|First Posted: July 2007|
Apr 7, 2012
Thailand and Angkor Wat (Cambodia)
Thailand and Angkor Wat Gallery
Bill at Angkor Wat, Cambodia
This was my favorite trip of the many trips that we have taken over the years. There was something about Thailand that was magical to me. The people were very friendly and giving. The culture is a mix of the varied history of this country and this part of the world. People seem to try to live in harmony with their environment rather than manipulate it to their own end. That was the feeling that I had, at least.
Day 1: Depart USA. Our exotic journey to Thailand began as we departed aboard a wide-body jet.
Day 2: Arrive Bangkok. We arrived in Thailand, the "Land of Smiles." Evening arrival in Bangkok, the breathtaking Capital situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. We stayed in a conveniently located up-scale hotel. Immediately Hubby and I called a tailor who we had located before leaving the States. You have to be careful here, because there are tailor shops on every corner and then some! You must get a reputable one who uses the best silks and cashmeres. We brought with us examples of clothing styles that we wanted copied and custom made for us. I also designed some outfits on a piece of paper and the trailer made the clothes right from my original designs. We were picked up at our hotel, by limo, and taken to the tailor's shop. There, we selected our silk fabrics, we were measured, and within 24 hours, and two fittings later, our clothes were delivered to our hotel packed in two lovely suitcases, ready to take. It is so easy and so wonderful to do this in Thailand. Go for it! Century Park Hotel
Day 3: Bangkok. We embarked on a tour which introduced us to some of the outstanding Buddhist temples in Bangkok. We visited Wat Trimitr with its invaluable 5-tons solid gold statue of Buddha and Wat Po, featuring the colossal 150 foot long "Reclining Buddha." We saw the White Marble Temple representing the finest example of Thai architecture. In the afternoon we took a canal boat ride across the river for a glimpse of local daily life.
Day 4 & 5: Bangkok. We took two leisurely days to discover Thailand's vibrant and exotic Capital and Hubby and I availed ourselves to several wonderful Thai massages while we were in Bangkok. Thai massage in the US costs upward of $150.00 for 50 minutes. In Thailand we had an hour of Thai massage (the best in the world) for $5.00 plus a tip. The tip is not expected. We also enjoyed Cambodian Massage which is a bit different. It is a bit rougher. We took a full day excursion to the colorful Damneon Saduak floating market, reached by a rice barge followed by a visit to the Rose Garden, a Thai village featuring a presentation of local arts and customs. Another suggestion might be to see the spectacular Grand Palace, former residence of the Kings.
Day 6: Bangkok/Ayutthaya/ Phitsanulok. Over the next few days we ventured into some of Thailand's most fascinating regions, rich with culture, history and stunning landscape. In Ayutthaya, the ancient capital, we saw the giant bronze statue of Wat Mongkol Borpith and the three ancient pagodas at Wat Phra Sri. We continue on to Lopburi to view the magnificent stone carvings of Phra Prang Sam Yod as well as the Monkey Temple. We were driven via beautiful scenery of rice paddies to Phitsanulok, the gateway to Northern Thailand, visited the Bronze Case Factory and viewed how Buddha Images are made in an authentic way. We stayed at the Topland Plaza Hotel.
Day 7: Phitsanulok/Sukothai/Lampang. Today we traveled to Sukhothai to see the famous ruins of this 13th century first capital of Siam. We visited the Textile Museum, a unique private collection. We then continued on to Sri Satchanalai, the northern outpost town of the Kingdom of Sukhothai, built by King Ramkamhaeng where we visited an ancient Ceramic Kiln before proceeding to Lampang for overnight. Wiang Lakorn Hotel
Day 8: Golden Triangle/Chiang Rai. Lampang is famous for its narrow streets and traditional horse-drawn carriages. My sweet Husband and I visited a local paper and ceramic making village and then departed for Phayao, a rural lakeside town and once princely state. We proceeded to Chiang Saen, situated on the border with Lao and enjoyed a short boat trip on the Mekong River into Laos. We shopped some and were actually left on the banks of the river as the boat began to cross. The boatman realized that we were absent and came back to get us. That was quite an interesting experience. Next we headed towards the Golden Triangle - the meeting point of Thailand, Burma and Laos. We visited Mae Sai, the Northern-most point of Thailand, strolled through the colorful local market and shopped for Burmese handicrafts before arriving in charming Chiang Rai. Rimkok Resort
Day 9: Chiang Rai. Day at leisure. Our hotel here was on the banks of the Mae Kok River. This morning we joined an optional boat trip down the river and visited the fascinating local hilltribe villages to learn about their culture and observe the colorful costumes.
Day 10: Chiang Rai/Chiang Mai. This morning we drove to Chiang Mai, the "Rose of the North." Our hotel was centrally located within a short walking distance to the renowned night market. We spent the afternoon taking private cooking lessons. It was just Hubby and myself with the chef. She sent a limo to pick us up and we were delivered to her beautiful home. There we enjoyed, not only the cooking lessons and wonderful cuisine that we learned to make, but also her private gardens and living space. What a special treat for us. We spent the night at the Chiang Mai Plaza Hotel.
Day 11: Chiang Mai. Today we visited an elephant camp and saw a demonstration of the role of the elephant in Thai agriculture, commerce and culture. We also visited an Orchid Farm. Later we took a leisurely walk to discover the charm and beauty of this ancient city. It was just the ticket!
Day 12: Chiang Mai. This morning time was spent in some of Chiang Mai's most interesting temples as well as the fascinating Wat Doi Suthep located high in the mountains. SLEEP!
Day 13: Chiang Mai/Bangkok/Siem Reap (Cambodia). We ate a leisurely breakfast in Chiang Mai. This afternoon a short flight to Siem Reap, which is the gateway to the world famous Temples of Angkor Wat, was the order of the day. Princess Ankor Hotel
Day 14 & 15: Angkor Wat. We took two days to marvel at the awe-inspiring Temples of Angkor Wat. Our guide was a young woman who was a local expert guide. She had survived Pol Pot and his killing of the educated in Cambodia during his blood letting rule. Her family was not that lucky. Her father, a college professor, and her brothers were taken away in the night and never seen again. Po Pot's killing brigades came back for her mother, who was also a college professor. Her mother started to walk backward and in circles, muttering to herself in a nonsensicle way. The killers decided she was crazy and left. We had a comprehensive excursion of the most impressive temples, including Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm and Bentry Srei. Also, we enjoyed an afternoon guided tour to Angkor Wat to view the sunset from Phnom Bakheng Hill. We also visited the famous "killing fields"and were moved to tears.
Day 16: Siem Reap/Bangkok. Today we enjoyed a boat trip on the Tenle Sap Lake and visited the fascinating floating village. We also visited a workshop where local artists demonstrated the art of stone carving and wood ornamental sculpture. Later in the day we returned to Bangkok.
Day 17: Bangkok/USA. Today Hubby and I connected to our flight home from Bangkok. This magical journey ended and we arrived in the USA, New York. We then took the AMTRAK back to Washington, DC. Next trip I believe we will stay in New York for several days to rest up and enjoy a few plays since we will be in New York anyway.