In January of 2008, a group of close friends and I set off to the crazy, busy, sensory overload countries of Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia for a three-week adventure.
We were lucky enough to have fun, wild and knowledgeable guides that enriched our travels by sharing with us the stories that are not found in guidebooks and taking us through the back entrances of monuments to bypass tourists. Our guide in Thailand, Tong, shared secret stories about the Kind and Queen of Thailand that we promised never to share because she would be arrested for sharing the Kings scandals.
Naughty, naughty king...... Your secret is safe with us Tong!
This is mainly a photographic archive of our trip.
We spent our first couple days running from the Royal Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew, the Emerald Buddha, Wat Pho, the Reclining Buddha, and the Golden Buddha. Holy BUDDHA!!!!!!!! They're everywhere.
Our second day was spent visiting the famous floating market and then walking on the Bridge over the River Kwai. The memorial for 9,000 allied soldiers who died building the bridge and railway. The bridge was built by Japanese prisoners to make a route from Thailand to Burma.
That's our guide Tong.
Later in the day, we made our way over to the Tiger Temple. Its actually a so-called "sanctuary" for wild animals but is famous to tourists because its one of a few places where you can walk next to and actually pet the tigers and have your picture taken with them. I had a huge problem with this!!! There are Thai monks here that care for and feed the tigers and they claim they are tame and friendly by keeping them sedated. Do they not know who Siegfried and Roy are!!!!! These are wild animals no matter how used to humans they are, things always go wrong at some point. I was so upset by the throngs of nasty tourists rubbing and petting and even trying to kiss them after being repeatedly asked not to. I had my camera at the ready to document an actual mauling. I actually hoped for it. Is that wrong?
Yes, of course it is.
This monks robe was found next to a dirty tiger cage. I was hoping the tiger had a nice lunch
We spent a beautiful afternoon roaming the ancient capital of the Thais, Ayutthaya, a UNESCO world heritage site.
In northern Vietnam is the countries first capital, Hoa Lu. Here we took a sampan (boat) ride through the rice paddies to the grottoes of the sacred Tam Coc Caves. These are enormous limestone karats that jut out from the green rice fields giving rise to this place's other name "Ha Long on Land".
Hue, Vietnams old capital is where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled from the Imperial Citadel for almost 150 and fifty years.
We were able to spend a wonderful day and restful night on a Junk (boat) cruising through the Descending Dragon Bay or Ha Long Bay. Located in the Quang Ninh province, Vietnam. The bay has thousands of gigantic limestone formations that jut out of the water putting your imagination into overdrive attempting to describe the shapes to your friends. Make believe creatures from your childhood dreams were usually the most popular.
The lady on the boat was the floating 7/11. She would follow our boat screaming "YOU BUY..... YOU BUY!!!!!" There was no silence until you bought something from her.
The beautiful city of Hoi An on the coast of the South China Sea was by far my favorite city. The overly vibrant, loud, crowded and fantastically colorful city keep me out away from my group for hours, just me and my camera.