I used my giant backpack to prop up my feet and I sipped my green tea soy latte while we waited to board our Oahu bound flight. We were a little quiet, tired from the long layover and sad to be leaving Thailand. Eddie held my right hand and I stared at my running shoes. I was moments away from declaring that next time we travel I was finally going to step it up and rock a business casual outfit but at the same time Eddie asked me what was my favorite part of our vacation. Thank goodness he spoke first because we both know I’ll be opting for my leggings and running shoes next time I board a flight.
We talked about our favorite moments during our trip (not including that one time we drove around Chiang Mai’s old city for an hour looking for a vegan restaurant and then our moped ran out of gas so Eddie had to roll it to the nearest gas station while I snapped photos and complained along the way) and somehow that led to reminiscing about some of the trips we’ve taken during the last ten years. “From all the trips we’ve taken which one has been your favorite?” he asked. “All of them!” I said. “No wait, maybe when we went to the Dominican Republic….actually maybe Cancun… well, maybe…” I handed him my drink and adjusted my sitting position to face him, we had to figure this out. He laughed, took a sip of his coffee and prepared to help me pick a favorite knowing very well that the task would be impossible. “Actually no, I like this trip the best I mean we got to see elephants! But ahhhh Los Cabos was so amazing too…. How do I decide!?…and then there was also….”
Although I may never be able to decide which of our adventures is my favorite I’ve narrowed down a few of the things I fell in love with while in Thailand…
Over five years ago I read an article about Asian elephants in Thailand and I decided that I needed to visit. Spending a day with these beautiful creatures was the highlight of our trip and one of the most incredible things I’ve ever experienced. I never thought I’d want to visit the same place twice but I think I might make an exception for Chiang Mai. You can see my full post about our day with elephants at the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary HERE.
If getting massages was a hobby I’d be a serial hobbyist. I love massages more than I love shoes, salads and possibly cats! *gasp* Ok, well maybe not cats. But close. The way to my heart? Massage gift certificates. And if it’s to an all natural or organic spa!? I die.
So when I found out that massages are extremely affordable (and awesome!) in Thailand I promised myself that I would schedule as many as I possibly could during our stay. There were small massage parlors, high end spas and massage booths EVERYWHERE even at the mall, at open markets and at every corner. I think I got a massage every other day, it was like a dream come true. This is the spa at our hotel in Ko Samui…
3. MANGO WITH STICKY RICE
Mango is my favorite fruit and you wouldn’t be wrong to say that I’m obsessed with it. My favorite way to enjoy mango is plain, raw and by itself (in cubes, sliced, whole, whatever) and my second favorite way to enjoy it is with chile y limon… my mouth waters as I type this. While we were at the Night Market in Chiang Mai I spotted a little cart that was selling “mango with sticky rice” (cubes of mango with white rice, coconut milk, fried mung beans and probably a lot of sugar) so I decided to try it. Oh.Em.Gee immediately obsessed. So obviously I ate as much as I could during the remainder of our trip…
4. COST OF STUFF
I love that Thailand can be as expensive or as cheap as you want it to be; there are hotels like the Four Seasons and an endless amount of hostels so the range is huge. I’m not big on buying souvenirs when we travel so the bulk of our money went to food and activities like the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary and Ang Thong National Park. It was awesome, and a little unreal to pay about $10 for a meal (for two people!), $10-$25 for massages, $30/night for a resort, $4 for a skirt and $1 for coconut!
5. FRUIT (AND VEGGIES) EVERYWHERE
From Chiang Mai to the island of Ko Samui there were fruit carts on every corner but especially coconuts! I wish we would have enjoyed more coconuts during our trip, some days we were so busy exploring that I skipped my giant bowl of fruit.
6. ANG THONG NATIONAL PARK
A flight to Southern Thailand, long bus ride, a ferry ride, tour boat ride, long-tail boat ride and then a difficult hike just to get to Ang Thong National Park viewpoint. We were so exhausted but after our hike and before making the trek back to our hotel in Ko Samui we rested on the private white sand beach and we were convinced that all the work to get to the beautiful island was totally worth it. One of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen.
7. FORKS AND SPOONS
I don’t know how to eat with chopsticks. There, I said it. Living in Hawaii you’d think I would have learned by now considering that so many places serve food with chopsticks as the only utensil but I’m always that person asking for “a spoon and a fork please?” I worried that this might be the case in Thailand but I was wrong and pleasantly surprised. Turns out that Thais mostly eat everything with a fork and a spoon; they use the spoon in one hand and then use the fork in their other hand to push food onto the spoon, just like me! (or me just like them!) This made me SO happy and I felt right at home!