Saturday, November 14, 2009

Thailand


I don't often refer to things as the "Best Ever" this or that - but it's without any hesitation that I can say that I just got back from the best vacation that I've ever had. 10 days traveling around Thailand was a life changing experience and was filled with some of the most astounding, breathtaking and magical moments of my life.

There are a lot of things that made it so special, and not all of them had to do with the trip itself. For starters, this was the second big international trip that I planned, prepared and paid for by myself. Not only that, I was able to go with my girlfriend Leah (she deserved this vacation even more than I did). And while we'd taken trips together before (Costa Rica was the first one, but that was over a year ago), it really felt like this was bigger, longer, more exotic, and well deserved. After a year and a half without a proper vacation, the daily grind was starting to get to us. It couldn't have come at a better time.

We started our trip by flying from Los Angeles to Bangkok (with a stop over in Taipei, Taiwan). With only a day and a half in the capital, we had to make the most of it. The first afternoon, we took a walk through the busy streets to Lumphini park where we passed the statue of King Rama IV. The park was nice and we took a leisurely stroll around the lake before walking back to our hotel to get ready for dinner. Our hotel was only a short walk from the Mandarin Oriental, where we had cocktails and an excellent dinner while looking out at a colorful parade of boats light up the river at night. Both of us exhausted from almost a full day of traveling, we made it back to our room and crashed out.

The next day, we got up early and started by taking a ferry up the Chao Phraya River to the Grand Palace - an epic collection of gilded halls, golden spires and mythical statues. It was a short walk down to Wat Pho, home of the reclining Buddha - an immense golden statue that seemed to go on for miles. We ate a delicious lunch on the waterfront, with some much needed air conditioning and a large Singha beer! We headed back to the dock and commissioned a private long tail boat to take us through the canals.