Saipan Hawleys

Friday, August 01, 2008

Bangkok, Thailand - Summer 2008

Our summer vacation in Thailand! Forgive me...I have posted 34 photos on the blog, but it was so hard to eliminate pictures as we had such a fantastic and amazing trip. Everything was so much fun and a great experience for the kids.
Bangkok was great - busy, crowded, full of new sights and smells, energetic, etc. - especially after you have spent the last 7 years on a small island in the Pacific! We went to the Grand Palace, Lumphini Park, the Reclining Buddha, the Aquarium and the I-Max theater. Then we headed North to Chiang Mai via the overnight train. We had two combined sleeping booths that had couches folding out to bunk beds. What a great way to travel!
Chaing Mai was wonderful - the tours (Journey tours and Nate's mt. bike tour) were extremely well done, the Sunday night market was full of wonderful arts and crafts and the kids drank banana milkshakes at least once a day. From there we took the 'curviest' 3 1/2 hour bus ride of my life to Pai. Pai was and is my favorite part of the trip. It is very laid back and safe - the perfect place for us to relax and take time to see the outdoor sites. We had a fabulous time playing in the river with the elephants in Pai (photos not included as they are still on the disc that the elephant camp made for us i.e. I was in the river with the elephants and could not take photos!) and the motorbikes gave us freedom and kept us entertained (it was especially entertaining for the family to watch me learn how to drive a motorbike).
We had a long day of travel when we took the public bus to Chaing Rai - but it was worth it. The Night Market in Rai was the best - good size and lots to see, and Nate had a fantastic solo Mt. Bike ride on single track and through some Northern villages.
Here's to a fabulous summer vacation in Thailand!
The kids in Lumphini Park, Bangkok...
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Chiang Mai and Bangkok, Thailand - Summer 2008

On our way to the Chiang Mai Zoo in a tuk tuk...forget a taxi, this is the way to go! It was our main transportation around the cities - except in Pai where we rented motorbikes for the 5 days we spent there.
At the main gate of the Chiang Mai walled city...
Can anyone say "excited"? We loved our overnight train ride that took us from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. We had two connecting sleeper booths that had couches that folded out to make bunk beds. I still think that the train ride was one of the highlights of the trip for the kids.
Nate and the kids with Randall in front of our Bangkok apartment. We rented a two bedroom place (which we found on Craigs list) from Randall and Joe and we couldn't have been more pleased. We arrived into Bangkok at midnight after a long day of flying - Randall met us at the gate and welcomed us into the apartment. They had filled the fridge with some basics and had fresh flowers on the table as well. We couldn't have asked for a nicer welcome to Thailand. Randall and Joe were a great resource for our Bangkok questions and even recognized Max's 6th birthday with some cookies and a stuffed animal. Their apartment was in a good location for us to walk around with easy access to the places we wanted to go.
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Chiang Mai, Thailand - Summer 2008

At the funland in a mall in Chiang Mai...
a great place for these two to get some energy out!
The kids horse back riding at the Chiang Mai Zoo...
Is this safe??? A pully ride at the Zoo...
Outside the Chiang Mai Zoo...
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Chiang Mai, Thailand - Summer 2008

The elephants LOVE bananas and sugar cane...
Max has changed his answer to the question of "what do you want to be when you grow up?" from Smoke Jumper (airplane fire fighters) to Mahoot (sp?) - each elephant has one Mahoot that works with it daily - feeding, washing, training, etc.
Ok - the kids were a bit bored with my choice of an afternoon tour - but they did make the best of it. They spent the time making silly, mad and sad faces!
Nate was off on an all day mountain bike ride - me, never one to sit in a hotel room all day, decided to take a tuktuk to the mall where there was a 'fun land' for the kids to play in - and we found a grocery store that actually had Jif peanut butter and we bought enough to last the month (Max needs his daily fix of pb&j).
Then we spent the afternoon on a river boat trip...stopping at a local farm to taste their sweet fruits and juices. The long boat ride was fun and beautiful - but a bit long and slow for the kids liking!
At the local farm during our river boat trip...
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Chiang Mai, Thailand - Summer 2008

Nate and Max...
The Hawley family at it's finest!

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Chiang Mai, Thailand - Summer 2008

Bamboo Rafting after our elephant and ox cart rides...

My three little mushrooms...
Notice Max's arm around Sera Ann - a rare moment of big brother protecting little sister from the 'dark and dangerous' river.
And then there was the ever exciting Ox Cart riding!
No one can say that we didn't 'do it all' in Thailand!
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Pai, Thailand - Summer 2008

Sera Ann looking a little worried as she rode on the back of Nate's motorbike...
Actually - she, and Max and Tayah, LOVED the motorbikes that we rented and it was a great way to see the area - the kids were always up for exploring on the 'bikes'...
We found this waterfall on one of our adventures...
The water was cold from being shaded - but the kids (and Nate) loved swimming out to the rock and jumping out into the falling water.
And off we go...
The famous Hot Springs of Pai! That is one of the things that we just loved about Pai - nothing was commericalized yet - everything was still just in it's natural state for you to enjoy.
We ended up staying here for a couple hours as the kids were having fun just playing around in the hot water.
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Pai, Thailand Summer 2008

Nate and Max spending time with the elephants before we went on our ride.
This is our bungalow at Belle Villa Resort in Pai. Our porch faced the rice paddies and distant 'mountains'. The swimming pool was just two bungalows away - a short walk through the grass or on the front path.
One of our favorite coffee spots just outside Pai...
Exploring the back roads of the countryside of Pai...
Nate with Sera Ann and Tayah on their motorbike.
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Chiang Rai

This is at La Luna Resort in Chiang Rai where our last week in Thailand was spent. We had two rooms which were located at the far end of the pool.
Since Tayah is my night owl, she and I had some fun 'late nights' out together at the Night Markets in both Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. This was our ride home from the Market in Chiang Rai.
On our last day in Chiang Rai, I convinced Tayah to go with me via TukTuk to the White Temple. It was not somewhere that Max or Sera would have enjoyed - but Tayah and I loved looking at all the ornamental carving and decorations.
Max and Sera Ann just 'hanging out' on our transportion that took us from La Luna to the Chiang Rai airport.
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