My trip to Thailand

The first of many entries to come! I never thought I would visit Thailand. I've traveled a lot, but had never been too interested in going that far and exploring eastern culture. I am so grateful that I had this amazing opportunity to learn so much about a culture that is so different from our own. I enjoy sharing it with everyone and I hope that you will enjoy learning about it too! Matt's Parents, Bob and Carol, have been spending the last year and a half living in Thailand and teaching English to children in a small village. Their term with the Peace Corps will be finished next March (2008) and they will probably do some traveling after that before returning home. If you haven't checked out their blog yet, please take a look at it - they've done an excellent job!! (click here)

When we arrived, Carol told us quite a bit about the Thai people and their way of life. There are pictures of the King posted everywhere and they are completely devoted to him. The Thai people take their king and their religion very seriously and you will never hear anyone mutter a negative word about either one. They also spend every day living "in the moment" - which I think is a great quality to have - but unfortunately for them it is almost to a fault because it prevents any forward thinking or future planning.

Our first day in Thailand was spent at the "Floating Market" just outside of Bangkok. It was fun to take a little boat ride and shop directly from the boat. We did a lot of bartering in Thailand - you could usually talk them down to about half of what they originally ask for. There were a lot of teak wood sculptures, purses, vases, etc. We ate lunch by a river/swamp and then had one other stop where they sold several things that are all handmade by different Thai villages.

Temples in Bangkok

As I said before, the Thai people are very religious and there are several "wats" or temples throughout every city and every village. Many of them are very small and simple but we visited a couple of the most ornate in Bangkok.

As a side note, the weather in Thailand is extremely hot AND humid. For the most part it was fine ~ it seemed that whenever it started to get really bad there would be a cloud cover, a breeze would pick up, or we would be on our way inside to air conditioning. There were only a handful of times that it was particularly excruciating and unfortunately this was one of those days! The sun drained the life out of all of us that day, but I've truly enjoyed looking back at the pictures. To visit the Wats, you must have your shoulders and knees covered, so as you can see Matt and I had to wear the "rental" skirts/pants to cover up our legs which made us that much warmer! :) When you enter the temples to view the Buddhas everyone was required to take off their shoes which explains why we are barefoot in some of the pictures! I split this one into two slideshows......lots of pictures but worth taking the time to look at :)

Thai Food

I'm going to let the food talk for itself on this one :) Will hopefully have names of some of the fruit soon ~ can't remember it all! There's a slideshow for food, fruit/desserts and other delicacies :) Did this one for you pops! :) Give them a minute to load up....If there are any food questions just ask them in a comment!

Monkey Mountain!!

This had to be one of my favorite places that we visited... It's listed on all the websites as a tourist attraction - but it's so far off the track that I don't think many people ever actually make it there. The first picture of the elephant was when we stopped for gas on the way there....we were all outside stretching our legs when he walked up - it was nuts! On the afternoon we showed up at Monkey Mountain - we were the only "farangs" (foreigners) there. Basically you pull up and park - and there are monkeys EVERYWHERE. There's a couple little stands where you can buy peanuts to feed them and a drink for yourself and there was a really lovely bathroom as well :) The monkeys are surprisingly patient and docile down on the ground...they wait patiently for the peanuts I even had one that would gently pull on my skirt when he was ready for another one. They did often attack each other for peanuts though and would let out the most eerie screams. Matt managed to find a great little temple and also went up some stairs to a viewpoint but I couldn't pull myself away from feeding the monkeys... Glad he got them on film!! Apparently up the stairs the monkeys are a bit more aggressive because not as many people go up there with food - Matt got scratched and his Aunt Dorothy was bitten! Then when they found the temple there was a monk in there who "thaid" them and gave them a special blessing... Check it out....

Bob and Carol's Neighborhood

After the Monkey Mountain we headed to Aranyaputhet which is about 30 minutes from where Bob and Carol live. It's basically a bus stop with a few restaurants (thai style booths) and a hotel that was exceptional considering where we were! When we arrived we checked in, ate crickets, and then headed to the village to see Bob and Carol's house and take a walk through the village. The children in the village were so surprised to see us and although we tried to talk to them and give them candy they were still afraid because we were so different from them. We stopped and met a couple of Carol's friends who own a little restaurant and always give her ice water when she's walking to the schools.....we also met another woman who doesn't speak very much English at all - but she and Carol have connected and she is a very sweet woman. She owns the only oil press in the village and she also makes shirts and gave one to Lindsay. Everyone we met in the village cried when they saw Bob and Carol's family....they were so excited and so happy to have met everyone and it's obvious that Matt's parents have had a huge impact on this small village near the Cambodian border. As pretty as it looks it was still miserably hot and humid...and there are a LOT more bugs in the village!! I looked down several times and noticed that a few of them were feasting on my infection...I felt like I was in an episode of survivor ;) That night we had dinner with the principal and a few of the teachers they work with. A couple of them spoke GREAT english and we learned a lot about the Thai culture that night - although I think they thought we were a bit nosy!! Visiting their village was the BEST part of the entire trip... here's just a few pictures of their house and neighborhood.

Visiting the village schools

This was BY FAR the BEST part of the entire trip! Words cannot express what it felt like to communicate with these children and how their faces lit up when we walked in. They were so well behaved and so eager to speak English with us. Even the ones that were afraid were excited about us being there and still tried to do their best. Obviously Bob and Carol have made quite an impact on these children and most of them spoke great English! I will never forget those moments. The pictures aren't enough - but take a look!


After a whirlwind trip to all the sites in Bangkok and all the schools in the village - we spent a couple of days at a condo near the ocean in Cha-am. It was a cute little beach town with very few tourists and some cute shops and restaurants. We finally had a chance to relax a little bit and just enjoy each other's company! We had a "thai" massage (only $6!), ate some of the best seafood I have EVER had and went on an elephant was the perfect ending to an amazing trip!