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May 21, 2006
April 27-May 21,2006
We went to say farewell to my grandmother. We developed some pictures. We packed and went to the airport in the evening. We returned to the US after a 15 hour flight. Back to the office on Wednesday after I recover from jet lag. I hope you enjoyed reading my vacation blog.
May 20, 2006
Today we went to my grandparents' former home, where I had spent 2 years growing up as a baby. My grandparents no longer live there. The home has been converted by my cousin to a jewelry factory. My cousin gave us a tour. In the evening, we took a 3 hour dinner cruise down the Chao Phraya River. It was only 500 Baht per person (about $12.50).
May 19, 2006
Today we went to watch Da Vinci Code at Siam Paragon. We bought the VIP seats at 600 Baht (about $15). The VIP waiting lounge was a large dimly lit room. Red satin sheets hung from the ceiling to separate the room casting a red hue. Two comfortable sofas were in the center of the room with coffee tables bearing the latest magazines and newspapers. In one corner there was a recliner where 2 people were getting a massage. In the other end was a bar. The waitress gave us complementary cookies and drinks. About 10 minutes before showtime, an usher started taking individual couples into the theater. We were taken to our seats by the usher. The theater has only 18 pairs of seats. Each pair of seats is separated by a partition just high enough not to be able to see anyone else in the theater. The usher gave each of us a soft pillow and a blanket. I placed my drink in the armrest. I pressed the button to fully recline my electronic recliner chair. Placed the pillow under my head and pulled up my blanket. I watched the previews and found the Superman trailer of particular interest. Then it was time to stand up to pay respect to the King of Thailand. In Thailand, prior to any theatrical performance, a tribute to the king is shown on the screen. This is a montage of images showing the King's past accomplishments and compassion. Accompanying the video is the King's official anthem. After the video is completed, we return to our comfortable chair to enjoy the movie. I highly recommend seeing a movie VIP style.
May 18, 2006
Malika had errands to run so I spent the day on my own. I had lunch with my dad. Then I went to MBK-Center
, a large mall.
May 17, 2006
We went to visit my grandmother who came in from Chieng Mai. We then went and had a buffet dinner at the Radisson Hotel with Malika's friend.
May 16, 2006
We have breakfast at the resort. We go to Natural Wing Spa
so Malika can get her nails done. We return to the hotel to pack and head to the airport for our flight back to Bangkok. After arriving in Bangkok, we drop off our luggage at home and go shopping at IT Square, another tech shopping mall.
May 15, 2006
We start by going to sight see at Thongsai Bay. We then go to Eranda Spa
, where we enjoy a 30 minute herbal steam along with a 90 minute massage. We then have lunch at the Cliff Restaurant. We walked along Lamai Beach. We played a round of Football Golf, which is like mini-golf, but instead you kick a soccer ball. We head of to Nathon for some seafood before returning to the hotel for the evening.
May 14, 2006
Today, we decided to rent a jeep from the hotel. The cost of filling the gas tank was more than the cost of the rental. We drove to the Big Buddha and had some lunch at a nearby shop. We then went looking for some waterfalls. Our first stop was NaMuang 2 Waterfall. We had to take a 30 minute hike to get to the top. Next we went to NaMuang 1 Waterfall. This fall had a pool at the bottom where you could swim. It was also easily accessible by road. We spent some time swimming and taking pictures. We then went to Lamai Beach and looked at the HinTa and HinYai rock formations. We continued our drive around the island and ended up at Na Sai Beach where we found a beach front restaurant to watch the sun set. We returned to Cheweng Beach where there was a Spa Festival. We visisted the booths of various spas to get a discount for our spa treatment tomorrow.
Sunset at Na Sai Beach
May 13, 2006
We woke up early to watch the sunrise. We had some breakfast. Then we went for another climb to a cave. It was a much easier climb than yesterday. We spotted a family of monkeys (actually called Spectacled Langur
)along the way but they were too far away to get good pictures. The cave wasn't too exciting, but there were a few great views of the beach below. We relaxed and did some reading. We spotted some monkeys in the trees and went to get a closer look. A couple of them were brave enough to come close enough to touch. Our boat picked us up in the afternoon for the return trip to Samui. We walked down our beach to Fisherman's Village and ate dinner at the Happy Elephant.
Up close with the natives
May 12, 2006
We arranged a boat to take us to Angthong Marine National Park
to spend the night. This is a collection of 40+ islands about 25 km from Samui. We signed up for a boat tour with Lomprayah Tours
. They took us out on a speed boat to an island for some snorkling to view some sealife and corals. We stopped for lunch at the National Park. We did some ocean kayaking for about an hour. Then we went to see the Emerald Lagoon. The boat dropped us off at the park and returned to Samui with the rest of the tourists. We decided to climb up to the viewpoint on top of the island. It took us 1 hour to make the strenuous 500 meter climb. We had to navigate the trail using ropes and climbing rocks. It seemed quite dangerous at certain points. The view at the top was breathtaking and well worth it. After making it back down, we took a relaxing swim. We had dinner and went to bed exhausted.
Angthong National Park
At the Top
May 11, 2006
We woke up early and flew to Ko Samui via Bangkok Airways
. Samui is an Island in southern Thailand, about 250 miles south of Bangkok. Bangkok Air calls itself Asia's Boutique Airline. They provide free internet access along with free snacks in the departure lounge. When we landed, there was a lot of rain. We got to the beach front hotel which provided a great romantic environment with rose petals on the bed, along with a very tasty cake. The rain let up after an hour and we walked around the beach. We took a passenger truck to Chewang Beach and had lunch. We returned to the hotel and enjoyed a dip in the ocean. we returned the Chewang Beach in the evening to check out the nightlife.
May 10, 2006
We went to Muang Boran, or the Ancient City
. This is a large drive through museum with replicas of significant buildings in Thai history. It is a great place to learn about Thailand's past. There are over 110 structures that depict Thailand's long history. After spending several hours exploring the past, we went to Bang Poo. This is a district south of Bangkok along the ocean. We stop by a seafood restaurant that is on a pier that stretches several hundred meters into the ocean.
May 9, 2006
We spent the day doing more sight seeing along the Chao Phraya River. We took the subway and BTS to the Chao Phraya River where we hopped on a boat. We visited the Grand Palace, Wat Pra Keow, Wat Arun, The Royal Barge Museum. We finished the day walking around the night market at Silom.
Wat Pra Keow
May 8, 2006
Today was shopping day. We travelled to a variety of shopping centers in the Bangkok area via subway, BTS (Bangkok's elevated train), and taxi. There are a couple of good places to get tech items for a good price. Pantip Plaza was the first place we visited. Later we went to Fortune World. In comparison of the two, Pantip Plaza is the bigger place with more competition, thus a slightly lower price. Pantip Plaza is a few blocks walk or a short taxi ride away from the nearest BTS station. Fortune World does have a subway station in front. With all the traffic in Bangkok, BTS and subway are a good way to travel.
May 7, 2006
Trip to Ko Kret
. My brother and dad join us for our trip. We start out by taking a taxi to the Sathorn Station on the banks of the Chao Phraya river. We took an hour long boat trip along the Chao Phraya river to Ko kret Island. It rained at the start of the trip, but let up by the time we arrive at the Island. There are temples and many small markets. We have lunch at riverside restaurant and sample many of the desserts available in the markets. The walk around the island is 5.2 km. We only make it to about 1 km where we rent a boat to take us around the rest of the island. We stop at a couple tourist shops including a factory that makes Thai desserts. We also take a moment to feed the fish. We cross back to the mainland and take a taxi back home. We have dinner at a noodle shop then go to watch Mission Impossible 3. It is worth your while to watch a movie while in Thailand. It is an experience you won't find in most US theaters.
My dad, my brother, and me
Feeding the fish
On the boat
May 6, 2006
We spent the morning at Jatujak
weekend market. This is a large outdoor market that sells just about anything for a good price. A good bargainer can find even better deals. It was hot and humid. We spent 4 hours there, followed by another 2 hours at Central LadPrao, a department store and mall. We had dinner with Malika's friends at Wanakam restaurant.
May 5, 2006
After our farewell breakfast at the River Kwae, we stopped by the famous Bridge over the River Kwae
. Then we drove back to Bangkok. We had lunch with relatives. We did some shopping at Central Raminthra.
May 4, 2006
We have breakfast while floating on the River Kwae on a river raft. Then we took a rood trip to visit the nearby sites. First stop was Muang Sing Historical Park
. Muang Sing means City of Lions. This is the ruins of an ancient mounument built 700 years ago. There is also a prehistoric burial site that dates 2000 years. Next we went to the elephant camp
. We took a scenic ride on the back of an elephant and watched an elephant show. The elephants were trained to take your money, take the money to a table and exchange it for some bananas, then bring the bananas back to you so you can feed them. Then we went to visit Krasae Cave, which has a Buddha image inside. To get there we had to take a trolley over the Death Railway
, so called because of all the WW2 prisoners that died to build it. We had lunch at a nearby resort. Then we went to Sai Yok Noi Waterfall. We climbed on the rocks to get some nice pictures. We enjoyed a nice snack overlooking the waterfall. Then we headed back to our resort where we relaxed the rest of the day.
City of Lion
Sai Yok Noi Waterfall
May 3, 2006
We decided at the last minute to go to Kanchanaburi
. This is a province in western Thailand near the border of Burma. It is famous for the River Kwae and it's assortment of waterfalls. It is a 3 hour drive from Bangkok. We have dinner overlooking the River Kwae at the resort.
May 2, 2006
Malika and I went to Siriraj Hospital where Malika did her training. She ran into lots of her old friends. Visited the Siriraj Medical Museum. Siriraj Hospital is the oldest hospital in Thailand, over 100 years old. Took a boat along the Chao Phraya River. We went to Siam Paragon
, which is supposedly the largest department store in Bangkok. It is huge. It had the largest food court I have ever seen.
May 1, 2006
We ran some errands. Did some shopping. A lot of places were closed today because it was the Thai holiday equivalent of Labor Day. Luckily that meant traffic was light. We both had a 90 minute facial massage. I got my hair cut. I went for the Tom Cruise look. Malika did her nails. We came across a large white elephant in the center of Bangkok. Went to visit my dad and grandmother.
April 30, 2006
17 hours is a long flight. My plan to handle the jet lag was to stay awake for the first 10 hours and then sleep for 7 hours. By the time we arrive in Bangkok at 6 am, I should be well rested. Thai Airways economy class was actually quite comfortable. Each seat had an LCD display with on-demand movies and video games. A retractable remote control in the armrest doubles as a game controller. I ended up watching 5 movies and played some video games. The food was very good, as I have come to expect from Thai Airways. I wasn't able to sleep well. I've always had trouble sleeping on airplanes. Malika is the opposite. Her plan was to sleep the whole trip. Which she did only to wake up to eat. Her strategy ended up being better. We arrived on schedule. We got through immigration and baggage claim very quickly. I'm staying at the home of Malika's grandparents. I was able to take a short nap. Now I have to stay up the rest of the day. By tomorrow, I'm hoping that the jet lag will be over. We went to the mall to do some quick shopping. After shopping, I went straight to bed for 14 hours.
April 28, 2006
Spent the day running errands to buy last minute gifts. Finished packing. My mother-in-law will be taking Malika and I to the airport. Thai Airways started up a direct flight from LA to Bangkok. We'll be going on that long 17 hour flight. We arrive there Sunday morning Bangkok time (Saturday night LA time). I'll check in as soon as I find an internet cafe in Bangkok.
April 27, 2006
T-minus 1 day until my vacation. I'll be going to Thailand with my wife. I'll probably work today into the evening making sure I take care of any outstanding messages. Will probably pack tomorrow and buy last minute gifts for family members in Thailand. My nurse was kind enough to babysit my dog. My mother-in-law will be taking care of the cats. I've updated my website to make sure visitors know that I will be gone for a while. I also started this blog. Check back here for updates and possibly pictures.