In the land of Buddha

What’s not to love about a country that is 95% Buddhist?  The people of Thailand have welcomed us with warm smiles, plenty of questions, and delightful hospitality.  First impressions were that Vietnam is the feisty, loud sister who has been bossed around too much.  China is the older brother who is incredibly big, and spits a lot.   Thailand is the elegant sister who is tidy, well traveled and prefers her bathrooms and beds to be clean.

We arrived in Chiang Mai just in time for the holidays.  Being a Buddhist country, we didn’t expect it to feel Christmassy, but they did their best to make the Western visitors feel at home with plenty of holiday wishes, decorated trees, and even a gift on our doorknob when we woke up on the 25th.  Of course we were touched, but any Westerners we spoke with were trying to get away from anything to do with Christmas.  New Years Eve was a huge celebration in the city, and the sky was filled with lanterns lit and sent up to the sky – truly a beautiful sight!

After more than a week in Chiang Mai, we were ready to get out of the large, smoggy city and get on the road again.  We received a sweet send off from our guesthouse and some of the Australian guests, and headed north right after the New Year.  We have had some quiet back roads with little traffic and beautiful vistas – rural Thailand at it’s best.  There are so many tables and benches in the shade beside the road, it is hard to choose where to have our picnics!  In China we had such a hard time finding a spot to sit and rest when we needed it.

Bungalows are popular here, and it has been so nice to have 4 walls and no neighbors at night.  Thai massages for less than $5?  Check.  Red curry with vegetables, brown rice and papaya salad?  Check.  Peaceful Wats (temples) to escape to in the middle of the city?  Plenty of help when we are figuring out which way to go?  Check and check.    Life has been easy for us here so far, and it is fun.

We are still heading north, up toward the Myanmar border and the Golden Triangle, then we plan to cycle along the Mekong River until we catch a boat in Chiang Khong to take us down river to Luang Prabang, Laos.

In the meantime, we are getting really good at packing up each morning and moving on, happy to be on the road again.

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7 Responses to In the land of Buddha

  1. Eileen says:

    Thailand looks warm and inviting. Dan I can send you some tape for the bike boxes. Looks like you need more. Safe travels.

  2. ginny says:

    wow..Thailand gets my vote so far.
    glad you are safe in this happy new year!

  3. amy says:

    Every one of your photos could be a great painting. The colors are amazing!!
    Happy New Year!
    Lots of love and hugs from N.C. (currently hunkering down for a snowstorm).

  4. Stacy Kutter says:

    I’ve been thinking of you! love the new pics and update. I went to yoga today in Bristol and missed you!
    It looks wonderful there. Thanks for the update and can’t wait to see where you will be next!
    xo, Stacy

  5. Susan says:

    So great to see the latest country in this adventure. Gentle Thailand. The girls’ dresses sooo beautiful – what handwork. Seems like a very good time. Amy’s NC storm now burying us. VT XOs

  6. Joyce Henderson says:

    I’d cleverly put your blog address in a mysterious place on the computer and just found it after a bit of a search. What beautiful photos, and such an odyssey you’re having!!! Thoroughly enjoying the vicarious travel, especially as we’ve never been in that part of the world. Continue safely, and thanks for providing the armchair travel. Love, Joyce p.s. All’s well here, but it’s very very snowy of late….

  7. Ellen Berner says:

    Hi Judy and Dan,
    I knew you would love Thailand! It is a magical place to be and, as you say, the people are so beautiful…smiling and welcoming. It’s the one Asian country that has never been colonized…they are proud and strong (and Buddhist!)…what’s not to be happy about. So glad you will be ending your trip in Thailand so some soothing R&R before coming home. Meanwhile, we are experiencing record-breaking snowfall and low temperatures (-35 in the Arrowhead!) but I think of you two traveling in Thailand and it warms my core. Best, Ellen

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