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 Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a science teacher and an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. She sailed the seven seas by cruise ship for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. Find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over one and a quarter million views (1,250,000) on her YouTube channel. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which is read in 235 countries, named #3 on the top 1000 Travel Blogs and the top female travel blogger 3 times in 2019. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and has over 160,000 followers across social media. Niver is a judge for the Gracies Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media and also ran fifteen travel competitions publishing over 2500 writers and photographers from 75 countries on her own site, We Said Go Travel. From 2017 to 2020 in the Southern California Journalism Awards and National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards, she has won three times and been a finalist fourteen times for her broadcast television segments, print and digital articles. Niver won an award for her print magazine article for Hemispheres Magazine for United Airlines in the 2020 Southern California Journalism Awards. She was also a finalist for four other categories including online journalist of the year, digital story for activism journalism with Ms. Magazine, educational reporting for Wharton Magazine and a broadcast lifestyle feature for KTLA TV in Los Angeles.    Niver won a 2019 NAEJ (National Arts and Entertainment Journalism) award for one of her KTLA TV segments and was a finalist for articles published in both Ms. Magazine and Wharton Magazine. In 2018,  she was a finalist for stories in Smithsonian, PopSugar Fitness and the Saturday Evening Post. Niver won a 2017 Southern California Journalism Award for her print story for the Jewish Journal and was a finalist for travel reporting. Niver has written for AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres (United Airlines), Jewish Journal, Luxury Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Myanmar Times, National Geographic, POPSUGAR, Robb Report, Saturday Evening Post, Scuba Diver Life, Sierra Club, Ski Utah, Smithsonian, TODAY, Trivago, USA Today 10best, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave Rebel: 50 Scary Challenges Before 50,” about her most recent travels and insights. Look for her underwater SCUBA diving, in her art studio making ceramics or helping people find their next dream trip.

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