The Land of Smiles

Feel like smiling yet?

I was really excited to come back from Thailand and post about “the land of smiles” and how relaxing and awesome my trip there was, but then my grandpa died and it just felt, well…

Wrong. To revel in my two-week luxury tropical Christmas vacation. When my family was reeling from the death of our father figure?


Womp womp. 😦

But, what’s more useful for getting through sad times than memories of good ones? For that reason, I think it’s time to get back to the land of smiles…

Because I need some, dammit.

It’s pretty hard to NOT be in a good mood in Thailand. Well – except when you have a roaring case of “Bangkok Belly”, aka “Traveler’s Diarrhea”, in the middle of your final night of vacation, and you know you have to wake up and fly 36 hours home the next morning. That’s ONE way to wipe the smile off your face…

But we’re over that…


It’s lush and steamy; the sun is omnipresent, even on an “overcast” day (I never did figure that one out)… The place is crawling with elephants and monkeys and even the giant monitor lizards seem like they want to be your friend (like when they swim up from underneath you in the middle of a pristine lagoon; that actually happened!).

Trent gave this elephant his mud bath and then we got in the river with him and washed him off. #bucketlist

Thailand inspires you to go barefoot. Everywhere; in the temples, on the white sand beach, in your banana hammock, on the cafe veranda.

Literally, a banana hammock.

Thailand is known as the “Kingdom of 100 fruits”; sweet and juicy and spicy all at the same time. The sea is so turquoise blue, so crystal clear, it’s like swimming in an aquarium – complete with a rainbow of tropical fish encircling you…

My beloved Trent’s way of coping with this unexpected surprise was to spend the rest of vacation writing a death metal song (semi-) in his head called “SWARMED BY TROPICAL FIIISSSHHH”.

It’s no wonder “Thai people” (as all of our new Thai friends unfailingly referred to themselves) can’t stop grinning.

So, since I need to grin more right now…

It’s time to go back to Thailand.

Hike to the elephant sanctuary in the mountains above Chiang Mai.

One of the baby elephants we couldn’t stay away from.

Climbing the 310 steps to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep above Chiang Mai.

So many different kinds of garlic!

Prayer in the thousand-year-old sanctuary at Chiang Mai’s Wat Phra Singh.

Longtails on Tubkaek Beach; our private stretch of sand for our Christmas stay.

Neighbors at our resort in Krabi.

The pristine beauty of nearly-uninhabited Koh Yao Noi, where we spent five days in bliss.

Kayaking through sea canyons, caves, limitless lagoons, and mangrove forests.

Overland across the jungle of Koh Yao in the back of a pickup truck.

New Year’s Eve on the beach of Koh Yao with the locals.

New Year’s Day inside the infamous “hong” of Hong Island.

Looking toward 2018…

🙂 🙂 🙂


See all our pictures of Christmas and New Year’s 2017/2018 in Thailand here.

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2 thoughts on “The Land of Smiles

  1. Margaret Wisniewski says:

    No matter what happens in life, never ever stop smiling, Lisa! If there was one thing your grandpa was famous for, it was his fabulous smile. And it runs in the family! I have heard that all my life, and I have heard it about you girls. Smiles are contagious. They change your body chemistry. Fake it till you make it. But there is nothing fake about this beautiful place or the joy that it must have brought you. Why not share it with all of us, so we can be joyful, too?
    This trip is definitely one for the bucket list, between the blue lagoons, the monkeys and elephants (NOT the monitor lizards), and the garlic! But most of all the friendly people. The world really is a very small place when you are open to new adventures. I am so glad I got to see Thailand. I hope I can meet the “Thai people” some day, and capture their infectious smiles. But wait! I am already smiling!! It’s genetic. Love you! Live large! Gramps would approve!

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