Author Archives: Louisa

Koh Lanta ⎮ Beach, Eat, Beach, Sleep, Beach!

To begin with, we all LOVED Koh Lanta!!! The beachy weekend vacation time went by WAY too fast for 5 days! For this time, we had two other guest backpackers staying with us for 10 days -my aunt, Sarah, and her friend, Amanda, from San Francisco – We all had a great time in Koh Lanta! Some day, I hope to come back!

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The now 6 of us arrived from Bangkok and were pumped to get some beach time in! The last time we had beach was in Indonesia back in late December/early January! After a quick AirAsia flight from Bangkok to Krabi, we hopped into the van to take us to the Chaw Ka Cher hotel and it took a lot longer than we had hoped. We had to take two ferries but when we were finally there, it was nice, really nice! I think we were all very impressed with the hotel – good food, service, pool, & rooms- and enjoyed it very much. We were all pretty tired that evening so we stayed at the hotel to eat. The food was great and we finished off the evening with a good game of hearts!

The next morning, we had a nice buffet breakfast at the hotel and went to the closest beach from where we were – Relax Bay. I think this beach was the best beach. It was very peaceful and calm with plenty of little food restaurants around. Sarah got a massage there and the rest of us read and swam and just plain chillaxed. We got back to the hotel later in the afternoon and chilled more by the pool. For dinner, we went out to a place called Thai Cat. Overall, it wasn’t bad but we’ve definitely had better!

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The Scouts!

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GoPro-ing fun!

 

The following morning came and went and we found ourselves in another beach, Klong Dao. The second beach had more people, shops, restaurants and was a lot bigger than the one before. We found a nice spot in the shade and did our beach chillaxing thing again! Sarah got another massage there but not as good as her first with the real strong old lady at the first beach. We had a good lunch where Sebastian ordered a pineapple fried rice. It’s probably the opposite of what you’re thinking though, with pieces of pineapple in the rice. It was more like a real pineapple cut in the inside with fried rice in it! It was delicious! After lunch, Amanda, Sebastian, and I rented two paddle boards and went on a little adventure. Brother and sister shared a board while Amanda got her own. We took several GoPro selfies and photos. Our adventure was a lot of fun! (just out and in to a little beach next to the big one) We relaxed a bit longer and then went back to the hotel. After chilling at the hotel, we got ready to go to our cooking class! (Sarah, Amanda, Mama, Sebastian, & me) The truck picked us up and took us to the Cooking School, Lanta Thai Cookery School. All the other students were women so Sebastian was the only boy and together we were the only kids! As a group, all the students had to choose 4 dishes to make and eat after. We all ended up deciding on the papaya salad as an appetizer, fried spring rolls, pad thai, and red curry. We all received a cookbook and certificate at the end of the class to try out the other recipes like mango with sticky rice! The food turned out great and it was so much fun to make. It was definitely worth it and we will certainly try them again when we get home to Florida!

The next day, we rented 3 scooters for the 6 of us. Sarah and Amanda rode together, Mom and Sebastian, and Dad and I. Our destination was Bamboo Bay beach. We swam all morning and had a great lunch at the Baan Phu Lae guesthouse. As we were leaving to go to Kantiang Bay beach to watch the sunset, two men on a scooter came by. We had all stopped to wait for each other to catch up when the man driving the scooter turned pushing the gas, and accidentally rammed straight into Sarah and Amanda’s scooter. Amanda did a kind of flip roll off the scooter and Sarah was leaning to the side about to fall over with all the weight of the scooter on her. Luckily, there was a small pole in between the two of them so it was pushing against the scooter and it did not fall but the impact broke the mirror of Sarah’s scooter. The two men from the other scooter rushed over to see if everyone was okay, and good thing everyone was okay! In the end, Dad and I rode back to the hotel with the guys and they had to pay for the broken rearview mirror and gave us some money for Amanda’s ripped skirt! Gladly, it was just a scare and the girls and Sebastian were waiting for us at Kantiang Bay sipping cocktails and waiting for the sunset over the Andaman Sea.

Our last beach day was spent in Kantiang Bay again in the morning and Relax Bay again in the afternoon. We all got massages at Relax Bay and they were REALLY nice! This time I got to drive the scooter to the different beaches and it was SUPER fun!! To wrap up our time in Koh Lanta, we went to an excellent 5 star restaurant, Yang Garden. This was a FANTASTIC farewell dinner and ALL of us enjoyed it very much! For dessert, we had a Thai Creme Brulee and a Chocolate Truffle. Yum!

This wonderful beach relaxing time got us all prepared for Laos! Farewell, Koh Lanta! We will return…;)

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The Girls

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Back 2 Bangkok! ⎮ Louisa, the Negotiator

After a few weeks in Myanmar/Burma, I think we were all ready to go back to urban and westernization for a little while!

All this trip, Mommy and Dad (mostly Mommy) had been raving about the awesome markets in Thailand. We finally arrived at the Chatuchak market and it already reminded me of Disney World. The mad rush of people that never ends…oh well. I figured if there were so many people, this must be some pretty good stuff, like Disney World. We started walking around and there were SO MANY shop stalls! From just clothes to juices, every step you took there was a stall. Literally. Anyway, we were walking around and for some reason, I have no idea why, this navy blue Abercrombie T-shirt just caught my eye. On it said ‘Abercrombie Prep Athletics’ with a set of lacrosse sticks crossed over one another. I thought that shirt would be just perfect for me since I wanted to start lax again when we get back home. Of course, I walked over to it to check it out and it was EXTREMELY soft! It is the softest cotton I have ever felt! It almost feels like cashmere! I am not sure if you know, but it felt like the bamboo fabric. Except, even softer! So I asked the man how much it was and he said 300 baht – the Thai currency – !! That is equal to about $9.00 USD. That is VERY inexpensive for an Abercrombie product, but for Thai baht, nope! So this is where my negotiating career began! 🙂 I started negotiating for 200 baht and this man was rock solid! He was not going to move his price down 100 baht. So I kept raising the price until I didn’t want to raise it any longer and came to a conclusion for 280 baht. You will see later how much better I got at it!

Then, we did a LOT of walking and window shopping for a little bit. Next up, the shoe store! Man, let me tell you, this shoe store was a little room-full of chaos! It was maybe around the size of our living room packed with around 20 people I would say! When you would step back outside, your reaction would be, “AIR!!!”. Mommy went in first and I followed. She liked a pair and was going to buy it when Dad, my shopping advisor, started pointing out all these shoes to me! He would say, “Look, Louisa! These are nice…Ooooh! What about these! No? I like them…” Most of the time though, I have to say, my Dad has some pretty good taste. I ended up buying a pair because of that. (Surprisingly, I would not have if it weren’t for him)  After that it went back to a lot of walking and window shopping. At the time, we were also trying to find an ‘Oscar’ Chelsea FC jersey for Sebastian, but we did not succeed. I am positive we will find one in London Sebastian! No need to fear for your awesome sister is here to find a cool jersey for you so you can be happy and not bother her when she says STOP fifty five times in a row! 😉 We were also searching for a silver chain for myself, (for when I become a Kiwi @ camp Kiniya next year) but again, no luck. (We ended up finding one in another mall)

When we were still walking around, my shopping advisor, pointed out some pretty cute/cool shirts. Once again, I walked over to check it out and I saw a nice London blouse to go with my London shoes I just bought! I asked the woman there how much it was and she said “200 THB” thinking she would receive 200 THB. Not so fast! This is where I really get good at negotiating. I asked her if she could do 100 THB just to test her solidness. She obviously said no, so I started raising the price again. I came to 120 when I was saying, “Uggh! Please, 120?” She responded and said, “Okay, 120.” I then said, “115.” And the women gave it all up and started hugging me all over. She was saying, “Oh! You are so cute! I will give you 100! You are just too cute! Oh!” and basically repeating that over and over again. And then obviously my Mom and Dad started laughing and talking. So now, I am the negotiator in the family and am called over whenever someone wants to buy something.

Just to make myself more famous, we went home on the sky train, Dad turned on the TV, and I was on it! The titles ‘The youngest negotiator in all of history! – Louisa’ was all over! (Just kidding!! I fooled you!)

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Because we have no photos of the Chatuchak market, here are some extra bonus shots of Bangkok.

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The ferris wheel at Sky Asiatique

 

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Sebastian’s GINORMOUS watermelon juice at Eathai

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The Jim Thompson House

 

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The Flash! At the Banyan Tree skybar

 

Siem Reap, Cambodia ⎮ A Day at the Temples…

Okay, to start off this blog, Dad made me do it! Alright, maybe I was happy to get assigned to do an educational blog. This was a pretty awesome day to begin with, and I really enjoyed all the temple viewing. It is quite tiring though!

We visited multiple small temples and saved the largest, Angkor Wat, for last.(which Sebastian will be educating you on) But before I start my portion, here is a little fun fact that was in my World History class.

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Fun Fact!

Did you now it took over 600 years to build Angkor Wat? It is also the largest Hindu temple in the world! Pretty cool!

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Before telling you all about the temples we visited, let me provide you some knowledge on Hinduism. It is okay, you can trust me. I just learned about this in World History.

Hinduism is a religion originated in India. To be specific, with the Aryan peoples in the Indus Valley. It is the largest religion in India and considered 3rd largest in the world. Today, about 80% of Indians are Hindu. One of the projects I did for my World History class involved the caste system. This is one of the beliefs in Hinduism. It is a social structure used to organize society. The Hindus worship many gods. There is one main god, Brahma, but Hindus worship millions of other gods separately including Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Ganesh. You may have heard of these gods before. A major belief that the Hindus have is reincarnation. This is the belief that a person is reborn after their death. They also believe in karma which is if a person does good deeds, they will be awarded in the next life. Maybe by being in a higher class in the caste system. Karma also relates to a person doing bad deeds being punished in the next life. Possibly by being in a lower class in the caste system or even a slug!

Now that you have some background knowledge on Hinduism, let me tell you about the temples of Siem Reap.

The first we visited is a city named Angkor Thom. It actually has multiple temples in it such as the main one, Bayon temple. It took 40 years to construct the city and there is a moat surrounding it. There are five gates that allow you to enter or leave, each having both gods and a demons. To the left are the gods and the right has the demons. They are lined up and you will notice that they hold something; well, that something is a snake. Yep, that’s right! Not a real one of course. Anyways, the gods hold the tail and the demonds hold the head. And to think that we have not even entered the city yet! But even from the outside, you can see that there are 49 tall towers in the city. This was easy to remember because all I have to think about are the San Francisco 49ers! Each tower has four faces that were built for the king way back when (12th century) and the four faces on the tower represent mercy, compassion, sympathy, and impersonality. Inside each tower, there are statues of the Lingha and Juni. The Lingha is represented as the male and Juni is female. The Hindu people offer the Lingha and Juni water and flowers and Buddhist people burn incense instead. Today there is only one statue of Lingha and Juni still standing of the 49 towers.

・・・・・・・・・・The Legend of Phimenakas ・・・・・・・・・・

Another temple we visited inside Angkor Tham is Phimenakas. The cool thing about this one is the awesome myth behind it! Let me begin…

There was a king and he wanted to know what was on top of the temple.  No one had ever gone up before so no one ever knew. The reason being that if you did, according to legend, then you would die. But the king was tempted and he set off to climb the temple. At the top, he found a beautiful woman and he made a promise that he would climb up there every day to see her. Lucky him, right? Not! If he failed to do that, he would die. One night, the king climbed up hoping to kill the woman and free himself from this daily burden. But just as he slashed his sword into her, she turned into a snake. The woman was a serpent the whole time! The king was given a disease from the serpent’s bite and soon died. Sorry to let you down friends 🙁

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 Another cool place we visited in Angkor Thom was the elephant fields. It’s a very large grassy, dirt area where they used to have races, on elephants. Just imagine how fun that would be! You could have your own personal elephant and climb up and race on him any day! Now I don’t know how fast they’d go but my brother, Sebastian, says that they could run as fast as 25 mph! There is a huge viewing area with really cool sculptures of animals that the royalty and friends would sit on to watch the races. Now they use the field to set up VIP private parties for sunset dinners and no, we were not VIPs!

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Fun Fact!

Did you know that Hindu and Buddhist dancers use twisting hand motions to tell stories? 

I learned some moves – pinch your two fingers together, (index and thumb) and point them down towards the ground. Curl it back up so it is pointing to the ceiling or sky now. This means stem and growing. Get it? The plant is a stem to start with and your fingers pinched towards the ground. When you twist and curl them back up, it is growing just as a plant grows. Then, open up your two fingers still pointing up. This means flowering and fruit. I thought it was really cool how people can tell stories just by making hand motions!

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Phew! Just writing all this makes me sleepy…just think about how it really was! I hope you got something out of this and most of all enjoyed it! 🙂

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The 180º panorama view of Angkor Thom

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Family photo with Angkor Thom

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A relaxing lunch on the hammocks…

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