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!!

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Thailand: Days 5 – 9

We last left off with our awesome elephant adventure on Koh Chang, just off the coast of Cambodia and Thailand. Here’s images from the remainder of our trip…sorry this is a complete photo bomb [or maybe not], but words cannot describe this experience. Again, completely reliving this experience…missing seeing these views daily. 2012-12-23 09.00.02
Stake your claim early for these views!
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And just in case you missed it, the world did NOT end:) however, we were in the place I’d want to be if it did – paradise!2012-12-20 16.44.062012-12-20 16.44.122012-12-20 16.48.562012-12-20 16.47.532012-12-20 16.50.07
Get your fitness on!
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The sun is so intense here, that the foliage can be 2 shades of green on the same plant. 2012-12-20 18.06.442012-12-20 17.35.05
Sunset cocktails…yes, please!2012-12-23 14.06.30
Bangbao – on the south end of the island.2012-12-23 13.55.26 2012-12-23 13.49.43 2012-12-23 14.16.06 2012-12-20 17.50.412012-12-23 17.41.49
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Since we departed Koh Chang on December 25, I think this picture of Nick and myself is appropriate. So, who is ready to visit Koh Chang?

Thailand: Elephant Time

After a brief hiatus for The Lion King, I return to recapping our Thailand trip. It’s so long overdue [yes, months – another #bloggerfail], but I feel like I am reliving the entire experience. 
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Newsflash: I rode an elephant while on Koh Chang. It was the best experience ever, there’s no doubt about it. It was so amazing to ride on top of this powerful animal who was completely calm.

The next morning after we arrived in Koh Chang, we scheduled our trip with Chang Chutiman Tours located on the island. 2012-12-21 10.35.02
They picked us up at our hotel and off we went! [This was also my first experience in a song-taew – aka a truck-taxi].

When we arrived, we had some time to wait so we explored the outpost area and viewed the elephants from afar.

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And before we knew it, it was our turn to climb the stairs and step onto the back of Poppy – her real name is actually Wasna Pop, but her trainer called her Poppy.
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We ventured out into the fields away from the camp.

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The view once we emerged from the forest.
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Most people take pictures of their feet in sand; I take pictures on an elephant!
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Our guide stood up on Poppy and climbed the tree to get him snacks for later. Too cool!
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And now, I’m really riding an elephant – just like the trainer!!

Once we returned to the outpost, we took advantage of the 20 baht bananas and treated Poppy quite well for her hard work!
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Thanks Poppy and Chang Chutiman Tours for an unforgettable experience!

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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We had the coconut.2012-12-19 12.55.06 

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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