Thailand! Now reopened to international travel after the pandemic! FINALLY!
On May 1st, Thailand opened up where you didn't have to quarantine before arriving. A lot of the places are now accepting tourism and you don't really have to have masks everywhere. There currently aren't so many tourists like there have been in the past, and that's just one of the things that makes it super nice to visit right now! Normally when I've visited in the past, there have been hoards of people wherever you go. Now, you can really be the only person at a lot of these temples and other tourist spots. I've never experienced something like that here before COVID!
The first part of the trip was in Koh Samui. "Koh" just means "island" in Thai. We went scuba diving, we visited temples, and we just explored the vast sights of the island.
We went to the Samui Elephant Sanctuary where we learned how to make food and medicine for the elephants. The people who care for these majestic creatures go above and beyond. Plus, we got to feed our new pals! They were impossible not to love.
We hiked quite a bit around refreshing, cascading waterfalls. The weather was a bit rainy while we were there, so everything we explored involved water! We kayaked and visited a spa resort. But a lot of what was most fun to capture were these colorful temples and laughing Buddhas.
The second part of the trip followed a flight to Chiang Mai - a city in the mountains of Thailand. There are a hundred temples in the "old city" - there's a moat and everything, it's just marvelous. We explored the Hmong Market that dazzled me with its colors. With that, I did a two-day catalog shoot for National Geographic's Artisan Catalog, NOVICA. Here they represent Thai artisans whose techniques are slowly vanishing. This catalog really promotes and shows off their work.
We spent a day visiting the Long Neck Karen Tribe - we saw how they weaved and learned about why they put rings on their necks. It's considered very beautiful to have long necks, and every three years they add rings to their neck.
We hiked trails that took us through the rain forest and the cloud forest to the highest point in Thailand, called Doi Inthanon National Park, and saw incredible sights - of course! We saw two Buddhist temples at the very top - the King's and Queen's Temples.
It's amazing how the whole landscape changes before you.