Thanksgiving in Thailand

Over this Thanksgiving Break, my family and I went to Thailand. We went with other family members to visit another cousin who has been living outside of Bangkok for the last year working as a teacher. 

The flight there took forever, it was a whole day of travel. First leaving Phoenix, with a layover in San Francisco, another layover in Hong Kong, and finally stopping in Bangkok, Thailand. The layovers in the airports were long and boring, but a positive was the Starbucks. Starbucks has specialty and differing drinks depending on country, so in China, my sister and I decided we would try a few. I ordered the Snowman Dark Chocolate Frappuccino, which tasted like frozen hot chocolate and had a little snowman on the top of the whipped cream.

While in Bangkok we visited malls, day markets, and night markets; basically, anywhere you can buy something, we went. The markets were incredibly crowded and filled with merchants and beautiful and unique souvenirs.  I bought decorated bags, little elephants, silk scarves, lots of food, and other Thailand mementos.

One day, we rented a van and drove three hours one way to the Si Sawat Waterfalls. They were incredible. My family and I hiked multiple trails that led to different waterfalls, stopping to swim and take pictures along the way. One shocking thing was in the water there were little fish that would come up and eat the dead skin off our feet (like in Victorious). I didn’t even know that was a real thing and screamed when the fish first bit.

After our time in Bangkok we traveled to Railay Beach. We swam in the clear blue ocean water, swam in the pool at our resort, did more shopping, and tried lots of local food.

We also visited an elephant sanctuary, researching before to make sure the elephants are not harmed. We were able to feed and bathe 4 elephants. I had never seen an elephant up close like that before; it was my favorite part of the trip.

After the elephant sanctuary, we visited a Buddhist temple. Before visiting the temple we had to make sure our knees and shoulders were covered out of respect. The architecture was gorgeous; the temples were big and beautifully decorated. Our local tour guide even asked the monks if they would bless our family. They agreed, and we kneeled in front of the monks while they prayed over us and then tied a red string bracelet around our wrists (the nuns had to come over and tie all the girl’s bracelets on since the monks are not allowed to touch women). The red string bracelets symbolizes good luck from evil, and we are supposed to keep the bracelet on until it falls off naturally (It is still on as of now).

On our last day we went on a pirate ship cruise where we snorkeled, swam in the ocean, went to a private beach, and ended the night by snorkeling and seeing luminescent plankton. 

I will cherish the wonderful memories with my family I gained from this trip for the rest of my life. Thailand was very different from America, and we did experience some culture shock while on the trip. For instance, having to bow when greeting others, thinking more about the clothes I was wearing, and eating foods we were not familiar with. Overall, it was an incredible experience I would never take back and I will cherish what I learned about another culture.