I'm a little behind on blogging, but it seems that the remainder of our trip was relatively lax in activities and so there wasn't as much to post. After Vientiane, we headed back in to Thailand for the last 10 days of our trip. We took the overnight train from Laos- this was a bit complicated as you have to cross a few border checkpoints- one thing I wanted to mention is that you will be approached by Tuk Tuk drivers once you are in Thailand telling you that you'll need a ride to the train station and they can take you. If you booked with a travel agency- they will get you all the way to the train station- do not take a tuk tuk. Also, be aware that the visa issued at a land crossing in Thailand is only good for 15 days instead of the 30 days that you are issued when you come in at an airport. We fortunately had changed out plane tickets to go home a week early, so we did not have to apply for a visa extension.
Once in Bangkok, we stayed overnight and then went on to Ko Chang by bus/ferry. Ko Chang is a larger island, and was nice to stay at to mellow out. We're entering the rainy season, and so it stormed every other day we were there for the week we spent there, and the other days were sunny. The high season for tourism just ended so it's much quieter. We stayed at Paddy's Palms which was good, and you should expect to pay about 30% less for accomodation during this time of the year anywhere you stay.
I took a Thai Massage Course through Bodiwork Spa (www.bodiworkspa.com) for 5 days and recieved my certification. I was lucky enough to have private instruction since it's the slow time of year, and I spent 4 days learning the steps, and then did the practical exam, and was given pointers on where to improve and how to do so at the end of it. I also got a massage at the spa as a reward at the end of the course. The owner and professor, Siriluck, is a wonderful woman and I very much enjoyed her company over the days. We had dinner with her and her husband one evening which was really nice, they took us to one of their favorite Thai restuarants and ordered several dishes for us to try- all of which were wonderful. Be sure to try Papaya Salad if you go to Thailand. I also had lunch with her the day of my exam at a local BBQ stand which was yummy too. There is also a cafe at the resort which is where I had lunch each day of my course, and I tried cold Thai tea there, which I wanted to learn how to make, and so she told me I could go in and have the barista show me how to make it one day, and she took me to the store so I could buy the tea to bring home with me as well. They were really nice and accomodating for everything- I recommend them if you are interested in a course. They also offer several other courses if you are interested in something else.
In between the sporadic torrential downpours and my class, I layed out at the pool and worked on a tan. Life's pretty rough here. :) Pictures of some of the rain and my certificate are scrolling above.
Headed back to Bangkok on the 20th, and meeting some friends of the family who have graciously put us up at the Hilton Millenium for a couple nights- I'm excited for a nice hotel before heading home!!