On the 22nd we headed off to Bangkok for two weeks of respite from India. We spent Lesa's birthday (23 Dec) seeing some of the sights in Bangkok. My favorite was the Wat Pho (Reclining Buddha Temple) The image of the Buddha here is massive. As Audrey commented: "his fingernail is bigger than my head!" We managed to find a nice traditional holiday dinner (Turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce) at a local hotel, so we celebrated Lesa's birthday with an early Christmas feast. On the 24th we headed north by bus to Sukhothai - an ancient capital of one of the many past kingdoms in Thailand (12th Century). The park at Sukhothai is a World Heritage site and contains multiple ruins of temples (Wats), palaces and fortifications. There are no cars allowed within large areas of the park, so we rented bicycles to explore its many locations.
Before we left we managed to squeeze in a bit of early Christmas - we opened some early gifts, hung our stockings, and colored lights then decorated our little tree.
On the 26th we took a second "VIP" bus to Chiang Mai where we explored this northern city's famous markets and spent a day out in the country hanging out with some Elephants (more on this later...)As the New Year approached we returned south again via Bangkok using taxis, buses, an airplane, a minivan and two ferries to get to our final weeks' destination: Koh Lanta. Lanta is a lovely, but quiet island near its more famous sister, Koh Phi Phi (seen in the movie, "The Beach").
We rang in the new year hanging out in the sun with our toes in the sand, swimming in the warm ocean and eating lots of really good Thai food!
Back to reality and our little spot of India again... Noida.