Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Three Days in Thailand! - DAY 1

With only a 90 day stay limit on our visas Darryl I had to leave China by June 10th. This time we chose to visit Thailand. Wow!! There was a lot to see and do in only 3 days, but we tried our best to see as much as possible! 

Day 1
We arrived at Bangkok airport where we had a 4 hour wait for our flight to Krabi Town on the southern Peninsula.

( The Guardian and the Garden at Suvarnmbhumi Airport in Bangkok.)

Arriving at 6:45 in the evening,  it was an hour later when we checked into our wonderful boutique hotel, The Krabi River View. What's the first thing to do? Find the night market and get something delicious to eat. 

Seafood fried rice!! Yummy! (yes, that's a baby squid on there).

Monday morning at 5:30: While Darryl explored the town I sat on the balcony and enjoyed the sunrise over the river....

..and watched the town wake up and the children and adults get to where they needed to be by riding one of the city Pick-up busses. When the seats are full people stand on the back and just hold on.
Before I left my room that morning I knelt down and prayed that the Lord would allow me to see and learn about the real people of Thailand, not just the touristy things. I wanted to really understand and appreciate these beautiful people and their lives. All I can say is that the Lord does hear and answer prayers. We had a glorious day!
We found a beautiful little temple in town.

And another one next door.

We changed clothes and took a bus to Wat Tham Suea or Tiger Cave Temple. They were repairing and repainting this part of the temple, but it was still beautiful.

This temple is several miles out of town and located in the jungle on a mountain. The Buddhist Monks and Nuns first established this Wat in 1975.

There was a tiger that lived in the cave on this mountain and for years he was heard and sometimes seen by the villagers. When the Monks arrived the tiger moved further into the jungle and was never seen or heard from again.

Darryl loved the topiaries. Especially these little elephants.

Monkeys were everywhere. You had to keep a tight hold on your packages to keep the little guys from stealing them.

We were told the view from the top of the mountain was breathtaking and worth climbing the 1232 stairs. They fool you by showing you these 4" tall, very wide steps at the beginning... and they lied about the # of stairs. I will show you why in a minute.

We started out and it was pretty easy...

The monkeys were pretty entertaining... until they grab your stuff or your pant leg and won't let go. 

The stairs started getting a little taller and more narrow after 75 steps or so.

But the views were wonderful.

From about 1/2 way up.

1260 steps later we finally made it to the top! WOW!! I never would have made it if I hadn't been doing T25 five days a week for the last month.

It was about 90 degrees when we started this climb and very humid. I am so glad I changed into cooler clothes, even if I do look like a frump. ;-) 

A beautiful buddha who overlooks the countryside was waiting at the top

Yes, the climb was definitely worth it. 

This photo is out of order. It's actually from about 400 steps up.

Although Darryl and I carried water with us and were able to refill our bottle here. I am glad we did because so many people didn't bring water and had to drink from the attached cups. Ummmm .... germs anyone?

Most of the steps were like these, 10 - 12 inches high and fairly narrow. It wasn't raining, that's my parasol keeping the blistering hot sun off.

When you reach the bells you know you are only a couple of hundred steps from the bottome and to look out for monkeys.

When it was just 1232 steps, this was a section of stairs you had to climb. They have since added different steps and these are closed off. Glad I didn't have to climb these.

The mommas and baby monkeys were out when we came down.

Inside the actual "Tiger Cave" Temple. It was amazing.

This was a very large cavern that they think was the tigers lair before 1975.

Up the stairs to the small cavern and the "Jade" Buddha.

"Jade" is in reference to the color as it is a beautiful green buddha, but not really made of jade.

We went back to town and had some delicious Mexican food for lunch, (yes, you read that right) and then hired a long tail boat to take us on a 2 hour tour up the Krabi River.

Our vacation to Thailand came at the beginning of the "Low Season". The height of tourist season is February - May, so we were blessed with no crowds or long lines in anything we wanted to do.

Beautiful limestone "mountains" rise up out of the river and much of the area is surrounded by Mangrove Forests.

This is our boat driver Yaz. He was happy to see us as we were his first and only fares of the day and it was 1:30 in the afternoon when we went for our ride.

Yaz stopped at this beautiful park where there are several caverns, a massive one called 
"Monkey Cave".

We walked through the largest cave and Darryl found a climbing rope. He assures me the view was great if you like the tops of trees. 

This huge cavern has quite a history as does many of the 100's of caves in the area. They have found pottery shards and beads and even a skeleton dating back 27,000 years.

During WWII the Japanese occupied Krabi and some of the soldiers lived in this cave.
Tourist used to have to climb a rope to get into the cave. I was happy to see that they now have stairs.

When we got back to the boat Yaz asked Darryl if he would like to drive. Darryl took us down the river for about 30 minutes.

As we were touring around the island of Kho Klong we saw several houses in and out of the water. Most on floats or stilts.

We stopped at this beautiful floating restaurant for some refreshments..

And watched the oldest boy feed the fish they had in net traps around the restaurant.

As we were sitting there Yaz turned to us and asked "Would you like to go see my house". It was obviously a slow day for him. We walked across a rickety floating bridge and onto the island. After 1/4 mile we came upon an elementary school that was just getting out. The beautiful children were all smiles and would giggle and say "Hello, how are you? Where are you from?" 

This area is about 60% Buddhist and 40% Muslim and a beautiful, peaceful place. The children all wear uniforms of white shirts and blue or Khaki shorts, & slacks for boys and knee length blue skirts for girls. The young Muslim girls looked like young "Sister Nuns" to me with their matching white Hijabs on the girls who looked to be about 11 or 12 years old. All the children were beautiful and friendly and it brought my heart joy to see them!
There are around 3,000 people in Yaz's village. We are walking here on one of the main thoroughfares. We didn't see any cars but many bicycles and motorcycles.

Jungle is everywhere, surrounding the homes. Sometimes it's hard to see houses just yards away for all of the foliage. This is Yaz's home and it was lovely.

When we arrived Yaz instructed his teenage son to cut down a couple of coconuts. He then cut them and served us fresh coconut juice. So refreshing!

We finished our coconut drink and Yaz asked us, "Would you like to see my rice field?" Of course. We walked about a 1/4 to 1/2 mile past his house to the rice paddies that are waiting for the rain so they can be plowed and planted.

As we headed back to the boat we met Yaz's friend who he says is a "Good Boss". Here he is making a birdcage. He sells them and they are beautiful.

I had to take a picture of this little cutie. She reminded me of my Parker.

This is an outdoor learning center near the school and a Muslim Center.

The bridge back to the floating restaurant.

Our 2 hour boat tour was about 3 1/2 hours and one of the most interesting and heartwarming things I have ever done. God did answer my prayers that day as I saw and met so many wonderful Thai people doing what they do everyday and welcoming us to be part of it.

We finished up the day with a delicious dinner at our hotel restaurant. The food at this little hotel is AMAZING! Darryl had a delicious Pad Thai and I had a Coconut Curry Seafood. Yes, I watched them cut open the coconut and serve it all to me fresh! It was a wonderful ending to a blessed day!

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