On February 13th we departed the Phi Phi islands and began the long journey home. I snapped a few pics on our first of two ferry trips and during our changeover at Tonsai bay, the main town on Koh Phi Phi Don.
Archive for February, 2010
From Phuket we took the ferry to Koh Phi Phi Don, larger of the Phi Phi islands, and the only one that is inhabited. We stayed at a hotel (The Holiday Inn) on Laem Tong Beach, a few miles from the main town of Tonsai. This part of the island was much more remote & secluded, with a just handful of resorts and a couple local restaurants on the beach.
It was a gorgeous location, and the island (running north-south) was so narrow here that we were able to see both sunrise and sunset from our hotel property.
After Chiang Mai, we flew to Phuket, spending one night before our early-morning ferry to the Phi Phi islands. We stayed at one of the smaller beach towns, Kamala, which was nice, but still sort of crowded.
Overall Thailand is an incredibly friendly country, but Phuket seemed to be a bit less so than the other places we visited. This is probably because it attracts so many tourists, many of whom treat it as a typical party/beach vacation and aren’t really interested in the culture. As a result, the locals can’t help but become a bit more standoffish.
Formerly logging camps, these have been converted over to nature preserves / tourist attractions. The elephants do seem to be treated well & are happy. One reason may be because they are paired for life with a single trainer, resulting in a strong bond between the two. We rode an elephant and then watched them perform various tricks such as playing soccer and painting. After that we were able to feed & interact with them, which was probably the best part.
After the flower parade we joined Tom & Janet to go to a Thai cooking class. We first went to the market and learned about various Thai foods and ingredients. After making our purchases, we walked to the cooking school and learned how to make some typical dishes including soups, stir fries, curries, and dessert.
We started out in the stands, but moved down to street level about halfway through, at which point the photos get much better, also helped by the fact that the crowd had thinned out by then.
On our first full day in Chiang Mai we visited Doi Suthep, a temple up in the hills overlooking Chiang Mai. After that we visited the nearby jade factory and then had lunch at a beautiful restaurant on a pond. There were flowers everywhere we went that day.
While in Chiang Mai we stayed at the Chedi Hotel, one of the nicest hotels either of us has ever seen, let alone stayed at. The grounds are beautiful, the staff very friendly, and our room was huge! It’s right on the river in Chiang Mai, the perfect place to eat breakfast in the morning. One night we had a celebration dinner at the hotel, and launched Thai lanterns afterwards.
The major attractions (Chedi Hotel, Doi Suthep, Prince Royal’s College, Flower Parade, Cooking Class) will have their own photo galleries, but here are some pics from the airport and around town.