Nature, Sunsets, and a Whole Bunch of Pai

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Oh Pai, you beautiful laid back little town hidden away in the mountains of northern Thailand. Every time I visit you, my mind and body recharge while I drink fresh juices and eat delicious food. Rent a scooter for the day and enjoy the magnificent scenery, discover waterfalls and canyons, and breathe the fresh air. What else can you ask for?

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We spent our days in complete relaxationโ€”sleeping in, chilling in the hammock at our bungalow’s porch, watching sunsets, and exploring the night market. Life slows down in Pai and you are ‘forced’ to slow with it. No one is in a rush, there are no places to be, and no specific time to sit down at a restaurant and stay there for a few hours. Pai is both the destination and the journey and all you have to do is enjoy it.

Thailand_Pai_Viaje_Asia_2014-2015_IMG_2700The view from our porch

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Thailand_Pai_Viaje_Asia_2014-2015_IMG_2771An example of the region’s beautiful scenery

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Thailand_Pai_Viaje_Asia_2014-2015_2014-11-13_19.52.08-2Are you crazy? Maybe a little

Thailand_Pai_Viaje_Asia_2014-2015_2014-11-13_16.58.24WiFi passwords don’t have to be boring

After our time in Pai in was time to say goodbye to Thailand and to continue our adventures in Myanmar (Burma). Thailand was very good to us and we will definitively come back again!

Thailand_Chiang_Mai_Viaje_Asia_2014-2015_IMG_3079Special treatment? Yes please.

Thailand_Chiang_Mai_Viaje_Asia_2014-2015_IMG_3091This is what we call traveling in style

Thailand_Chiang_Mai_Viaje_Asia_2014-2015_IMG_3085Happy journey!

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Chiang Mai and the burning leg

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The beautiful city of Chiang Mai has always been one of my favorite and this time was no different. It was also the resting place that my body needed after what happened in Pak Chong. I woke up at 4:30 am the morning right after our jungle trek with my right leg on fire. What is going on?!? I was in excruciating pain no matter my position. I couldn’t seat down, walk, nor lay downโ€”I was in trouble.

Thailand_Chiang_Mai_Viaje_Asia_2014-2015_2014-10-28_16.39.58Tracy had to do some extra work!

We took a 4 hour bus to the city of Sukhothai in the early morning, my pain mildly numbed by 1600mg of ibuprofen, but once we got there it was pretty obvious that something serious had happened to my body and that I needed to go to the hospital. Fortunately, the owner of the hotel we were staying at (EZ House) was an extremely kind person and offered to drive us to the emergency room, he actually stayed waiting for us to be done for 3 hours! In a matter of minutes my back was being X-rayed and I was talking to a doctor. It so happens that my lower vertebrae (L5 and S1) were very close to each other and were likely pinching a nerve, hence the constant pain and burning sensation in my right leg. I was prescribed more ibuprofen to reduce the inflammation, some B-complex and physical therapy. Approximate time for full recovery: between 2 and 6 months.

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We stayed for a couple more days in Sukhothai waiting for the pain to subside a little bit and then took a bus to the city of Chiang Mai. We booked a more comfortable hotel than what we usually get (thanks to my parents!) and I started the recovery routine. Mr. Yut, our tuk-tuk driver from the picture above, would drive me to physical therapy one day and to acupuncture the next and then back to the hotel where I would lay in bursts of pain and boredom. Thankfully, Chiang Mai is a wonderful city to be stuck in! Tracy was able to keep herself busy by taking a Thai cooking class and a week long Yoga anatomy course. My body reacted well to the therapies and in around 10 days or so I was able to move, albeit clumsily, through the city. What a relief, especially because we were there during Loy Krathong Festival, the second most important festival in the region where thousands of small floating offerings are released in the river and are accompanied by as many if not more hot air balloons.

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Thailand_Chiang_Mai_Viaje_Asia_2014-2015_IMG_2292_COLLAGENo one was hurt by this balloon and at the end it flew great!

Thailand_Chiang_Mai_Viaje_Asia_2014-2015_IMG_2198The whole city was decorated with hundreds of lanterns

Once I was feeling better, we were able to move to the house of someone we knew (sort of) and that’s when we met Danielle. It was lovely to stay with her and at a real house after so many months of hotels. Oh, and to be able to cook our own food! Now it was time to enjoy the city, do some sightseeing and learn to cook Thai food!

Thailand_Chiang_Mai_Viaje_Asia_2014-2015_IMG_2508Finally on the move!

Thailand_Chiang_Mai_Viaje_Asia_2014-2015_IMG_2541Tracy and Danielle at a wine bar…

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Thailand_Chiang_Mai_Viaje_Asia_2014-2015_IMG_2649Cooking class

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Thailand_Chiang_Mai_Viaje_Asia_2014-2015_IMG_2612Markets and more markets

All and all we spend three weeks in Chiang Mai. I was feeling a lot better and with the help of a walking stick I was ready to conquer the world again. Next destination: the laid back town of Pai. Here we go!

Thailand_Chiang_Mai_Viaje_Asia_2014-2015_IMG_2466The famous Sunday night market

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Jungle Trekking in Pak Chong

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After the hustle of Bangkok, we decided it was time to reconnect a little bit nature and so we travel to Pak Chong, and more specifically, to Khao Yai National Park. The park is beautiful and home to a few wild elephants, apparently just one crocodile, and many many monkeys and deer. We went on a jungle trek for a day, met some wonderful people, and enjoyed trekking. We also went to a cave to visit the thousands of bats that inhabit it, and watch them leave at sunset to feed. This was a spectacular sight! Every single bat leaves the cave at the same time and you can see a “river” of bats against the fading sun.

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Thailand_Pak_Chong_Viaje_Asia_2014-2015_IMG_1938Jungle team! Urs, Gabriela, Justine, and the Monkeys. Notice the very stylish anti-leech socks that didn’t really worked that well…

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Thailand_Pak_Chong_Viaje_Asia_2014-2015_IMG_2085A very ‘traffic adapted’ mother carries her baby across the road

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Thailand_Pak_Chong_Viaje_Asia_2014-2015_IMG_1804Into the batcave

Thailand_Pak_Chong_Viaje_Asia_2014-2015_IMG_1870Thousands of bats leaving their cave to feed

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Into the city: Bangkok

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We arrived to Bangkok after a long bus ride from Siem Reap and settled in our hotel for the night. Luckily, we found a nice hotel outside the overly touristy area of Khaosan Road but close to everything else. Hungry and tired from traveling, we went out to find some street foodโ€”something that is extremely easy and rewarding to do in Thailand.

Thailand_Bangkok_Viaje_Asia_2014-2015_IMG_1359First of many tuk-tuk rides

Thailand_Bangkok_Viaje_Asia_2014-2015_IMG_1761Delicious braised pork food stall, give me more!

Bangkok is a very large city and has many things to offer, countless temples, shops, palaces, and restaurants can keep you busy for weeks! We started the temple marathon by visiting Wat Po, one of the largest and oldest temples in the city and house of the reclining Buddha. The statute is 43 m (140 ft) long and 15 m (15 ft) high and is entirely covered with gold leaf. Wat Po is also home to one of the oldest Thai massage schools and we, of course, couldn’t pass that opportunity.

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Thailand_Bangkok_Viaje_Asia_2014-2015_IMG_1585The feet of the statue are beautifullyย  covered with mother of pearl

Our trip continued with a visit to the Royal Palace and to Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn. Both of these places are a must see while in Bangkok, regardless of the intense heat and the hordes of tourists that visit them.

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Thailand_Bangkok_Viaje_Asia_2014-2015_IMG_1720Crossing the river to Wat Arun

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The rest of our days in the big city were occupied by visiting the flower market, getting our visas for Myanmar, and enjoying the amazing Thai cuisine. With all the street food that there is in this city, trying to taste as many things as you want can be a challenge!

Thailand_Bangkok_Viaje_Asia_2014-2015_2014-10-21_19.21.00Sharing our table with some very kind Thai and eating the one and only, Pad Thai

Thailand_Bangkok_Viaje_Asia_2014-2015_IMG_1735Orchids at the flower market

Thailand_Bangkok_Viaje_Asia_2014-2015_IMG_1452Thai life

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