Tag Archives: beach

Thailand in Pictures

My first visit to Asia, originally a five week trip, turned into twelve and has kept me too busy to update this blog. Now that things are coming to a close I am able to finally share what I’ve been doing in Thailand and the other places that have been a part of my winter.

Thailand was a mixed bag for me. It was full of trash, smoggy cities and the sky was smoky from crop fires. I felt a constant stress from being badgered by peddlers or needing to salvage a situation after a business promised something it couldn’t deliver – not something you want on a holiday. On the positive side, I met many kind and amazing travelers and Thai people who I hope will remain friends into the future. I ate the variety of delicious food found throughout the country and every city felt generally safe to be a woman traveling alone. Like most visitors to Thailand, I really enjoyed the colorful nature and animals.

The following are images of Thailand that best highlight the journey – there is so much to recap and it was hard to pick just and a few memories.

Seeing wild elephants was an experience I will remember forever. I skipped seeing captive elephants, deciding it best to spend money on parks and infrastructure keeping these creatures living free. For about $30 I traveled to Kui Buri National Park and, with a guide in a truck, played “elephant hide and seek,” driving slowly in the park with binoculars glued to my face. We were very lucky to spot a few small groups including one with a baby (!) and a few solo elephants – one was an aggressive male that spotted us from 300 meters away and stamped around a bit to show who is in charge.

A friend and I had a great time biking around the forest and roughly 200 ruins that make up Sukhothai Park. The structures date from the 13th and 14th centuries CE. We enjoyed comparing the differences in architecture and decorative details of the well preserved pieces. Some corners of the park are free of people and make nice places to just relax.

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Erawan National Park hosts a river with a seven tiered waterfall. Each level has clear-blue pools available to visitors for wading or swimming. This was the first major nature area I visited and loved it! Reaching the top tier was challenging as the path became increasingly reclaimed by nature but it was the most fun I had on a hike.

I’m not the biggest fan of Bangkok but the complex of temples around and including Wat Arun is gorgeous and worth an afternoon boat ride across the river. I actually visited twice, once around noon to see architectural details in full sunlight and once again in the evening to enjoy sunset over the city.

A trip to see Huay Mae Sai Waterfall in Chaing Rai turned into a hike in the hills. Behind the waterfall a trail leads into the surrounding mountains with no end in sight. The path zigzags through pastures and forests. I wish I’d had enough time to see where it went.

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Prachuap Khiri Khan, a half day train ride from Bangkok, was my overall favorite location in Thailand. It’s the most beautiful and quiet seaside town. Adorable natural monkeys live aside the gorgeous Ao Manao Lime Bay (inside an air force base! Visitors allowed in for free). Everything is affordable and the few travelers I met were all outgoing and friendly. After a few days the place felt like home.

I’m not a pretentious eater and just dove right into whatever I saw. Street food, evening markets and small Thai cafes helped make my $25 a day budget possible. My favorites were fresh lime juice, coconut ice cream (pictured), pumpkin curries (pictured) and pork larb. Only once did I eat something too spicy and only twice did I get a Thai whiskey hangover.

Thailand has layers in every part of life, just like anywhere else. You can really do anything and build the travel experience that works for you while getting to know the culture. I’m glad I was able to see the huge metropolis that is Bangkok, tiny island villages, mountains, rivers, jungle, 1000-year-old temples, modern arts, take a swim in the ocean, go biking, do aerobics in Limphini Park with 300 other people, eat something totally new, binge on Oreos and other familiar treats, make new friends from every continent, visit English learning classrooms and meet students, and stay with a Thai family. Spending five weeks was enough time to get a feel for the country.

I’ve appreciated some of the challenges of the last few months. It’s an amazing privilege to go half way across the world and see how things work and people live in another place, even if it’s not always wonderful.

Goodbye, Thailand! Maybe I’ll be back again some day.

Thank you for reading!

Ruby

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Spain: Asturias (Road Trip Part 3)

Playa del Silencio

This beach is amazing! Visitors descend onto Playa del Silencio from a long wooden stair case. About half way down you can feel the loud and forceful winds that have helped to carve out this beach location. The main part of the beach consists of large smooth pebbles which are pushed back and forth by each wave and this area is suitable for swimming and sunning. The way the water and sunlight play off the textures and colors or the rocks create a beautiful palate of jewel colors. A large cliff face shields the beach from the East while the West end becomes a series of jagged rock poking out from the ocean in neat lines. It’s possible to wander very far during low tide, stepping among the rocks (with sturdy shoes). Low tide also brings a great opportunity to look for small sea life.

The cliffs that loom over the beach show a mix of soft soil with grasses and wildflowers and exposed rock layers. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes while looking at the colorful sections of earth, made especially vibrant when dampened by rain and sea. The name of the beach misleading, as the sound of powerful waves hitting rocks and the strong winds is anything but silent.

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 This gorgeous rock sits exposed to the ocean along a small beach. The cliffs, rock formations and exposed folds can tell the story of the area.


Playa Campiecho

A small town along the coast, Cadavedo, has many beaches and a dramatic coastline. I recommend Playa Campiecho, a stunning, natural beach with a beautiful view of the coastal cliffs. This isn’t such a safe place to swim with so many rocks, especially if caught during a tide change (the weather here changes quickly; in the same one hour visit, torrential rain broke to full sunshine and then back to overcast). However, it is a wonderful location for viewing the geological features that make the Spanish coast so beautiful and distinct. There are two “roads” to this location and one is an incredibly steep dirt road leading through a farm field; I found this is the less-desired route!

Playa Campiecho in Cadavedo

Playing in the waves and rocks on the coast of Asturias is a beautiful adventure! Although some beaches are quite well-known and their accessibility allows visitors to easily find them, I feel it’s impossible to claim some are more beautiful than others. Sometimes nothing is more inspiring than seeing life at work and tiny ocean communities blooming with plants and animals, or the wide range of colors nature creates in one viewpoint – reds, yellows and purples in rock and green grass featuring blue and white wildflowers. Coastal weather is just as dramatic as the landscape with a steady and rapid cycle of cloud cover, showers and sun. No doubt this only adds to the wonderful natural characteristics of the lands. I highly recommend a visit to any “beach,” manicured or completely natural along the coast of Asturias. Please know a rain coat and shoes with a sturdy sole are just as important and as a swimsuit and towel of you want to really enjoy the surroundings!

Thank you for reading and if you want to see more pictures find me on Instagram: @cestlaruby