Wow I have been so busy since my last post a few weeks ago! I’ve finished my last week of classes, went on a weekend trip to Bangkok, went to my last host stay in a Southern Thai village, then moved out of the dorms at Payap University and into an apartment. I’m going to publish two posts in order to get caught up – this first one is about my last classes, trip to Bangkok, etc… and the next one will be all about my time in my last village stay. I have lots of pictures to accompany these posts so be sure to also check out my pictures page here.
Wrapping Up Classes
The last week of classes at Payap is kind of a blur at this point. The work load of classes tended to be significantly less than the workload at K, but this week felt almost like being at K again. We had papers and presentations due, as well as a 25 minute interview test in Thai. It was bittersweet to finish our classes. I’m especially going to miss Thai class; both learning Thai, and just going to class was just so fun. The interview test, for which we sat down with an unfamiliar Thai teacher and they asked us questions that got progressively harder and was cumulative, was pretty daunting. But now that the interview is over and I’ve reflected on it, it’s so cool that we have learned enough Thai to do that! Aside from classes and studying, we didn’t do much that week. Right after we all finished our interview tests on Friday, a group of 5 of us hopped on a plane to visit Bangkok for the weekend.
Weekend Trip to Bangkok
Bangkok has too much to see in one weekend, but we managed to fit a lot in in the time that we had. Flying from Chiang Mai to Bangkok was a breeze on Friday afternoon. Upon arriving to Bangkok, we were a bit overwhelmed because it is soooooo big and different from what we’re used to in Chiang Mai. Our mission for the night was to simply find our Air B and B. We took the metro from the airport and then walked a bit to get to our building. Our Air B and B was in a condo building with a grocery store on the ground floor. We ended up cooking dinner which was very exciting as we haven’t had access to a kitchen since we left our homes in the States! We had pretty early night as we were exhausted from the week/traveling and we had signed up for a tour that began at 6:30 am on Saturday morning.
Though the tour we went on required us to get up at 5:30 am, it was a really cool experience that totally exceeded my expectations. For the tour, we went on an Ayutthaya Ancient Temples and History tour. It was about a 2 hour drive to our first stop as the tour we went in was in the next providence over from Bangkok, Ayutthaya. Ayutthaya was the capital of what is now Thailand from 1350 to 1767 – it was very powerful during its reign and still is very culturally important. On the tour we stopped at 6 historically important sites that included temples, statues of the image of Buddha, and remains of old palaces. Each location was so unique – I can’t even describe them well. We had a tour guide tell us about some of the history of each place – it was really interesting and new information to me. The ruins were so beautiful! Some of the sites we visited had been damaged in a war against the Burmese- as a result of losing battles, all of the images of Buddha had their heads cut off. It was a very powerful site to see. The architecture was really different from temples and other sites that I’ve seen in Chiang Mai. My favorite stops were Wat Maha That and Wat Phra Si Sanphet.
After the tour, we returned to our Air B and B and checked out the pool. It’s pretty funny how adjusted my body is to weather in Thailand. Right now in Thailand, it’s “winter.” Whenever it gets below 75 degrees Fahrenheit, I find it cool. We ended up not staying at the pool long because the sun was setting and it was a chilly 60 degrees. In the evening time, we took the metro to check out one of the night markets in Bangkok. We had fun navigating the metro and walking around the market. The night market seemed to go on forever so eventually we headed back towards where we were staying and we stumbled on a little carnival/ street food market. The following morning, cooked an amazing breakfast (hash browns, eggs, waffles) in our our Air B and B before checking out. In the few remaining hours, we wandered around a mall nearby and then took the metro back to the airport. I really enjoyed Bangkok, but as we saw the mountains in the horizons from the plane as we returned to Chiang Mai, I felt a sense of relief like I was returning home.
Moving into Apartments
Between Bangkok and now, I stayed in a village in Southern Thailand for a week. To see that post, check here!
As when classes ended, it was bittersweet to move out of the dorms. The dorms weren’t really anything special, but we had had a lot of good times over the past few months. Packing my stuff up wasn’t too difficult as I still really only have 2 suitcases of belongings, however, seeing the belongings of all 8 of us just piled up in the lobby of the dorm rooms was pretty funny. We’re moving into apartments for the second phase of our experience here: the internship phase. Our new apartments are super nice! We all got our own rooms with a refrigerator, bathroom, and balcony. They’re in a really nice location, close to one of the malls here, other restaurants, and Chiang Mai University. It will be much better getting transportation to our internship from here compared to at Payap. It’s been fun unpacking into my own space and exploring our new area!
Thank you for reading! This brings us pretty up to date. After this week I have two weeks of winter break! Over my break, I a few of my friends are coming to visit me in Thailand! I’m going to show them around Chiang Mai for a few days, and then we’re going to spend a few more days in Bangkok. Afterwards, I’m going to spend the last few days of break in Phuket with a few other people in my program. I’m not sure what my posting schedule will look like over break, but I’ll update when I can. As always, check out my pictures page here, and also, have a happy holiday season!