December 30, 2019
December 30, 2019

3 Weeks in Thailand

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Merry Christmas!! Happy Holidays!!! (This is the first time I have had a warm Christmas. It feels weird. Where dat snow at?). We have officially been on our adventure for three weeks at this point.  

I don't want to say that we feel like locals now, because we totally don't - but we are getting use to being in Thailand. We have been pretty busy since our last post. So busy that we haven't been able to process any of our Gopro or drone footage. But that just means we have been having lots of fun, right?

The major highlights for us over the past two weeks have been our trip to Kanchanaburi, Joy and Peach's wedding, and our trip to Ko Samet.

Kanchanaburi - The Death Railway

When we told Joy's mom that we would be visiting Kanchanaburi, the first thing she said was "Why would you want to go there?". We were told that Kanchanaburi holds a lot of significance to the Thai people because of all the lives that were lost there during the Second World War. However, there isn't a substantial amount for tourists to see. In all fairness, after visiting Kanchanaburi, I would say that it is a pretty accurate assessment.  Oh yeah, it is also the hottest region of Thailand - guess who booked a place without AC?

We thought that it would be fun to take the train to Kanchanaburi - since it is famous for the Bridge on the River Kwai. The train was pretty old and slow moving. It gave us a good look at what life outside of a big city was like in Thailand.

Kanchanaburi was actually far more touristy than we expected. There was an entire street dedicated to bars, restaurants, and accommodation for tourists. It was a long street. Unsurprisingly, it was also the street that lead to the Bridge on the River Kwai. You can actually stand on the bridge and take photos/videos as the train is coming.

The other places that we wanted to visit near Kanchanaburi were actually pretty far away. Nancy and I being frugal adventurers...decided that we should rent a scooter to get around. Have you ever gone 50km on a scooter? Your butt starts to hurt and your eyes start to tear up.

The first place we wanted to see was the portion of the Death Valley Railway that ran along the river. The train came pretty early in the morning. This meant an early morning scooter ride. Even when it is 27C, wind chill in the shade is still a thing. I was a bit of a popsicle by the time we arrived. I don't think many people have drone footage here - making us cool, right?

The other place we wanted to visit was Erawan Falls. Only an hour and fifteen minutes scooter. Zoom zoom. Erawan Falls is a national park. There are seven different waterfalls to visit. Each pool contains little fishies that will nibble the dead skin off your feet. It tickles an insane amount. I have also never had such clean feet.

Joy and Peach's Wedding

This was the real reason we came to Thailand. Yes, travelling around has been a lot of fun and we have eaten tons of different foods, but those were just secondary to the wedding. One of our best friend's from undergrad got married to a pretty peachy guy.

I don't even know where to start with the wedding. This was our fifth wedding that we attended this year, and it was by far the most grand. Imagine Crazy Rich Asian style wedding, but like...only 25% as rich. We didn't have a crazy party on a container ship, fly in any helicopters, or drive around in any sports cars. We did, however, participate in an awesome wedding (they didn't flood the floor, but there was a smoke machine),  party on the top floor of the hotel overlooking Bangkok, and fight a crazy hangover (The Hangover Part II took place in Thailand...right?).

The Morning - Engagement and Tea Ceremony

The wedding started super early in the morning for us. Well, for Nancy. She had to wake up a 3:30AM to get her hair and make up done. The wedding started at 6:30AM. This was much earlier than we expect. The first part of the wedding was a Thai tradition. The Groom would lead his whole family through a set of "Gates", which were set up by the Bride's family. These "Gates" were to test the Groom to see if he was worthy of entering the Bride's house.

After the "Gates" was the Engagement Dowry. The concept of a dowry is pretty unheard of in North America, however, the tradition is very much alive in Thailand. Apparently some people are not able to get married if there are disputes on how much the dowry should be. The dowry is paid to the bride's family by the groom's family. However, it has been explained to us that the dowry is largely symbolic in nature, and generally given to the bride and groom to help them start their life. I was mind blown to see stacks of cash and pieces of gold. I thought it would just be a cheque or something.

Part of the wedding also had some Chinese traditions. For example, during lunch, there was a Tea Ceremony. This is where your pour tea for your elders...and they fork over cash. I mean something something respect and happiness. Anyway, the tea ceremony lineup was insane. They had to pour tea for 51 sets of elders. This is an unheard of amount. Joy and Peach getting married is apparently a pretty big deal. #crazyrichasians

Nancy and I dressed up for the engagement and tea ceremony. Photos by Big Love Studio.

The Evening - Reception and After Party

We had a bit of free time after lunch. For most of us, this meant nap time - unless you were getting your hair and make up done (again). From my understanding, all of the guys who were in the bridal party pretty much passed out right away (yeah, the bridal party was huge and a mix of guys and girls). All of the ladies on the other hand, had to stay awake to get their hair and make up done for a second time. They couldn't sleep after their hair was done either - for fear of ruining the new hairdo. Nancy received a lot of compliments from older Asian ladies over her afternoon hairstyle. Personally, I think she looked like bulbasaur.  

Us, the bride and groom and the rest of the bride's maids/man.  Photos by Big Love Studio.

Dinner was nuts. They literally called up all their favorite restaurants and said "come serve your food at our wedding". Each restaurant was given a stall around the hotel ballroom to serve their food. This resulted in a high quality buffet / street vendor combination. Oh yeah, the dinner was when the larger guest list showed up. The morning half of the wedding was for close friends and family - we probably totaled 200-250 people. The reception was intended to accommodate anywhere from 800-1200 people.

The bridal party and the entrance arches with the bride and groom.   Photos by Big Love Studio.

Once everyone was done stuffing their faces, everyone crowded into the ballroom. All of the bridesmaids (us) were tasked with holding wedding arches - helping to set the stage for an awesome entrance by the bride and groom. The typical speeches by family members and important people ensued. Based on the societal standing of the people who gave speeches, we came to realize what a big deal this wedding was.  

It wasn't until later in the evening that things really got started. The after party was a blast - I mean, the parts we remember. The next morning was a lot less fun. Nancy can attest to that.

Ko Samet - A hot Xmas 🌴

Beacheeesssss! There seems to be a reoccurring theme to travelling in Thailand. It is insane how many beautiful beaches this country has. The water is clear and the sand is so fine it reminds me of flour.

This is us, the newly weds and Rick & Janice having Christmas Eve dinner on the beach with the sunset behind us.

Our trip to Ko Samet was pretty reminiscent of the last time I was travelling in Thailand - it was with Joy, Janice and Rick. We had a lot of fun adventures four years ago, but this trip was even better.

I don't know if there is really much to say about Ko Samet. I think that the photos do a good job of explaining how we spend Christmas on a tropical island. Next up is NYE in Chiang Mai 🎉!

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