We are finally in Thailand. I was hoping to get everything in on this post. We packed each day full of adventures. I was going to try to finish it up today.... but I think its going to need one more blog post to finish it up. So look for #5 later this week.
I left off with us snorkeling in the Phi Phi Islands. The next day we took more speed boats to Phang Nga Bay. It was overcast, but still as hot as can be. We had a delicious breakfast buffet as we did every morning- and the girls had their Thai tea, which was their favorite morning beverage. After breakfast we left the hotel lobby and drove to the docks to pick up our speed boat.
Thai tea each morning.
One of the gorgeous hotel lobbies.
Speeding, full throttle (for an hour straight) across the Indian Ocean.
We saw the famous James Bond Island where the movie Gold Finger was filmed. The island just pops straight up out of the water. The sun wasn't shining so the pictures are as vibrant as they could have been.
We then had a guide on our canoe that rowed us through the caves and coves on Phang Nga Bay. It was so cool and we didn't even have to do any paddling.
We also saw the Viking Caves, they got the name from the prehistoric drawings inside the cave. Tourists are no longer able to tour the inside, as this cave is now privately owned by a business. These caves are where a species of birds live, called swifts. The birds make their nests out of their own saliva. The nests are harvested and sold to make birds nest soup, a Chinese delicacy. The edible birds nests are among the most expensive animal product consumed by man. Workers risk their lives climbing on the rickety wooden ladders to gather the nests. Our tour guide told us that the soup costs about $1,000.00 a kilogram, which is about equal to a quart. We saw it in a shop and it looks just like gross boogers and flem. YUCK.
Stampin' Up had a barbeque planned for us after the canoe trip and the girls found a fun swing to play on.
We also walked through the floating Muslim villiage that is built directly on the water. It is accessible only by boat. The villiage has held up through Thailands monsoons for over 200 years. It is built entirely on stilts in the water and approximately 1600 people live here. They have a school and even a soccer field.
This was one of the school rooms. When the childern reach high school age they are taken by boat to a school in Malaysia.
The next day we toured Phuket. The Big Budda was our first stop. The Thai people built this giant Budda on the highest point in Phuket. The reason they built it, is to protect their island. Phuket was in the path of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history.
The Big Budda is also a temple. Women must cover their knees and shoulders when entering any temples.
Here's an interesting fact. Steve Jobs actually considered becoming a Buddist monk. Hmmm... imagine what that would have meant for the company we all know as Apple...
We then toured a rubber tree farm, saw monkeys, learned how they harvest rice and rode on a water buffalo cart!
We were told it takes a special skill to separate the rice from the hull as this woman is doing.
Water Buffalo are found in Asia and South America. I can't say we've ever ridden a water buffalo cart ever before. It was quite the experience. These animals are so strong! They are used for pulling and plowing rice fields.
We stopped to see a baby elephant and we all got to feed him and his mama. They were so happy, that they gave us all kisses to thank us.
Its not unusual to see elephant crossing signs along the roads in Thailand. Its kind of like seeing deer crossing signs here in Pennsylvania. We actually did see 7 elephants crossing the road on our way into Patong Beach. What a sight to see!
We visited two more temples. The main temple of Wat Chalong and the Grand Pagoda of Wat Chalong, which is considered the most important temple in Phuket. It is said to hold an actual bone splinter of the Budda. In addition to the dress code for women, shoes are never to be worn in a temple.
A peek inside at all the budda statues and altar.
We were permitted to take photos inside as well. I found it fascinating to learn about the Thai culture and religion. These people were presenting offerings to the monks.
Later that evening, we had an amazing Thai dinner back at the resort and I had a little get together with the Stampin' Up Advisory Board Alumni girls.
My amazing Stampin' Up Advisory Board sisters... can you find me in the crowd?
I'll leave you with a sneak peek from the Holiday Catalog as promised and a few more swap boards from the trip.
Keep on Stampin' and Come back again soon!