February 22, 2003 - Personal Web Site: On our way back to Bangkok, we spent a day in Khao Yai National Park

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Thailand: Peace Corps Thailand: The Peace Corps in Thailand: February 22, 2003 - Personal Web Site: On our way back to Bangkok, we spent a day in Khao Yai National Park

By Admin1 (admin) on Saturday, February 22, 2003 - 6:23 pm: Edit Post

On our way back to Bangkok, we spent a day in Khao Yai National Park

On our way back to Bangkok, we spent a day in Khao Yai National Park

So that puts us here in Bangkok where we are trying to get used to the oprressive humid heat. We are sitting in the comfort of the Peace Corps office to compose this edition of our travel report. Bankok is a developed city, even compared to American cities like, say, New Haven (though that is admittedly a dubious baseline). Today we will be enjoying all-you-can-eat pizza at Pizza Hut for 70 baht (47 baht = 1 dollar -- you do the math). Needless to say, this healthy dose of consumer (read American) culture is much welcome after our sojourns through India, Bangladesh, and Burma.

Before leaving Thailand on a sweeping counterclockwise circle through southeast Asia we took a brief excursion to the town of Khorat (a.k.a. Nakhon Ratchasima) where we based ourselves to sample some appetizers of classic Khmer architecture. Phanom Rung was our first day trip--set on a fantastic and remote hillside near the Cambodian border, this temple exhibited many of the features we would later see in the temples of Angkor Wat--long elevated walkways guarded by a pair of Nagas (a snakelike god that doubled as a handrail), extravagantly carved lintels that displayed scenes from the Ramayana (a Hindu-Buddhist epic), and elegant stone windows that contained upright stone bars that had been fashioned on a lathe. Our second day trip took us to Phimai, which was less remote but far better preserved, and the stones were a pinkish hue (or is that a rosy glow?). Khorat is in the heart of Thailand's northeast district called Isaan, so we were forced to try Isaan food--specialties included barbecued chicken on a small wooden spit, spicy green papaya salad, and sticky rice. Yum!

On our way back to Bangkok, we spent a day in Khao Yai National Park where we bathed in some beautiful waterfalls, hiked through the forest, and late in the day found a herd of wild elephants (Harla was overjoyed). The elephants were a mere 30 meters away--close enough to make Harla nervous about how close James was trying to get to snap a couple of photos. Unfortunately, our camera chose that moment to malfunction (we later got it fixed) so no one will ever believe us. :)

Back in Bangkok we caught a flight to Cambodia.

When we returned to Thailand, we found a traveler's cafe that showed English videos (Con Air!) in the little border town of Chiang Khong where we stayed the night.

The next morning we headed to Chiang Mai to eat and shop, in that order. We also saw some temples. Yeah, yeah, Buddha, tower, remove the shoes, monks passing, yawn. It was time to come home. We changed our tickets, took a great Thai Cooking course, and then flew back to Bangkok, dropped our things, and took a train and boat to Koh Pha Ngan to lay on the beach for a couple of days and then Koh Tao for two days of fantastic snorkeling.

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