Thailand with Pheuxn (Friends)!

It has been a whirlwind month for BOLT. In addition to our wonderful stay at Inthakin Green Village we had a delightful time playing host to our dear friends, Lecia and Sergio.

It was wonderful showing them around, playing tourist and sharing with them the Thailand that we know and love.

Kathy and I are not crazy about Bangkok but it is a must stop for your first visit to Thailand. We were waiting for Sergio and Lecia at the Air BnB we rented and had planned a fun-packed 5 day stay in Bangkok. The first day we spent shopping at the humoungous Platinum Fashion Mall. We had fun, got great bargins and returned home exhausted.

We had a ball the next day, being pure tourists at the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. We even got to enjoy a boat ride during a monsoon rain!

Of course, no visit to Bangkok is complete without going to the Grand Palace.

Thanks to Lecial and Sergio we finally got to visit Wat Pho.

In contrast to the sacred beauty of Wat Pho we got to experience another type of beauty…the faboulous queens at the Stranger Bar drag show!

One of the most fun things we did in Bangkok was also the cheapest! We took the local (15 Baht) boat and saw the city from a different view point.

We loved showing Lecia and Sergio around our beloved city of Chiang Mai. They got to meet some of our friends, do more shopping and enjoy the local cuisine. Lecia and Sergio also got to spend some time at an elephant camp.

It was crazy fun seeing my bestie enjoy her first tuk-tuk drive!

We ended our friend’s time in Thailand in the best way possible: a healing stay at Inthakin Green Village.


Saying good-bye was bittersweet but I know we will be seeing our friends again soon. Afterall, who can resist Thailand?

If you are planning a visit to Thailand please let us know. We would be honored to show you around Chiang Mai and the surrounding areas.

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Wat Pho…Well Worth the Wait!

Our wait to see Wat Pho had nothing to do with long lines, closures or any of the other reasons one might wait for something. Kathy has wanted to see this amazing statue of the Buddha Nirvana since we first arrived in Thailand (over 2 years ago). Because of a scammer tuk tuk driver we missed the opportunity the last time we visited Bangkok. This time we knew we would be sure to see it. Oh how beautiful and amazing it is!

It is hard to truly show the majestic size. I did my best with my little camera phone. You can get an idea of the size by seeing Kathy’s head near the end.

The statue was built by King Rama I in the 16th century. It is one of the largest Buddha statues in Thailand. It measures 15 m high and 46 m long!

The head and feet are beautiful in detail, especially the bottom of the feet!

The grounds of the temple are beautiful and tranquil. There are many other statues and temple buildings as well.

I especially enjoyed the lovely fountains. Wat Pho was truly the highlight of our trip to Bangkok. If you visit be sure to see it!

Inthakin Village: Healing Happens Here!

Kathy and I were honored to be the guests of our friend, Wanvisa Inthep as she develops a program of Traditional Thai-Lanna Herbal treatments.  For the last week we have been pampered, healed, restored and rejuvenated! It has been an amazing experience!

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Inthakin Village is located in the jungle-forest of Mae Teang, just an hours drive from Chiang Mai. All of the buildings are in the Lanna style and made of reclaimed wood. Electrical power is solar and there is excellent wi-fi. It is the perfect setting for they type of healing treatments they offer.

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Treatments are individualized for each person, after a thorough assessment and according to your individual preferences and needs. Another thing that makes Inthakin Village so special is that all of the herbs are grown, picked and prepared on the land. They are organic and pesticide free.

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20180619_111306844745879.jpgOne of the many treatments offered is the banana leaves wrap. As you lie in the sun the leaves remove many of the toxins from your body. Best of all, you can begin and end the wrap with a dip in the Himalayan salt water pool.

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The expertly trained staff provide massages and herbal treatments.

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There is a lovely clinic area where the head doctor, certified in traditional Thai medicine, provides individual diagnostic assessments and a range of detoxifying and restorative treatments. There is also a steam and a dry sauna in this tranquil area.

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The food at Inthakin Village is some of the best I have ever had and that is saying a lot for Thailand! The chef is well versed in vegan, vegetarian, Thai and western cuisine. A special treat was the many herb (grown and prepared at Inthakin) teas we were offered throughout the day.

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I will do my best to explain the treatment above, unique to Inthakin Village. A specially prepared assortment of leaves, roots and herbs are laid on a bamboo table. Charcoal braisers are placed underneath. When the table and the leaves are quite warm, up you go! Turning on all sides of your body you are “grilled”. It was explained to me that this ancient therapy was designed to restore the many people who fell from elephants, the ancient Thai mode of transportation. It was perfect for me as I had recently fallen, hard, onto concrete steps in Chiang Mai. I arrived at Inthakin limping and bruised. I am leaving walking well with all my bruises gone!

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The grounds at Inthakin Village are beautiful. There are many areas for walking, hiking and quiet contemplation. Our experience at Inthakin has been amazing and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a day, weekend, week long or longer healing get away. A website is being developed as I write this and I will share it with you as soon as available. In the meantime I am happy to connect anyone interested with Wanvisa. She will be happy to assist you in arranging a stay.  Please contact me through this blog or at boltraveling@gmail.com

Learning Thai!

I have a confession to make. I love Thailand, I love Thai food, I love Thai people (this is not the confession). The confession is that I do not love the Thai language or maybe it’s that the Thai language doesn’t love me. I find Thai very difficult to learn and to pronounce. Just the other day, I found out that when I thought I was saying “take home” instead of the word for take I was actually using a rather common word for vagina! I can only imagine how the food vendors must have been laughing!

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I really want to do better! So starting today, I commit to learning and practicing a new Thai word or phrase daily. I already know how to say “Hello and Goodbye” (same word) as well as “How are you?”, “I am fine.” and “Thank you.  I also use “delicious!” and “cute!” a lot. Delicious because the food always is and cute because I love babies and little children.  Two other really great phrases that I love are “mai pen rai” which basically means “no worries” and “jai yen” which literally means cool heart and is a great reminder to stay calm and composed. The philosophy of “jai yen” is one of the many reasons I love Thailand so much!

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I am going to start with learning my numbers, 1-10, which I understand will also give me everything I need to say 20, 30, 100, etc.  Today I am also practicing “How much?” which is “Gee Baht?”.

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One thing I have mastered is to put the feminine “kha” at the end of every phrase. Men should say “krap”.

Of course, there are lots of websites, etc for learning Thai. I found this one helpful, here are their suggestions:

  1. Sa-wat dee (hello)
    Used for both hello and goodbye.
  2. Khop koon (thank you)
    How to show your appreciation once you’ve been handed your Singha beer and pad Thai.
  3. Gee baht? (how much)
    Essential for all the shopping you’ll be doing, or when haggling with tuk-tuk drivers.
  4. Yoo tee nai…? (where is…)
    Invaluable when lost!  Just point at a place on your map or in your guidebook and say ‘yoo tee nai’. Also useful when you are trying to find the right bus to go to Phuket or otherwise.
  5. Mai ow (don’t want)
    Useful for fending off persistent street vendors.
  6. Khor tort (sorry)
    Stood on someone’s foot at the Chatuchak market?  Now you can apologise.
  7. Neung, song, saam, see, haa, hook, jet, baat, gow, sip (one to ten)
    Impress the locals by reciting one to ten.
  8. Lot noi dai mai?  (can you make it cheaper?)
    If you are doing a lot of shopping then try this handy phrase. By speaking a little Thai you might just get a better discount.
  9. A-roi (delicious)
    Show your appreciation for that delicious Thai meal!  You never know, if you go back to the same place you might get an extra helping.
  10. Mai pen lai (never mind)
    A common phrase in the Thai language – if someone apologises to you (khor tort) then reply with ‘mai pen lai’.  If someone thanks you (khop koon) say ‘mai pen lai’.  If there’s a mix up (which invariably happens with a language barrier) have a chuckle and say ‘mai pen lai’!

So I say to you now: Sawadee Kha! (Goodbye!)

This is What Community Looks Like!

My dear friend the phenomenal Lacey Clark asked the question that inspired this post. She asked what does community mean to me. While I can’t give a precise definition I can share what community looks and feels like for me.

Community is embarking on a 5 hour pilgrimage up Doi Suthep Mountain for Visakha (Buddha Day) with the beautiful group above. Community is getting a Facebook shout out even though Kathy and I quit after 2 and a 1/2 hours.

Community is Sunday Dinner and seeing old friends and meeting new ones.

Community is cherishing friendships and having great memories no matter how far away the friends are.

Community is beloved family, near and far.

Community is hours spent at Cafe De JJ talking politics, philosophy, science and a bunch of other random stuff, not to mention enjoying the love on a plate served up by the fabulous Beer (top, right above)!

Community is making friends everywhere we go and doing our best to stay in touch. Hey Keiko (our friend met in Mexico, from Japan and currently in Canada)!

Community is exploring nature with friends. Community is something that must be built, nurtured and cherished. I’m sure community is something that looks different to each of us. One thing I know for sure is that true community feels so wonderful and is something I need. I am grateful to have found it here in Chiang Mai!

Durian and Salak and Longan, Oh My! The Wonderful Fruits of Thailand!

As Dorothy, famously said, “We are not in Kansas any more.” Nor anywhere close! The wide variety of exotic fruits is one way I know this for sure. I had my first bite of durian yesterday. Durian is known as the king of Asian fruits. It is considered a delicacy and is quite expensive. It is also so stinky that you will see signs in hotels and on buses, across Asia, warning no durian. The fruit vendors, above, were kind enough to give me a taste. I have to say, that once I got past the smell (kind of like rotting fruit) it was quite delicious. It has a creamy sweetness like a cross of coconut and mango.

Passion Fruit

Lychee

Rambutan

Longan

There is such a great variety of fruit here in Thailand. Things I had never tried or even heard of before. My favorite is the tart and juicy passion fruit. I have it almost every morning. There is lychee, rambutan, longan and salak. Right now the longan is still sour but later in the season it becomes very sweet. I have had lychee and rambutan in the states but only rarely saw it. Here is is everywhere. Salak, also known as snake fruit is weird. It is very prickly and hard to open, kinda smelly and with a taste that is hard to describe.

There are also most of the fruits I am familiar with in the states. We are only buying locally grown fruits so I skip the apples that come from New Zealand. But there are plenty of coconuts, oranges, mangoes, papayas, watermelon, pineapple and banana. I think the tropical climate makes everything extra sweet and juicy.

This week, at our local mall, there was a fruit festival. There was an all you can eat fruit buffet, entertainment and lots of samples to try. I thought this was a good week to write this post and share the pictures I took. Hope you enjoyed them!

Why Chiang Mai? BOLT Top 5 Reasons…

A friend recently asked what made us choose Chiang Mai as our current home. Her question has inspired this post.

Kathy and I are thriving here. Not a day goes by without one of us exclaiming “I love Chiang Mai! There is a special vibe about this city that is hard to put into words. Simply put, Chiang Mai feels like home! Having said that, I will now list the top 5 tangible reasons that make this city a great choice for BOLT.

Affordability!

100 Thai baht is currently equal to approximately 3 U.S. dollars. We are able to live very well here on less than $1000 a month. Chiang Mai is a great place to save for the traveling that we love.

Creature Comforts and Amenities!

Chiang Mai has all the conveniences of modern life. There is great high speed Internet. The are wonderful malls, grocery stores and pharmacies. If we need health care there are state of the art medical centers. Public transportation by Grab Car or songtaews is easily obtained. I have found that we can get anything we need (or want) here.

The Food!

Thai food is delicious, varied and very affordable here. In addition, when we want something different there are restaurants that serve any type of food we could desire.

The Beauty!

Chiang Mai is a place of great beauty, both in a physical and spiritual sense. The over 300 Buddhist temples here are breathtaking. There are also great opportunities to enjoy natural beauty, in the mountains and hiking trails close by.

Community!

There are so many ways to enjoy community and “find your tribe” in Chiang Mai. Weekly Sunday Dinner with the Black Packers, the Chiang Mai Ex Pats Club and the Chiang Mai Rotary have all been positive experiences for us. Also there is a wonderful 12 step recovery community here. There are many Meet Up groups, classes and other social events as well.

So, we love Chiang Mai, Thailand this ancient city on the Ping River with a moat. Please consider a visit, we think you’ll love it too!