As we began decent into Pucket, we could see the beauty of the region, with clear blue water and thousands of beautiful odd shaped Islands. We then took an hour cab ride to our apartment, located just a half a kilometer from the world famous Patong beach. Our apartment was outstanding and had a beautiful swimming pool right outside our door with the ocean just on the other side of the road. The apartment was a large two bedroom with kitchen and a large deck. We unpacked our bags and walked down the hill to the 5 kilometer long Patong beach, where there was a bee hive of activity with thousands of people basking in the sun. The kids immediately ran for the wavy warm ocean water and didn’t come out for a good two of hours. Then, we continued up the beach to the Patong coastal shopping area. The shopping district is massive with thousands of tourist shops, with knock off purses, T- shirts, ornaments, jewelry and anything else you can think of. We finally made our way down the famous Bang La Street, known for it’s party central reputation. It certainly did not disappoint, as there were bars everywhere with lots of action. Some big bars hire local Thai girls or in some instances Boygirl to entice customers to come in by dressing them in short skirts, while they danced like Go Go Girls on a raised platforms with the music blaring out. Other bars use the live music attraction, while others sell you on the street with the old two for one coupon. It’s really crazy! While we were in awe in our surroundings, all of a sudden, these young Thai guys surrounded us and began placing Iguanas all over us and demanded 5 bucks for a picture and their efforts. Drew and Jessica had reptiles all over them and welcomed the picture offer, so we negotiated a better price for the session. Our next unexpected encounter was a group of about a dozen shehes or boygirl. Shehe(s) are young male prostitutes, that look and dress like female prostitutes. Genetically, Thai people, males and females, are usually small with fine features and virtually look the same. Apparently, Thai males don’t have the predominant Adams apple other races do, and with long hair and occasionally a boob job, it is practically impossible to tell the difference between male and female prostitutes. A guy told me that you can tell their gender by looking at their three middle fingers. Apparently, women’s two fingers beside their middle finger are equal in length, while a male’s are unequal. He said, if that is not good enough for ya, you may have resort to the old absolute crouch check. Jessica was particularly interested in the shehes, and claimed to know which was which. Surprisingly, Drew is still too young and couldn’t care less one way or another. After all the excitement, we returned back to apartment and realized our little walk turned into a seven-hour adventure and it was already 2am!
The next day, we got up late and took a swim in our most excellent swimming pool and then we went back downtown for more bizarre action. Unfortunately, we got sidetracked and sucked in to a time-share presentation. The hook was a scratch and win card. We humored the aggressive sellers by scratching a card and low and behold we were one of few who won a guaranteed major prizes. All we had to do, it attend their presentation for an hour and collect one of our major prizes, which was guaranteed to be either a Panasonic laptop or video camera, $5000US cash, or one of two all inclusive holidays. We knew it was more probably a scam, but the kids wanted to collect the electronic prize, so we agreed to go. The company told us it would only take an hour, but it turned into three hours and of course we ended up winning the trip, which was a vacation back to Thailand with the same timeshare company. All you have to do is pay is your airfare back to Thailand and book no sooner than four months from the date of prize. Brutal scam! Lyane and I were mad and the kids were disappointed. It was a huge waste of time, but I think the kids learned something valuable from it. After we got out of there, we shopped around some more and the kids were happy when they got temporary tattoos. After dark it was time to head back to our apartment and Drew waved down the coolest Tuk Tuk (small taxi like vehicle) he could spot. It had great yellow paint, ground effects lights, fancy interior lights in the cab and the whole nine yards. It was a fun ride back and it was great to ride home in style.
Day three, we hired a brand new 10 passenger van complete with driver and tour guide to tour us around the island for a measly $30 bucks Canadian. The first stop was weird, because we visited this baby elephant that was just living on this busy street with his trainer. He was a really cool little guy who performed tricks for us, such as playing the harmonica, sitting and smiling while posing for pictures, and his best trick, snatching money out of our hands with his trunk. That was good entertainment for 100 Thai Baht or $3.25 Canadian dollars. Our next stop, and main objective was to visit the Phuket zoo, and get our picture taken with the tiger.When we arrived at the zoo, we were told that the monkey show was about to begin and it was not to be missed, so we rushed to the performance. The monkeys performed a routine monkey like show that we have all seen before, but all the same, we never seem to never get tired of. The cool part was, after the show the trainers brought the monkeys back out, and people could hold the monkeys and have their picture taken. The kids held a tiny baby monkey in their arms, while an adult monkey stood on their heads posing for pictures. Right outside the monkey stage was a huge old Orangutan that people could get your picture taken with. It was awesome, but concerning because there was little supervision and you could pretty much do what ever you wanted to the poor old ape. We were one of the kinder customers and we held his human like hand and gently scratched his balding head. He seemed to appreciate the affection, as it was probably a nice change from all the little bratty kids. It was a really cool, but sad experience because when you where holding his hand and looked in his eyes, you could feel the connection and his sense of despair. Man, they are so human like! We then moved on to the crocodile show where the human performers were the attraction, as they harassed giant docile crocodiles into snapping at them. One extremely fit croc performer actually picked up a really big crocodiles and carried him around the stage for all to see. Next, we headed for the tiger sanctuary to get our pictures taken with the large cat. When we arrived, we were surprised to see the tiger was not caged, but instead loosely chained to a flat shaded platform. The first trainer we saw was the famous one-armed guy that appeared with the same tiger on one of our favorite television show, The Amazing Race. The staff was great and took multiple photos of us all with the tiger. I have to confess that the event seemed very dangerous! After all, putting your arm around a giant strange tiger, while a one-arm trainer pokes it in the chest, so it roars for the pictures, does have its risk! What a rush though! You could feel the big roar come from within the tiger and it was hard to stay cool. After the big cat photos, we got to hold and bottle feed the female tiger’s three month old kitten. That was an amazing experience for us all, as the kitten sucked on the human like oversized baby bottle. Then the kitten started getting a little too playful and started play biting and scratching Drew. We could all see that Drew was getting scratched up and getting bit scared, but the trainers just stood there and let it happen. I had to actually grab one of the staff to get the baby cat off Drew. Fortunately, the wounds inflicted by the kitten did not break his skin, but Drew he was superficially all scratched up. Next, I got to hold the little bugger and he bit me in the thigh. Fortunately, I had jeans on and again the bit did not break skin. I couldn’t believe it! The staff was so impartial to it all. After the zoo, we stopped at a cashew factory where we saw and learned about cashew growing and production. Cashews nuts grow in a large tree that produces a fruit looking thing with a hard covered tasty cashew hanging from it. The hard outer shell is like an acorn, which is then opened one nut at a time by a factory worker with a manual punch machine. Then the exposed nut goes to the processing department were it is washed, dried and seasoned. Next, they move along conveyor belt to a large viewable glass room, where they are hand packaged by several nutty employees. The finished product is then placed on the store shelf located twenty feet away and ready to be sold. Now that’s fresh! Cashews are one of my many weaknesses and we ended up buying quite a few different flavored types. Like a child, that night, I ate them until I was sick. Next stop, was a pearl factory and we learned about all about pearls and oysters. The pearl store we visited claimed to have the largest pearl in the world. I can’t remember how big it was, but it was about the size of a BC cherry. Our next stop, was the Koh Si Re Gypsy village where we strolled down a stinky fish market. I guess the idea of this stop, is to get tourist to buy more junk to support the Gypsies. Mostly, they sold seashell stuff and more tourist ornaments. We decided to pass on the market tour and instead take a walk through the Gypsy village that was hidden behind their tourist shacks. There was saw the real gypsies and we were shocked to see just how poor they really were. It was definitely an eye opener for the kids, and a reminder to us as well just how lucky we really are. On the ocean side of the market there was a port and several hundred of the unique Thai long boats buzz around the bay. The boats are long skinny motorized vessels that have a long driveshaft that extend some fifteen feet into the water behind the boat and back to the propeller. The driver can pitch the propeller up and bring it right out of the water or down he can pitch it down deeper speed. Our last stop of the tour was at a famous sunset place called Cape Phromthep. Every evening, thousands of people gather to watch the amazing Thai sunset. It was great evening and a fantastic sunset.
Our last day in Phuket, we took a three island boat tour to Phi Phi, Khai Isand and Maya Bay. The first stop was Khai Island, where we were transported to shore by the traditional long shaft Thai boats, and lead to a small ocean bay to snorkel. We all thought it was going to be a substandard expedition, but when we got there, we were pleasantly surprised! The water was crystal clear and there were thousands of tropical fish frenzying over the bread the tourist were feeding them. It was unbelievable! I have never seen so many colorful tropical fish in one place. The kids saw that and they were the first ones in the water from our group and Lyane and I were not too far behind. It was a great family experience and together we saw a variety of amazing fish, including a big ugly pink eel hiding in the rocks that ended up swimming right through my legs! Drew screamed underwater, because he thought the eel was going to bite me! Fortunately, I didn’t see it happening, but I knew there was trouble, so I just anxiously propelled myself the hell out of there. It sure scared the hell out of me. The next stop and the highlight of the excursion, was the absolutely beautiful Phi Phi Island. That was, without question the most beautiful place that we have seen on our trip to date. The island itself was relatively small, but the beach is beautiful complete with incredible towering cliffs guarding it on either side. The beach sand was your typical perfect white powder that you would expect to find in any paradise and the water was crystal clear to match. Passengers on the tour were given the option of relaxing on the beach, or staying in the bay and snorkeling. The split was about half and half, but of course, having children, snorkeling was the unanimous choice. The kids were the only ones that didn’t wear a life jacket, so they were easily the first ones in the water again. I stayed back for a few minutes to video them in the incredible paradise. Lyane and I then put on our life jackets and paddled long the surface of the water, while Jessica and Drew dove down to the ocean floor about 20ft to touch the yawning giant clams. The crazy buggers would stick their hand in the clam’s mouth and trickle it’s senses until it would slam its mouth shut. The kids are so brave and skilled in the water that Lyane and I can’t really do much but watch and hope they don’t get hurt…..or worse!!! Anyway, they survived and together we saw a large school of spectacular parrotfish and this weird needle nose fish that looked like an arrow. The kids also saw a big yellow angle fish swim right by them. Then it was back on the boat to our last destination, Maya Bay. There, was a cool little village that had tons more tourist shops with the same old junk we had seen so many times before, so we instead opted not to go and we again toured the nearby local village and their people. Next the boat sailed by a place called Viking Island, where thousands of Swallow nests reside and are retrieved by local people. The men risk their lives by scaling up the step cliffs on shaky homemade bamboo ladders and scaffolding. Their reward is the bird saliva made bird nests that sells for $4000 US dollars a Kilogram to the local restaurants, who in turn make Bird Nest Soup and sell it for between $25 to $40 a bowl.
The next day we left for the nice northern city of Chiang Mai, Thailand. We got settled in our room, and went downtown to the Saturday night market. The atmosphere of the city was very pleasant and much quieter than Phuket. The next day we hired a tour company to take us to the famous Golden Triangle area. The triangle is a geographical area that borders Thailand, Laos and Myanmar (or Burma). The Mekong River splits into a Y and acts as a natural border for Thailand and Burma, while the main part of the river separated Thailand and Laos. This area became very famous in the 60’s and 70’s when opium evolved as a very popular illegal drug and was know as black gold. More on opium later. Our first stop was the Chiang Dao Elephant Camp where we first met and feed the elephants sugarcane. Next they paraded down to the water and we watched them get washed by their trainer in the river. It was rather entertaining to watch, especially when the elephants all strayed their trainers with water from their trunk. Then we were ushered to a stage area, where the elephants and the trainers re-enacted the Thai logging industry, that was no longer exists since 1972. The Elephants played a key role in the industry and their primary function was to drag heavy cut logs from the forest and stack them as well. It was pretty cool to observer their brute strength and amazing intelligence. Unfortunately, since 1972, most Thai elephants are unemployed and are only tourist attractions. It’s interesting because elephant training is a life long commitment, and the trainer and elephant are practically inseparatable, so obviously the training method has changed from laboring to performing. The last performance of the day was elephant picture painting and surprisingly, they could really paint! Only two of dozen elephants painted and their paintings sold for 20 bucks apiece before we could even enquire. Then it was time for the ninety-minute elephant ride. The trainer steers the elephant by sitting on the elephant’s neck and head and then picks passengers up at this high loading station. The elephant is steadied and two additional passengers are mounted in a double wooden bench saddle right behind the trainer. We then trekked through the jungle and down the river on the gentle giant and then returned back to camp for departure to our next destination the ancient Chiang Dao Caves. More than 500 years ago, these caves in northern Thailand were inhabited by Burmians tribal people who built beautiful this beautiful temple and worship area that you can only imagine or see in movies. The details and the architecture were stunning and you had to wonder how in the world they were able to create this magnificent temple deep inside this cave. Many times the answer to these ancient questions is usually the same…….”they had time!“ Then we traveled further north to bed down at a town called Thaton. The hotel was the nicest in town and we realized that the tour package we purchased, was a little bit higher class than we were used to. That evening from our hotel room’s deck, were watched several young people partying in the river right in front of us in inner tubes, while ancient temples illuminated above them as night fell.
The next day it was an early start and a short drive to Mae Salong to visit the Padong “long neck” tribe amongst other tribes. After about 50 kilometers, we turned off the main highway and started down a rough gravel road until we arrived at the village. When we arrived, we were all shocked at how these tribes live. They were the farthest removed people from society, we had ever seen. They are actually tribes from Burma that had walked across the border to Thailand in order to immigrate. The government actually allows them to live into their country by compounding them for 2 years into their society by assimilating them. The Padong Karen tribes are known as the long neck people because the women stretch their necks by wearing brass metal rings around their necks. They start wearing them very young and add new rings every year to maximize the neck stretch. At 28 years old a human is fully grown and so therefore, no more rings are added after that. This is not tourist gimmick! The Padong people are still the same in tradition and culture as they were 500 years ago. They were very nice people and we took several photos of them with us. We also bought handmade Chinese Silk scarves and a teak wood carving from them. Teak trees are native to northern Thailand and The Padong people have capitalized on its popularity. Two females at separate times played guitar and sang a song. Both were extremely good and we recorded both performances that we will cherish forever. As I said, the tribe is made up of Burmese decent people, but within the community, there were actually four very different tribes with unique culture and language, all living in the same small village and managed by the same leader. The most dominant and recognizable tribe was the long neck Padong. Another unnamed tribe has gapping holes in their ear lobes and another had funny looking hats almost like a Shriner’s hat and weird red colored teeth. The forth tribe was not insight. Because we were the only tourists in the village, it was a weird and sad emotion, like when you leave a loved one in the hospital. You know they are going to be OK, but yet you feel you shouldn’t leave. They seemed happy enough and they were very nice, but they were obviously poor and were very much alone and isolated. Anyway, our next stop was in the town of Mae Song that has the reputation as growing best green tea in the world. We sat down at this little counter and this nice Thai lady came out and prepared our tea from scratch. We drank three types of tea, Green, Jasmine and Ginsing. As a non-tea drinker, I was impartial to the best tea in the world claim, but Lyane said it was and so, it must be. She was so impressed that she purchased a whole bunch of different kinds. When we get back home, we will have to have a tea party.
Chiang Saen is an ancient temple where one of the traditions the kids did, was to place gold fleck on the Buddha statue for good luck. They placed their gold square in a unique area of the statue and hope to return someday to see is it is still there. We learned that a Stoupa is an ancient Cambodian spiraled temple adopted by the Thais that populates most northern Thailand. Over the last 500 years,Chiang Saen city has been completely abandoned twice and re-built three times. Thailand was ruled by Kings, pre 1800’s, and for some superstitious reason the city was either re-vitalized or abandoned. Some interesting trivial facts about Thailand are that, it was never colonialized by Europeans or anyone else. Some say it was because the country acted as a buffer or border for other colonialized countries ruled by different lands. Others believe it was because the Thai kings were superior in foreign negotiations. The second belief sounds unlikely, but it may have some merit to it, because years later, Thailand was able to keep peaceful relations with both the parties in the first and second world war and avoid being attacked.
Our next stop was the Opium museum. There we learned how to grow, harvest, process and consume opium. I just hope the kids treat this visit as informational and not as a business opportunity! It is believed that Thailand is the only one of the three countries that does not grow poppies in the Golden Triangle. Laos and Myanmar still do. We learned that it takes about 3,000 poppies to produce a KG of opium. We studied the various stages of the poppies life cycle and learned when and how to extract and prepare the drug. It is really not that easy and you have to wonder who the heck figured that out! We even, held the equipment used to smoke the opium. We now know, for best results, to lie down and tuck your feet to your chest, light the opium and start smoking! One of the coolest displays was what was believed to be a Thai Kings paraphernalia, was an ancient pure silver opium set complete with, several silver pipes and bongs, a head rest, and even a silver mat to lie down on. We learned the word “Bong” is a Thai word meaning Bamboo Cylinder pipe. We also learned that the legal medical drug Morphine is derived from opium and so it the famous addictive Heroin. In conclusion, the museum was very interesting was well displayed. I thought the kids really learned something constructive, even though it was about drugs! Next, we hopped in a long boat and speeded across the Mekong River to Donsao, Laos. It wasn’t a very long trip, but at least we can now say that we have been in Laos. We got off the boat and the little Laos kids were there to greet us with their hands. Laos is a socialist country that seems to be very poor, and has only recently opened its borders to foreigners and tourism. There is a lot of construction going on along the Laos border, including a brand new spectacular Chinese owned casino. We were then led to a shopping area where the locals sold everything from moonshine booze and cigarettes, to phormaldehyded bottled cobras and tarantulas to cheap tee shirts and big bladed illegal knives. Of course, Drew wanted to buy a knife, but instead settled for a t-shirt. We then jumped back in the boat and headed for the most northern Thai border town of Mae Sai. It seemed to be a typical Thai town, except that it shares a border with Myanmar. Myanmar is again a socialist country like Laos, but is ruled by the government with an iron fist, and seems more like a dictatorship. We stood at the Thai border and watched with interest, the tight security of Myanmar allowing people in and out of the countries. A little girl Burmese girl about seven years old carrying a month old baby, stuck her hand through the heavy gauged fence and asked Jessica for money. We were all shocked to see this poor little girl, carrying this practically new born baby around like a rag doll, so all we could do is reach into our jeans and give her a little money. We stood and watched her for a while and she eventually made her way back across the Myanmar border. It was truly sad. Tourists can go there for a day, but you have to leave your passport at the Thai border and return before to Thailand before the border closes at 6:30 pm. It is very eerie. Our guide said, he had been there a few times and it is no big deal for tourists, but he said it is very scary and strict for the Burmese citizens. The reason why the countries name was changed from Burma to Myanmar is because the countries leader is superstitious and believes in astronomy and he had a vision to change the name. Spooky eh? We then got back in the tour van and our historian buff guide, Jack explained some things about the Buddha religion. Buddha was a man born a Hindu prince, 2500 years ago. Buddha started his own beliefs based on the ultimate goal of enlightenment. He was not a god but a man and Buddhism is a way of life, not a religion. He believed you could reach ultimate enlightenment by in eliminating temptation. Monks who worship Buddha follow four main commands of no stealing, no sex, no killing and no alcohol. Monks do not necessarily become monks for life and many Thais become monks only to leave the monkhood to pursue something else. However, once you commit to the monkhood, you must stay in the discipline at least three and a half months and abide by all Buddhist rules. They only can eat twice a day, only eating breakfast and lunch. They obtain their food by getting up early in the morning and collecting food from the general public. The food they collect most be enough for both meals. Monks all have shaved heads and wear long orange cloaks. It’s really weird to see them all walking around and asking for money.
Thailand’s agriculture consists of rice, tobacco, cashew trees, corn and fruit such as mango and tangerine. The entire time spent in the north of Thailand, it was extremely smoky and our guide explained that it was because some Thai farmers but mostly Myanmar continuously burn their crops, spewing smoke for weeks into the air. It’s really bad. Thai authority is pretty intense and we witnessed several police roadblocks were they were searching vehicles for drugs. Our next stop was another temple in Wat Phrakaew, Chiangrai, were one of the two largest jade Buddha statues reside. The interesting part of this stop was that the jade was purchased from Canada. Our last stop was Wat Rong Khun where this unbelievable newly constructed white and glass temple. Only the pictures can do this place justice, but it is amazing. The guy who designed and financially backed the temple is a famous rich forty-year old Thai artist that has made millions of dollars from his artwork. After the temple the tour was over and we were dropped off at our hotel mid-afternoon. We didn’t have much time left in Chang Rai, because we were to fly to Bangkok really early the next day, so we went for a walk around town and ended up in a traditional Thai message parlor. Jessica and Drew got foot messages and Lyane and I opted for the traditional full body message. All of us really enjoyed it, but mine was particularity exotic. At one point, I was sitting up at the edge bed and she put her legs around my neck, from behind, and messaged my neck with her thighs. It felt good and professional, but still, it was a little embarrassing.
The next morning, we were all limbered up and ready for our flight to big Bangkok. We landed at the massive, Bangkok airport and taxied through the twelve million population city, to our really cool downtown apartment that we had rented online. On the way, we noticed that there were literally thousands of colorful bright cabs of orange, pink, red, blue, green and yellow. We thought the pink ones were the coolest, so we always tried to wave down the pink ones. Cabs in Bangkok are unusually cheap and were often the cheapest mode of transportation for the four of us. We were a bit concerned visiting in Bangkok because political demonstrations were heating up with an opposition party known as The Red Shirts. As usual, the events were all over the news and appeared to be quite dangerous, but after being right in the thick of the demonstrations it was actually quit peaceful and well organized. They did however, really snared up traffic by blocking major street arteries with their 150,000 supporters. As well, some of the cab drivers refused to take fares around the demonstration areas, so we were forced to use other modes of transportation. On night, we hired a really cool pimped out Tuk Tuk and the guy maneuvered his way through miles of traffic and got us home in quick fashion. Drew was really impressed and now wants to buy a Tuk Tuk. For those that don’t know, a Tuk Tuk is like a three- wheeled golf cart with a motorcycle engine. The next day, we attempted to take a taxi to Bangkok’s Grand Palace. We had read online that the city is so large that sometimes taxi drivers get lost. Well this guy was lost. We wanted to take a water taxi to the Palace and he could not speak a bit of English and had no idea where the dock was. We finally got frustrated with him and got out of the cab and ended up walking all the way to the Palace. When we arrived at the Palace’s entrance, the guard told us that it was a holy day and it was not open to the public. He was very sympathetic and gave us alternatives we could do in the area. He waved down this Tuk Tuk dude and negotiated in Thai a price. He then asked us if we wanted to go on a tour with this guy for about four hours for $50 Baht or $3.50 Canadian. We all looked at each other in disbelief and jumped into the machine. This Tuk Tuk took us everywhere and showed us several touristy sites, like the huge 300 ft lying Buddha, the famous white Bubbha and, who can forget the white Buddha. But it was all too good to be true, and he finally came clean and asked us if he could take us to a couple of places that he gets commission from. He was a pretty nice guy and we really didn’t have anything else to do, so we said sure. The first place he took us was a tailor shop. We all entered into the nicely air conditioned shop and for about fifteen minutes, listened to the salesman’s spiel and left. Our driver was extremely appreciative and headed for his next drop. He pulled up to this classy gem factory building, and we were immediately greeted with a cold drink and a friendly smile from a well dressed young women. The first part of the tour, the guide shows you all the different types of precious gems and the gage of hardness, starting with the hardest gem, the diamond all the way down to the softest. Then we watched the gemologists working and grinding stones to make jewelry. Then it was off to the big show room where all the cool jewelry was. We didn’t plan on buying anything, but we were told that the week we were there was the only week in a year that the public can actually buy from the factory. Lyane was particularly interested in the variety of raw sapphire stones and eventually bought some, while Drew was memorized by the pearls and bought some for investment purposes. When we returned to our Tuk Tuk, our driver was again very happy with us, because his commission for bringing us to the factory was a full tank of gas for his machine. The average working Thai does not make much money, so a tank of gas was a pretty big reward.
The next day we got up early and visited the now open to the public Palace. We decided to hire a walking talking guide and he explained some history of Thailand and the history of the palace. The palace was built in 1782, when the city of Bangkok was established under the rule of King Rama 1. The kings lived in the palace until 1946 and since then it is only used for special royal ceremonies and as a tourist attraction. The one square mile palace property is home to hundreds of fantastic dragon statues. We learned that the Thais believed dragons to be fierce and evil, but their ancestors were able tame the dragons and used them as guards to protect their sacred temples and buildings. One of the most amazing attractions at the palace was the mystical Emerald Buddha. This ancient large jade Buddha was discovered in 1434 in Chiang Rai and was covered in plaster. Someone noticed that the nose of the figure had a green tinge and scrapped more plaster away and discovered the entire statue was made of what they thought was emerald, but was actually jade. Since it’s discovery, the legend of the Emerald Buddha has seen it change locations no less than eight times, including 226 years in Laos from 1552 to1778. Another interesting site was the Buddha mural, recognized by the Guinness Book Of Records as the longest mural in the world. It was great to have a guide for this part, because he was able to translate the entire story of the mural that tells the story of Buddha’s life. The mural stretches down three long walls and depicts humans and super powered monkeys fighting evil demons. According to legend, if it wasn’t for the super powered monkeys, the humans would have conquered by the demon’s and be destroyed. The mural is very detailed, and multiple images are painted with real gold paint. We left the Palace and took a long canal boat and looked at all the old houses that live along the banks. It was pretty cool to see how the people live along the banks of Bangkok. We then went shopping at this giant shopping center called MKB and everyone spent money on more clothing and stuff.
On our last day, Drew decided he “needed to go back to the MBK shopping center to purchase downloaded games on his PSP, but we told him that it was near impossible to return because the Red Shirts has Bangkok crippled with major artery street blockages. He insisted he must return and offered to pay for motorbike transportation there and back from the mall. He and I hired a bike and driver and tripled to the mall. The traffic was very heavy, but the bike taxi, weaved his way through traffic there and back in less than an hour. It was amazing because, the rest of the traffic was literally at a stand still. He loved it and I have to admit, it was pretty fun! The next day, we set our alarm for 5am to fly to Vietnam, but we slept in and just made our flight by seconds. We were over an hour late and the taxi we hired to pick us up was still waiting for us!
Thailand was a great experience and we will always remember its awesome beaches, nice people, cheap shopping, great food, amazing ancient temples, beautiful Phi Phi Island, the petting of the tiger at the zoo and the unique Shemales in Pucket.
Good Bye Thailand