In Transit to America

I’ve been back in the U.S. for a little over a month now, but I haven’t had time to edit this until now. I hope I’m able to look back one day and enjoy the thoughts and feelings I had while coming ‘home’ again from this great adventure of mine. I miss Thailand quite terribly and think about it every single day, but I can’t put into words the immense joy and happiness to be back in America. And it’s not just because I have the 27 hours of travel behind me either.

‘If I Could Tell You One Thing About Thailand’

As a fun little end of the year project, I asked my students to pretend they just met someone who was curious to know more about their home. At first, they looked at me blankly saying they had no idea what to tell a visitor about Thailand. It opened up discussions about culture and we got to talk about what they think makes up their daily life. I took my definition of culture, they added to it, and here is what they wanted to tell you about Thailand. Please forgive the grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary mistakes. They wrote these sentences mostly on their own after hearing my example and I think they’ve done a fantastic job this year. We recently learned ‘will’ and how to apply it in different situations, so that’s why most of them included it in their sentence(s).

Chiang Rai Video Part Two: The White Temple

Wat Rong Kun, or the White Temple as most international travelers know it as, has become one of my favorite things I’ve seen/done in Thailand. Nothing beats the back drop of the green grass, blue sky, and white sparkling temple. Once we got sight of it, I found it difficult to take my eyes off this masterpiece, designed by Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat. It’s nowhere near complete being about fifteen years in to construction and an estimated fifty more to go to finish what will be a collection of temples. This contemporary Buddhist temple is a must see for any traveler coming to Thailand.

I didn’t get to take any pictures inside, but it is more explosive than the outside.

Chiang Rai: Part One

This will be part one of three videos about Chiang Rai. Yes, I liked this city that much. This one covers our first day and a half exploring the city, there are a lot of temples along the way. Our two favorite things within the city were the original Wat Pra Kaew (there are temples of the same name in Chiang Mai and Bangkok that display a jade Buddha that was supposedly exposed by a bolt of lightning from this temple (the real one is in the capital)) and the stunning clock tower. Chiang Rai is a breath of fresh air with the mountains to your back, flowers exploding everywhere, and the comfortable size of the city itself (compared to Bangkok and even Chiang Mai). I hope I captured that in this video.

Khao Yai National Park

Grab a bus to Pak Chong for one of the most accessible national parks in Thailand, Khao Yai. Just four hours from Bangkok in Khorat, the gateway to eastern Thailand, Khao Yai is an excellent option for people who want to do a little hiking and outdoorsy activities, but not sure where to start or have much in the way of ‘equipment.’ PCVs frequent Greenleaf Guesthouse for their trip there and I would highly recommend it as well. Rooms are cheap and clean and the tour guides were very friendly and happy to answer all of our plentiful questions. Let’s take a look shall we?

Bits of Bangkok: Wat Pra Kaew and the Grand Palace

These two places are mentioned in every tourist’s Thailand guide-book as must-do Bangkok activities. And for good reason. I was ambivalent about going at first. I’m not really a big fan of Bangkok and herding myself in with a bunch of clueless white people didn’t sound like my cup of tea. Once we arrived to Wat Pra Kaew, I was in full tourist spirit, snapping pictures every few feet.

You can do both in one day, but I would suggest getting out earlier in the morning before the crowds. Both places are held in very high esteem by Thais as national monuments and it’s important to dress and act appropriately in both areas. That includes free modesty skirts and shoulder covers (after you put down a deposit), especially in the Grand Palace.