Mary's View of Thailand

Mary's View of Thailand

I thought I'd write a little bit about our trip to Thailand - Land of Smiles.; The contrast between S'pore and Thailand is pretty big. There is actually countryside in Thailand!!! I loved driving through the country and seeing fields of corn and rice. Everything was so GREEN!!! I really needed to have that "country" part of me rejuvenated. So, even if that was all that was good that would have made it worth while.

This whole odessy began with our travel agent, Riduan. He has been so very helpful and understanding!! Actual service in S'pore!! Months ago - just on blind luck - we went to this travel agency and just started to get information on travel in Asia. From there we began to talk about specific dates, etc. Eventually we were ready to get it all set up. Called up Riduan and told him to get it set up. For about 1,100.00 S'pore dollars apiece we got a lovely 6 day trip to Thailand.

This included: all air fares, all lodging, all breakfasts, and tours complete with guide and driver. For a 3 day period we had Nancy as our guide and a driver - just for us. We had a 9 seater van (air-con) and their undivided attention. Talk about decadence. We decided we needed to do tours because we didn't have a clue what to see or do. Riduan set it all up. Thank you, Riduan!!

Bangkok is a typical big city - loud , crowded, dirty, etc. Two days was enough, by then the smog was getting to us. Our hotel was out from the city a bit and so was a nice haven to go back to. We shopped until we dropped - literally. Incredible bargains too good to be passed up. Terry even had 2 pants and 3 shirts made to order at our guide's personal tailor!! These were ready in 24 hours and delivered to the hotel. While here we toured 3 of the major temples. Most amazing!! Gold everywhere!! I got the same awesome feeling I had when viewing the Sistine Chapel and Notre Dame.

After Bangkok we moved on to Chiangmai - an hours plane ride. Met at the airport and deposited at out hotel. Went on tour of neighboring town, Lamphun, with Non(male) as our guide. Had good time and learned about being a male in Thailand. Had a good time in the local market where we saw: frogs being gutted as we watched, live crickets in plastic bags waiting to be fried and eaten, live eels still wiggling in the bucket, piles of red chilis, etc. The sights, sounds, smells were incredible.

For the next 3 days Nancy was our guide and we did all the arts/crafts factories in Chiangmai. Lots of opportunities to buy stuff. We did. Then we went off to the elephant camp and rode elephants. These are elephants that used to work in the forests but that is no longer allowed. For an hour we rode on the back of these elephants through the jungle. No snakes - I looked. Neat experience. Then off to lunch and then we were supposed to ride a "long-talied" boat to Chiangmai. However, the river was too high and fast because the monsoons had started so we didn't. Again, deposited at our hotel for a rest.

The next day Nancy took us to see some hill tribes and the Golden Triangle. The hill tribes were very interesting. One, the Akha, were "dirty" - according to Nancy. I have to admit she was right. This tribe still does a lot of opium growing/selling. Basically "lazy" and did nothing to better themselves.

The other tribe - literally just down the rode - were the Yao tribe. Much "cleaner" and hard working. No kids were to be seen because they were school. Not so at the Akha tribe. The Yao's and Akha's do not like each other so there is no intermingling. They pretty much chase each other off when they get too close. The Yao does really nice needlework so I bought some pieces. Later I saw the same thing at the airport where they were cheaper - go figure. I don't mind actually giving the little Yao lady here money though.

The Golden Triangle is where Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet. This is the famous drug country. We could have gotten T-shirts commemorating our visit but we decided we didn't want to memorialize the area. It was very beautiful. Too bad it was used for such and ugly purpose.

This was a very nice trip. We all had a good time. The tours were all worth while and having our own tour guide and driver was an added bonus. It was as interesting mix of large city and country life. Thailand is a beautiful country with very beautiful, helpful, and smiling people.