That is what we were called in Thailand. In Myanmar, our guide asked us to be his parents in his next life. The Thai people always greet you with a smile and “Sà wàtdii ka” from a woman and “Sà wàtdii kap” from a man with their hands together in front of them with a bow. You return the same and the smile gets bigger. What a way to start the day. Oh yes, you must say thank you in Thai, kob-khun ka or kob-khun kap, again with a smile and a bow.
We began our journey to SE Asia from Tampa on January 5th. Our total enroute time was 30 hours, taking us to 3 major airports: Dulles; Tokyo; Bangkok. We arrived in Bangkok at 1am on January 7, stayed at a hotel near the airport, got a few hours of sleep and shower. We continued our journey 10 hours later with a short flight at 1pm on January 7 took us to Yangon, Myanmar. At 6PM on January 7, we joined up with our tour guide Peter and 5 other folks to begin a 9 day journey through Myanmar. One of member of our group is from Fort Collins, Colorado.
It was a fascinating and educational journey through Myanmar. One of the highlights was an early morning hot air balloon flight over Pagodas in Bagan. Check out more highlights in our blog at www.dnkjourney.com.
The tour ended on January 15, when we returned to Bangkok for an overnight. Our lovely hotel villa near the Bangkok airport was AT Residence Suvarnabhumi. The folks here no matter what time you arrive greet you with a Sà wàtdii and great big smile. We stayed in one of their villas during our 3 stays in Bangkok.
Our journey continued the next day, January 16, on a flight from Bangkok to Phuket. Once arriving in Phuket, we met our driver who took us on a 90 minute drive up the coast to Koh Lak. We stayed in Koh Lak for 5 days at the Fanari Resort. Remember the movie “The Impossible”, about the 2004 Tsunami at a Koh Lak Resort, well that was not too far from our resort. In fact, we visited the Tsunami museum close to our resort. Remains from the devastation can be seen through out the area. In the 5 days, we enjoyed relaxing around the pool, renting a motor bike for the day and laying on White Sands beach, about a 10 mile journey north. We took a soak in the bath warm water, soaked in the sun and take in some suds from Chang beer. Koh Lak is a small town where we enjoyed authentic Thai food at the many restaurants close to the resort.
At the end of the 5 days we took a 2 hour shared van ride to the west to Krabi. The van dropped us off in the middle of Krabi and directed us to another van that took us to our destination in Ao Nang, the Deevana Resort. When we arrived our room was not ready so they directed us to the bar for another Chang beer. David noticed a commercial pilot sitting nearby and asked where he was flying, he said, in a heavy Russian accent, to Russia where it is a minus 20 degrees. In Ao Nang at our arrival it was 90. In Ao Nang, for the next 5 days we visited islands, enjoyed the beach and pool time.
We returned to Bangkok the third and last time for 3 days. Our first afternoon was taken up doing some laundry, updating the blog and deciding what we should do the following day as it will be a full day in the city of Bangkok. We took a Uber to the Jim Thompson House and Museum in the heart of Bangkok. The Jim Thompson House is the home of James H.W. Thompson, a self-made American entrepreneur who was the founder of the world renowned Jim Thompson Thai Silk Company. Thompson’s achievements during his 25 year stay in the Kingdom of Thailand have won him much fame as the “Legendary American of Thailand”. From the museum, we took a 30 minute walk to Bangkok’s high end hotel district where enjoyed a lovely Italian lunch. After three weeks of Thai food, our taste buds were anxious for something different. We ended our great lunch and took a tuk tuk to Siam Niramit for a live theatre production. The show was about Siam which was home of diverse cultures, a cross-road where civilizations meet. This was an enchanted evening – first the charming village life of Thailand and then the amazing and impressive show with the most unusual special effects.
We returned to our hotel close to the airport via a Uber arriving at 11 pm. The next day we slept in and took a 1030 shuttle to the Bangkok airport for a flight to Hong Kong, leaving the sunny and hot temperatures behind. This was a first for us as we have never flown in the Airbus 380 (double decker) huge airplane and on Emirates Airlines. The airplane can hold up to 800 passengers. It was amazing it took only 30 minutes to board all the multi cultural passengers in the airplane and we were off for the 2 and ½ hour flight to another country in SE Asia.
We arrived at dark in the early evening and found our way to the airport express train to Hong Kong with temperature hugging around 50. The 30 minute train ride ended at a terminal where we got on the airport express bus which took us to our hotel. At checkin, we received an upgraded room on the 7th floor overlooking Hong Kong harbor. Every night there is a laser light show illuminating the sky over the harbor. Our hotel window overlooks the harbor and the Hong Kong Cultural Center. In front of the center are bronze statues dressed as tourists with yellow raincoats. The first morning, David looks out the window and tells Karen there is a group of tourists out in the rain with yellow raincoats. 30 minutes later he told Karen they have not moved and other tourists are taking pictures with them. It took another half hour for David to discover that they were bronze statues.
During our three days in 50 degree weather in Hong Kong we visited many of the tourist spots including a mall which had an entire floor dedicated to electronics. One other highlight was the Hong Kong Apple Store. David spent some Hong Kong dollars and bought Bose headphones from a Bose factory store.
The real highlight in Hong Kong was High Tea at the Peninsula Hotel. There is nothing more quintessentially iconic of Hong Kong than experiencing the acclaimed Peninsula Classic Afternoon Tea. Served daily in The Lobby, which has long been recognized as one of the most elegant meeting places in Hong Kong.
Our three days in Hong Kong ended on January 31, where we began a new chapter by embarking on a 28 day Holland America cruise through more of SE Asia. More to follow………