Friday, 27 January 2012

Doi Suthep and the King's Winter Palace (I got one of those)

On the 27th we went up a nearby mountain to Doi Suthep, a very high and very famous Thai Wat. The road up was very twisty and that coupled with the exhaust from the truck we rode up in we were feeling a little ill by the time we got to the top. We arrived at the base of the temple and had to climb a long stair case to reach the Wat.
Once we climbed the steps we were greeted with a seething throng of people foreign and local. Some have come to worship,all have come to take pictures. It is a very visually stunning place, with the intricate mosaics and all the Buddha statues. There is also a really nice view of Chiang Mai and the surrounding country side.

After the Wat we went farther uphill to the Kings Winter Palace. A very modest and humble dwelling, not! It sat on the highest point of the hill, higher than Wat and consisted of many large and medium sized buildings and a very large and fancy garden that was tended by an army or military gardeners. No joke! They were all wearing army fatigues and carrying watering jugs. The place was guarded better than Fort Knox. Here are a couple of pics.

 After all the touristy stuff, we headed back down the mountain. Laura almost blew chunks on the ride down but she courageously held it down. Good job!

Chiang Mai

We arrived in Chiang Mai just in time for the last night of Chinese New Years, Ryland got in the spirit of things and received noise makers which he used to their full potential to say the least. We watched the crowning of Miss Chiang Mai. The celebration wasn't as crazy as in Bangkok; three people died after fire works fell over and shot a near by buildings causing a large firer. We were exhausted from our 12 hour train ride and didn't last long!

we spent the next day at the zoo, which we could actually get close to the animals!! We went to the Aquarium as well. The zoo was located throughout the hills and it was a nice climb to and from various animal's cages. Our favourite animal was the sun bear. Ry yelled hello and it came right over and climbed over a wall to talk with us....

The next day we signed up for the Thai Farm Cooking School  which was on an organic farm. Our guide/teacher Saawat was very well versed in the principles of organic farming practices which was very nice to hear. We started out at a market where they showed us what to buy and the differences between rice and curries. Then we went out to the farm and got a tour of the different plants and vegetables that they grow. Very interesting. Lemon grass, kaffir lime, thai egg plant, tumeric, several kinds of basil, long beans (pretty much a green bean just really long, like 2 feet), coriander and thai parsley that was prickly, ouch! Then we got to cooking. First we made curry paste in a mortar. It was so easy, I never knew. Then we made Tom Yum soup with shrimp, which was also ridiculously easy. The secret is the tamarind paste. The was both our favourite. Then we made chicken curry with our curry paste followed by sweet and sour chicken stir fry and finished up with mango with cocounut milk and sticky rice and spring rolls. The spring rolls were also easy to make except you need to remember to roll them super tight or they turn into an oil sponge. We finished the day stuffed from all the delicious food and returned to Chiang Mai without a thought about eating again. All this cost only 1000b which is roughly $32. Amazing!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Celine Dion! Numba 1!

So, yesterday Laura and I decided to go for a nice leisurely walk around the immediate area of our hotel. We walked down Rambuttri road past all the annoying tuk-tuk drivers, past the delicious food carts, and down to the river. I'm not sure the exact name of the river but its the big one that runs through Bangkok and out into the Gulf of Thailand. The river doesn't contain the prettiest water but its not like we were swimming in it! It was very nice down there though and there were lots of long tail boats going up and down and we were almost able to forget that we were in a city of about 10 million. We walked up and down, stopping at a nice park and an old fort that was build in the years of King Rama 1. While checking out the fort we saw a commercial being shot for an upcoming marathon in bangkok. It held up traffic pretty bad and the motorists were going bananas. We walked back to Rambuttri and had a delicious lunch down the road from our hotel. Laura had soup this time and I was really jealous. We strolled around after lunch and made our way to Khoa San road. Big mistake. Its like Times Square meets a dumpster. Barf. So many people saying Tuk-Tuk and you buy suit, very sharp. No I don't want a ride to who knows where, and no I don't need a damn suit. Last time we go to Khoa San, that's for sure. At night we met up with the group from Dublin and talked about heading up to Chiang Mai. We bought our tickets today for the train to go up there and leave tomorrow. Now we must go because the pool is calling. Cheers!

Friday, 20 January 2012


So we our now on our second day in Bangkok. The city is very confusing as we try to gather our bearings. It is infused with traits that remind me of Havana. We wandered around in the morning looking for the Vietnam Embassy because our map told us it was 15 minutes away. However, after an hour of wandering and almost constant harassment from tuk-tuk drivers which we expected we got in a taxi and traveled 40 min due to heavy traffic to arrive a minute after the Embassy closed until the 31st. Bummer! So we needed some food asap! we went down the road for some Soup (for Ryland, who is on a Soup Diet) and Pad Thai and some amazing spring rolls and sipped a large Chang beer. We decided to relax for the rest of the day, pool side via roof top and read. Then since Ryland needed some sleep, we went for nap, which ended up being 5 hours long. 10pm wake up, for dinner time. We went to place down the road from the hotel that was awesome. Our server was really nice and thought that it was funny that Ry knew the thai word for chicken- gai! Then we went 1 stop over for another beer and some amazing blues music; where we met a group from Dublin who we are meeting tonight to chat about traveling to Chiang Mai. No photos yet, soon to come. Just off for some breakfast.

Thursday, 19 January 2012


SO we arrived safely. We had a lovely 13 hour flight from toronto to tokyo where me and ryland lucked out and had 3 seats to the two of us. we were able to stretch out, or I was at least. We had a ton of food on the plane, which felt a bit gross after doing nothing but sitting around. Then we arrived in Tokyo in an airport that looked like it came out of an old james bond movie, as we walked down some tunnel I felt like we were about to stumble upon some awesome weapons to get to our gate. The airport sadly did not have SUSHI, anywhere. Thats okay cause we settled for rice crackers soaked in spicy soy sauce. Then our flight from Tokyo was 7 hours to Bangkok. It was not as fun as the first flight, though we did have extra leg room- yay for ryland! Our dinner was an array of various things, half of which we didn't recognize. Then we got through customs, and shared a cab with a couple from Venice to Khoa san Road. Wandered around until we found our hotel and crashed, well I crashed hard. While Ryland was up listening to the "goings-on" down the hall. Now we are off to explore Bangkok and hopefully apply for our Vietnam Visa's.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The night before

Twas' the night before Bangkok and all through the house, the luggage was spilling all over the couch. T- minus 14 hours until we take off from Toronto. Its a little chilly and a little snowy here in Barrie and I'm thinking about the warmth awaiting me in Thailand. Although, the weather network said it is supposed to feel like 40 degrees in Bangkok with a humidex through the roof and thunder storms to boot. Oh well, its not minus 20. Regardless, excitement abounds and we are ready as we will ever be for an Asian adventure. Booya!

LC and RJB

Monday, 2 January 2012

Here Comes the Sun

As the winter squalls finally begin to arrive for a traditional Canadian winter, I will be off in only a matter of days...16 to be exact. Lots to do and so little time.

The game plan: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bali and Singapore. Our eyes may be bigger than our stomachs but we shall see how it all unfolds.

Updates coming soon...