to say goodbye to Koh Phi Phi. On our boat ride back to Ratsada Port, we passed Maya Beach, which is now famous because it's where Leonardo DiCaprio's movie, The Beaches, was filmed (see photo below).
I highly recommend traveling to Koh Phi Phi if you ever visit Thailand. Let me know, and I can help you plan your trip!
Rick admires the ocean
Next on the Lopez adventure itinerary was a visit to Phuket, Thailand for some fun in the sun. The beaches in Thailand were some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen.
We stayed at the Le Meridien Resort near the town of Patong. The best part about the hotel is that it has a private beach, away from the hustle and bustle of Patong. We spent our first day in Phuket relaxing on the beach and in the pool. The highlight of day one was a visit from the resort elephant... which we lovingly named "Baby Beluga Whale."
Rick's new friend
Baby Beluga lives on a hill next to the resort and visits the resort's guests twice a day. He's actually a quite talented elephant. His handler would say different things in Thai, and Baby Beluga would sit, lay down, walk a different direction, and even give people kisses with his trunk (the kisses looked really snotty and wet... ick!). I've included a video of the elephant below.
Day one in Phuket ended with a relaxing dinner at the resort's beachfront restaurant. Perhaps it was a little too relaxing... because Diane literally fell asleep at the table :) (Okay, maybe it was the jet lag hitting her). In any case, it gave us a good laugh. We all happened to be looking at her when her head snapped back suddenly and she awoke, surprised. Definitely a funny family memory!
Fun family dinner!
My favorite part of the trip took place on day two. We took a tour of Koh Phi Phi (thank you Ashley for the wonderful suggestion!). Boat rides, snorkeling, and beautiful islands... a true paradise! More to come on this...