flashback: thailand a tourist paradise

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Jay and I were married a little over 2 years ago, and time has absolutely flown. With wedding season upon us, honeymoon pictures are all over my Facebook feed. It is such a pleasure to look at these pictures from my desk (shhhh! don’t tell my boss!) and imagine what it’s like to be overseas.

Jay and I went on a really great honeymoon to what seems to be a HUGELY popular destination among my friends, Thailand. He and I were looking for sun, relaxation, and really good food, so Thailand was a total no brainer.

Let’s flashbaccccckkkk… to a simpler time…. across the globe…. to A GOVERNMENT COUP? That’s right. Jay and I had booked our travel before a coup began in Thailand. The military seized power in an already turbulent era. Around the globe, we saw the unrest in our news feeds and on front pages of news papers. What in the heck were we supposed to do? Jay recommended making riot-shields and going anyway…SO WE DID! (Minus the shields)

AND IT WAS WILD!

When we landed in Bangkok, the country was under a curfew. They were restricted from travelling after 10 pm. In a city that is normally bustling with energy into the wee hours, it was quite a cultural shift. Jay and I landed into a dark city where once we were in a cab, we owned the interstate highway. We passed soldiers at checkpoints, zoomed along a stretch that would have ordinarily been congested… and we wondered aloud “Should we have come?”

Boy are we glad we did….Bangkok Templehotel pool in BangkokBangkok hotel with stormsFood at Chiang Mai cultural centerElephant ReserveKoh Phi PhiBeach off Koh Phi PhiMotorbiking in Chiang Mailounging in Bangkok

 

We visited temples, ate a LOT of food, enjoyed the weather. Travelling by train up to Chiang Mai was a highlight. We got Thai Massages at a women’s prison (I know, sounds weird, but it’s the place to go). We traveled north from there to visit an Elephant Sanctuary for a day ( Not to be missed). Then hopped a train to Southern Thailand. Phuket is famous for its beaches and relaxed atmosphere. The resorts are world-class. I recommend skipping Kho Phi Phi ( Where the movie “The Beach” was filmed) and recommend finding a spot a little out of the beaten path! The tourism industry had taken a hit because of the coup, but the parties kept on!

It turned out that the scary headlines didn’t match the feeling on the ground at all. While in Bangkok, we saw mass demonstrations, we went to the parliament to see what newsworthy events were happening (since all television was shut-down by the military, we wanted to see what was happening there). What we confirmed was that people are just people. Living day-to-day, trying to make the best of things for themselves and their children. We also confirmed that the world has turned Thailand into its playground and it is hurting the environment, the animals there, and the people.

When I look back on the memories, they are bittersweet. I regret that I couldn’t spend time there trying to humiliate and shame the “bad westerners” going there to use the women and children. I regret that I didn’t much impact the poor that I passed on the trains, in the streets, and in the temples. I realized how grateful I was to have found my husband, and spent that time with him on an adventure unlike any other. And I am grateful to live in a world that is so sensational!

To my fellow honeymooners: please don’t ride elephants when you travel to Southern Asia. Wear long skirts when you enter temples. Smile at everyone! (Thai’s smile a lot) and BE GOOD TO THE WORLD!

Thailand
Soldier Selfie was a big hashtag at the time
Thailand
Traincar in Bangkok to Chaing Mai

 

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