When we decided to travel for Christmas, we knew we had to do something to make it special. We brought a small tree from home and each person picked an ornament from our collection to decorate our 'Thailand tree'. While at the Sunday Market in Chiang Mai, we bought the Santa sitting by the tree in the picture below. Another thing we did was we draw names when we boarded the plane to Thailand. We tried to keep the names a secret. We were each given $10USD to spend on 'our' person. We didn't bring wrapping paper, so we just wrapped our gifts in plastic bags!
After opening gifts we headed down to Rawai beach and caught the long boat over to Coral Island to spend the day on the beach!
This is why it is called Coral Island ~ there is SO MUCH coral!!
Christmas lunch ~
Girl really wasn't drinking that beer, just playing with the bottle!
Christmas dinner, Thai style~
This is one Christmas I will never forget!
On Christmas Eve we hopped in a tuk-tuk and headed down to the Kata shopping area where we played a round of miniature golf with dinosaurs!
We did a little shopping, and then we stopped at a western restaurant for Christmas Eve dinner where the kids had hamburgers, steak and chicken nuggets. After lunch we headed back to the hotel for little swimming, and then we decorated our Christmas tree and wrapped gifts in plastic bags and made cards for each other.
After putting the kids to bed Hubby and I walked up the street to a local restaurant where I SPANKED him pool! (So what if I made up my own rules!)
We had this amazing spicy beef salad!!
This was a family owned and run restaurant, so this little guy was our waiter ~
We had two meal, four beers & a couple games of pool all for about $15USD.
We ended the night with 1 hour Thai massages, both for $14 USD total.
Man I love Thailand!
This is something Hubby wanted to do the last time we were in Thailand, but we never go around to it. Here we are walking to Rawai Beach to catch a long boat over to Coral Island.
Hubby hired a long boat to take us over to Coral Island for 1,000 baht. This is a private charter - they take you over and stay with you all day, then bring you home whenever you are ready.
We had fun hanging out on the beach burying each other in the sand....
We saw a bunch of komodo dragons!
Played in the ocean...
and just had a fun and relaxing day!
Something to make you go "humm....."
We spent our second day in Phuket on our favorite little beach on the island, YaNui Beach!
We even had our own personal cabana boy....
Funny story: Boy 2 came over to Hubby and told him he needed to go potty. Hubby told him to go in the ocean. Boy 2 looked at him funny, but did what his dad told him....he went way over to the far side of the beach, by the rocks in the picture below, stood in the water, pulled down his pants, aimed and went pee-pee right in the ocean. In the picture below he is pulling his pants up and walking back to the part of the ocean he was playing in. The people in the picture below got out of the water right after Boy 2 was done.
We had fun playing in the sand.....
So if you can believe it, we were only in Chiang Mai for 4 days & 3 nights! On Dec 21 we hoped a plane down to Phuket....
As soon as we arrived at our hotel in Phuket, we threw on our swimsuits and jumped in the pool!
On our first day in Phuket we had a totally lazy day, we just swam and lounged at the hotel. In the evening we ventured out for dinner. We ate at the restaurant right next door to Phromthep Muaythai Boxing and Fitness Camp. Once we were done with dinner the owners of the restaurant told us the kids could go play in the boxing ring.. by the time it was all over with the boys had the boxing gloves on and were being cheered on by their sister (who video taped much of this event) and by some of the students of the camp!
After a fun filled night of the children beating the crap out of each other we headed home, but not before we stopped to buy sparklers for the kids!
We wanted to eat traditional Northern Thai food so Lasana at our hotel recommended this place, Huen Phen. She said it was the best Northern Thai food restaurant in the area. The decor was so fun & the food was great, however I must say I like 'normal' Thai food better.
We went to Chiang Mai's Original Monkey School....
I have never seen as many in one place as I saw in Chiang Mai! Everywhere we went there were monks. Seeing them around made us very curious, so when we saw the 'Monk Chat' program we decided to stop in and have a chat.
The monk we chatted with was very shy and not very confident in his English, although he spoke much better than I would expect him to. He answered all of our questions and ask a few questions of us.
MIL, this picture is for you. On our last morning in Chiang Mai Hubby and I woke up early & went to Starbucks to buy a coffee mug for you. Here I am in front of the Starbucks with our tuk-tuk and driver.
Hubby and I planned to spend a couple of hours at the Sunday Walking Street Market in Chiang Mai, in fact this is the reason I made sure to stay over a Sunday night in Chiang Mai, it is ranked as the #10 thing to do in Chiang Mai on Trip Advisor. This market is open every Sunday on Rachadamnoen street from 2-11PM. They block the streets off and vendors set up EVERYWHERE! Many Thais shop here, so the priced are not jacked way high like in other places, but you still want to haggle with them to get the best price possible. Even if you aren't into shopping, you should still go just to see this market & to do a little 'people watching'! There are food vendors all along the way if you get hungry and if your feet get weary there are many places to drop in for a cheap foot massage. Hubby and I spent our two hours there, but soon into our shopping excursion we realized two hours would NOT be enough time. When our two hours were up, we took the kids to the Night Safari, then brought them back to the Sunday Market and where we shopped until the place shut down.
Before you ask, NO! I did not try any of the 'food' above. I have to draw the line somewhere.
I have had a hard time trying to figure out what to write for this blog. I have a friend that went into a village in Thailand where the long neck people lived. Since she told me about it 2 years ago I have wanted to visit this village. However while doing research I found out the village I wanted to visit was actually in Myanmar. Well, Hubby can't go to Myanmar due to security reason and I'm not sure I would want to take our family there anyway, so going to the longneck village was out, I thought. Once we were settled into our hotel and I started looking at brochures I found out there were a few longneck tribes in Chiang Mai, so we decided to go, this is something I really wanted to do. I don't know why I felt I needed to go, but I did. Once I got there I was surprised to find out there was an entrance fee. (Call me stupid...) I didn't realize how 'touristy' this would be, but we still went. The first part of the village was just that - a village of people selling goods at a cheap price.
I talked with the lady in the next picture for quite some time. I wish I could remember her name, but I am horrible with names and can't remember it for the life of me. Her English was great & when I ask her how she learn such good English she told me there is a teacher that comes to the village once a week. I ask her all sorts of things, like what are the rings around the neck for. She told me they were a sign of beauty. She also told me that long ago they started wearing rings around their necks as protection from wild animals. Another thing she told me is that they do not wear them 24 hours a day, she said they take them off at night. Young girls start wearing rings at the age of 5. Her daughter (to the right of me) is 6 years old and has been wearing the rings for about 2 years. The baby in her arms is also a little girl.
I ask her about school for the kids. She told me the kids go to school daily for ONE HOUR a day in the school house on the hill. The picture below is their school house.
I also learn that men do not wear the rings around their necks.
I wanted to go pick this little guy up and love on him.
A view from the high point of the village.
Look at what their roofs were made of.
Something I learn about the rings after I left the village is that the rings worn around their necks actually distorts the growth of their collarbones and makes them 'look' as if they have long necks. The rings actually squash the vertebrae in the collar bone, giving the appearance of the long neck.
Upon leaving the long neck village I had mixed emotions. I was a amazed at how poor they were and I felt bad for them, but on the other hand they all seemed happy, and it made me wonder what life is like for them on a day to day basis. I would love to live in a village like this for a short period of time. I don't know how long I would be able to handle living without many of the modern conveniences I have grown accustom to, but would like to give it a try....
On day 3 in Chiang Mai we hired a driver to take us around all day. This is the way to do it in Chiang Mai, hire a driver! The price is more than reasonable; I think we paid the driver right around $45 USD for the entire day. (Lasana at our hotel set this up for us.) He took us everywhere we wanted to go and part of the time he played tour guide for us. It was nice being able to spend as much or as little time as we wanted at any given location. You can rent a car in Thailand, but they drive on the 'wrong' side of the road, so neither Hubby nor I wanted that adventure. ;-)
Our first stop was for coffee, and then we headed over to the Maesa Elephant Camp. We all rode elephants the last time we were in Thailand so this time not everyone wanted to ride. Here is Hubby, Girl and Boy 2 on the elephant, while Boy 1, Boy 2 and I fed this huge beast.
While Hubby, Boy 2 and Girl were riding the elephant, Boy 1, Boy 3 & I headed over to the nursery to check out the newest member of the camp.
When they were done riding the elephants, we went to the elephant show where the elephants paraded in line swinging their trunks, they did a little jig, they played soccer, painted, gave a massage, played darts and much more. This show lasted about an hour and everyone had a great time, even me...except when I was thinking of the show "Animals Gone Wild", and I was planning our exit route, and how I was going to get all my kids out of there when the elephants stampeded. Thank goodness I didn't have to put my plan into action. Yes, I know I can fly thought the jungle on a cable, jump out of an airplane and so on, but put me in front of wild (yet 'tame') animals and I tend to freak out (silently).
After dragging the kids all over Chiang Mai looking at temples we treated them to their first Thai foot massage! (Yes, we bought them ice cream too.) Everyone was totally game for it EXCEPT Boy 1. He was SO NOT EXCITED, that is until he realized they had free wireless, at that point you could do anything to him and he was fine, as long as he could connect to the internet on his iPod and talk to his girl back in Seoul.
Here we are all lined up and getting ready for our massage!
Boy 3 could not contain himself. He giggled and giggled and then he squirmed right out of his seat. The lady massaging him was only able to do so for about 10 minutes, after that he couldn't take anymore! She ended up giving me the rest of his massage. (Lucky me!)
Boy 3 wasn't the only one giggling, Boy 2 had a hard time holding his giggles back as well, however he did make it the entire 30 minutes.
Girl enjoyed her massage a little more than the boys did. She had a small bout of the giggles but I think it was more due to the fact that her brothers were giggling so hard! After a few minutes she sat back and enjoyed her massage. As for Boy 1, I don't think he even noticed anything going on beyond his iPod.
One of the things I LOVE about Thailand is the massages. Not only are they very good, but they are DIRT CHEAP! Hubby and I had massages almost every day while we were in Thailand for the big price of about $6 USD per hour. Yes, you read that correctly I said SIX. For the six of us to get 30 minute massages in Thailand it cost right around $15 USD.
So, here is another interesting little tidbit for you. The massage parlor we took the kids to (we just stopped in as we were walking down the street) is called Lila Thai Massage, it was very cute and very clean; this is one of the reasons why we picked it. It was only later after we got back to the hotel and we were looking through their brochure did we realize all the massage therapist were x-cons. You can read about it here.
Proud Army wife and mother to 4 wonderful children. I love to cook, travel, work out and scrapbook life’s adventures when I find the time. We just got orders & are heading back to the states in March 2010. I'm bummed that our time has been cut short, but proud of Hubby for the reason why.
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