Thailand – Elephant Hills

The very best day that we spent in Thailand was at Elephant Hills. It happened to be my husband’s birthday. Even thought he took me to Thailand for my 40th, he managed to celebrate his birthday in Thailand as well. We almost got in a fight just before this photo because I was asking him to hang out in the common area and he was insistent that we go to the tent. We were trying to surprise him with a cake for his birthday, and he was asking far too many questions.

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We had to get up super early to catch our flight from Bangkok to Phuket, and then after the flight we had a three hour drive. But it was so worth it. Upon arrival we were treated to a yummy buffet, and got ready for an afternoon with elephants. Our accommodation was a luxury tent, it rained all night on the metal roof and I had the best sleep of our vacation.

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The elephants were the best part of the whole trip to Thailand. I’m not even sure that I can put into words why I liked spending time with elephants so much. Even thought they are so large, they seem so gentle. Their eyes are so sad. When I talked to them I felt like they understood me. It was interesting to see their personalities, and how they interacted with each other. Some were friends, there was a gang of three that were “the bad ones”, and one that followed another around like a shadow.

We watched them play in the pond, we bathed them, petted them and fed them. It was an experience that I won’t forget any time soon.¬†When we were booking I didn’t really want to be involved. I wanted my husband to surprise me, but he knew that even though I want to be surprised, I am not very good at being surprised. He also knew for the good of our marriage that he wouldn’t get the surprise right, and he was correct on that. I’m a bit of a pain that way, I want to be surprised but only if you have super human mind reading powers to surprise me with exactly what I am thinking.

When was the last time that you spent a few hours doing something that touched your life in a memorable way? There are lots of things that happen in life that touch us, but they are often negative events. A death in the family, a job loss, a brain tumour, bad surprises, things that you don’t see coming. This elephant experience was up there with the news of being diagnosed with a brain tumour, it was a shock to my system but in the best way possible. If you have the chance spend the day with an elephant, do it! Watch them sway to music that only they can hear.

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Floating Market

In addition to temples, and tuk tuks there are many markets in Thailand. The Damnoen Saduak floating market was about an hour and a half out of Bangkok but it was worth the drive for the experience. There are a few floating markets in and around Bangkok which are primarily for tourists.

We were dropped off at a boat dock where we boarded long tail speed boats. The ride was terrifying. We rode through man made canals and saw homes, temples and shops. The boat driver was a bit of a speed racer. It was rough and the water was a lovely shade of brown. We ended our speed boat ride at the floating market.

Boats full of everything imaginable could be found in the floating market but most vendors were selling food. Anyone want a banana? How about a mango? Coconut?

 

 

Next up the Sampran Riverside Village followed by a day at Elephant Hills.

Railway Market

I think that I love to be surprised, but I am not good at accepting surprises. The truth is that I love the idea of being surprised. When we go on vacation I painstakingly research everything, so that we can make the most of our time and money. This vacation was different, I asked my husband to surprise me.

Which went something like this;

  • Him: where do you want to go for your birthday
  • Me: surprise me
  • Him: can you narrow it down
  • Me: somewhere I have never been
  • Him: how about you pick a continent
  • Me: Asia, or South America, or Central America, or how about Europe
  • Him: how about we look at potential vacation destinations tonight
  • Me: then it wouldn’t be a surpise

The moral of the story is that I am a pain in the ass, and he is not confident that he could pick somewhere that I would like. He was right, he didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell (my dads saying). BUT, my super smart mom said why don’t you contact our travel agent. That was an AH, HA moment. Vacationing old school.

We used a travel agent, they did all the work, and we had all the fun. We were picked up at the airport by our guide and driver and spent the next few days getting a private tour of Bangkok. There is no better way to travel. I have done bus trips, train trips, cruises, backpacking, you name it I have probably tried it, and a private car and guide can not be beat.

On the second day Rose (our guide) arrived to pick us up at our hotel, and decided that she was going to alter our itinerary to include the Maeklong Railway Market. I didn’t fully understand everything that she was telling me, so most of the time I just followed her around. We were dropped off in the middle of the street, and she walked us down train tracks. She started shopping as we walked through the narrowest market I have ever been in. Rose stopped to buy dried squid. Not my idea of an afternoon snack.

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Then comes an announcement to get off the tracks and behind the red line. Up to this point my husband and I fully believed that there was no train. How on earth could a train come through this market? There were people, canopies, tables, baskets, and garbage can lids full of products everywhere. The market was full of vendors and shoppers, where was everyone and everything going to go to make room for the train. I’m thinking that a tiny little train is coming through, until I saw a full size train.

It was amazing. Bonus – I was surprised.

Up next, the floating market, and an Arts & Crafts village. Followed by Day 3 at Elephant Hills.