Thailand - Islands and Jungles

Thailand wasn't ALL beaches and islands - 

There were jungle adventures, too.

This was right after Erik and Ray's wedding on Koh Munnork. 

Khao Yai National Park. Up in the hills. 
Totally different. 

I didn't really know what to expect.
It's a very popular region, mostly with Thai visitors. 

With good reason. It's cooler. 
Higher elevation. 


Frogs at night. 

Flowers. Landscaping. 
Ponds and pools! 

 One evening, we headed into the jungle just after sunset. 
Quietly. Across a wooden bridge. 

Erik and Ray testing the bridge strength

Suddenly, something came charging down the jungle path toward us. 
We couldn't see it, but it was coming. Fast.
We RAN back across the bridge in the dark. 

A monkey? An angry elephant? A wild boar? 

Turns out - it was a fairly large porcupine. 
Trundling down the path at us. We tiptoed back to investigate.

(Okay, at night it sounded MUCH larger and scarier-!)
But still - didn't want to get too close. 

(More my kind of wildlife-)

Anything was possible. 

When we booked this place, the site said "villas with private pool". 

But I didn't think EACH villa would have it's OWN private pool-! 

A golf course - ball courts - outdoor movie theatre. 
Excellent restaurants, Japanese, Italian, Thai. 

Massages, yoga. 
Fresh fruit smoothies.

I could get used to this.

(It was hard to leave - to go out and explore the national park-)

Even had a nearby "Speed Kart" track. 
(These things went FAST!)

No instructions except, "Left foot - stop. Right foot GO!"
No liability waivers. No signatures. 
Of course we went.

-Have to admit, it was pretty darn fun.
Some of the kids went twice. Including Stan.

They also played golf. 

Each player got his/her own caddy, neatly attired in an orange uniform, and their own cart. 

Since some of our group had never played golf before, 
the caddies tried valiantly to help. "Madam, hit the BALL!" 

Or when the shots went up and over the trees, they waved sadly, "Bye bye ball!"

Aside from all the cool times spent with the family, what really impressed me on this trip was the vegetation. The gardens. Plants. The flowers. 

Papaya trees. Mango trees. Ginger flowers. Orchids. Bird of paradise. 
Jackfruit. Pineapple plants. Bananas. 

Totally inspiring.

One day, we met up with Wolfgang, Monica and Carlene for a boat trip in Ayutthaya. 

They played music on the traditional wooden boat.
-Cruising down a Thai river to the strains of "Rhinestone Cowboy". 

It just - made my day.

They really know how to do lunch here. 

Great place to hang out with family - good choice - and killer cool memories.  

- Including the wild porcupines.

3 sons, 3 partners, one grandkid. And Stan and Trish.

The extended family went their separate ways - 
some to Manila, others to Berlin.

The younger gang back to Bangkok's big city life. 

Kilian, Aidan, Erik and Ray - nightlife in Bangkok.

And those Thai islands? 
Stan and I hit a few more before heading back to France. 

A variety of ferries, fishing boats and speedboats.

Sunrise, sunset. Both good times on a beach.

Stan finds his 'spot' on Koh Yao Yai. 

This time, we didn't do much exploring. 

This trip was about family - and enjoying a little luxury. 

Pineapple, papaya, and mango. With fresh lime. And chilled white wine.

-What a FINE way to spend a February. 

"Be careful going in search of adventure - it's ridiculously easy to find." 

Some other posts about cool times in Southeast Asia: 

And a bit more about Thailand.

Wedding on a Thai Island

There are some INCREDIBLY beautiful islands in Thailand! 

Son Erik and his wife Ray chose one of the best for their wedding celebration. 

Koh Munnork. Tiny. Private. Beautiful. 

It sounds pretty wild to say, 
"We had the entire island to ourselves for the wedding," 
but - it's a VERY small island. 

One resort. 22 villas. 
You can walk around the whole island in no time.

We had it for the entire weekend. 
And we filled it with some GREAT times!

Kilian, Erik & Mikey tuning up dance moves.

Ray's family comes from the east of Thailand. 
We hadn't met them before. 

And a few friends from Bangkok.

The rest of the family - ours - came from New Mexico, Germany, France. 

All of us came across together on a cool old wooden ex-fishing boat...

Erik joins Wolfgang, Carlene and Monica

- and began exploring the island, where wild peacocks roam between the villas. 

We find kayaks and snorkels and paddleboards.

The Thai family are a great bunch. 
(Actually, everyone there was fun!)

In fact, the whole wedding was more fun than I expect most weddings are. 
It was casual, but - there were definite traditional steps. 

During the ceremony, the 4 parents sit behind the couple. 
The table is covered with fruits and flowers.

There were "challenges" for Erik:
 - including doing 10 pushups - 

- and showing that he can dance - and sing - 
- and do the limbo.

Calling to Ray in Essarn, the language of her region in Thailand. 

Lots of laughing -  and hugs. 

There was a lot of string-typing - each string representing a good wish. 

Very relaxed and fun - with lots of picture-taking - 

- and of course dancing and singing later.

- and excellent Thai seafood. 

Homemade liquor from upcountry, 
plenty of Thai beer - 

Grandson Noah gets daring with a sparkler.

Sparklers - games - pool playing - speeches - 

(Some were not expecting to give a speech, 
but gave it their best -)

Kilian and Mikey give speeches

I hear the party continued until sometime after 3 am.

(Not that either Stan or I made it up that late-)

The tables were covered in white silk, courtesy of one of the guests, whose family's silk business had an extra bolt of the fabric around-! 

Everyone helped out, which was fun. 

Even wrapped a few trees in Thai silk. 

I'm 68 years old. 
This is the second of my 3 sons to get married. 
All 3 are with women I like.

That's pretty cool.

Mikey and Iris

Kilian and Aidan

It's awfully easy to get emotional about it all.
They're so young - 

"Hak Lai Der"
- I love you - 

Dawn on Koh Munnork