Thailand: Overview Video

Following New Zealand, Michael and I traveled to Thailand as part of our 2007 career break. The following is a video overview of our experience. (This video also features Laos)

Text Version: We were excited to be moving on to Thailand and Laos  – two countries whose cultures were completely different from our own.

[singlepic=482,200,,,right]In Thailand we did the things that most visitors do – we visited the ornate temples of Bangkok; we relaxed on the beautiful beaches in the south; we dove the undersea world of the Simlan Islands; and we even went on an elephant trek.

Our true goal for this part of the trip was to visit places most people don’t and experience the culture up close and personal.  We started with a visit to Khao Lak – the area of Thailand most affected by the tsunami of 2004.  And even though it had been almost three years, there were still visible reminders of the waves destruction.

[singlepic=585,200,,,left]By scooter we headed up the coast to witness for ourselves the three reminders of that day that greatly stood out.  2km inland sits an enormous police boat that was patrolling the waters that day, protecting the King’s grandson who was jet skiing.  And further up the coast sit two more boats.  One is known as the Red Devil, because it caused the most destruction of any fishing boat, destroying everything in its path as well as taking dozens of lives.  And the other is the Blue Angel, which a Burmese sailor was able to navigate through the town, caused no destruction and even saved two people in the water who were able to cling to its side.

[singlepic=530,200,,,right]We also decided to do a home stay in the small Muslim village of Tung Nang Dam, population 130.  Our host, P’Noi, was gracious to welcome us into her home and share her life with us.  And despite a language barrier, we were able to help her with her many projects, including one that hopes to replenish the orchid population in the forest.   We were also able to assist with feeding the goats as well as learning how to cook some local cuisine.  This experience greatly pushed us out of our comfort zones and made a lasting, and positive, impression on us both.

[singlepic=774,200,,,left]After being on the go for so long, we decided to spend our remaining time in Laos.  The French-colonial town of Luang Prabang oozed charm and was a perfect spot to unwind and still take in the culture.  The peacefulness of the early morning fog was a great backdrop to witness hundreds of monks receive their daily alms.  And during a two-day hill tribe trek, we felt like we were literally on top of the world staying in a local Hmong village – a place where very few foreigners visit.  It was yet another experience that pushed us out of our comfort zone but was one of the most memorable of the trip.

And this is where our travels would end – at least for the time being.  Nine weeks on the road only made us hungrier for more.

You can read more about our experience in individual Thailand and Laos posts.

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