Abbreviated Angkor Wat photos due to a mishap with my memory card and some foreign virus…all you get for now is what I took with my phone at Angkor Thom when my camera battery died. Oh my what technology woes I am having. Siem Reap Cambodia was fantastic! I spent the first three days running around seeing as many temples as I could. I even got to Angkor Wat at 5am to watch the sunrise which was uneventful, but at least I missed the crowds. My favorite temple was Bayon. There are 54 towers each with four faces each facing in the cardinal directions, therefore totaling a whopping 216 faces all starring down at you with this eerie, omnipotent smile. It gets really disorienting on the third level of the temple. My last day in Siem Reap was spent riding around on my new Khmer friend Lisa’s moto driving through the countryside one tiny village at a time. I also learned how to make Amok a delicious coconut curry soup served in a banana leaf, lovely!
The last seven days we spent our time on the sunny island of Koh Chang to the southeast of Bangkok. It is less touristy and developed than it’s southern counterparts. There is a real sense of the island living attitude there. Everyone is laid back, full of smiles and very friendly (as are most Thai”s really!). We divided our time between snorkeling, an elephant ride, motorbiking around the island (about an hour and a half from one end of the road to the other), and lazing by the pool and at the beach. We visited the Bang Bao fishing village where we ate lunch at Buddha View seated at a table where our feet were able to hang down over the water; I had the deep fried baracuda with pepper and garlic, DELICIOUS!
The last two days we have been celebtrating Songkran, the Thai New Year and Water Festival in Chiang Mai Thailand (April 13-15) Everyone walks or rides around town soaking eachother using buckets or water guns. Luckily today the weather was hot so it was very refreshing. Some of the buckets have ice in them so you never know if the water will be icey cold or warm. We managed to visit some temples over the course of our stay as well. My favorite being Phra Dhatu Chedi Luang. It is over 600 years old. In Chiang Mai there is a square of canals that surround a majority of the city, along these canals are remenants of a wall. I believe that the wall and the chedi are from the same era.
Our second day in Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand we decided to avoid 3 days straight of water attacks and headed out of town to see an orchid farm and some waterfalls. Along the walk there were 10 waterfalls in total, two of which we could swim in. The water was a chocolaty brown, but after the Colorado rivier last summer this was nothing new to me. It started thundering while we were there so our swim was cut short. There were many Thai families there eating picnics of various yummy looking dishes.
The Grand Palace and Wat Pho, Bangkok. April 10, Day 2. Our second day in Bangkok took us to several temples to wonder at the elaboratly ornate buildings that all hold some new variety of a budda. Whether standing, reclining or sitting they all seem to be laden with gold and surrounded by various offerings. We paid our respects and made a few modest offerings here and there.