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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thailand: The Final Countdown

After Pai, I made a quick stop in Chiang Mai where I took an amazing cooking class at BaanThai Cookery School. I was stoked to learn how to whip up my favorite dishes like Pad Thai, Khao Soy and Spring Rolls - yum! I also learned the primary ingredients of all Thai dishes: chili peppers (spicy!), sugar, fish oil, and oyster sauce - not things I usually stock in my cabinet but I'll definitely be adding upon my return to the States.

From Chiang Mai I took yet another overnight bus to Bangkok to pick up my final visitor of the year from the airport, my little brother Chris! Chris was with me the first time I came to Thailand in 2004, so we didn't have to do any of the touristy things around Bangkok - which was nice because we were able to explore areas and do things  I hadn't made it to yet like Chinatown, a paddle boat ride in Lumphini Park, a rooftop bar downtown, and Wat Arun on the river.

After a few days in Bangkok and warnings of imminent floods, we decided to head down South to the island of Koh Lanta on the Andaman Sea.  Koh Lanta was just as advertised- white sandy beaches, crystal clear water, and gorgeous sunsets. It had a very chill vibe and was the perfect place to soak up the sun and eat curry for every meal.

While in Koh Lanta, Chris and I hopped aboard a long-tail boat for an island tour that took us to Koh Ngai, Koh Mook, Koh Chuek and the Emerald Cave, or "Tham Morakot." The Emerald Cave was a really stunning sight.  The boat dropped us off at the entrance and at the entrance of the cave the water glowed a beautiful green color.  As we made our way past the entrance it gradually got darker until it was pitch black, and our guide thought it was hilarious to turn off the flashlight - not cool! It's definitely a little scary to be swimming in a dark cave somewhere in the middle of the ocean and no idea where you're going...oh, and there were bats. However, once we saw the light at the end of the tunnel, it was all good. We came out of the cave to a beautiful sight, a tiny beach surrounded on all sides by limestone cliffs covered with plants.  It was amazing and one of those moments that made me realize how lucky I am to have seen so many of these hidden wonders in the past year - there are so many beautiful places on this earth!
From Koh Lanta, we spent one night in Krabi re-living our stay there 7 years ago by staying in the same hotel (totally same same and not different) and hitting up the night market for some chicken on a stick and banana shakes. The next morning we hopped a flight and were back in the BKK for my final days in Thailand.  I had planned on making a return trip to Suphan for one last night with my friends - but that ended up being impossible due to the floods - so I guess I'll just have to come back to Thailand soon! 
Nell joined Chris and I in BKK for our final night and my friend Game also came into the city to send us off with some Beer Leo! It was a really good final day/night in Thailand - capped off with my favorite Thai meal, Pad Grapow Moo sai Kai Jiew, and an iced coffee or two from a street vendor. It was weird to say good-bye and honestly it still doesn't feel real, perhaps when I get back to the States I'll have more time to think about it, but for now all I can say is, I LOVE THAILAND. It was the best year of my life, I could not have asked for a better experience, and I am eternally grateful to all of the amazing places I got to see, the students I got to teach, the friends I made, the locals I met, the food I ate, and the experiences I had. I will for sure be back, hopefully sooner rather than later, and I will always have a special place in my heart for Thailand...chop mak!!


  1. Hey-- I'm applying to the CIEE Teach in Thailand program right now and am not sure whether I should go for 1 semester or for both-- What do you recommend and what do the majority of people in the program choose?
    (Found your blog searching google for "Teach in thailand blogs")

  2. Hey Sarah,

    I'm also applying to the CIEE Teach in Thailand program. Your blog has made me even more excited about going to Thailand! Is there a way I can email you with some questions?

    Thanks so much!

  3. Hi Colleen, happy to help!

    Here's my email: sarahrall@gmail.com - I'll answer any and all questions! So excited for you!

  4. Wow, very neat! I love to travel, but I have have never been to Thailand! It looks like an amazing place! :)



  5. I love Thailand as well! It looks like I started reading your blog a bit late, but better late than never!

    I hope you can get back here again, if not for work...but a Thai vacation!



  6. Wow, Thailand sounds great.


Thai Baht for your thoughts....

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