We are about to leave Thailand and our next stop will be Sydney in Australia. The last three weeks here in Thailand have been a huge experience for all of us. We learnt a lot about and with each other. Although we only saw a small part of this fascinating country, we leave Thailand with a very good impression. I think, this has been a very good place to start our Family World Trip. After we saw the beaches in the south of Thailand, we went to the Khao Sok National Park. This is in the middle of the jungle. Afterward, we spent some relaxing beach days in Phuket before heading back the Bangkok. In Bangkok we were very lucky to experience the Chinese New Year celebrations in Chinatown.
Scary Jungle Noises at Midnight
It is a short, but curvy ride from Khao Lak to Khao Sok. We enjoyed our amazing beach resort in Khao Lak until the last minute and went to Khao Sok right after lunch. Hence, all of us, but the driver, fell asleep on the way. In Khao Sok we stayed in a simple, but very pretty jungle resort. This village is far from any real civilization and very quiet. It was absolutely nature pure. We slept in our own small wooden bungalow. The thing about pure nature is though, that one can hear many animals at night. Sometimes they make frightening noises. One night Carolina got really scared by some undefined, but loud noise that came from below (or inside?) the bungalow. I had left the bungalow at that time, but when I came back Carolina created a scary atmosphere, which not even Alfred Hitchcock could have beaten.
Far from any real Civilization
The night before we were thinking about the trips we wanted to do in Khao Sok. I was chatting with the owners of the resort to get some advice, when I heard Leandro screaming out loudly. He ran towards us and his tongue was bleeding like hell. He must have fallen and as parents we were extremely shocked and scared by the vast amount of blood he was spitting. We were able to control the bleeding and wanted to see a doctor. At that point, we learnt that we were about one hour away from the next doctor. We had some medicine with us, but not for this particular situation. Fortunately, the local pharmacist was very competent and helpful. She gave us good advice and medicine. Leandro’s tongue is much better now and the cut is hardly visible anymore.
Trekking in the Khao Sok National Park
After coming back from the pharmacy, we decided to only to some very light trekking in the Khao Sok National Park the next day. We were still unsure how Leandro’s tongue would heal overnight. Therefore, we chose a trek we knew we could return from at any point. The next day everything looked much better and we went on our trek easily. We saw many different types of snakes, spiders, lizards, monkeys and insects. Our guide was not really useful, but we had fun. In the middle of the trek we went for a swim in a river. It was cold, but very relaxing. Diego slept almost the entire way back and Leandro was exhausted, too. Thus, lunchtime was in a restaurant just outside the national park. The waiter spoke no English at all and as our Thai is still very limited, not all of us got what we ordered.
Visiting an Elephant Sanctuary
The last day in the jungle we went to a nearby elephant sanctuary. It was a short ride on the back of a pick-up. Once again Diego loved the ride and did not want to leave. Only when he saw the elephants he forgot his anger about having to leave the pick-up. The two lovely elephant ladies were patient and used to tourists. The kids had fun feeding them. After they enjoyed a lot of sugar cane, we went mud bathing with them. This part everybody loved and everybody got dirty. However, that was no big deal, because we went down to the river with the elephants and cleaned them and us. After this bath it was time for a second round of sugar cane. Elephants eat a lot! It looked like the elephants we treated well – much better than I experienced in India years ago.
Relaxing Beach Days in Phuket
From Khao Sok we went to Phuket where we stayed at Bang Tao Beach and had three very relaxing beach days. We were tired of doing trips every day and therefore spent the days purely at the beach. Bang Tao is a calm beach. Although there are several Jet-Ski and long-tail boats the noise is not incommoding. In the evenings we enjoyed nice dinners and fire shows directly at the beach. Some of the beach bars set up small playgrounds in the sand, which was perfect for us. The less adventurous beach days in Phuket were exactly the right thing to do between the exciting jungle in Khao Sok and the big city in Bangkok. And even though we did not do anything at all, the days went by very quickly.
Chinese New Year in Bangkok
Beginning of this week we returned to Bangkok. Upon arrival in Bangkok we had some issues with our luggage, but that was sorted out quickly. Thai Airways was very friendly and helpful. We were actually eager to get to our hotel, because we wanted to go to Chinatown as soon as possible. It was Chinese New Year that day, which meant there were large celebrations across Chinatown. Something we definitely did not want to miss! Unfortunately, we did miss the first dragon parade in the early afternoon. However, we still saw some smaller dragons and several other people in stunning costumes. The main road was decorated beautifully with many stalls on both sides selling delicious food. The experience was definitely unique. It was very crowded and hot in the streets. Therefore, we did not stay until late to watch the next dragon parade.
Walking on Glass looking down 300 Meters
The next morning we went again to the large playground in the center of Lumphini Park. We knew this place from our first stop in Bangkok. It is a good place for the kids to release their energy. We try to find a good balance between entertainment for the kids and for us. In the afternoon we went to the Mahanakhon Skywalk, which – with more than 300 meters – is the highest observatory in Thailand. Skywalk means one is walking on glass and can look down all 300 meters. For me that meant facing my height issues. Although I knew it was absolutely safe, it was still frightening to look down. Carolina on the other hand enjoyed the Skywalk immensely! She walked up and down like a model on a catwalk. The kids were scared in the beginning, but soon walked on the glass with their courageous mum.
Some Personal Impressions
One thing I noticed in Bangkok is the vast amount of moto taxis. I think, that is a great idea! First, bikes and scooters are much faster in a city. Second, mostly there is only one person in a taxi. Thus, moto taxis are much more environment friendly. This is very important in a polluted city like Bangkok. It was challenging for the kids to get used to other food. However, we managed that and the different diapers, too. Wherever we went in Thailand, we only found diaper-pants. In the meantime Diego got used to it. We found local medicine for everything we needed. It was easy to get around in Thailand with kids. The app ‘Grab’ definitely saved us a bunch of money and time. The metro and skytrain system in Bangkok is pleasant, but gets extremely crowded during rush hour. Next? Australia!