Month: January 2016

When Everything Goes Right

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It’s been a while, readers.  I’ve thought of posting so many times, and never felt I could publicly say what was on my mind.  So, it’s been a quiet stretch.  But we went to Thailand for Christmas and it was so beautiful that I had to come and show you. 🙂  We Hansen’s have a bit of a reputation for travel mishaps, but these 10 days went off without a hitch.  Well, there was that one bit with our ferry tickets taking us to the wrong part of the island and not having a ride or a phone number or an address..  But, that was a small glitch and nothing that a taxi and some Amazing Race skills couldn’t solve.

We started off with 2 days in Bangkok.  We rode along the Chao Phraya River, visited the Grand Palace, enjoyed some delicious street food, rode a tuk tuk, and walked through the stimulating markets.  We even topped off our visit by seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens, complete with Thai subtitles.  Bangkok was not really what I was expecting.  I didn’t feel like the traffic was as scary as I’d heard.  I never had to shade my children’s eyes from in-your-face sexual exploits.  And I was never once more than a stone’s throw from a 7-11.    It felt like a normal urban center, with it’s own claims to fame, of course.  For example, that is one Grand Palace.

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And there are indeed a lot of Buddhist temples.


20151221_2403It’s a low res photo, but seeing this flick was a huge highlight.  This experience included about half an hour of previews and Thai commercials, as well as standing to honor the king of Thailand.  Memories.

After Bangkok, we took a 12 hour overnight train to Surat Thani.  I wasn’t really sure how that whole situation was going to go down, but it was SO FUN!  I mean, we slept like crap, but SO FUN!

20151221_2384Our cabin with the beds folded away.

20151221_2386Our cabin with the beds folded down.  Pretty impressive.  I was actually quite comfortable, it’s just that the train made a LOT of stops in the night and made very loud train noises.  I should have seen that coming..  No matter- I highly recommend it.  It’s a fraction of the cost of flying to the islands and it includes a night of accommodation.  Deal!

After a night on the train, we took a bus, a ferry, and eventually a taxi to our island home for a week on Koh Samui.

20151224_2334We stayed in the town of Maenam and it was indeed a little piece of paradise.  Very quiet, loads of restaurants, a weekly street market, and one of the islands prettiest beaches.

20151224_2338 20151224_2344 20151224_2359 20151224_2360On Christmas Day we took a day tour to Ang Thong Marine Park, for some kayaking, climbing, and swimming.

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Chillin’ on the boat enjoying our Christmas Lunch.20151225_2242

We climbed up to the 500 meter viewpoint to see the spectacular view.  It was muddy and steep and took a lot of family encouragement, but we were pretty proud of ourselves.  We’re sweaty, salty, sandy, and muddy in this photo, but the view was so worth it.20151225_2250 20151225_2268 20151225_2286 20151225_2305

I have so many photos, over the years, of my kids playing in water, but I can’t help myself.  These crashing waves were one of the best parts of our day.20151225_2393Christmas dinner: pizza, pasta, chicken cordon bleu, mashed potatoes, veggies, and fruit shakes.  Those are 4 happy Hansens right there.

One of the restaurants on the Maenam beach lets you paddleboard for free on Sundays, when you enjoy a meal or drinks there.  So, we gladly ordered some lunch and spent hours playing around.  Eventually, we just ordered dinner too.  I’ve been wanting to try paddleboarding for years, and it went a lot better than I expected.  I didn’t even fall off!  Dwayne, on the other hand, hardly stayed up, but I managed to catch this photo, so I could have kept that a secret from you all.

20151227_2587 20151227_2604Our kids took to it right away.  Josiah probably stayed on for 2 hours straight.  He was even giving out free rides.20151227_2626 20151227_2652
On our last day, our host, Ron, took us on a day trip around Koh Samui to see both the popular spots, and the lesser known places that he loves.  We experienced an early morning market, beautiful temples, mountain top views, elephants, waterfalls, and a lot of lovely people serving us delicious food.

20151228_2521 20151228_252320151228_2505Abby got to give this little guy a drink.

20151228_2493Ron thought a family photo with this famous rock that looks like a penis would be a perfect shot for our Christmas card next year. 😉  Now if you can possibly ignore that poor rock, you’ll see the 4 of us at the end of a vacation where everything went right.  We’re so grateful for what we hope is only our first taste of Thailand.