Saturday, January 7, 2012

Our Trip to Asia November 2011

I really wanted to keep my blog post of things that happen in the year 2012 but I just have to share a trip that Ike and I took with our good friends Sarah and Hunt Udall last month. We went on a ten day trip to Thailand, Cambodia and Hong Kong. It was an adventure of a lifetime. We saw, did, ate, and rode everything imaginable. We had a wonderful time! Here is just a few of the pictures I want to share from the trip. Enjoy!

Here is a day to day schedule of all the stuff we did while in Asia:

Trip to Thailand, Cambodia & Hong Kong 2011

Day One: (Friday)
  ·     Left Phoenix for LAX
·        Thought we would have a 5-hour layover but was asked if we wanted to take the earlier flight and we jumped at it. 
·         Left LAX for Hong Kong
Day Two: (Saturday)
·       Arrived in Hong Kong and had a two hour layover
·       Experienced our first not so desirable Chinese noodle soup
·       Soon Left for Thailand (very long and uncomfortable flight)

Day Three: (Sunday)
·       Arrived in Thailand as scheduled
·       Went through immigration and headed for baggage to retrieve our bags
·       Was anxious to see if Onanong & Sanit were there to pick us up.
·       After a long wait for luggage and getting through immigration we were finally were
     reunited with Ononang & Sanit.  They were waiting just like they said they would.
·       It was a joyful reunion after 18 years.  They both looked exactly the same.  We were so
     excited to see them.
·       We gathered up all our stuff and headed out to their car.  They then took us to their home about 20 minutes away in Bangkok.
·      We visited for a while and then Onanong fixed us a traditional Thai lunch.
·       Their home was nice.  They lived in a gated community with a large gate at their home. 
·       After a few hours of visiting we left their home to head to our hotel we were staying at that evening.
·       We first stopped at the Bangnaa Branch. It was just as I remembered it.  I even recognized a few of the members.  We had a short but sweet visit.  Onanong had her little choir group sing for Ike & I.  They sang Christmas Songs.
·        From Bangnaa we headed to the Westin Hotel in downtown Bangkok.
·       We checked into our room and brought all our belongings up to our room.
·       Onanong and Sanit walked with us for a few minutes outside the hotel as we looked for some souvenirs.  We only had one night in Bangkok so we needed to shop.
·       Onanong & Sanit had to leave quickly unexpected because their son had lost his house key and could not get in their home.
·       We were sad to say goodbye so soon and so quickly but we understood.
·       Ike & I continued shopping for a few hours before heading back to our hotel.
·       We met up with Sarah & Hunt when we returned.

Day Four: (Monday)
·       We had to leave the hotel very early to catch our flight to Cambodia.
·       We arrived at the airport and got checked in for our flight
·       We flew Bangkok Air to Cambodia
·       Upon arriving we were met by a local tour guide and a driver.
·       We gathered our stuff and our adventure in Cambodia began.
·      We first went and checked in at the Le Meridian Cambodia.
·      Our room was not ready so we put our luggage in Sarah & Hunt’s room
·      We then all met in the lobby and we were off to Angkor Wat.
·      Angkor Wat has many temples adjacent to the main temple so we went and saw then first.  Each temple had its uniqueness to them.
·      We spent several hours exploring each of the temples.  We went to 3 of the other temples before spending the rest of our day at the main temple in Angkor Wat.
·       Our visit to Angkor Wat took the entire day.  The temples were beyond amazing.  The detail and history was so incredibly fascinating.
·       We then returned to our hotel that evening.  Hunt was not feeling well so him and Sarah stayed in while Ike and I set out to explore the nightlife of Siem Reap.
·       We took a fun ride through the town on a motorcycle style coach.
·       We went to a very nice and very authentic cambodian restaurant.  Several people waited us on because for a good while we were the only guests in the restaurant.  It was a very nice dinner.
·       We then continued the night by shopping.  We were in a night shopping area full of fun and authentic Cambodia souvenirs. 
·       We bought many things.  We finished the evening at a jewelry stand purchasing many small priced silver and birthstone items.
·       Our ride back to the hotel was fun.  Nightlife in Siem Reap was a wonderful experience.
·       We then turned in for the night.  Jet lag had started to really kick in so we slept well that night.

Day Five: (Tuesday)
·       We woke up very early to go to the sunrise at Angkor Wat.
·       Our tour guide Chow and our driver picked us up and off we went.
·       We arrived at the temple at about 5:30am.  We found our way through the temple and sat on the wall of the library in the temple as the sunset rose.  We took many incredible pictures.
·       We then ate breakfast at a little restaurant just outside the temple.
·       We then headed back to our hotel to check out and retrieve our luggage.
·       We then continued with our tour guide to the floating village of Vietnamese and Cambodians.
·       We board a barge type boat that took us way out on a very large fresh water lake.
·       Going through the floating village of these people was absolutely humbling.  The pictures we took are simply national geographic quality.
·        Many little boats drove along our bigger boat trying to sell us things.  One boat even came by us with a little girl about 4 years old with a bowcontrictor snake around her neck.
·        Seeing how these people lived was just amazing.
·        We then ended our time in Siem Reap traveling to the airport to fly back to Thailand.
·        Just the drive through the town was an adventure seeing all the pople and how they lived.
·        We arrived at the airport and got our luggage checked on.  We had about a two-hour wait.
·      We flew to Bangkok and waited for about another two hours before we boarded our next flight to Phuket, Thailand.
·        Our flight to Phuket was the most memorable flight out of all our flights.
·        We knew it was raining in Phuket but did not know the severity until our pilot tried to land.  He aborted the first landing and continues out into the ocean to turn around.  He then made a second attempt only to quickly abort that attempt.  After flying for what seemed forever back to the ocean our pilot made a third attempt.  This time aborting it and taking us clear back to Bangkok to refuel and wait out the storm.
·        We waited on the tarmac for about two hours before heading back to Phuket.
·        Our fourth attempt was successful and we landed without incident.  We were told it was quite the rainstorm but when we landed we could not see any evidence of it. 
·        We then took a shuttle to our hotel called The Westin Bay & Resort Hotel.  It was a beautiful hotel that overlooked the ocean.  We checked in and called it a night.

Day Six: (Wednesday)
·        We woke up and went and had a wonderful breakfast buffet there at our resort. 
·        We then boarded a tour to Phanga Na Island.  We were on a really nice large speedboat with about 25 others.  It took us to quite a few different islands around the main island of Phanga Na Island.
·        We got to take chaffered canoes into little caves that opened up into the islands.  We saw lots of monkeys.  The scenery was beautiful. 
·        We ate lunch on the main island and then went sightseeing to some more islands before heading back to Phuket.  It was a really fun day on the ocean.
·        We returned to our hotel and went swimming in the resort pool.  It was a beautiful pool overlooking the ocean.
·        We then decided to head into town to eat dinner.  We had a really hard time finding a place to eat.  We ended up eating
·        We then decided to go get massages.  I went and shopped for a bit and then went and got a foot massage.  The others got full body thai massages.
·        We then headed back to our hotel and called it a night.

Day Seven: (Thursday)

·        We once again got up and went to the hotel breakfast buffet.  It was wonderful.  By far our favorite of the trip.
·        We then boarded another tour bus and headed to Phi Phi Island.  The speedboat this time was a bit smaller.  The waters were very choppy so it made for quite the ride.
·        We had to go a lot farther to get to Phi Phi Island.  We saw some beautiful scenery.
·        A few of the islands we got to snorkel.  There were beautiful fish in one of the areas.
     The beaches were white and the water was blue. 
·       The last island we went to was called Bamboo Island.  We all were so tired we just laid on our towels and relaxed.  I went up and down the shoreline and collected a few fun shells. 
·       We then headed back to Phuket.  Again the water was very choppy.  It even rained on us as we were traveling back.
·       We made it back to Phuket and headed back to our hotel.
·       We had dinner there at the resort and man was it wonderful.  Probably one of the best meals we had all week.
·       After dinner Ike and I decided to go back into town for some shopping and we both went and got full body massages. It was an interesting massage. It was good but a little different from what I was used too.
·       We then headed back to the resort.

Day Eight: (Friday)
·        Happy Birthday to Me!  Yes it was my birthday.  With us being in Thailand and the fact that we were a day ahead I got to celebrate my birthday for two days.  Kind of fun.
·       We woke up and went to the wonderful breakfast buffet before we packed up and headed to the airport.
·       We flew back to Bangkok without incident.  Definitely a better flight then the one we came on to Phuket.
·       We had a two-hour layover before we headed to Hong Kong.
·       We ate lunch there at the airport and I finally got to eat my som thom and khawnio Mamuang .   
·       We had a good flight to Hong Kong and arrived at 8pm Friday night.
·       We took a taxi to our hotel the Le Meridian Cyperport. 
·       We checked in and decided to go to the restaurant there at the hotel.
·       We ate French fries and ice cream cups.  The waitress put a candle in my ice cream cup to celebrate my birthday.
·       We then headed back to our rooms and called it a night.

Day Nine: (Saturday)
·       We woke up early and headed to Victoria Peak.  We were told to get there early before the crowds.  We were glad we did.
·       We ate breakfast at a little café.  Not the best breakfast we had but it was ok.
·       We then went to the lookouts and took lots of pictures.  It is one of the highest peaks on the island.
·       We then took the tram down the steep mountainside.
·       We saw some impressive views for sure.
·       We then board a Big Red Double Decker Tour bus to see the island.   We stayed on it for several hours seeing and learning all about Hong Kong. 
·       We then went to the Central station to ride the ferry over to the Kowloon side.  We ate hamburgers there on the pier before taking the ferry to Kowloon. 
·       We took a taxi and went and saw the Hong Kong Temple.  We took lots of pictures and then headed to a night shopping place called Temple Street shopping. We bought some fun souvenirs.
·       We then took the underground train back to the main island and headed back to our hotel.

Day Ten: (Sunday)
·       We woke up and headed out for the day.  Ike and I decided to go off on our own for the day.  We had different things we wanted to do then Sarah and Hunt. 
·       We took the ferry over to Kowloon and continued our Big Red Bus Double Decker tour over there.  We then got off in a shopping district called Moncock.  We shopped for watches and found some really nice ones.
·        We then headed back to Temple Street to meet up with a vendor guy for another present we needed. 
·        We then met up with Sarah and Hunt and went to dinner.  We went to a really fancy place but got lousy service.  It was not our favorite meal at all.  We were happy to be done.
·        We then headed back to Temple Street Night Shopping for our last minute shopping needs. 
·        We headed back to the hotel and called it a night. 
·        Ike and I were hungry so we ordered room service. 

Day Eleven: (Monday)
·        Our last and final day.
·        Ike and I woke up and got all packed and ready to go.  Sarah and Hunt decided to stay back but Ike and I were ready to do one last adventure.
·        We took a shuttle into the main airport sub station to drop our luggage off and get our boarding passes.
·        We then took the train or should I say a few trains to find the ICC (International Commerce Center) on the Kowloon side.  It is the 4th tallest building in the world.
·        We first found a little café and had lunch.
·       We then took the elevator to the 100th floor.  There was a 360-degree view of the whole island.  It was very spectacular.
·       We then boarded our last train and headed for the airport.
·      We arrived in plenty of time and enjoyed Starbucks as we waited for our flight to LA
·       Our flight from Hong Kong was 12 hours.
·        It was long and boring but uneventful which was fine with me.

  Day Twelve: (Monday)
·       We arrived in LA around noon home time.
·       We then went through customs.  All went well.
·       We picked our luggage up and headed in a shuttle to our next gate.
·       We had about a two-hour wait till our final flight home.
·       We boarded and flew to Phoenix.
·      We picked up our luggage and headed to the pick up area.
·      Marilyn, Spencer & Taylor arrived with roses in hand.
·      We all got in Marilyn’s van and headed home
·      Arrived about 6:30pm safe and sound after a very long 11 days!
·       Happy to be home!

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