I just returned from a phenomenal two week vacation in Thailand with my wife and son, and am still processing all of the amazing memories we created. We started our trip with a few days in and around Bangkok before making our way up to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. I spent a lot of time preparing a varied itinerary, with days spent exploring cities, temples, hiking trails, remote villages, and more. I’ll be posting a lot more about this trip once I get photos edited and sleep off a little remaining jet lag. Until then, here are my 10 favorite photo moments from our trip.
1.) Traveling as a Family with a Toddler
Thailand was the sixth country my son has traveled to and has now become his favorite. The food, people, culture and atmosphere made traveling with a three year old an absolute breeze. All of our guides and drivers were accommodating, kind, and gracious. We were always greeted with smiles and warm welcomes in restaurants, markets, and hotels, which is not always the case when traveling with a toddler in the United States. We try to visit new places for each one of our trips, but we might have to make an exception for a return visit to Thailand.
2.) Mae Klong Railway Market
The Mae Klong Railway Market is a full fledged market that is setup right along an active train track. The market had stalls selling food, clothes, crafts, wares, and more. Then when a train horn sounded, the market stalls pulled back from the tracks, recessed their awnings, and watched as the train passed by, before getting setup again for business.
3.) Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
After visiting the Mae Klong Railway Market, we paid a visit to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Damnoen Saduak is one of the most popular and well known floating markets in all of Thailand. The market is built along the Damnoen Saduak Canal, which was constructed in 1868 to connect the Mae Klong and Tha Chin Rivers. This was a major transportation line before the development of roads in Thailand a century later. The marketplace is still a full operation, but is geared up for tourism and visitors that make the 100-kilometer trip out from Bangkok.
4.) Doi Inthanon, Thailand’s Highest Point
A vacation wouldn’t be a ‘Trail to Peak’ vacation without a little hiking, so I made sure to plan a visit to Thailand’s highest point at Doi Inthanon. We enjoyed an early morning hiking on a few interpretive trails before making our way to see the two iconic chedis (towers), Naphamethinidon and Naphaphonphumisiri. At an elevation of 8415 feet, we enjoyed some of the most spectacular views on offer.
5.) Wat Rong Khun – The White Temple
Wat Rong Khun is a modern temple in Chiang Rai that was opened to the public in 1997. The private buddhist temple is owned and designed by renowned Thai artist, Chalermchai Kositpipat. I spent a lot of time looking at pictures of the White Temple before our arrival, and as breathtaking as the photos can be, they don’t do the temple justice. This is one of those locations you have to see in person.
6.) Walking Around Bangkok
My favorite thing to do when visiting a new city is to walk around and feel the pulse. With more than 8 million people, Bangkok is a people watchers paradise. There are night markets, food carts, shopping malls, sky scrapers, sky trains, temples, subways, and much much more. I spent hours enjoying the street photography opportunities in the city, and I’ll be sharing my favorite shots in future posts.
7.) The Elephant Nature Park
We spent an entire day at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai learning about elephants, feeding them, and observing their day-to-day activities. While at the park, we also got to see the dog and cat sanctuaries located on the same sprawling compound. As soon as my son walked into the small dog enclosure, a little pup ran up to him and sat in his lap. They were instant best friends.
8.) Karen and Akha Hill Tribes
While in Chiang Rai, we visited a few of the local Hill Tribes to learn about their origins, cultures, and present day lives. Traveling with a toddler really helps break the ice on conversation in these tribes, as they have many kids under the age of 5 walking around.
9.) Temples, Temples, and more Temples
A visit to Thailand wouldn’t be complete with visiting one of the thousands of temples in the country. We visited temples in every location that we visited, with highlights coming at Ayutthaya, Wat Pho, and the Grand Palace.
10.) Street Food, Food Carts, and Markets
The food scene in Thailand is legendary, with Bangkok being especially impressive. We spent a lot of time walking around markets getting a feel for the ordinary and extraordinary! I have a few posts planned to highlight and feature some of my favorites.
Have you been to Thailand?
Have you ever visited Thailand? What are some of your favorite places and/or moments? I’m looking forward to diving in to all of the photos I took during my two weeks in the country and will be sharing a lot more in the weeks ahead.