Blogging took a back seat the last few weeks as I’ve been traveling with my parents & MC around Thailand. Time to get updated!
12,000 miles: Bangkok -> Chiang Rai -> Chiang Mai -> Kanchanaburi -> Hua Hin -> Thanyaburi (aka home).
It was my first chance going to most of the places we went to, and traveling with parents is much different than traveling with my teacher friends. Traveling with teacher friends? Busses, vans, street food, free activities & hostels. Traveling with parents? Taxis, restaurants, paid activities and hotels. Basically, traveling with parents = luxury.
It didn’t even take a full day for Azzeddine to remark on how cheap I had become. I was shocked at the idea of taking a taxi, but then I remembered that they were coming here with American dollars and while FOUR HUNDRED BAHT is absurd to me, to my parents, it was only TWELVE DOLLARS. So our perspectives were slightly different 🙂
Anyways, it didn’t take too much convincing for me to leave behind my peasant ways and embrace their tourist life style. I am down with real meals, hot showers, preserving my personal space while traveling and actual mattresses.
Christmas in Bangkok
My parents landed at 10:30pm on Christmas Eve so by the time MC, my mom, Azzeddine & I got to the hotel, we were celebrating Christmas. We immediately unpacked their luggage to reveal stockings (thanks Grandma!), hot cheetos & baked goodies (thanks Cec!), new cameras (thanks family!) and other miscellaneous items I had requested/begged my parents to bring (aka my high tops, face wash, etc.). I felt like the luckiest farang in Thailand.
We didn’t have much time in Bangkok before we took off for Chiang Rai on December 27th. Chiang Rai is in the northern most province of Thailand, bordering Myanmar. It seemed to have the reputation of a smaller Chiang Mai, think Portland to Seattle, minus all of the hipsters and $10 coffees. We stayed in a really cute Air BnB called Gita’s house which was about a 15 minute walk from where the market and city center seemed to be. Gita’s mom, Kah, is the owner and a lovely woman who does laughter yoga, sound bowl healing and created Gita’s House, a home away from home, with the purpose of healing and creating community. They just finished construction a few weeks before we came so it is very new, but we knew we had picked the right place when Kah’s dad dropped us off at the market and said, “don’t worry, you are like my cousin”. Everything about our time in Chiang Rai was amazing. The weather was PERFECT. The food, fabulous. We walked around and were able to see a lot of the town on foot which is myfavorite way to explore. The night bizarre is a very manageable size (ie. not like Chatuchak) and their massages are cheap. It was the perfect city to start our vacation with!
Chiang Mai – Happy 2017!
As December 30th came, we said our goodbyes to Gita’s House and boarded a bus to Chiang Mai. We picked a very busy time to be in Chiang Mai, since many locals and tourists all flock to Chiang Mai to celebrate the New Year. Even though there were a lot of people, I am happy that we found ourselves in Chiang Mai during the New Year because one of the most magical moments I’ve ever seen was looking up to see hundreds of lit lanterns floating in the sky. We saw children and adults alike, staring wide eyed up at the sky as they watched their lantern float off above the city.
There was really only one reason why my parents and I went to Kanchanaburi: the Elephant Haven sanctuary. As we fed, walked & bathed these beautiful animals, I couldn’t help but feel slightly in awe of how I was starting 2017: with my mom, step dad & 8 elephants. #blessingsonblessings
In an effort to give my parents a glimpse of the beach, we planned a weekend trip to Hua Hin: a resort town 3 hours South of Bangkok. Hua Hin was amazing. Despite all of the rain and flooding hitting South Thailand right now, we stayed in a gorgeous villa, ate French pastries and relaxed the entire time. It was a really nice break from the busy sight seeing schedules we had kept up the entire time. To celebrate our last dinner together, the 4 of us went to the market and ate some incredible shrimp and lobster.
Thanyaburi aka home
To end the trip, my parents spent 3 days in Thanyaburi, at the hotel on campus where student’s from the hospitality department have a chance to practice what they learn. I got to show them where I work, get coffee, eat lunch, who the people I work with are, where I live, where I grocery shop, how I get places (public transportation!) and all the components that make up my life here.
Having the opportunity to have 10 days off of work and spend time with my parents and MC was the best way I could have ended 2016 and began 2017. My parents came and made me feel loved, cared for and important, the way only parents can. I got the chance to show them my life here, which I didn’t realize how important that was to me. I love them so much and I really appreciated the quality time we all spent together the past 3 weeks. I realized that in the life I’ve begun to make for myself here, one thing missing was that feeling of being taken care of once in awhile. So, mom and Azzeddine – thank you for coming and loving me for 3 weeks and reminding me of how much love I have waiting for me at home.