Global: Session 3 - Thailand Odyssey
Posted: Sat, Aug 9, 2014
Bye-Byes In Bangkok
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
With a relatively late wakeup in the ActionQuest world at 8 am after our long day yesterday, we ventured down to the hotels buffet and enjoyed our last breakfast of pancakes, fruit, coffee and hot chocolate.After our meal, we walked across the river tothe above ground train station to board the BTS to Mo Chit, the location of the famous Bangkok weekend market.We wandered around the market for a little over an hour and bought our final merchandise of the trip before boarding the train again to our other city adventure, the Jim Thompson house. Jim Thompson was an American who moved to Bangkok and combined six traditional Thaihouses to construct his own before mysteriously disappearing in Malaysia.We toured the wooden house, full of beautiful traditional pottery and artwork, then headed back to the hotel.We then began writing out end-of-trip cards for our fellow crew, taking a break for our final squeeze and a huge Vietnamese dinner at a nearby restaurant with Jim.Thinking back over the past few weeks is unbelievable.From the original Thai sailing trip being cancelled to arriving in Bangkok for the impromptu land adventure, UV night diving in Koh Tao toexploring Angkor Wat, the horrifying news transformed into something amazing that we will always remember. I never thought I would go to Thailand or even Cambodia, but now I would do anything to come back.It is hard to say goodbye to such amazing countries and people, but we are back off to the states in the next few hours.It has been a great trip; we have madeamazing friends and memories we will always cherish.We are already looking forward to reunionsback at home and of course next summer at AQ!
Posted: Fri, Aug 8, 2014
General Lack Of Change
Location: Bankgok, Thailand
We spent the better part of the day in Cambodia, exploring Angkor Wat (the main temple finally) at sunrise followed by the two oldest temples in the area.In the afternoon we took a cooking class at a local restaurant and learned how to make the Kmerfood we have been eating for the past few days, and then in the evening we traveled back to Bangkok and the scenes we know and love. I figured that now was a good time to cover the official items of the trip, as we return to the beginning. Official Food: Pad Thai. Pad Thai was our first real meal in Thailand, and we didn’t bother trying anything else. The only days that no pad Thai was eaten were spent in Cambodia, where any sort of quality Thai food is hard to come by. In Thailand, we frequented restaurants where pad Thai was good, and shunned those where it wasn’t, no matter the quality of the overall dishes. Official Drink: Mango Shakes. This one was necessarily a choice. Mangos are simply the best quality fruit available in Thailand. With every meal, at least somebody ordered a mango shake (usually along with pad Thai). Yet after trying a fantastic shake from a small stand on Koh Tao, all other mango shakes paled in comparison. Official Shirt: Rash Guard. One day, people didnt wear rashguards. Those people now do, happily stopping their shoulders from burning. Official Pants: Elephant Pants. This one is by far the most important to the trip. During our visit to the Royal Palace, we were confronted by our lack of appropriate clothing. To compensate, we were forced to rent baggy pants with elephants on them from a nearby man. Little did we know that these pants would become so essential to our trip. Eventually, we got to a point where more people were wearing elephant pants (called Cambodia pants in Cambodia, because they want to seem special) than regular pants. They were collected from markets around both countries for varying prices (from $6 to 2for $5) and colors (some without elephants on them at all). Now, we feel united in our incredibly obvious tourist clothing.
Posted: Thu, Aug 7, 2014
Bike Rides and The Cambodian Circus!
Location: Siem Reap, Cambodia
We woke to an early morning starting at seven, accompanied by eggs and toast and of course Ramen Noodles. We jumped in the taxi once more for an adventure. For our first stop of the day, the seemingly short and harmless bike ride. All seemed well as we started on our route, but after a brief five minutes, the team realized this wasn’t any ordinary bike ride but rather a cultural tour of the out skirts of the city amongst the rice paddies accompanied by our enthusiastic tour guide. we continued on our course passing fields of rice and being greeted by the local children who excitedly practiced their English with the team, screaming out Hiiiii and showing us they could count to ten. After we made it out to the biggest lake in Cambodia we took a hydration break. As we sat their we looked over to the west and saw what appeared to be the only mountain in sight. We had brief discussion with the crew and decided we we’re going to ride over then hike to the top of it so we could check out the temple. We finally arrived at the base of the mountain, or as some called it, mini Mt.Sage, an everlasting hike the kids do in the BVI. Some made it up the entire hill while others stopped half way and enjoyed the view. After soaking up the culture, the group started heading home. When arriving back at the hotel, the whole team hopped in the pool right away and cooled down for a bit, feeling extremely satisfied after completing the fourteen-mile bike ride! After a quick lunch, we piled in the tuk-tuks and started for town, where we had time to shop in the local markets bargaining for souvenirs and presents for people back home. Following shopping, we ate a quick dinner and jumped back in the tuk-tukswith a destination set straight for the Cambodian Circus, a group of local students performing a series of difficult acrobatic and tumbling tricks. Our crew loved it so much they wanted to go back tomorrow night for a second show. It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip!
Posted: Wed, Aug 6, 2014
The Cambodian Temples
Location: Angkor Wat, Cambodia
After waking up sleepily from our beds we hopped into the van and started our journey to the mysterious Cambodian temples. All along the way to the temples our guide, Saron, told us interesting facts about Cambodia and its history. Eventually we entered the Angkor Wat complex, which contained most of the temples in the area. The temples were absolutely beautiful. The first temple we visited was Ta Prom. We enjoyed getting to walk through and learn about the stories that had been inscribed into its walls. When we had finished soaking up as much knowledge as we could about the Cambodia culture we jumped back into the van and headed towards the next temple- Ta Nei.It was smaller a bit smaller but there were also fewer people and set in the middle of the forest so it seemed more mysterious. We had tons of fun taking crazy panoramas in the temple! When we were done being crazy we took a short lunch break at a local restaurant where we ate traditional Cambodian food. As soon as lunch was over we jumped back into the van and headed to the next temple called Bayon. Bayon was very interesting because of all the giant faces that were carved into the pillars scattered all around the temple grounds. After seeing the giant faces we drove to the Royal Palace where the old emperor would have ruled. In the center ofthe Royal Palace there was a giant temple that we got to climb up. It was beautiful from the top; we could see most of the palace from up there and some of the surrounding temples. Sadly that was the last place we visited today and we had to head back to our hotel. For dinner we drove into town on Tuk-Tuks, which are small carriages puled by motorcycles. After dinner we headed back to our hotel and ordered delicious banana pancakes with ice cream on top! After a day full of fun and learning we headed to bed because we had a long day of cycling ahead of us tomorrow.
Posted: Tue, Aug 5, 2014
A Cambodia Stamp For Our Passports
Location: Angkor Wat, Cambodia
After saying goodbye to the mango shakes and Pad Thai of Ko Toa we boarded a ferry bright and early to Ko Samui. On the ferry some slept indoors while others were awoken with a light spray from the sea out on the top deck. Upon reaching the dock we jumped into vans and headed to the beautiful airport. During our three-hour wait at the airport we hung out in the lovely Bangkok Airways lounge (thank you Jim!) and watched videos of crazy sea creatures such as the manta shrimp and the mimic octopus. Time flew by and we boarded the plane to Bangkok. After a quick flight we marched through the airport as the rain poured down outside. Groups of us went exploring and enjoyed the culinary delights ofthe airport. We headed back to our groups base from our airport excursion and some intense games of cards were started. Once again the layover flew by and soon enough we boarded a plane to Cambodia. The majority of the forty minutes in the air were spent doing immigration and customs cards. Once we landed in Cambodia, had our passports stamped at immigration, and gathered our bags, we all piled into a van. On our ride to the hotel we met our tour guide for Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples, Saron. We arrived at our hotel and we immediately noticed the intricate carvings upon the walls and the pool. We dropped our stuff off in the rooms and began to explore. We had a lovely meal and began to sample some local Cambodian cuisine namely Amok. Amok is a dish consisting of a coconut sauce and either fish or chicken. Those of us who ordered it enjoyed it very much. After waking up early in the morning and along day of travel we are all very tired; never-the-less we are all excited to discover the wonders of Cambodia and Angkor Wat tomorrow.