Thailand, 2023

Our friends Nikhil and Rachel got married in Thailand at the end of December, and we were lucky to be able to travel and celebrate with them. Less lucky was our experience flying in from SFO, which included a 36 hour delay, many hours on the phone with awful customer service reps, and missing the first event of the wedding. Lesson learned - never fly China Airlines.

We got to explore less of Chiang Mai than we wanted to, but the trip as a whole was great. We also got to visit Phuket and Bangkok while in Thailand, and spent a few days in Taiwan on the way back. Somehow I ended up with zero photos of the bride and groom.

We wanted to make the most of the little time we had left when we arrived, so we headed over to Baan Kang Wat, an artisan crafts market.

The little food stalls looked delicious, but we had a big breakfast, so I only had coffee.

We walked from there to Wat Umong. Thailand is littered with ancient temples, so it was hard to pick, but we were already on the West side of the city and took advantage of it. The temple has been there since 1297.

We walked back through the town. A lot reminded me of Costa Rica.

It’s incredible. We’re all addicted.

Our hotel was right on the Ping river.

After the wedding events were over, we went to Phuket. Walking to the beach from our place was a bit tricky given the lack of sidewalks.

We did a great boat tour through the islands with the group.

All the longboats have one of these old exposed engines attached in the back. It’s an interesting approach.

And then there were the elephants. It’s odd that merely being a few feet away from these guys felt so special. We missed our originally scheduled tour, but were luckily able to find a different sanctuary that would take us.

Asking strangers for their photos is always fun, but especially so when they don’t expect it.

After spending New Years in Phuket, we flew to Bangkok. We hit the ground running with a temple/palace tour.

Spending time immersed in such a different culture, and the centrality of religion in city life there made we want to bump A History of Religious Ideas by Mircea Eliade way up in my reading queue. I’m hoping to read the first volume later this year.

Wat Pho, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is as impressive and disorienting as you’d expect with its 46 meter long statue.

We crossed the river three or four times on different boats that day.

We also took a tuk-tuk or three.

We got the idea to get tea service at the The Author’s Lounge from Somebody Feed Phil. Worth it.

Our cocktail bar experiences were hit or miss, even though we tried following the 50 Best Bars recommendations. There were a bunch more in our list we didn’t get to try. We showed up to Mahaniyom right as they were opening for the night. It was good.

The river at night, during our bike tour through the city. We biked with Co Van Kessel tours, which markets itself as showing you the “real Bangkok,” and it really felt like they delivered on their promise. We went through tiny alleys and night markets far from the touristy areas. Very much recommended.

The Palace at night is beautiful.

This family was facetiming on the bridge.

Everyone rides motorcycles. Instead of Uber or Lyft, the popular transportation app there is Grab which has like 10 different modalities. For example, you can get a driver to come pick you up in their scooter, and you sit behind them as they zip through the city. It’s a bit scary, but fun.

One of my favorite shots of the trip. This woman couldn’t believe I wanted to take her portrait.

Lots of people avoid the heat by setting up their kitchen where my Western brain expects a front yard. They were very welcoming of my intrusion.

Then it was time to continue. The Bangkok airport is giant. We were off to Taiwan next.

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