I have no idea where to begin in describing our trip to Thailand. Let me first start by saying that I love everywhere. No really, I do. I have never been to a place I wouldn’t go back to, and there is no country I don’t want to visit. Some countries are higher on the list than others, but hey I’ll go anywhere.
Some of you know that when asked my favorite place in the world, my answer is always India. However, this is a difficult thing to describe. My reasons for loving India have a lot to do with the country itself, but also what it had to offer me at the times I have visited. So, my love of India is not just solely about India. Iceland is definitely top on my list, but this has more to do with raw beauty, landscape, and solitude. Iceland quite frankly just needs a category of its own. This brings me to Thailand. If I were going to move anywhere in the world right now I would move to Thailand. In fact Davo and I have decided we will move there sometime in our lives; it is just a matter of when.
So why is Thailand the greatest place on Earth? We will start with this. The first day we were in Bangkok Davo inquired about the book “Eat, Pray, Love.” Neither of us have read the book, however Davo said, “doesn’t she eat in Italy, Pray in India and Love in Thailand?” I said “I think so yea.” To which Davo replied, “Now, my question is why wasn’t Thailand the eating place?” I know what you are thinking right now, “No way the food is better than Italy.” I will go on record and say that I have been to Italy, and the food is not only better it is also cheaper and healthier. GASP!!!!
The first few days that we were in Thailand we explored Bangkok. We met some Thai people who recommended two restaurants to us, one in Bangkok and one in Chiang Mai. The restaurant in Bangkok was a tiny little hole in the wall across from a park. We were instructed to order “fried catfish salad” and “green eggplant salad.” Figuring that these people knew what they were talking about, we set out on our quest to find the restaurant. This is where our love affair with Thai salads began. Until this experience we did not know that when we had previously eaten Thai food, we were making a fatal mistake in skipping over the salad section of the menu in favor of the curries and pad thai. Both of these salad dishes were fantastic and completely unlike anything I have ever eaten. After this experience we were on a hunt for the best food experiences possible and Thailand did not disappoint.
Our eating quest continued in Chaing Mai where we continued to eat salads, pad thai, and curries galore! The second recommendation from the Thai friends came in Chaing Mai. This restaurant was located in a temple and was quite possibly the best food we have ever had in our lives. Again, it was the salads! This time we got avocado salad, pomelo salad, and fried banana flower salad. I am salivating typing this right now. And this is where we actually considered throwing up in order to make room for more eating. I kid you not, it was THAT good. People probably thought I was crazy, but I felt it was my duty to tell every foreigner I saw to go eat there. Ok, so you get it the food is fantastic here are more pictures.
So why else is Thailand the greatest place on earth? For one, in order for me to love a place it has to have a certain balance of grunge and charm. Thailand toes this balance beautifully. It is rough enough around the edges for me to love it but also has temples that glow (literally), elephants to play with, mountains, markets to explore, and best of all style. It is hard for me to explain what I mean by “style” but think of it this way – I want to put everything in Thailand in my house. While we were at the market I essentially wanted to buy everything. We haggled almost every night in our local market for different gems and have quite a few nice things to add to our home when we get home. A little grunge and a little charm!
I have discussed a lot of charm now lets talk grunge. When we decided Chaing Mai was the place we wanted to go after Bangkok, I did a little research on how we should get to this northern mountain paradise. After internet readings and a few discussions with friends, we decided we would train to Chaing Mai in a sleeper car. We were told we could book this the day we wanted to go, but just to be safe we went to the train station early in the morning to book tickets for our 10pm train. When we got to the ticket counter and told the women what we wanted she told us that sleepers were all booked until next Thursday. We asked her what she did have, and she said “sitting up with fan.” To which I replied ok, how long is the train? The women typed into her calculator 17 and showed it to me. It is moments like these that I am so glad I travel with Davo. We are no-nonsense, no whining, take what you can get and be happy travelers. So, we said sure to the “sitting up with fan” car for 17 hours, and decided to be glad that we would get to see so much of the country on our way. We met some pretty weird travelers and might have been drinking rum and coke still at 9am the next morning on the train.
We went to an Elephant Nature park that was an overload of joy. Being with creatures that massive is a total rush (and we all know I like thrills). We fed them, bathed them, and just hung out with them. It was a place with a lot of love and a great story. Check it out if you like 🙂 http://www.elephantnaturepark.org/
Overall, Thailand seemed to have it all and more. Three dollar massages that we got almost every day, fantastic food, beautiful scenery, and beautiful people. Every foreigner we talked to that lived there raved about being there. I can’t help but think it is the Mecca of Asia. Hopefully one day we will be able to visit Thailand again or maybe even live there. But for now, I guess pictures and memories will suffice.
Stay tuned for the Tokyo blog coming up! Maybe we should rename the blog to Davo and Sara running around the world instead of in Korea….