I don’t even know where to start. I just returned from a two week long trip to Thailand with three friends. This trip has been on my list for a few years now and I’m so thankful that I was able to go. Here is my attempt to summarize our trip!
Anne and I met Kristina in the Chicago airport. Let the 21 hours of travel begin!
We arrived in Bangkok around 9:30pm on February 10th. My best friend, Annette, was already at the hotel in Bangkok and I was dying to get there as soon as I could so I could hug her!
We were in Bangkok for one full day. We INTENDED on taking a taxi to the Grand Palace then pick up a boat tour to begin our adventures but the gentleman driving the cab decided to bring us to a different part of town and put us on a different boat tour. We got Bangkoked! Thankfully things aren’t very expensive so if you make a mistake it doesn’t cost much.
We still enjoyed the boat tour we ended up on and ended at the Grand Palace so all in all not a huge mistake.
Feeding the fish for good luck
Got off the boat for our first meal out. Made a good decision with green curry. Watch out for those chilis!
After lunch we visited the Grand Palace. It’s a group of buildings in the heart of the city where the King and his government used to live. You can also view the Emerald Buddha.
First, here are our snazzy tourist outfits we wore as we toured the Grand Palace. We showed up thinking a scarf would be sufficient to cover our shoulders as it is at most temples. But they’re strict here and require t-shirts. How convenient that we could purchase one at the entrance for 200 Baht 🙂 Bangkoked again! Annette had leggings past her knees and those weren’t good enough either so she got herself some elephant pants.
The palace was pretty incredible. Gold mosaics everywhere! But also suuuper crowded!
Traveling by tuk-tuk is a tourist must-do.
Icon Siam Mall
After two nights in Bangkok – off to Chiang Mai! Chiang Mai is in the northern part of the country, closer to the mountains. I really loved this city. The Thais here were so sweet and hospitable. We felt so welcomed at our hotel and enjoyed chatting with the locals and our tour guides.
Here’s our first meal, near our hotel. Unfortunately, Annette can’t do spicy!
One of my highlights was a cooking class where we learned how to make seven different things. They picked us up at our hotel and brought us first to a market to talk about the different fresh ingredients used in Thai cooking. Then we were taken to the school where we learned how to cook some delish dishes and eat until we couldn’t eat any more!
Here’s our instructor, Doo. He was so knowledgeable and hilarious!
Ready to make some Pad Thai!
I made this Pad Thai!! So proud of myself, ha
Coconut soup, yum! (And ingredients for papaya salad in the background, yum yum!)
The next morning we were picked up at our hotel again and traveled about 40 minutes to the Patara Elephant Farm. We learned about the elephants in their care (there are 67), how they make sure they’re healthy and helped them in their daily tasks of feeding and bathing them. It was incredible! Annette and I were paired up with a mama, Manoi, and her baby, Natee. It was a surreal experience!
Look at her side, she’s pregnant!
We did NOT know this was going to happen….
How beautiful is this lunch?!
That evening back in Chiang Mai dinner at Dash. I had Pad See Ew 🙂
Some sights as we walked/shopped around the city…
Lunch the next day at Woo! This is one of the most beautiful restaurants! Tons of fresh flowers everywhere and the food was delicious.
Side note: we learned that there is a notoriously stinky fruit in Asia called Durian (mostly by walking through it’s stench on the street). It cracks me up that establishments will have signs like this on their doors: “No Dogs, No Outside Food & Bev, No Durian!”
Pineapple fried rice!
The next day we traveled about an hour and a half from Chiang Mai to visit the Doi Inthanon National Park.
We visited the Karen Village where we had a coffee & tea stop. We ground fresh coffee beans and this sweet woman (and our tour guide!) made us coffee and green tea for Annette and I!
Last stop for the day
Our last morning in Chiang Mai we wandered around the city shopping and exploring and taking a break from the heat for smoothies (we ate mangoes in some form every day). We returned to a shop we’d already visited because we loved the shop owner so much. Isn’t he the cutest??
After five nights we said goodbye to Chiang Mai (and Kristina had to leave us, too) and headed to the beaches! More specifically, Krabi. I honestly didn’t take many photos here. I just enjoyed a few days to relax! We stayed at the Centara Grand Resort and Villas.
Okay, I’m still dreaming about this Tim Tam Chocolate Frappe from The Coffee Club.Our resort was only accessible by boat or this monkey trail 🙂 Unfortunately, we didn’t see any monkeys 😦
If eating chips in our bathing suits isn’t the perfect vacation, I don’t know what is.
Back to The Coffee Club again because we loved it so much 🙂 This first pose, “the dolphin,” is inspired by the water aerobics class we did at our hotel with all the old ladies, ha!
Our last full day we spent a few hours on a boat island hopping! The beaches turned more turquoise as we got away from the main land. We stopped at four different islands to swim and also did a bit of snorkeling. So beautiful!
We watched the sunset every night. Here’s our last one!
So sad to say goodbye! Had a fabulous vacation with these ladies. Until the next adventure… 🙂