Bangkok by Ryan

Bangkok, which was originally called Bang Makok, means “City of the Wild Plum”.  Why is it called that? I don’t know, but if by “plum” they mean traffic, than the name would make a lot of sense, because Bangkok is a city of wild traffic. Just like in Indonesia, scooters weave in and out of the smallest gaps in cars, and they’re either really lucky or really good at driving the scooters, because I haven’t seen any crashes so far. Maybe it’s a bit of both. Trying to cross the street? You… Read More

Day 278: Elephant Nature Park

Our experience at Elephant Nature Park was also really nice, but a lot less hands on.  Most of the elephants here have a history of abuse, exploitations, and neglect.  It was sad to see the many injuries and even blindness caused by man, but it was also encouraging to know that there are people who care enough to help make it right. At Elephant Nature Park, you will not ride the elephants, but you will learn about them, feed them, and watch a video that teaches you about the abuse they experience… Read More

Socializing with Thai Elephants

In Chiang Mai, my family and I visited two elephant organizations.  It was our first time actually getting to interact with elephants…and it was pretty amazing! The first place we went to was at Elephant Nature Park where they took care of abused elephants.  Many people have abused their power over the animals and have taken it way too far, leaving the elephants wounded, severely scarred, and damaged for life.  The owner of this organization is an incredibly sweet lady who has taken in these poor elephants and mended them with her… Read More

Day 275: Playing with Elephants – Patara

I never knew how much I would love elephants until Ryan and I went on safari in East Africa about two years ago.  It was there that I discovered how special they were.  They are powerful yet gentle, large, loving, and protective.  Just watch them when they think their babies are being threatened and you’ll see what I mean! Babies:  We met two newborns, just a few months old.  The male was quite aggressive while the female was docile and sweet.  It was amazing to see the difference in their personalities at… Read More

Bangkok Mikayla

Bangkok (the meaning of Bangkok is “Village of the Wild Plum”) is the center of nearly everything: of power, education, commerce, communication, and fun.  It is said, both metaphorically and literally, that all roads (in Thailand) lead to Bangkok. Originally, Ayutthaya was the Thai capital.  After 400 years of ruling there, it was destroyed in 1767.  Next, the capital was moved to Thonburi, but in 1782, King Rama I decided to move it to Bangkok, which was, at that time, only a small trading port.  He felt that this area had the… Read More

Day 261: Noah and Ruth Plus 42

Ryan, the kids, and I had the incredible opportunity to meet a very special man, Noah, and his wife Ruth while visiting Myanmar/Burma.  Noah and Ruth have three children of their own.  They live in a very modest, one level home just 15 minutes from the border of Thailand, in Myanmar/Burma.  We were able to walk across the border between Thailand and Burma, where we met Noah, hopped into an open air taxi, and headed to his home. So…what is special about this couple?  At the moment, they actually have 42 children living with… Read More

Day 242: Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

We are loathe to do anything too touristy, as we prefer more authentic experiences, but once in a while we discover why something has become so touristy.  Bangkok’s Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is one of those things and we debated long and hard before deciding to make a visit.  We’re so glad we made the effort to get there.  This floating market is wonderful and it is not to be missed.  To enjoy it, however, just a few quick tips first. If you’re going to visit, try to leave your Bangkok hotel… Read More

Day 241: Experiencing the Fish Spa!

We got to experience our first Fish Spa in Chiang Mai, Thailand yesterday.  We stumbled upon it while exploring the Sunday Night Walking Market, where they close off the streets to traffic, and vendors and customers alike cram in together, searching for the perfect bargains. *Warning, the Sunday Walking Market is busy!  It’s almost comical to see elderly local women actually being quite aggressive, pushing aside anyone in their way, even our tall teenage son, who towers over them.  But to be fair, we find that to be the case anywhere and in… Read More

Day 230: Loving the Long Tails!

Thailand…land of the Long Tail Boat.  I’m not sure what it is about Long Tail Boats, but I think they are beautiful! Here is one at sunrise.  We took this photo on the Phi Phi Islands (pronounced Pee-Pee) around 6 am.  A very early ferry transfer is the only reason we were able to capture this photo! We really enjoyed sailing around the Phi Phi Islands on a Long Tail Boat.  On this particular day, we visited Mosquito Island and  Bamboo Island, but the most fun the kids had was just hanging out on… Read More

Day 224: Phi Phi and Our Pint-Sized Skipper

Finally, after years of waiting, we sailed to the Phi Phi Islands, just off the coast of Phuket.  We had a hairy drive over to their pier this afternoon, as the transfer should only have taken 30 minutes, but traffic was unusually bad, and the drive was over an hour.  Our ferry was scheduled to leave at 1:30pm and we were still driving at 1:40! And our driver did not speak one word of English, so we had no idea if the ferry would wait for us. Thankfully, the concierge at our… Read More