Thursday, February 14, 2013

Amazing Thailand

 This is our latest trip of a lifetime to amazing Thailand. I had wanted to go here for quite a while and it did not disappoint.
This was the view out our hotel in Chiang Mai. That is the Ping river...not one for swimming in, but we'll get to clearer water later.
 Our first day we went to the Rajapruek royal gardens
This is the royal palace in the royal gardens
Some monk interaction
Then we took a horse carriage ride around the ruins of Wat Kum Khan, the remnants of the first Lanna Kingdom settlement.
There's our horse in the background.
Then on Saturday it was the Chiang Mai flower festival parade. Impressive flowers and colors, if some questionable outfits (how about the pink loin cloth?)
Just hangin' out watching the parade with their balloons.
A really cool experience
When the parade was over we bought some little trapped birds to release them for good luck, or "merit" but really it was just fun. See our little one sleeping on my back
We then visited a couple of Wats or temples inside the old city walls. I like this shot
This was Wat Phra Singh
This is Wat Chedi Luang
Out of the pack, Yay!
Very full adventurous days
Some hill tribe kids on the steps to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep
 Gleaming gold and a pretty good family photo...too bad about the candy striper photo bomber
A lot of buddhas
ringing the bells
 The Wat overlooks the entire city
The blue power ranger fighting the dragons
My cute wife in front of an impressive peacock door
This is the stairway up to Doi Suthep. Our driver offered the cable car to the top like we wouldn't be able to make it...he doesn't know us very well
 So elephant trunks are actually pretty dirty and their trunk breath is really warm. Our baby didn't seem to mind, though
So cute
Our too oldest feeding bananas and sugar cane to the elephants at Mae Sa Elephant Camp
Bath time
Then it was the elephant show. They came in swinging their trunks around helicopter style and making the strangest noise you have ever heard while doing so
Elephants playing soccer
and painting. We actually got one of their paintings elephant
Then elephant rides through the jungle. They smelled kind of like horses and it was tougher to stay in that basket than you would think, especially on the downhill. Amazing scenery, though.
Then it was off to the Tiger Kingdom. It was awesome. I told my wife afterwards that zoos will never satisfy now after getting to interact with such magnificent animals.
Our daughter is one with the universe and feels the zen of petting a large cat crazy is that?
He's got a tiger by the tail he has
 My brave wife
 So, I asked our Elvis impersonator trainer to get the cats up and moving for a photo op because, as you can see I'm obviously crazy, so he gets this oversize cat toy that is basically grass on a line attached to a bamboo stick. Well, the female on the log, cuts off the male to get to it.
 This was literally right in front of us. My wife had difficulty getting the camera to focus as it was so close.
Then with incredible speed and much to the chagrin of our trainer she got it and ate the grass. He was not happy, but she definitely was.
My wife loves me and humors me so
 The following are me scratching a tiger's tummy until he rolls over.
The trick was to do deep muscle massage instead of just belly scratching like with a dog. Incredible
 Right next to the Tiger Kingdom was the Karen Long Neck tribal village
 This was their village
There were also members of other hill tribes there
Then it was off to part two of the vacation: the Katathani Resort in Phuket
 They had Magnum ice cream bars there and we managed to get most of it in our mouths
 Beautiful kids and beautiful flowers
All of our favorite places have plumeria trees
Beautiful sunsets
My wife wanted to have me include this shot. That is a gal doing the limbo on the lowest setting I've ever seen, and yes, the bar is on fire. Her feet are flat on the ground and if you look you can see her face under the flames.
 How handsome is this guy?
The tigers and this were my favorite; it was off to the Phi Phi islands on our private charter.
We were the first boat from Phuket on the famous Maya Bay at Koh Phi Phi Leh were the move The Beach was filmed
The intrepid band of adventurers.
 Our oldest loving the clear water
 Her brother just wanting to play in the sand
One of the most beautiful places in the world, but it was time to go as already the beach was getting crowded and more boats were arriving
 This is viking cave, called so because of cave paintings inside that resemble viking long boats. The Norse didn't make it out here, though, or they would have stayed. This is also where the bird nests for bird nest soup come from.
 This is taken from the boat of fish eating a banana tossed to them
This is Pileh Cove. The water was over 30 feet deep and we could see the bottom.
 Time to swim
 Great shot of the mouth of Pileh Cove
 Oh yeah, that happened, and with three kids
This was our excellent tour guide a former Brit now claimed Aussie, he was fantastic
 A stop off at Monkey Beach were the sand was even softer than at Maya Bay. These monkeys looked a lot like the ones from the Ubud Monkey Park in Bali.
 Our expert judged this sand to be the best
 That was our ride
 Together in paradise
 Jumping for joy
 Beware of my monkies
 Unreal clear water
Look at the blue reflection on the underside of the limestone
 This is camel rock because it looks like a sitting camel
 This is a sea gypsy village on Phi Phi Don
 I like the limestone cliffs in the distance.
 This was our secluded beach we had all to ourselves for lunch.
 Quite the picnic
 These pictures were with our regular camera standing and looking into the water
 So clear
We were feeding them leftover rolls from lunch
 Then back to Phuket for the last two days
 Great water but hard to compete with Phi Phi : )
And we'll end with a picture my wife took of one of the water lillies. It was a great trip, we hope you all enjoy this blog as much as we like doing things to put on it.