Out of the countless questions we get asked, the most common is “what is your favorite place that you visited?” So, to clear the air…. An edition of “My Top Three Places To Travel.”
Chiang Mai, Thailand
You normally go to a tropical place like Thailand for the beaches and the weather. As we were living on a timeline we limited our stay in such a beautiful country to two places, Chiang Mai and Bangkok, neither of which involved a beach. There were numerous things to do in such a tiny city. We busied ourselves everyday with something new and exciting to do and learn. We took a Thai cooking class in the countryside where we went to the market and chose our ingredients. We learned how to carve fruits and vegetables, a local craft. We took language classes. And of course, we went to the night markets by tuk tuk everyday for delicious meals. Incredibly, most meals cost less than $7 for the four of us!
Our very trusty planning mom had researched festivals in Asia and came across the Loy Krathong festival. During a period of two weeks the Thai people light lanterns and release them into the sky for good luck. They also sail hand-made leaf boats with money and candles into the river. The Thai people believe this releases the bad things that happened during the year and welcomes the good. It was an amazing learning experience for us all and we participated in many of these traditions until late into each night.
Last, but certainly not least, The Elephant Nature Park. We volunteered for two days and we loved every second of it. We enjoyed seeing that the elephants were in a safe haven, free from poachers, circuses, and tourists who damage their backs from riding on them.
The hot air balloons, the gorgeous scenery, the beyond friendly Turkish people, the delicious turkish sweets all made our stay in Cappadocia amazing. Our home for the week was a room carved into a cave. The local people have been living in homes carved into fairy chimneys for generations and generations.
We went hiking in the many unique and spectacular valleys, all in odd and interesting colors and formations. The colors appeared marbled into the rock formations making it look like streaks in the sandstone. The highlight of the entire stay was without a doubt the hot air balloon ride we took during sunrise.
Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
Where do I start when talking about such an incredible place? This unique town is home to over 2,000 temples and pagodas, scattered all over the town! The tranportation of choice was scooters and being loose on rules in Myanmar, all of us at the ages of 9 and 10 were able to drive! We climbed, hiked, explored, and discovered the temples every day from dawn until dusk. Along the way we met locals, saw a brick making factory, discovered a local school, and went to the daily market.