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Back to the Boat After a Visit to the States

March 12, 2016

It’s been a long time since our last post and we are still in the Pangkor Marina in Malaysia. We’ve been busy with a two-month trip back to the States to visit family and friends and a two-week land trip to Thailand. We are scheduled to be hauled out for fresh bottom paint next week and have been busy with boat projects.

The biggest news is that we have joined the Malaysia East Rally which explores the east side of the Malaysian Peninsula and the north side of Borneo; both have fabulous diving. The Australian government has issued a warning against visiting northeast Borneo, but we will be accompanied by police and navy vessels that hopefully will protect us from pirates. The rally ends at the border with Indonesia and we will explore southern Borneo (Kalimantan) and hopefully get a chance to see the orangutans that we missed last year because of rain forest fires.

Our trip to Thailand started with three nights in Kuala Lumpur (KL), the capital of Malaysia. There we visited the Batu Caves where a Buddhist shrine sits below an open ceiling in the cave. We attended the play MUD that depicts the history of KL and enjoyed a wonderful bird park where the birds flew around us under huge nets. The highlight was having drinks in the Sky Bar at sunset admiring the magnificent Petronas Towers as they were lit up. The worst part of KL is the traffic which turns to gridlock at rush hour.  The city offers a Hop-On-Hop-Off bus that hits many of the city sights.

We flew from KL to Bangkok where we toured the waterfront and canals in an iconic long tail boat and saw wild Komodo dragons along the banks. These boats have a car engine and transmission connected directly to a propeller on the end of a 15-foot shaft. The whole assembly pivots to steer the boat. At night we strolled down Soi Cowboy of “Hangover 2” fame and eyed the beautiful women of the night. We spent a night at the theater to see Siam Niramit with its cast of over 100, a real river on stage, and live elephants. There is a 15 foot high Buddha made of solid gold that survived the raids by the Burmese.  In Bangkok we got hooked on Thai massage which we enjoyed almost daily.

We did a side trip to see the Kwai River Bridge and the JEATH Museum that memorializes the 60,000 Allied prisoners and 100,000 conscripted Asians and Indians that died while building the Death Railroad for the Japanese during WWII.

We took the train to Ayutthaya which is the old capital of Thailand. We saw soooo many temples that we became “templed out” and took the overnight train to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. We had comfortable beds on the train and got a good night’s sleep as the rocking of the train reminded us of the boat.

Chiang Mai was very enjoyable as we walked the night market sampling street food, always followed by a Thai massage. Brian even tried a foot cleaning by cleaner fish. He put his feet in the fish tank and tiny fish eagerly attacked him. We spent an afternoon at Tiger Kingdom where we were able to pet both small and large tigers. They are fed in the morning and only want their tummies rubbed. A day was spent traveling 600 km to see the White Temple in Chiang Rai, the Golden Triangle with a quick trip to Laos where Brian tried their cobra whisky, and a visit to the Long Neck tribe that fled Burma a hundred years ago. It was a very long day.

The best experience in Chiang Mai was our visit to the Elephant Jungle Paradise Park. This park is new and is not overly crowded with tourist. In fact, we were joined by only one other couple for the rough ride through the jungle. The adult elephants were rescued from “elephant ride” concessions where they are over worked and often abused. We were allowed to participate in the elephant’s feeding, mud bathing, and fresh water rinse in the stream. We helped prepare the vitamins that the elephants take daily. The two-year-old was very energetic and playful. This is elephant retirement heaven!

Tiger Kingdom – Chiang Mai

Elephant Jungle Paradise Park

Bangkok

Kuala Lumpur

Chiang Mai

Ayutthaya and Train to Chiang Mai

Visit to the Kwai River Bridge

Pangkor Marina

From → Travel

One Comment
  1. What fun you guys are having. A mud bath with the elephants! I think that tiger is related to Shelby – just wants her tummy rubbed. How wonderful! Was so good to see you guys in January and looking forward to meeting up with you later in the year!

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