Ha Long Bay in Pictures

This is a photo blog! Now that we’re back home it’s easier to load photos, so I figured I would let the photos tell the story of our time in Ha Long Bay.

First stop, Surprising Cave. Which was ENORMOUS.

First stop, Surprising Cave. Which was ENORMOUS.

It was pretty dark so not great for photos.

It was pretty dark so not great for photos.

The view from the top of one of the many karsts that Ha Long is known for.

The view from the top of one of the many karsts that Ha Long is known for.

Our boat!

Our boat!

Some of the MANY boats that dot the bay. I think I counted 42 and that was only the ones that I could SEE.

Some of the MANY boats that dot the bay. I think I counted 42 and that was only the ones that I could SEE.

Sunset from our boat.

Sunset from our boat.

Looking up at a karst from my kayak. And introducing my new floppy hat!

Looking up at a karst from my kayak. And introducing my new floppy hat!

Kayaking through a cave into a bay that is only accessible by through this cave. We went into three different bays like this!

Kayaking through a cave into a bay that is only accessible by through this cave. We went into three different bays like this!

We weren't lucky enough to see a monkey (in Monkey Bay) but our guide did point out a squirrel which was HUGE so I just pretended that it was a monkey (haha).

We weren’t lucky enough to see a monkey (in Monkey Bay) but our guide did point out a squirrel which was HUGE so I just pretended that it was a monkey (haha).

A pearl! We visited a pearl farm and learned about how pearls are made. I was a bit horrified by the brutality that we inflict on the poor oysters just so that we can have their pearls.

A pearl! We visited a pearl farm and learned about how pearls are made. I was a bit horrified by the brutality that we inflict on the poor oysters just so that we can have their pearls.

One note about choosing a cruise in Ha Long: do some research online about the different companies and their ratings. Although we had fun, we felt quite ripped off after learning that there were other people on our boat that had paid almost half as much as we had paid. The boat also triples the price of drinks (including water) which is frustrating. I’d also recommend doing only one night, instead of two. If you want more info about our experience let me know, I have many more thoughts about cruising in Ha Long Bay!

No Spicy, No Good!

Jungle Trekking in Laos

We arrived in Luang Nam Tha, Laos after a two day journey from Chiang Mai. After reading about what Luang Nam Tha has to offer here, we thought that it would be a great place to do some trekking. Originally we’d planned on doing a trek in Northern Thailand also, but with about a billion (rough estimate) trekking outfits trying to sell to us, we’d become overwhelmed and opted for the farm instead.

After some research on the different companies in Nam Tha, we picked Forest Retreat and headed over to chat about their options. We had planned on doing three days of trekking, but after some convincing settled on one day of kayaking and two days of trekking. The next day we took ourselves on a tour of the village and a few surrounding villages on cruiser bikes waiting and hoping that some other people would sign up on our trek to cut down costs.

Mountain biking on a cruiser! One of the most fun ways to explore.

Mountain biking on a cruiser! One of the most fun ways to explore.

Lucky for us two other couples signed up so the next morning we were off! The first day was kayaking and after arriving at our starting point (a small village) we were put in our double blow up kayaks and told to go! It took a few minutes to figure out steering etc, but luckily since we both have paddling experience we were fine.

Helmets are always in style. Kayaking on the river.

Helmets are always in style. Kayaking on the river.

Over the course of the day we shot a number of small rapids that were fun although a little nerve wracking. It was good that the boats were blow up because it’s on the tail end of dry season and there are still many rocks showing in the river (that we hit, many times).

Henk and Kirsten.

Henk and Kirsten from Holland.

Nicolle and Calin.

Nicolle (from South Africa) and Calin (from Romania).

About half way through the day we stopped for a break and our guides built a bamboo rope swing into the river. It was awesome! They had collected the bamboo earlier in the day and spent about 20 minutes rigging it up. Tanoi, our English speaking guide, spent a good chunk of time up the big tree getting it set up which was hilariously precarious. We had great fun tarzaning into the water cooling off before finishing our day of kayaking.

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We spent the night in a village in a bamboo hut that Forest Retreat had built. The Laoation government has an eco tour program whereby villages apply to host trekkers and in exchange receive some infrastructure for the village (like an extra toilet and water pump) as well as some income as the trekkers buy weaving and other handcrafts. The village was very welcoming and we explored, watching the women weave and the children play. In the evening Tanoi talked about what it was like growing up in villages and what life in Lao is like.

Fun with the village children.

Fun with the village children.

High fives are always a good way to bond!

High fives are always a good way to bond!

A village woman who would turn out to become my hero. I love this photo because it proves that somewhere in the world, I am a giant!

A village woman who would turn out to become my hero. I love this photo because it proves that somewhere in the world, I am a giant!

First thing in the morning we set out to cross the river and start our trek! Two more guides from the village joined us, hilariously wearing flip flops (not so funny when they totally kicked our asses at hiking wearing said flip flops). From the get go we had a huge climb to get up the river bank – a taste of what was to come.

The jungle was incredible. The diversity of life reminded me a bit of our snorkeling trip on Koh Tao. I think that it knocks my socks off even more having grown up in the north in such a challenging environment where we have only a fraction of the life that there is here. I saw more bugs, spiders, ants, wasps and butterflies than I’d ever seen before in my life! And unfortunately got bit by a few more than I’d have liked!

Bamboo grove.

Bamboo grove.

A jungle unicorn.

A jungle unicorn.

Fun with ginormous bamboo shoots.

Fun with ginormous bamboo shoots.

After about 4-5 hours of hiking we arrived at our jungle camp. It was a bamboo hut for sleeping with a small cook shed and a small toilet beside a small creek in a gully. Pretty rustic and very dark thanks to the canopy of trees over head. We were all relieved to arrive as the final descent into the gully was long and very slippery. In fact everything was slippery all day even though it wasn’t raining!

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Look at the size of that tree!

Look at the size of that tree!

We went to bed really early because of the lack of light and in the morning opted for the ‘easy’ way out following (or mostly going THROUGH) the creek back to the river. When we got back to the river we crossed on our own instead of waiting for the boat. I was up to my belly button in water!

Our home on the second night.

Our home on the second night.

Our guides cooked tons of good food for us (according to Tanoi – “No Spicy, no good!” even though the guides were the only ones loading the chillies on!). On the second morning they cooked up creek crabs and frogs that they had caught the night before.  We were all pretty sick of sticky rice by the end though as it was a staple at every meal.

Pure Gold. This woman epitomizes super woman.

Pure Gold. This woman epitomizes super woman.

We couldn’t have had a better group to trek with and although I’m not hankering to get back into the jungle any time soon, we had a great time. I think I’ll take the Rockies any time over the jungle (my skin is crawling just thinking about it and my bug bites were still itchy almost a week later). If you are in Laos I definitely recommend checking out Forest Retreat and doing one of their treks!

Banana leaves make the best plates! Biodegradable and all.

Banana leaves make the best plates! Biodegradable and all.

Super Guide Tanoi

Super Guide Tanoi

Jungle trees: putting northern trees to shame since the dawn of time.

Jungle trees: putting northern trees to shame since the dawn of time.

Why go around when you can go through?

Why go around when you can go through?

Why would we wait for the boat when we can just walk through the river?

Why would we wait for the boat when we can just walk through the river?

My hero.

My hero.

Tanoi gifted two baby mice to Nicolle and I. We didn't really know what to do with them so we just ended up holding them for about an hour before putting them at the base of a tree. They were gone in the morning (and not because they scurried off...).

Tanoi gifted two baby mice to Nicolle and I. We didn’t really know what to do with them so we just ended up holding them for about an hour before putting them at the base of a tree. They were gone in the morning (and not because they scurried off…).

Trip bracelets!

Trip bracelets! (And sticky rice).

The best group we could have asked for.

The best group we could have asked for.

Mindful Farm

Originally from Chiang Mai, we had planned on going to Pai for a few days. Mostly I was just excited about the potential for puns with a name like Pai, but before we left we were diverted. On the wall at Giant House we saw a poster for a place called Mindful Farm which was west of the city. After taking a look at the website, we knew we had to change our plans and go there instead.

Mindful Farm in owned by ex monk Pinan, his wife Noriko and their daughter Nobara. They started it almost two years ago when Nabara was born and have been welcoming guests ever since. It is an organic farm where they mostly live off what they grow and sell what they don’t need. They welcome volunteers to come stay with them for only B200 (about $7) a day, which includes accommodation, and all you can eat.

Like it’s name suggests, Pinan and Noriko practice mindfulness in their lives and encourage the volunteers to practice as well. The days are somewhat structured, which was a welcome change for us after doing whatever we felt like, whenever we felt like it for the past 7 weeks. The schedule was as follows:

6:30 – Wake up/walking meditation for 30 minutes
7:00 – Help prepare breakfast
7:30 – Eat as much as you can (it’s usually that delicious)
8:30 – Clean up/start working
11:30 – Stop working
12 – Eat as much as you can
1:00 – Rest until you feel rested (amazing right – in Pinan’s words “When you feel tired, you must rest. Sometimes I don’t rest at all and sometimes I rest all day”)
Between 2-3 – Start working again
5:00 – Stop working
5:30 – Eat as much as you can
7:30 – Group silent meditation
8:30 – Bed

We followed some form of this for the four days that we were there. All of the food is vegetarian, which made me a little more willing to try everything. I gave up trying to figure out what stuff was (which is my picky nature) and just piled up my plate. There was barely anything that I didn’t like and I found it fascinating how Noriko made such flavourful food with so little. There were even a few things that she admitted to never having cooked before (let alone knowing if they were edible) that turned out delicious. Their attitude is to use everything, and that’s just what we did.

Feast!

Feast!

A pineapple growing...who knew this is how they grow?! Answer: not us!

A pineapple growing…who knew this is how they grow?! Answer: not us!

We slept in very basic (and not super comfortable) bamboo huts with mosquito nets, while other volunteers slept in mud huts. But they were more than sufficient for a decent night’s sleep.

Our bamboo hut

Our bamboo hut

Inside the hut

Inside the hut

Unfortunately while we were there I got a few migraines, which put a damper on my experience, but Keith had a ton of fun and worked very hard, helping to build a new bathroom, making and hauling mud, mixing cement and weeding. I mostly stuck to helping prepare food, and get some vegetables ready for planting, but  also spent a lot of time caring for Nabara so that her parents could work. She was amazing and so much fun to watch as she has only a few toys and books that stay in the house, so every day she explores her world as entertainment. Her creativity and personality are so neat, having been shaped by her unique upbringing on the farm as well as the number of adults that pass through her life so frequently. By the time she starts talking I wouldn’t be surprised if she ends up fluent in 5+ languages!

Nobara wanted to help with the chicory. She sat with me for at least half an hour copying what I was doing to process it.

Nobara wanted to help with the chicory. She sat with me for at least half an hour copying what I was doing to process it.

Keith showing off his muscles

Keith showing off his muscles

Although we would have liked to stay for much longer, we decided that it would be best for me to be in the city where I’d be more comfortable and hopefully the migraines would go away.  It was a very neat experience though, and a great option for anyone interested in volunteering (without paying hoards of money to do so). Pinan and Noriko are very welcoming and although it’s a rustic experience, it’s one that is totally worth it!

Making mud bricks. The night before some frogs had laid eggs in here so there were frog eggs floating everywhere in the mud.

Making mud bricks. The night before some frogs had laid eggs in here so there were frog eggs floating everywhere in the mud.

Keith's foot after a hard day's work.

Keith’s foot after a hard day’s work.

This is the eating/meditation area.

This is the eating/meditation area.

Doesn't your heart just squeeze with her cute-ness!

Nobara loved playing with my sunglasses.

Nobara was super into sunglasses.

Doesn’t your heart just melt with her cuteness?!

Noriko, Pinan, Nobara and us.

Noriko, Pinan, Nobara and us.

Baan Thai Cookery Course, Chiang Mai

While in Thailand one of our non-negotiable must dos was take a cooking course. The food is so good so we definitely wanted to be able to take home the skills to make it for ourselves. Not to mention that thai food is super expensive in Canada.

We chose the Baan Thai Cookery School out of the many many options. It seems that pretty much every restaurant in Chiang Mai offers courses (just like every guest house offers treks and every other store front offers massages). Baan Thai was close to our guest house and had some great reviews.

Some of our fresh ingredients from the market.

Some of our fresh ingredients from the market.

We were not disappointed! The morning started off with a market tour by our hilarious Chef Guru after which we chose what dishes we wanted to make and got to work! There were three different classes of eight people going on at Baan Thai that day, and three different dishes that we could chose for each meal. In total we made five different meals and a curry paste. For each meal the people from the three different classes went to whichever dish they had chosen, which made for approximately equal people at each station.

All ready to cook!

All ready to cook!

We each chose one curry, one appetizer, one soup, one stir fry and one desert. I did spring rolls, chicken in coconut milk soup, pad thai, panaeng curry and water chess nuts in coconut milk. Keith made papaya salad, fried cashew nut with chicken, Chiang Mai noodle curry, hot and sour soup and mango sticky rice. Plus they taught us all how to make the different kinds of rice.

Ingredients for one of the dishes.

Ingredients for one of the dishes.

We gorged ourselves all day, eating every dish that we made. The instructors were great, particularly ours who kept telling jokes that I found hilarious. The people in our group were great, and the staff were kind enough to care for the daughter of one couple so that they could participate fully. Overall, while I’m sure most of the cooking courses offered in Chiang Mai are great, I would recommend this one as a delicious and fun option. Now we can’t wait to impress our families back home with the easy, quick and delicious thai recipes that we learned!

And I’m sure that Keith will be making mango sticky rice quite often!!!

For the first recipe in months, here are a few that we made at the cooking school:

Papaya Salad [som tam]

50 g green (unripe) papaya or carrot or cucumber, shredded
10 garlic cloves
1-3 chillies (or 10+ if you’re thai)
½ tomato, quartered
1 chinese long bean, cut in one inch pieces
20 g peanuts
2 tbsp fish sauce
1-2 limes, quartered
1 tbsp palm sugar (or brown sugar if you don’t have palm)

Put garlic, chili, and Chinese long bean in the mortar and pound together (tenderly – their words not mine!)

Add palm sugar, lime, fish sauce and pound until the palm sugar is dissolved.

Put in the papaya and tomato and mix well.

Pour into the dish and top with peanuts!

Keith's papaya salad

Keith’s papaya salad

Panaeng Curry with Pork [phanaeng moo]

75 g pork, cut into ½ cm slices
1 tbsp red curry paste (see below)
1 cup coconut milk
3 kaffir lime leaves with the stems torn off
1 tbsp ground, roasted peanuts
25 g pea egg plant
1 tbsp palm sugar
2 tbsp fist sauce
1 tsp panaeng powder (see below)
2 sliced red chili (or more or less dependent on your spice tolerance)
2 tbsp oil

Heat the oil in a wok over low heat.

Add the red curry paste and panaeng spices and stir continuously until fragrant and oil surfaces.

Add the pork and ¼ cup coconut milk and stir until pork is cooked.

Add the remaining coconut milk and pea egg plant, stirring.

Add fish sauce, palm sugar and ground peanuts and stir continuously until coconut milk becomes thick and the pork is tender (not very long).

Pour into dish and top with kaffir lime leaves, red chili and serve over rice.

Panaeng Powder

1/6 tsp cumin
1/6 tsp cardamom
1/6 tsp coriander seed
1/6 tsp clove
1/6 tsp nutmeg
1/6 tsp black pepper

Pound all ingredients together in mortar.

Red Curry Paste

5 red dried chilies, soaked
3 tbsp shallots, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
50 g galangal (thai ginger), chopped
½ tbsp chopped lemon grass
1 tsp lesser ginger
1 tsp shrimp paste
½ tsp chopped kaffir lime peel
1 tsp coriander root
1 tsp turmeric root

Soak the dried red chilies in hot water for 10 minutes.

Put the garlic, lemon grass, kaffir lime peel, galangal and coriander root in the mortar and pound.

Add lesser ginger, turmeric root and shallots and pound well.

Add red chilies and pound well.

Add shrimp paste and pound until smooth and fine.

This can be kept in a sealed glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 4 months.

Mango Sticky Rice
Serves 3

1 ½ kg cooked sticky rice
6 tbsp palm sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
1 litre coconut milk
1 ripe sliced mango

Heat coconut milk in a pot, add palm sugar and salt and stir well.

Add the sticky rice and cook on low for 30 minutes. Stir one more time and serve on a plate with sliced mango.

Keith's mango sticky rice.

Keith’s mango sticky rice.

Chowing down on his first creation.

Chowing down on his first creation.

My spring rolls.

My spring rolls.

Getting my cooking on!

Getting my cooking on!

Keith's curry dish. What a masterpiece!

Keith’s curry dish. What a masterpiece!

Soooooo fuuuuullllll.

Soooooo fuuuuullllll.

The cutest cute there ever was.

The cutest chef there ever was.

Giant House: Home Sweet Home Chiang Mai

We are constantly looking for the most bang for our buck, like most budget travelers, so when we read about Giant Guest House, where we could get a double room with air conditioning, free bikes and free computers to use, we thought we’d better check it out.

Unfortunately the first night that we arrived, Giant was full, something that we learned is not an uncommon occurrence. Lucky for us, the next morning I went to check if they had rooms first thing in the morning and we were in luck!

Giant House ended up totally making our time in Chiang Mai. When I was filling out the form, the manager was explaining the rules he talked about sharing, about cleaning up after yourselves and each other, and about being gentle with the 100 year old bikes (rough estimate by him). He talked about how at Giant House, they live the “good hippy lifestyle”. And that’s just what it was!

And as a bonus for us, they have a communal kitchen! We cooked for ourselves for the first time in 47 days with fresh ingredients from the market down the street!

We stayed for three nights but wanted to stay for far longer. It’s true what everyone says there, it’s easy to get “stuck” at Giant House. There was even one woman who had been there for two years! But since there are so many long staying visitors, the vibe and energy of the guesthouse continues from month to month to month.

If you are ever in Chiang Mai we highly recommend staying here! But get there first thing in the morning to make sure you get a room (or try calling ahead, although I’m not sure they would actually take reservations since they are full basically every night).

Oh, and Chiang Mai as a city is pretty nice too! I hope to go back there sometime soon to spend more time!

Communal bbq night at Giant House (with me chowing down in the background)

Communal bbq night at Giant House (with me chowing down in the background).

 

Just a little casual yoga at the bbq by some of the residents

Just a little casual yoga at the bbq by some of the residents

Cheap margaritas and a good book, my kind of night:)

Cheap margaritas and a good book, my kind of night:)

The night market chaos in Chiang Mai

The night market chaos in Chiang Mai

The Elephant Conservation Centre

Aka The Day I Lost My Mind

On our way to Chiang Mai we decided to get off the train early in a city called Lampang in order to check out the Elephant Conservation Centre located right outside the city. There are many places that you can see/ride elephants in Thailand but Lonely Planet suggests that many of them are not great situations for the elephants so we didn’t want to support them. This particular centre is supposed to be good though, so we figured we’d check it out.

We arrived via night train at about 10 am and as soon as we got to the hotel I got hit with some serious stomach pains and spent a good chunk of time running back and forth between fetal position on the bed and the toilet. But since we’d only planned on one day in the city, I rallied and we made it out to the centre for the last show of the day.

I really wasn’t expecting to get all that excited about the elephants, but boy was I wrong. Basically as soon as I saw an elephant I lost it. Went crazy! I was so freaking excited! I don’t really have a good explanation for why, so I figure that I was an elephant in a past life and this was me being reunited with my long lost sisters and brothers. Why else would I turn into a five year old who was just told that I could eat all the candy in the world?

It was love at first sight...

It was love at first sight…

It started with the Mahout’s (elephant trainers) bringing the elephants out to a pond to wash them. They were all playful, spraying each other and splashing. I think it was really all for our benefit, and realistically I wasn’t complaining. I was too busy weeping for joy and giggling my brains out.

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Next they started walking over to the place where they give the show. Naturally there was someone selling bananas to feed them so obviously we bought some so that we could join the fun. They were hilarious using their trunks to grab the food and shove it into their mouths. Nom nom nom, they kept shoving it in (all the people were feeding them) until it was actually falling out. What big pigs! (I mean elephants?!)

The show was awesome, although I would have been happy just gazing at them adoringly for hours and hours. They demonstrated some skills that they used to use when they were apart of the Thailand logging industry and also did cool tricks like tossing balls into buckets (say whaaaaaa!). Then as the finale…they painted!!! And it was better than I could have painted (although admittedly that’s not saying much). So cool.

Painting...did I mention that they are geniuses?!

Painting…did I mention that they are geniuses?!

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They all came up to the fence to say goodbye, which of course suckered us into buying more bananas to give to them (“No Keith, don’t get the sugar cane, there are more bananas so I can hang out with them longer!”).

How could you not love that face?! I.Want.Him.

How could you not love that face?! I.Want.Him.

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We stopped at the little shop and bought postcards (luckily resisting buying the entire store’s worth of novelty items) and then went over to sign up for a ride. How could we not! Although I would have rather ridden bare back like the Mahout, we sat in a saddle thing. We went through the pond (where the elephant took a giant, bubbly dump) and then down a trail to see some babies. I was still going crazy and couldn’t wipe the silly grin off my face.

BFFs

BFFs

At the end of the ride we were offered the chance to buy a picture that they had taken of us on the elephant that they’d nicely put in a lovely little frame. DUH, we bought it. Again, how could we not!

We are lucky that we didn’t come home from the centre totally broke, as I was enthralled and wanted to buy everything. I think that Keith spent more time watching me then watching the elephants, I was going that crazy. Really the only appropriate adjective is giddy…I was giddy the whole time we were there!

Santa, if you’re reading this, I’d like an elephant for Christmas.

They are so playful, and cheeky!

Oh, and if that’s not enough to convince you about how awesome they are I have one word for you…TRUNKS! They can do anything with those nifty noses!

Baaaah! Elephants are the best.

[End excited rant… I mean post]

One of my fave photos of the day

One of my fave photos of the day

Keith also enjoyed the day, just not quite as much as I did... :)

Keith also enjoyed the day, just not quite as much as I did… 🙂

Keith thought the way they got up was hilarious because it's the same way one of his grandpas gets out of his lazy boy

Keith thought the way they got up was hilarious because it’s the same way one of his grandpas gets out of his lazy boy

Feeding our elephant before he took us for a ride

Feeding our elephant before he took us for a ride

My face hurt by the end of the day from smiling so darn much:)

My face hurt by the end of the day from smiling so darn much:)

The Rest of Bangkok

Other than the King’s Palace and Wat we had a few other more positive Bangkok experiences.

One we hung out with my parent’s old friend from Yellowknife who has been living and working in Bangkok for 25 years. He gave us a taste of the expat life, taking us for drinks with a business partner and then for supper at another expat’s house. Gave us tons to think about for opportunities for Keith once he starts school!

The next day Keith surprised me with a day all planned out to celebrate my convocation, which was happening back home in Calgary. First we hit a big market and split up with the challenge of finding a ‘fancy’ outfit for the evening using less than $30 each and in under one hour. It was fun racing around picking different things and haggling for better prices. In the end we both came in just over $30, but needed about double the time.

We headed back to check out of our super budget hotel and check into our celebration hotel. It was right next door, which was kind of funny, but was increda-swanky in comparison to what we’d been staying in for six weeks. It was great because it was almost brand new and still cost half the price of what it would have back home. It really tall and had a roof top pool and work out room! So exciting!

I hit the gym for a quick work out, my first time in an aircon room with weights in a really long time, and had a whole new view of the city. Afterwards we both hung out at the pool for a while, taking in the view on the other side of the building.

From there it was a change and reveal to each other in our new clothes and we were off to our reservation at the top of one of the tallest buildings in Bangkok. Unfortunately it rained so we didn’t get to see the sunset (although that’s their big selling point and Keith strategically planned our reservation time) but it was still awesome to be up there eating delicious food and reminiscing on the past six years.

We stayed the WHOLE 24 hours that we paid for, only leaving the hotel to go for supper (and a quick ice cream run after we’d gotten back) in order to maximize our time. It was nice being back in North American standard clean after our time on the road. We hit the gym and pool again, relaxed in our room, and then sadly returned to our original hotel next door. It was such a great surprise and Keith managed to keep it from me all the way until the day before (I was clueless as to when my convocation was haha). I’m so lucky!!!

All dressed up! Quite the difference from our usual sweaty selves.

All dressed up! Quite the difference from our usual sweaty selves.

The view at the restaurant.

The view at the restaurant.

P1100752The day before we left we visited Jim Thompson’s House, which is another touristy attraction and luckily was right by our hotel (no big trek in the rain this time!). It was actually pretty neat. Jim Thompson was an American expat who helped revitalize the Thai silk industry after World War II. Unfortunately he mysteriously disappeared and was never seen again (seriously), but his house was preserved. It is actually a set of traditional Thai teak houses that are all put together in a big courtyard. He collected a ton of different interesting art, and it was neat to see how he had set it all up. It was a good way to end our time in Bangkok and while there we had successfully secured our Vietnamese visas.

Next up: Northern Thailand!