There are two reasons I’d like to visit Thailand: Buddha and food. Although I’m not a Buddhist myself, what little Buddhist spirituality I have encountered (largely as a practioner of yoga) is appealing and mysterious to me. I’m sure it comes as little surprise to readers of this blog that the idea of being connected to others in the world and that one’s actions can have an impact on the global consciousness is something that I am drawn to.
And as for the food, well as a crossroads of Asia Thailand is rightly famous for its food, which is inspired and influenced by that of many other countries from India and China to Malaysia and Vietnam.
In Bangkok, we’d be sure to visit the Grand Palace where Thailand was founded and the nearby Wat Pho, a temple where the world’s largest Reclining Buddha lies in much golden glory. I’d also love to figure out a way to eat lots of street food, because everything I’ve ever read has made it sound just insanely good and also as cheap as can be. One of my favorite food writers Dorie Greenspan was there last fall and I really enjoyed both her descriptions and her photos of the food (see here and here especially)
I know that there would be a number of concerns to be aware of in Bangkok, from minor irritants like the pollution to more serious problems like the open nature of the sex trade. TravelWithYourKids does a great job of outlining them and offers tips for keeping your children safe and healthy. They also talk about some of the fun things to do including a ride on a water taxi on the city’s canals.
We’re not a huge beach family, but I have a feeling we would all enjoy making our way south to for a little time on the sand. Khao Lak, a town that was hard hit by the tsunami in 2004 has by all accounts rebuilt itself admirably and is a destination for families. We could rent a bungalow near the undeveloped beaches that are reputed to be some of the nicest in Thailand and swim in the poetically named Adaman Sea. The water is warm and calm and at low tide there are lots of tidal pools full of marine life to explore. Sea turtles nest here, so if we were there at the right time of year we might take a tour to see them. Nearby there are five gorgeous national parks with hiking trails, waterfalls, and limestone caves, all of which I know would be a hit. And we would also be sure to catch a ride on an elephant at one of the wildlife preserves.
A number of excellent bloggers have been to Thailand. One blog I admire in particular is The Wide Wide World, written by a family of four on a round-the-world trip. They were in Thailand in January 2009 and among the experiences they describe that I would love to share with my kids was taking a cooking class in Chiang Mai, another must-see city in northern Thailand.
Did I mention that Thailand has lots and lots of spas? So once I’d eaten a good swath across the country and swum in the crystal sea, I’d be sure to make really certain I was relaxed by indulging in a little bit of foot massage. Oh yes.
Photo of Buddha courtesy of Danorbit.
Remaining photos courtesy of Rene Eherhardt.