Thursday, March 29, 2012

Travel....Thursday | Thailand

My boyfriend’s father takes us on trip of a lifetime each Winter. This past December, we flew to Asia on a ten-day trip of Thailand. Although my boyfriend and I live in NYC, we like to spend Christmas with his family in Chicago and so on the 26th departed as a family from the O’hare Airport. In an attempt to see as much as we could we spent our first day in Singapore before traveling on to our final destination of Thailand.

Having spent years in the hotel industry, my boyfriend and his family are rather particular about what hotels we stay it. My boyfriend had heard that Marina Bay Sands had a killer view and his source was right. The hotel not only boasts the largest infiniti pool in the world, but the view was show-stopping. I don’t see myself coming back to Singapore anytime soon, but I would definitely recommend the hotel to anyone traveling there. 

the view at night at the Marina Bay Sands from the 54th floor
From Singapore we flew to Phuket- the “relaxing”, “beachy” part of our trip. We stayed at Le Meridien in Khao Lak. As a huge fan of all Starwood properties I was pleasantly surprised. The rooms were spacious and despite not being as “luxurious” as other Starwood rooms, they were relaxing and the property itself is beautiful, reminded me of many other Hawaii hotels I have frequented in the past. The best part of the resort was the baby elephant, Naomi, who would walk the grounds during the day. 

Gypsys new friend Naomi- we really wanted to bring her home with us, but then we were told that elephants are scared of dogs. Who knew?

From Phuket we flew to Chaing Mai, the “adventurous” leg of the trip. Although we stayed at the Puripunn ( a wonderful boutique hotel with a lovely and very helpful staff and delicious meal preparation, Chaing Mai boasts two beautiful luxury resorts, the Mandarin Oriental and the Four Seasons. The Mandarin Oriental although recently built looks like an ancient temple. The Four Seasons, as to be expected from the Four Seasons, was pristine in every way possible. We had dinner at the Chef’s Table- a 7 course, traditional meal, that was beyond mouth watering.

 The boy & I posing for a pic at the Four Seasons by the Chef's Table Dining Area
 The restroom at the Four Seasons- I dont typically photograph restrooms- but this was unique as the wall in front of the toilet was a wall made of bamboo reeds- no ceiling either!
The hallway at the Mandarin Oriental- want/need/love that aqua chandelier

In Chaing Mai we spent a day in the jungle conquering the ziplines at Flight of the Gibbon (name of the activity tour- book in advance!) and another full day playing with elephants at the elephant camp. On a more low key day we spent the afternoon playing with tigers of all sizes at Tiger Kingdom. 
 The boy with the baby tigers
 Feeding the elephant bananas and sugar cane- the stylish Texas Tuxedo were not outfits of ours- provided by the tour guides.

After four days in Chaing Mai we headed to Bangkok for two short days. We stayed at the Banyon Tree, which has quite a reputation in Asia, but to be quite frank, I would not return there. Instead, the Four Seasons would be my next destination and is rather affordable, as everything in Bangkok is relatively inexpensive. Bangkok was recently ravished by the floods, and as if the poverty was not extensive enough, the flooding only escalated the suffering.  Everything I had heard about Bangkok was essentially true. There are fake goods lining the street markets, and prostitutes openly parading the streets. Traffic is unbearable and the best way to travel is via tuk-tuks, which unfortunately leave you covered in dust and forced to inhale the polluted air. While Bangkok was not my favorite city of the 4 we visited, I was glad I was able to experience it for myself. 
All the homes along the river bank look like this or worse. 

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