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Trip Report My visit to Thailand

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Our 4 country adventure started in Bangkok, Thailand. Our hotel was the Anantara Riverside Hotel with a lovely view of the river. We started out as 4 couples with a private guide for the first leg of our trip and then gained another couple. We traveled with the wonderful guidance of a company called Aurora Travel also known as Vietnam Stay. Our tour director was the very capable Xuan Hao. He worked with me to develop a great itinerary and provided the drivers, guides, vehicles and expertise. I would highly recommend the company.

As we arrived late our first day, we decided to start our first tour mid-day on the second day. Our visits were to the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew to see the Emerald Buddha, China Townm Wat Traimit to see the Golden Buddha, Wat Po to see the Reclining Buddha and then a walk through the Flower Market. Very exhausting but fun. Then back to the hotel in time to jump into the pool (with swim up bar) to watch the drum ceremony and candle lighting. Great fun. We enjoyed the dinner buffet complete with traditional dinner show.

Day 3 in Thailand finds us driving out to the country to see the salt pans of Samut Songkram. Then on to a coconut farm to watch the process of making coconut sugar. We got to participate. Next stop Damnan Saduak, the floating market. This was lots of fun. As the boatman paddles along we stop to look at the stores. If you are interested in buying something they literally "hook" you over to the store. Once the transaction is completed you are set afloat. Make sure you bargain. It's part of the fun. Now it's on to the "Death Railway", a short journey on the train shows what it was like to travel the track. I found it a bit of a let down. Thought it would be more authentic. Then it is on to the River Kwai and the bridge made famous. Very crowded, but eventually we got some nice photos. Back at the hotel we decide to clean up and go to the Night Market for dinner. We eat at a Thai restaurant that was delicious, Baan Khanintha. The market was just a bit to modern for our taste so back to the hotel.

Early departure to the airport to catch a flight to Chiang Mai. First stop Wat Phra That Doi-Suthep, just incredible temple complex. Then on to our hotel, Le Meridien to clean up for dinner, which was a Khuntoke Dinner with a Northern Dance Show. Very beautiful.

Our next day is jam packed with travel as we are heading to Chiang Rai. We drive to the White Temple, which was built in 1997 and still not finished, but none the less, beautiful. Very avant-garde in style. From there it is on to two small villages, Yao & Akha to see how the hill people live. Very authentic and heartfelt to see how they live in such meager conditions. Then it is on to the Monkey Cave. Lots of monkeys. Next stop MaeSai which is a town that boarders Myanmar. We really wanted to cross the boarder, but not enough time or visas. Then it is on to the Golden Triangle. Thailand is on the left, Myanmar in the middle and Lao on the right. Very beautiful to see. Short visit to the Opium Museum and then more driving to Chiang San to see more temple ruins. Wat Chedi Luang is the best of the ruins. It's a long drive back to the hotel and we are all exhausted.

Next day it is on to more temples. We visit Wat Phra Singh, Wat Chiang Mun and Wat Ched Yod. All very beautiful and interesting. After lunch we are moving on to Lao. Check under Lao for my next trip report.

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