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Our Adventures in Bangkok – Part I

i finally got around to sorting through photos of our time in bangkok! we were only there for two nights.  we flew in from chiang mai in the morning and spent the day taking a boat ride down the chao phraya river, visiting the grand palace, wat phra kaeo (temple of the emerald buddha), wat pho (temple of the reclining buddha), wat arun (temple of dawn), and getting to know the skytrain (the most efficient, well-air conditioned transportation system, ever).

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we tried to get fresh coconut every where we went.

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seeing the reclining buddha was amazing but beware that it gets extremely crowded!

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the emperor’s palace.  the palace was beautiful but keep in mind it is really strict inside and also at the entrance gate as well (understandably).  i was yelled at since i was wearing tights, which apparently are not allowed so i had to buy a cover.  then i got yelled at inside the wat phra kaeo for exiting the wrong door!  it was definitely not my day…but it was still beautiful!

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the view from wat arun!  this was definitely our favorite temple!

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By |February 18th, 2013|Food, Restaurants, Thailand, Travel|3 Comments

Chiang Mai, Thailand – Part III

Chiang Mai ThailandU Chiang Mai HotelU Chiang Mai HotelU Chiang Mai HotelU Chiang Mai HotelU Chiang Mai HotelU Chiang Mai Hotel

in chiang mai, we stayed in the old town (the center of the city and surrounded by a moat and huge walls) at the u chiang mai hotel.  we absolutely loved it and cant rave about it more.  we loved staying in the old town because you can literally walk to most of the temples.  within the old town, there are no high rises because no building is to be taller than the temples.  this area is on the quiet side normally.  however, the busy streets/night market outside the wall are a 15-20 minute walk.  not bad.

the hotel itself was pretty awesome.  it is located at the center of old town and is close by amazing spas and restaurants! the staff goes above and beyond to make sure that your stay is fantastic and they are all so helpful and friendly. breakfast is included daily, which is a plus.  the best part: the AC can be blasted and keeps the room at a pretty freezing temperature! a nice touch:  fresh, beautiful orchids daily.

Wat Chedi Luang Chiang Mai

Wat Chedi Luang | Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, ThailandChiang Mai ThailandChiang Mai ThailandChiang Mai ThailandKrathrong's Dhukka

krathrong’s dhukka

  1. write the name of your family name on the three corners flag
  2. cut your nail, your hair and put them in the leaf-krathrong
  3. pray to buddha to send your troubles away
  4. make your wishes to think, to speak, and to do good.

now your troubles will be sent away

Loi Krathong Chiang Mai

huen phen is one of those must eat places in chiang mai.  they are known most for their kao soi.  kao soi (turned out to be our favorite thing to eat in thailand) is a curry noodle, special to northern thailand (“lanna” means northern thailand).  we tried to eat this every day.  we mean every. single. day.

just finding huen phen was a little bit of a hot, sticky, sweaty journey.  this place is packed all the time…and its huge! we ended up over ordering (5 dishes for two of us) and would highly, highly recommend the kao soi (duh) and the fried papaya salad.  those were the two stand out dishes.  when we came here, it was 90 degrees and felt like 90% humidity (actually this is what it felt like the whole trip).  we were sweating.  it was uncomfortable.  before the trip, we were told to stay away from water that was not bottled and ice.  this was the day we had to cave in.  it was just too hot and the room temperature water bottle just did not do it.  we had to order the thai tea with ice and it was amazing!

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walking around… visiting random temples and enjoying the festival decorations.

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how excited were we that we were in chiang mai for the loi krathong festival and yi peng festival??

  • a krathong is decorated with folded banana leaves, incenses, and a candle. when it’s a full moon, everyone in the city launches their  krathong on a river, canal or a pond, and make a wish!
  • loi krathong coincides with the northern thailand festival, yi peng!  for yi peng, everyone in the city launches floating lanterns into the sky! (my bucket list!)

this was the best time for us to be there since (i) the whole city was decorated with lanterns and flowers and (ii) there were festivals/events going on every day that week!

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lanterns everywhere! breathtaking.  i didnt end up taking my dslr that night (bad decisions) so my pictures arent that great and do not do this festival justice.  its something that you should definitely see yourself! imagine floating lanterns let go everyone in the city…all night long!

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one of the must see temples in chiang mai is wat phra that doi suthep, which is located on a mountain 9 miles / 15 km away from the city.  to get to the temple, you have to climb 309 steps (obviously not to bad since i did the downtown stair climb! woot) on the way up, there are a lot of food/clothes/souvenir vendors (we are embarrassed to say that we got ripped off by all of them because we are the worst at haggling).  oh, but! we obviously stopped for some corn and tangerine juice which was delicious!

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the temple has an amazing view of chiang mai.  too bad the morning we went, it was on the cloudy side. the temple is beautiful, isnt it?

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By |December 31st, 2012|Life, Photography, Thailand, Travel|5 Comments

Chiang Mai, Thailand – Part II

one of the main reasons we chose to go to thailand was because we love thai food! naturally, we took a cooking class while we were in chiang mai.  we took a half day (morning 9am to 2pm) class at siam rice cooking class since it was highly rated on trip advisor.  for 700 baht (US$23) you get to choose a noodle dish, a soup and a curry paste/curry.

the food was amazing! (there is still hope for me as a cook) we hung out with nancy, our pretty awesome instructor.   if i could, i would hang out with her all day!  she taught us about the main base ingredients in thai cooking, the food, and thai culture/traditions.

a few awesome things we learned:

  • a lot of thai dishes use the same ingredients. the addition/subtraction of certain ingredients make a different dish/type of curry! 
  • thai cooking uses a lot of sugar and fish sauce! in every restaurant, you will find sugar (sweet obviously), fish sauce (salty), and chili at your table so that you can customize to your own preference.
  • it’s not that hard to make! just a lot of ingredients to get together!

before the cooking class, we were taken to the market!  i dont know if you know…kyle and i love going to local markets when we travel…its our way of immersing ourselves into the city’s culture.  (plus kyle used to work at a supermarket so he loves that stuff).

as you can tell, we took a bajillion photos…this is what happens when you have an awesome day (2nd favorite thing we did in thailand).

mangosteendragon fruitIMG_8321-1IMG_8301-1onions!candy..lots of itbeautiful flowersthe marketrambutansoupsveggiespink eggs!IMG_8323-1excited for the cooking classIMG_8355-1IMG_8358-1IMG_8384-1IMG_8385-1IMG_8373-1IMG_8377-1IMG_8386-1IMG_8396-1chopping chilisIMG_8404-1IMG_8408-1this is what happens when you make drunk noodlespad thaidrunken noodlesoil, fish sauce, sugar, oyster sauceingredientsIMG_8466-1IMG_8471-1IMG_8474-1my chili paste!IMG_8478-1kao soipanang curryIMG_8507-1IMG_8510-1hot and creamy soupsweet soup with sweet basil

what we cooked:

  • noodles – pad thai and drunken noodles
  • soup – spicy soup with sweet basil and hot and creamy soup
  • curry paste / curry – panang curry and kao soi

we highly recommend doing this when you go to thailand!  email nancy! we received a little booklet with all the recipes from the day.  we are hoping that we can cook some thai food at home soon!  fingers crossed.

By |December 28th, 2012|Cooking, Food, Thailand, Travel|7 Comments

Chiang Mai, Thailand – Part I – Adopt An Elephant

i finally went through some of my thailand pictures! (i was battling a little bug all last week) we have been back for less than two weeks and already miss thai food! (obsessed much?)  our trip was amazing…all the things we saw, people we met, all the food we ate… amazing. best trip ever? i think so! our itinerary:

  • bangkok – 6 hours – our first stop was bangkok (just for 6 hours since our plan was to fly to chiang mai for the lantern festival).  flights from LAX to BKK were also cheaper than flying straight into chiang mai.
  • chiang mai – 5 days – adopt an elephant, cooking class, temple exploring, loi krathong festival of light & the lanna (northern thai) festival known as “yi peng”
  • bangkok – 2 days – back to bangkok for follow me bike tours!
  • phuket – 5 days – phi phi island by speedboat, phang nga bay kayak (james bond island)

so most amazing thing we did was adopt an elephant for the day!  actually, it was the best thing i have done in my life (bold, huh?) we found this through tripadvisor since it was ranked #1 thing to do in chiang mai!   thank you tripadvisor! at patara elephant farm, you spend the whole day with your elephant…feed it, play with it, check its health, learn how to get on it, trek with it through the forest, and wash it in the river…you really cant help but fall in love with these gentle, magnificent creatures.  this was a very, very special experience i will never forget!  please excuse the excessive pictures of our elephants…we just couldnt resist!

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meet peng! she’s 7 years old! she’s a cutie, huh?  she loves bananas, sugar cane, and dunking her head under water while you are trying to scrub her head! she stole my heart when she accepted by banana greeting.

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happy thursday!

By |December 20th, 2012|Life, Thailand, Travel|8 Comments

Thailand…According To Our iPhones

chiang mai, bangkok, and phuket in no particular order

mai khao beach Yi Peng Festival  breakfast kao soi IMG_3609 IMG_2878 IMG_2889 IMG_2902 IMG_2912 IMG_2971 IMG_3017 IMG_3085 cooking class IMG_3166 IMG_3169 IMG_3171 IMG_3259 IMG_3260 IMG_3262 IMG_3263 climbing the stairs of wat arun in bangkok IMG_3296 reclining buddha - wat po IMG_3302 bike riding through bangkok IMG_3393 IMG_3405 bangkok IMG_3417 first sunset in phuket  letting go of a lantern phuket  IMG_2970 IMG_2971 meet peng! noodles for breakfast! IMG_3190 chiang mai landscape after the rain IMG_3224 IMG_3225 IMG_2966 IMG_2967phang nga bay - aka james bond island IMG_3571 phang nga bay - aka james bond island IMG_3578 IMG_3579 our hotel in phuket IMG_3581 IMG_3582 IMG_3583 pineapple fried rice IMG_2968 IMG_2969IMG_3585 IMG_3586 IMG_3587 IMG_3588 IMG_3591 IMG_3592

By |December 10th, 2012|Thailand, Travel|8 Comments
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