Thailand 2008

During my stay in Thailand last week, I took 1,040 pictures and video segments. A representative 112 are posted on flickr. All the pictures in this blog entry below are also on that set.

For the first half of the week, I was in Bangkok at Natalie’s apartment. After her work finished for a break, we flew to Krabi, far to the south, then took a ferry to the island of Phi Phi (pronounced Pee-Pee). We stayed there for two nights and went bushwhacking in the mountainside jungle. There were far more european tourists than americans, (but they all stayed in town).

For the next phase, we took a ferry to the peninsula of Railay. The end of this ferry trip involved climbing on open water from the ferry into a covered canoe with a motor on the back (called a longtail boat). Then after a short canoe trip, wading up the beach with all our stuff, because there was no dock. I think we were safe, but there were other tourists with children and some with small babies that had to be passed from boat to rocking, heavily-laden boat.

In Railay, we saw a wild monkey climbing on the walls of a Hotel. Railay is quite isolated and there are apparently no roads to access it. In order to make our 10AM flight the following morning, we chartered a private longtail boat (with wading on both ends of the trip). We specially requested that the boat leave at 7:30 and paid in advance for this, but I guess that information got lost in the shuffle somewhere. We left around 8:10 with a german family and made it to the flight in time.

The area around Railay and Phi Phi is open ocean punctuated by numerous islands with steep cliffs on several, and sometimes all, sides.

Apparently at least one James Bond film was shot in the area. More details can be found on the Wikipedia page for The Man with the Golden Gun.

Some observations about Bangkok:

There’s a 7-11 on almost every corner

It’s very hot and humid, but everybody wears pants and long sleeves

Street vendors sell fruit, grilled meat and various other dishes. For 10 bhat (about $0.30) you can get a 1/3 of a pineapple, carefully peeled and chopped up in a bag with a shish-kebab stick to eat it with.

Stoplights have a large timer next to the lights which counts down the seconds until the light will change. The timers, which are about 5 feet across, are red, yellow or green to match the lights. You can see one below:

Compared to Beijing, Bangkok residents are friendlier, seem to be slightly more wealthy, are more likely to speak English and have somewhat cleaner air.

Several times in Bangkok, we saw elephants being led on the street.

The Thai language is harsh sounding.

Soy Dogs (soy means street) sleep under cars and in doorways. The one I saw looked healthy and well-groomed. Apparently, Thai people have a strong sense of generosity.

In Tokyo, as the plane was leaving the gate, I saw 3 members of the airport ground crew who had been loading luggage, wave in unison to the plane, then bow together before they turned and went back to the terminal.

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3 Comments »

  1. Craig Larson said

    JONATHAN AND NATALIE,
    What a wonderful trip. Nice slide show, too. I love those islands with the vertical walls. We enjoyed the photos and comments. Thanks for sharing your slide show with us. Craig and Nita

  2. Evan Torner said

    Didn’t you know the Thai are the best people in the world?

    Maybe you haven’t seen Ong-Bak: Thai Warrior yet… or have and didn’t get the message!

  3. wellons said

    Funny you mention that. I saw Ong-Bak days ago, and then I saw The Protector days later.

    I got the message that Muay Thai makes you invincible. Also that Chinese and Burmese people and Farang are sleazy.

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