Hamish came to Thailand!!

Apologies everyone for the long hiatus from blogging. I hope this post full of pics and travel thoughts will somehow make up for it.

As the title *might* give away, this post is a recap of Hamish’s trip to Thailand :). I cannot even begin to express how much I have loved having Hamish here. Not only did he bring wonderful gifts from home (Girl Scout cookies from Cathy, cute wardrobe relief from Becky, loving notes from my mom and Stephanie), but obviously I was just elated to spend time with someone who I have missed so, so much on this trip.

We started our trip in Bangkok, in the backpacker’s haven, Khao San. Like really (!), a backpacker’s haven. We had cheap, tasty food – about $1 for great padt thai or curries. On our second night, our dinner also came with entertainment: some of the best slight of hand card tricks we’ve seen! Amber and Ben (with us for the first few days in Bangkok) got to be stars in the card trick action. Some of his best ones included pulling a beer bottle out of his shoe, and a card with Amber’s name on it out of his mouth. Here’s a snapshot of our waiter/magician wrapping up another successful trick.

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It was fun to be in the Khao San area, which gave us easy access to the big tourist attractions in Bangkok, such as Wat Pho, the Grand Palace, and Wat Araw.

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Finishing touring off with a Chang.

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Our few days in Bangkok were nice, but Hamish and I were realllyyy excited to head for the Andaman coast, home to Thailand’s iconic beaches and beautiful rock faces. We settled on staying in Krabi, using Ao Nang beach as a launching point for day trips out to Koh Phi Phi (pronounced pee pee!) and the 4 islands.

There was a lot of snorkeling, getting sun burnt, exploring caves, trying to wander off the beaten track. But frankly, most paths are beaten now on the routes we were on.

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I think this is why we enjoyed our next trip so much. We ferried a couple hours South to an island called Koh Lanta – and found exactly what we were looking for our whole trip. Long stretches of white sand beaches, quiet, touristy enough that it was easy to navigate around and there were wonderful cafes built for wandering travelers like us, but quiet enough that we had space, sand, sunset and solitude whenever we wanted it.

Hamish really started our Koh Lanta trip off right by arranging a bouquet of flowers to greet us at our hotel, the Lanta Mermaid Boutique Hotel.

20120326-012429.jpg I HIGHLLYYYYY recommend it to anyone considering a trip to Koh Lanta! It’s not on the beach, like many of the other resorts, but the customer service is the best I’ve had on this whole trip…maybe my whole life ever haha. The owner and manager of the hotel, Mr. Chai and Ms. Pao, are just the cutest. :).

We had a relaxing evening in Koh Lanta, enjoying the sunset and getting massages on the beach.

For our last day on the islands, we rented a scooter (affectionately named Click-y) and made our way around the coasts. The trip around the island is one of the better acclaimed rides in Southeast Asia, and for good cause! We loved driving past stretches of the beautiful coastlines, stopping in whenever we so pleased for a coconut smoothie, Thai iced coffee or to just walk a beautiful beach.

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We also took a Thai cooking class, where we made green curry, fried rice, salads and other goodies. Here’s Hamish working on the green curry paste:

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Decorating my foodings:

Hamish’s

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Hamish’s fried rice:

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It was tough to say goodbye, but it was time to get Hamish back to Bangkok for his flight home :(. Luckily, we had a RIDONKULOUSLY awesome hotel to ease the transition. The Shanghai Mansion Boutique Hotel is a blast from the Chinese past. Our room was themed to the tee, and what a freakin awesome deal. For just $100/night, we had this pad…

(Yes, that is a live mandolinist playing outside our bedroom!)

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The living area. Next to the biggest bed I’ve ever slept on, and a stand alone old-school style tub. Awesome!

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This morning, we headed to Bangkok’s famed weekend Market in Chatuchak Park for some last minute gift shopping. I must admit it was a stressful way to end Hamish’s stay, but gifts are a must…so, yeap!

Then we grabbed lunch (a HUGE noodle dish for $1 in Chinatown!) and headed to the airport.

Yet again, I was reminded that traveling is great, but leaving your loved ones 100% sucks – NO getting around it. I’m just lucky that I’ll be back in a few days, so it’s not another long goodbye to Hamish.

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