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Historic Ruins in Ayutthaya

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Sadly, this is the final post in a series of 5 blog posts dedicated to Thailand. I still have China coming up!

We continued driving to Ayutthaya, a home of a lot of Thailand (formerly Siam) history. You can see the old city ruins, from one of the wars with Burma (there were many). Also there is a gorgeous spot that resembled Europe which you know means I was in absolute heaven!

Bang Pa-In Royal Palace

I felt right at home at Bang Pa-In Royal Palace, also known as Summer Palace – a mix of Asian and European architecture. This location is a palace complex formerly used by the Thai kings.

The palace had a very strict dress code for the entire grounds – not just the temple, and was checked upon entering. Thank goodness I wore a slip, they checked the sheerness of the dress and tied my scarf around my shoulders. I would have worn jeans and a wool sweater to see the grounds of Summer Palace – we rented a cart so we could cover the grounds quicker and get a breeze going.

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Ayutthaya Historical Park

These are the ruins of the old city of Ayutthaya. The city was captured by the Burmese in 1569 and the historical park has a few park sites within.

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This one is Wat Phra Sri Sanphet – lots of stairs to walk up to see a few golden Buddhas.

This one is Wat Phra Sri Sanphet – lots of stairs to walk up to see a few golden Buddhas. Worshippers kicked off their shoes, paid for gold leafing to put on the Buddha statues.

Worshippers kicked off their shoes, paid for gold leafing to put on the Buddha statues.

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We jumped back on the bus to drive a short distance down the street to Wat Mahathat.

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Check this out! The famous Buddha head in the tree roots! If you take a photo with it, you must kneel down as to stand over his head – there’s a sign that instructs you and there are also several workers on patrol to ensure you aren’t walking or sitting on the ruins and homoring the rules.

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And this post wraps up my Thailand trip!

Thailand Conclusion

From the beaches of Phi Phi to temples and the market, there’s so much to do in Thailand. Overall I would suggest it, but I would advise not going in April since it’s the hottest month of the year and avoid wet season (which is rainy and miserable I hear).

The Thai are so kind, so welcoming towards tourists. Tourism is their second highest income for Thailand. China is the number one country who visits, with America coming in second – so keep in mind that you will see a lot of Chinese tourists and Thailand is Asia – it may be crowded (but if you’re an avid traveler you’ll probably be flexible and know cultures differ and to be easy going). The exchange rate is out of this world great for a US traveler, and to get an idea of our trip cost, we booked it through Groupon with Affordable Asia tours for $1200 out of LAX, flights and 10 days, hotel and breakfast included. Our Phi Phi island trip was a detour, well worth the extra $500 extra in expense. And spending money, I usually bring $700-$1000 to spend on miscellaneous, meals, taxis, excursions and shopping. This trip I spent about $600 but that’s extreme since most meals were $1.25 to $15.

I would especially encourage Thailand for the younger, energetic crowd, and for those who love Thai food, especially! Just be up for an adventure and embrace the culture. Be willing to get uncomfortable, try the unique food, eat the street food – it’s fine! Drink the Thai tea (or in my case Thai coffee) and enjoy your experience! I hope I encouraged you to put Thailand on your adventure list!

Photographs taken with a Sony NEX-5R and Canon G7 X.

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Thailand Eats

Thailand-diana-elizabeth-travel-blogger-phoenix-537Dress (Painted face for Thailand New Year)

This is the fourth post in a series of 5 blog posts dedicated to Thailand.

A post dedicated just to Thai food. This was a gamble for me wondering if you’d be interested in the food I ate in Thailand, but I feel like a post is necessary. When I came back from Thailand, we ordered Thai food from one of the best Thai restaurants in Phoenix. So in other words, it was really hard for me to adjust to eating American food again, even for breakfast.

Let’s first talk about tipping in Thailand incase you go – this was suggested to us by our tour guide –

  • 10 baat per person if eating at a restaurant your staying
  • 20 baat at other restaurants, per person
  • Just FYI – 30-35 baat is $1.
  • Wait staff doesn’t bother or constantly check in on you like in the US – they refill your drinks but they let you be. If you need your check or anything else, wave them over. This is just a different culture. Personally, I prefer to be left alone and not constantly interrupted.

Let’s reminisce through my food photos! There are some I didn’t take photos of and I’m quite sad, like my duck curry that I ate on Phi Phi Island, I had it twice! There was a lot of this – Pad Thai for about $1.25-$2. I ate two shrimp Pad Thai and a chicken – you can’t go wrong with that dish!

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Sweets

Mango sticky rice is a popular dessert in Thailand – this one below is from Mango Garden on Phi Phi island, highly recommended to us and definitely a winner. I’m craving it now and would like to open one up in Phoenix, if only it was a franchise. This is homemade coconut ice cream with mango sauce, we added a mango on the side. The sticky rice is sweet and the blue color is just a natural coloring from a butterfly pea just to enhance the look.

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Below was our first experience with mango sticky rice at the mall – not bueno. The mango was good but the sticky rice was so salty it tasted like I was licking a pretzel. When we talked about it to our friends and they said that wasn’t how it was supposed to taste, Rachel and I decided to try it again.

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At the floating market we had coconut ice cream topped with peanuts and shaved coconut. It was incredibly sweet, but gosh I love the presentation! I believe this was only $1.25.

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The inside of this hairy fruit – a rambutan. I would compare the inside jelly substance to lychee.

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A banana split. Nothing out of the ordinary, but it was just too cute that I had to take a photo – it had homemade coconut ice cream in it, so that’s pretty darn special.

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Eat a lot

Sorry, didn’t know what else to title this. Haha.

These were meals that were huge – like this –

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Or buffet style – so I just grabbed one of everything, like so –

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I forgot what this was – curry something, but oh boy was it good – and in the woven basket was sticky rice! I wish I was a cow so I could have 4 stomachs!

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We came across an MK restaurant with a hot pot.

Um, I want a hot pot installed in our house. It was our last night together in Bangkok, so we ate like kings.

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Cheers to new friends!

And if you’re still hungry, there’s always room for my favorite…

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Since we’ve been back – we’ve eaten out to Thai food three times, and with leftovers that’s pretty much every other day of eating it! The two best places we’ve discovered in Phoenix is Thai House in Scottsdale and SaBai Modern Thai in Central Phoenix! We love them both so much and they have the mango sticky rice too!

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Historic Ruins in Ayutthaya
Jungle Rafting in River Kwai Thailand
3 tips to make the most of your vacation photos
Temples + Floating Market in Bangkok
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Jungle Rafting in River Kwai Thailand

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This is the third post in a series of 5 blog posts dedicated to Thailand.

After a buffet lunch by the river, Rachel and I walked the bridge on River Kwai. My hat flew off but thankfully Rachel immediately ran to get it while I just stood there filming feeling all sorry for myself, I gave up! So glad she saved the day because I needed a hat for the rest of our trip!

The Bridge over River Kwai

The bridge is apparently a big deal – a movie called The Bridge over the River Kwai is an infamous Death Railway, spanning over Kwai Yai  River, built by the prisoners of the World War II under the supervision of Japanese Imperialism Army (source).

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I didn’t think the tracks were actually in use until we were at the end about to turn back to our tour bus and heard a loud whistle and it was a train! People were on it and so kind waving and want to give hi-fives as we waited along the side.

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Jungle Rafting

We hopped on a jungle raft and some swam in the water – it wasn’t cold or warm, just a little cool. I love brave kids, many of them jumped in. I’m more of a jumping into the ocean but not in rivers or lakes, and I even grew up a mile from a lake in Northern California! I sat and admired braveness of children, I hope they continue to be adventurous and fearless!

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I did take photos but I wanted to be still and really take in the scenes. I sat there just admiring, listening, and feeling. Now I can go back to that moment, floating down the River Kwai hearing splashing, children giggling and seeing an incredible sunset.

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We checked into a hotel late that night and I woke up to such a pretty hotel lobby! We decided to explore a little bit early in the morning before breakfast.

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The mountain views by River Kwai are spectacular. Like out of a movie moving, photos don’t do it justice and it breaks my heart that I can’t just really show the beauty in these images. After our jungle raft, we rode on the back of a truck chasing the sunset back to the grounds and I was rubbernecking the entire time just dying to keep my eyes on the red hazy sun and the mountain views.

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This is my favorite, and most accurate shot of River Kwai that I took with my iPhone.

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Photographs taken with a Sony NEX-5R and Canon G7 X.

More like this
Historic Ruins in Ayutthaya
Thailand Eats
3 tips to make the most of your vacation photos
Temples + Floating Market in Bangkok