Since high school, my friend Aneesa--originally from Singapore-- has said she would get married in Thailand. We only had a week in Thailand inclusive of the wedding, so I focused our pre-wedding itinerary on relaxation. Good thing because I never would have had the stamina to survive the non-stop Indian wedding events otherwise!
We began in Ayutthaya, about one hour north of Bangkok. Ayutthaya was the capital of Siam until it was toppled by the Burmese in the 18th century. Located on an island at the confluence of three rivers, including the mighty Chao Praya which flows through Bangkok, Ayutthaya's historic wealth was derived from trade and acted as an important meeting point between the Chinese, Indians, and Europeans.
|Taking advantage of jet lag, we set out before sunrise on our bikes|
|We had the Ayutthaya historical park mostly to ourselves|
|Wat Mahathat: restored ruin of Buddhist monastery|
Food is one of my favorite aspects of travel! We tried the Ayutthaya specialties of river prawns as well as roti sai mai.
|River prawns--very expensive and not so flavorful.|
|Roti Sai Mai: crepes filled with angel hair cotton candy. I didn't love it.|
Next, we traveled five hours south to Sam Roi Yod National Park's Dolphin Bay, just south of Hua Hin on the Gulf of Thailand. A palm-fringed beach with fishing boats, Dolphin Bay is little more than a single road along the beach bordered by a handful of small independent hotels. It's the perfect jumping off point to visit surrounding national parks like Sam Roi Yod, Petchaburi, and small islands. The vibe reminded me of the quiet local beaches on the eastern side of Maui close to Hana. We stayed at the lovely Long Beach Inn, located a short walk from the beach.
|Kayaked to this money island where monkeys aren't at all scared of humans!|
|Dolphin Bay beach: I think these fish are drying for fish sauce.|
|Laem Sala Beach|
|Descending into the cave|
|Looking up from the cave|
|The temple deep in the cave|
This trip we befriended an Israeli classical conductor and his consultant wife who have been coming to the Long Beach Inn for over a decade to unwind. Not only did they introduce us to a simple beachfront Thai restaurant with the most incredible fried fish and delicate prawn dishes, but they also introduced us to their Thai friend Oote.
|The restaurant, not much to look at|
|Oote's massage parlor|
|KuiBuri: we saw a few elephants from a distance|
I noticed Khomopastr Fabrics when we were in the well-appointed truck bed (!!) of our our taxi driving into Hua Hin from Dolphin Bay.
|In the truck bed taxi for the 1 hour ride to Hua Hin!|
|In the Khomopastr store where I purchased several yards|
|Tablecloth. They only had it in 3.5 meters, so I cut it and pieced together for a 2 meter length.|
Southeast Asia is a real pain to get to, but I love it more and more with each trip to the region. Not sure when we will return on vacation, but Myanmar and Laos are high on the list. Wanderlust....