Thailand: Fire Dancers, Bangkok Adventures, Hangover II, and Fishy Spas

First, a few last pictures from our time in Koh Chang. These were the guys who played with fire on the beach front to celebrate Christmas [sorry for the poor quality].
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We returned to Bangkok on Christmas Day, just in time for a spectacular dinner that’s not to be forgotten. Great food and great company!Christmas Dinner
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We celebrated Christmas the following day due to our varying traveling schedules with FRESH mimosas!
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A new Panthers shirt for me to support my man’s team.
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Best mojitos EVER, while enjoying the stories of the matriarch:o)
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Blessing of the massage parlor just down the road from our hotel, the Drop Inn.
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A little temple sight-seeing for the crew.
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Mean man!
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No wonder we got many strange looks…haha just kidding!
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The reclining Buddha.
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Massively, huge feet on the Buddha.
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Offering prayers, sans any and all makeup. Way too hot for that mess!
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Nick’s turn!
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Boys will be boys…
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Yep, totally missed Nick’s face when I took this!
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Love the Buddha’s in orange.

That evening, we ventured out to the Sky Bar, the world’s highest open air bar for drinks and where this scene was filmed for Hangover II.the-hangover-2-movie-image-cooper-helms-galifianakis-03
Remember this scene? They were very particular and didn’t want anyone recreating the moment there or taking pictures on the stairs. Rather you had to venture down to the bar area for all pictures.
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The next day, we ventured out to the Jim Thompson House in Bangkok – I want this house!
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Beautiful, peaceful gardens.
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Open air living at it’s finest. 
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The story of Jim Thompson was very interesting to hear with a few surprising facts discovered in relation to his death; who knows what really happened to Jim Thompson in the jungles of Malaysia. All I know is that I would not willing leave a home like this!

Our next adventure took us to the largest outdoor market in Bangkok, the Chatuchak Weekend Market, is only open [yep, you guessed it on the weekend]. We only spent one weekend in Bangkok and knew this was on our list to shop at! I only have a few images, as I was way too busy shopping!!
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The freshest [and cheapest] mango I have ever tried.

Our next adventure was following through on Nick and Brenden’s Christmas gift…fishy spa time! And of course, we all gave it a shot.
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Proof: Mere was in for approximately 10 seconds!
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After I quit laughing hysterically…it tickled!!
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It’s definitely an odd experience, but really cool at the same time. I’d repeat this experience again in a heartbeat. Others, I would venture to guess would not repeat, while Nick would swim with them for hours on end.

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Ice cream for dessert from Swenson’s – yes, it was good enough for repeat visits and I refuse to count how many!! [It’s vacation and I walked it all off x3]

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Susan wins the best Christmas gift award for 2012 with this shirt!

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My first udon experience in the mall just down the street.

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Matchy, matchy after our last foot massage before our flights back to the states. Not sure how I left these out before, but at 60 baht [~$2 USD], you could afford one daily and still not make a dent in your monthly massage budget…completely relaxing and the best way to conquer jet lag and prep for a long flight/night ahead.

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And it finally happened, I drank out of a raw coconut [even if it happened in the airport, it still counts].

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Farewell, Thailand! Thanks for the amazing memories. We will be back, definitely!!

Thailand: Days 3 & 4

After my lovely experience with our room safe [here’s my tip: ALWAYS close and lock your safe – even if you are staying in your room. And, don’t try to clean up your clothes – they are just fine left on the floor!], the group [Susan, Nick, David P., and myself] ventured out for lunch at Cabbages & Condoms in downtown Bangkok.

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Their message is targeted toward the culture of Bangkok – “Our restaurant was conceptualized in part to promote better understanding and acceptance of family planning and to generate income to support various development activities of the Population and Community Development Association (PDA)” –  and the food wasn’t half bad either. It’s a ‘can’t miss’ when you visit Bangkok.

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Gotta love Ronald!2012-12-17 10.45.50
Beautiful Bangkok

Unfortunately, that evening I ended up with a killer headache, which limited me from doing anything other than sleeping.

The following day, Thursday, our small group [David S., Susan, Nick, and myself] ventured to the airport for our short flight to the coast towards the island of Koh Chang. Koh Chang is located just off the coast of Thailand and Cambodia, and is one of the most beautiful islands I have ever seen. The tall inland mountains flowed down to the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean. We landed in Trat to the calmest, most relaxed airport that I’ve ever been in. Here’s a view of the plane – love, love, love the elephants!

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How can you not relax with palm trees and open air buildings?

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Seriously, love the open airport! 2012-12-19 11.33.01
Talk about service – no wait baggage claim!

We had to take a ferry from the mainland over to the island. We shared a fresh coconut creation that was to die for – so refreshing!

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These were the first views of Koh Chang & the surrounding islands:

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Once we arrived at our hotel, we were greeted promptly with cold towels and some sort of juice… but at least Susan’s name was on the board!

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And here’s our suite at the Bhumiyama Beach Resort:

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And here’s my favorite view, enjoyed for many hours between breakfast and dinner:

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First Two Days in Bangkok

Once we arrived, we checked in to the Drop Inn here in Bangkok. It is a lovely place that is convenient to everything we need!

Since we arrived around 4pm, we quickly showered to remove the nasty plane smell and met in the lobby for a beer.

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My first Thai beer! We sat outside and enjoyed the warm, humid air. Finally, we had arrived and were able to relax!

After a beer, we began our walk that included a stop at one of the many Thai foot massage places. This was absolute heaven and desperately needed after a long flight! David joined us for a quick manicure while enjoying a beer!

20121219-090318.jpg Since there are no laws against open containers, one is free to drink when and where they please.

Once we were all relaxed, we continued our journey to the Lebanese restaurant we had decided on for dinner for our first night. After many dishes of food, it is safe to say we were stuffed and ready for bed!

Tuesday morning began bright and early when I woke up just before 7am. Not quite sure if it is the jet lag or simply my body clock going off saying its time to start this day now!

We wondered downstairs for a cup of coffee and a fresh fruit filled breakfast complete with yogurt. I was one happy girl! The day’s plan entailed shopping at one of the larger malls and various salon services. Nick received a haircut while I enjoyed a manicure/pedicure for just about $20 total. We are loving the exchange rate!

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And to leave you for the day since we are off to brunch, here’s the view from our hotel, The Drop Inn.

Trip to Bangkok

I have been MIA since last week when I began prepping for our Saturday departure for Bangkok. Saturday started very early when we arrived at our first airport for our first of three departures for the day. Overall, our trip took just about 44 hours in total. We took a tour of the east coast before our first international flight, but we made every connection with time to spare. No running through the airport for us! Once we made it though Charlotte security, I was in desperate need for caffeine. And where did I go, Starbucks of course! I might have a problem….oh well! I enjoyed a Peppermint Mocha while we waited to board our flight to Boston.

Once we landed in Boston, we had to go through the hassle of waiting for our bags and rechecking them before we could go through security to catch our flight to Washington. Despite some minor setbacks, we cleared security with 2 hours to spare. We had no need to worry! We enjoyed lunch at Potbelly’s along with the free Internet before boarding our flight to Washington.

Once we landed in Washington, we quickly found our gate and snagged a few seats by an outlet to charge our iPads and my phone. We didn’t want to run out of battery on the next flight! After another airport meal, we headed back towards our gate. I was feeling tired by the time we were about to board so I snagged one more Starbucks beverage before our departure to Frankfurt.

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This time I went for an Eggnog Chai Tea Latte. It was the perfect beverage to end my day! Then we were off to Frankfurt!

We landed in Frankfurt close to 12pm local time. Our flight was a little late, but since our bags were checked through to Bangkok, we were able to immediately contact our shuttle driver for our hotel. Since we (originally) had a 13 hour layover, we had decided to book a hotel room so we could shower and take a nap. This might have been the best idea yet! The Leonardo was perfect for our needs. The decor reflected the name well.

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After a short stay at the Leonardo, we journeyed back to the airport. Security was a breeze. Since we didn’t really eat while outside the airport, I was on a mission to find dinner! After looking at a few places, including McDonalds, we found a place called The Bar that had amazing sandwiches and salads. The fruit bowl I purchased for the flight may have been one of the best that I’ve ever tried! This place will be a stop on our way back through Frankfurt for sure! For our beverages, I choose a refreshing orange juice – especially needed with the many hours of flying we still had. Nick decided on a coke and quickly realized the European coke was much better than the US version.

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Once we finished our dinner, we boarded our final and longest flight of the trip at just under 12 hours. We arrived safely and had no issues getting through passport immigration, picking up our bags, and leaving the airport. Finally we are in Bangkok!