Sawadeekah from Thailand


October 2008

Gorgeous Islands of Thailand

Karst Formations

The unbelievable limestone mountains on the islands are breathtaking. “Erosion along limestone shores, notably in the tropics, produces karst topography that includes a sharp surface above the normal reach of the sea and undercuts that are mostly the result of biological activity or bioerosion at or above sea level. Some of the most dramatic of these formations can be seen in Thailand’s Phangnga Bay and Halong Bay in Vietnam.” We have tons of great photos of these!!!

Chinese Taoist Lent Vegetarian Festival

Trang hosts one of the largest festivals in Thailand

The Vegetarian Festival started Sept 29 the same date as Rosh Hashannah (HAPPY NEW YEAR!) It is a 9 day festival and the people wear white, think positive thoughts and hope for good luck. We saw a ceremony where they were feeding their gods…one woman was blowing a rams horn (shofar). “The Trang Vegetarian Festival is a spiritual gathering at the Kio OngIa and Chao Pho Muen Ram Chinese Shrines. It marks the first days of “Taoist Lent” with parades and a ceremonies. The title of this gathering is somewhat confusing – food does not provide the central focus, although white-robed devotees attending the event do adhere to a strict vegetarian diet to mark these important days.” It was a great cultural experience for us and we met so many wonderful people. Both of these festivals began on the 1st day of the 9th lunar month, Ramadan ended on Sept 29th.

Sept 16-Oct 7, 2008 Thailand Part One

Wow!!! Do we love Thailand! By the time we left we could count, order in a restaurant and have some of a conversation in Thai. All the people were so great, it truly is the land of SMIILES!
We were able to stay at LOW SEASON prices in all the towns. In Ko Phi Phi we stayed at the Paradise Resort on Long Beach. It was 500 B a night with 2 free waters. (33B =$1) but in high season it is 900B. (with aircon 2000B) In Railey we stayed for 400B but our room would be 3000B for high season….and it is 75 steps UP. It has a great view of the bay.
The islands have very extreme tidal variations. We arrived at Low Tide and walked for 300m up to the shore from our LongTail Boat and water landing.
The diving and snorkeling were great. I saw a turtle eating balloon coral polyps!! We snorkeled in Ko Phi Phi with several black tip reef sharks and went on Shark Watch with Murry and Jenny. We had a great snorkel trip with them to Ko Phi Phi Leh. All of the beach towns were affected by the Tsunami and there is building EVERYWHERE in Thailand. We were told just being there is so helpful to all the people and the economy. We were lucky to meet so many wonderful people and to be in Trang for the Vegetarian Festival. We are in Malyasia now and we will be BACK in Thailand before we return home. Hope you are well! Lisa and George

Something that is never far from your mind in the islands of Thailand is the 2004 Tsunami. “The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake was an undersea earthquake that occurred December 26, 2004, with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The earthquake was caused by subduction and triggered a series of devastating tsunamis along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean, killing more than 225,000 people in eleven countries, and inundating coastal communities with waves up to 30 meters (100 feet) high. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in history. Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand were hardest hit.” We were happy to be in Kata Beach, Ko Phi Phi and Railey. All these beach areas were affected by the Tsunami and devastated afterwards by the lack of tourism.

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries on six continents. This University of Pennsylvania graduate sailed across the seas for seven years with Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Renaissance Cruises and spent three years backpacking across Asia. Discover her articles in publications from AARP: The Magazine and AAA Explorer to WIRED and Wharton Magazine, as well as her site WeSaidGoTravel. On her award nominated global podcast, Make Your Own Map, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors, and as a journalist has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty-two times. Named a #3 travel influencer for 2023, Niver talks travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, her YouTube channel with over 2 million views, and in her memoir, Brave-ish, One Breakup, Six Continents and Feeling Fearless After Fifty.

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