The first stop on my trip this winter was Thailand. I arrived in Bangkok with Marta and Agustin on the 12th of January, and we went around Bangkok, Phuket, and Phi Phi Island together. It’s a pretty radical shift to leave the cold of a Beijing winter behind and exchange it for the heat and humidity of Thailand in January. Can’t say that I’m too homesick for the pollution and weather back in China when I return.
Our time in Bangkok was probably the most exciting for me – we walked around the Grand Palace, and some of the temples. I love how colorful architecture is here – the tiles on the high steeped roofs, the mosaics, the golden statues. All of the color and ornamental design made it into a visual feast.
Speaking of feasts… I’m loving the food here a lot. Not sure if I’ve eaten my weight in Pad Thai and coconut milk yet, but I’m getting close. Marta is a fan of banana pancakes here, and I’ve developed a certain weakness for rolled ice-cream and Thai iced coffee.
Besides our time in Bangkok, the rest of our trip was spent in total relaxation at beaches in Phuket and Phi Phi Island. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen water so blue or beaches so white before. My apologies to the Jersey Shore, but the beaches back at home really can’t compare. Even though there are plenty of tourists here, it’s not hard to find a nice place for yourself to swim or lay in the sand. The water is pretty salty as well, which makes it so easy to float – I think it would be easy to fall asleep like that, surrounded by the hum of the water all around you and the soft rocking of the waves.
Really, I have to say that this feels pretty perfect. I started running again when I was in Phuket, which has been a welcome addition to my daily schedule. I haven’t been so physically active back in Beijing – the smog definitely saps my energy and will to exercise. So having a run in the morning for a few miles really helps to clear my head, get some energy out, and feel more in touch. I’ll have to figure out a routine back in Beijing, but for the purposes of this vacation I’ve set a (very attainable!) goal of running 50 miles over the 40 days that I’m on the road.
My last two days in Thailand have been spent on Phi Phi Island. It was raining a little bit yesterday morning, which made for a slow start to the day, but perfect weather for hiking around and finding the island view point (after a series of wrong turns)! Glad to have gotten a gorgeous panoramic view before I left. This afternoon, I’ll be taking the boat back to Phuket where we’ll spend another half day, and then our group will split up. Marta and I will be flying to Myanmar, taking an early morning flight from Phuket with a short layover in Bangkok. Agustin is going to be spending another day in Thailand, and then returning to Beijing (and later, going to South Korea and Japan).
In Myanmar, we will be seeing Mandalay, Bagan, and Yangon. I’m looking forward to exploring and updating you about that trip soon!