Plant spotting in Thailand

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #35

One of the wonderful things of exploring Thailand was the quantity of plants everywhere. On many street corners, balconies, house fronts there were lovely plants. There were all sorts of frangipanis (which are one of my all time favorites since I lived in Australia) but the gorgeous colours on these ones shown above defy anything I’d seen yet.

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This lovely lotus shot after a small rainshower is magical. Nature really knows how to combine colours.

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How could I resist making a close-up of such a tiny furry leaf… it’s pure perfection!

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There were also plenty of lovely flowers as decoration around the temples.

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In Surat Thani as I was walking by the river, I came across this plant vendor’s shop on wheels. I admired the collection of luscious green pot plants for every taste, expertly squeezed onto every square centimeter of the cart.

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Cycling around Bang Krachao

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While researching what to do in Bangkok I had read about Bang Krachao, a “smog-free, government-protected oasis of green on the mighty Chao Phraya River”.  It sounded like the perfect place to get some rest from the bustling city, so one morning I made my way to the pier in the south of Bangkok and took the boat across the river with many motor bikes and a few pedestrians. On arrival, I rented this wonderful red bike, and was handed a basic photocopied black and white A4 map.

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Loving the sensation of freedom of being on a bike, I pedalled away enthusiastically and promptly lost my way. Most roads looked identical and they had the same name, being distinguished only by a number. Soon my sweaty map made all details  completely illegible and was no use at all.

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So after a while I gave up trying to figure out where I was and just rode around aimlessly, enjoying whatever I discovered on my way. There are these concrete paths which allow you to cycle through the mangrove.  Going at a slow pace in order not to inadvertently ride off the edge into the water and mud, it was a great way to soak up the atmosphere.

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I spent a great day watching local people going about their daily tasks, passing many colourful temples and enjoying having lots of time to observe all the details of the plants and butterflies.

Things I loved about Thailand

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  • Fresh fruit vendors in the street

Imagine if there were people selling fresh fruit that was peeled, chopped and ready to eat on every street corner in Europe?? It would be so much easier for me to be healthy and reach for fruit instead of getting a piece of cake when I feel like a snack:) Loved the mini-pineapples, watermelon, papaya, mango…

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  • Hundreds of colourful temples

I couldn’t get enough of the beauty of the temples with their flashy colours and intricate designs, the golden buddhas, feeling the cool pavement inside the temples with my beare feet, the quiet compared to the bustling city, only interrupted by the sound of monks chanting or people shaking budhist fortune sticks to find out what the future has in store for them…

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  • Offerings

Colourful offerings of bright flowers, water, ribbons, soft drinks and more near buddhas and spirit houses.

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  • Paradise beaches

Soft sand, colourful boats, transparent water, snorkeling with multicoloured fish and  observing the details of corals, finding tiny sea shells… It was so relaxing, good for the body and the mind.

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  • Children playing in the sea during magic hour

I loved to walk up and down long stretches of the beach at that time when the sunlight gets golden and the colours soften, and watch kids playing, laughing together and collecting sea shells in the magic hour.

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  • Amazing sunsets

On the western side of the islands the sunsets are gorgeous with their spectacular colours bouncing off the whispy clouds. Every day the colours are different and breathtaking. Such a simple pleasure!

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  • Wandering around night markets

Exploring the night markets was so much fun. I could spend hours walking around looking at the beautifully presented vegetables, trying to figure out what the plastic bags with bright mixtures contain, and people watching as locals buy their dinner… The markets are such a feast for the eyes (and tummy;)

50 shades of orange

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Hi my name is Fanny and I have an obsession with buddhist monks. I’m not proud of it, but I can’t help myself. Their stunning orange robes attract my eye with an irresistable pull and I love how each monk expresses their own identity with a slightly different hue of orange.

Also, they have these wonderful shoulder bags in different colours, with gorgeous designs.  I love these bags so much that I searched to buy one on my last day in Bangkok. I even tried asking one monk for some shopping tips (he didn’t understand English, so I dropped it). But to no avail, I couldn’t find a shop selling them.

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The monks seem so calm and somehow otherworldly, so it always makes me smile to see buddhist monks posing for a photo or a selfie and speaking on the phone like anyone else.

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I would like to be able to claim that this is a recent obsession, triggered by the multitude of monks peacefully milling around the temples in Thailand… however that would be a lie.  I vividly remember stalking a bunch of buddhist monks who were simply enjoying discovering the Bean in Chicago back in 2014… The camaieu of their robes is just so beautiful!

Discovering Thailand

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #23

My trip through Thailand was amazing!  It was a perfect blend of exploring Bangkok and making my way down to the South via Suratthani on my own, and then meeting up with wonderful friends to celebrate a wedding and travel on the paradise islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.

Everything was so different from Amsterdam that it took no time at all to switch into holiday mode, forget any thoughts about work and be in the moment. I must say trying all sorts of delicious foods, learning to navigate my way around Bangkok, observing buddhist rituals in the colourful temples, exploring the bustling streets with their tuk-tuks and street vendors, as well as getting regular massages really helped to disconnect from daily grind back home:)

I feel so privileged to have had the possibility to discover some of this beautiful country and had the time to explore at a leisurely pace without rushing.  I will be sharing some pictures and impressions over the next weeks.