An Amazing Trip (by Cassie Fawcett)

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AnAmazingTrip1My 14-year old daughter and I went to Thailand with Explorient in May 2013.  It was fantastic and certainly generated quite a number of life memories.  Now, a year later, I asked my daughter to summarize her experience and I loved to see what she took away from the experience.

Actually, I loved it so much, I thought I’d share with everyone at Explorient:

Last April, my father and I took a trip with Explorient to Thailand.  Although my cookie-cutter American girl life in Connecticut has been short, this was by far one of the best experiences of my life.  I learned about the Thai culture and religions that I could bring back to my school and town.

We were given wonderful tour guides and they were just as enthusiastic about us. They were great about telling us the best local cuisine, enabling fun day trips and even finding things off our ChiangMai_ElephantTrekschedule that we just came upon.  My particular favorite was the Thai New Year in Chiang Mai, or the Songkran Festival.  This consisted of a parade and lots of water being sprayed. For a few days, wherever we went, kids or mischievous teens would soak us and whoever was with us in tons of water.  I felt like one of the locals.  If nothing else, it cooled us off.

The trip didn’t have a tourist feel.  I know my Dad loved this, pushing us into crowded markets and famous temples.  The people were, I imagine, surprised to see a little white girl and her father venturing through their home areas, but they were extremely kind and more than welcoming.

We tried new foods and even went to a cooking class.  The funny thing about Thai food is one bite of their mild is equal to our spicy.  I think I went through three glasses of waterChiangMai_NightMarket in just that one cooking class.  Other than burning my mouth, the flavor was amazing.  We, along with a group of others, were led to a local market where we were taught how to choose the fruits and vegetables.  We tasted food during the cooking time and made actual fried rice that makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

Above all, the best part of the trip was the hike to the hill tribes.  We were led by our translator guide, who actually had family in this remote tribe (about 2 hours away from Chiang Mai way up in the Thai mountains) and knew the land like the back of his hand.  He told us stories of things that happened when he was a kid, like tarantula bites and showed us several rat holes.  When we got to the village there were beautiful houses on stilts.  About 15 in total, each with family running around, feeding animals, washing clothes and doing chores.

Our tour guide introduced us to his wife and his 4-year old son.  I was amazed that his son, like him, was being raised trilingual in the native hill tribe language, Thai and English.  He entertained us, ChiangMai_ElephantCamprunning around, dancing and singing.  Meanwhile, a young boy, only a few years older than me, prepared dinner for us.  We ate our delicious meals with the tribe and then retired.

The technology in this place surprised me.  There were homemade water filtration systems and cages to capture chickens.  As I mentioned before, everything was on stilts.

ChiangMai_FoodIn the morning, we took about a 30-minute hike back to Chiang Mai.  This may have been one of the most beautiful hikes in my life.  We were educated by our tour guide on tea leaves, coffee plants, what to eat, what not to eat and, of course, it was just plain beautiful.

We traveled to 5 different cities, plus the hill tribe.  Each one, a little different from the last.  Each with new cultures, new places and new experiences.  This is a can’t miss experience.  I would recommend for anyone.  Thailand is a beautiful place and I hope later in my life I can go back with a trip planned this amazingly well.

Comments (2)

  1. Kervin Yu May 21, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Hi Cassie, what a wonderful post of your Thailand trip! I’m glad you and Rick were able to experience Thailand’s off-the-beaten-path “gems” as well as participating in the Songkran Festivities. Thanks again for traveling with us. We wish you the very best and hope you’ll have a chance to return to the Orient in the near future!

  2. ainguyenstratfield May 21, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    Awesome post, Cassie! Thailand is pretty amazing and I’m glad you had a chance to experience it. My first trip was back in ’98 and I still remember every moment of it. The food, people, elephants and beaches – they were out of this world! Chiang Mai was indeed one of my favorites though I didn’t get a chance to stay at a hill tribe village (wish I had!). Songkran must have been so much fun too!