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Highlights from Thailand [Part 2] -- Meditation, Motorbikes, and Dental Work.

Updated: Apr 5, 2019

See PART 1 for more of our favorite things about Thailand.

Cycling around thousand-year old temples in Attathuya

temples, Ayutthaya, thailand
Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Thailand

So many ancient and beautiful temples dot this peaceful town, and most of them are located within a park that is perfect for cycling. The main temple complexes can be entered for 50 baht each, or 200 to enter all six. Entering 3 of the complexes more than satisfied our craving for ancient temples, and the day was rounded off watching the sunset behind the towering stupas, and enjoying the colorful fowl, dinosaur-like monitor lizards, and Thai exercisers. The walk or ride back from the park along the main street of town affords an impressive night market scene. Allover, it was a great day spent in Attathuya, but more than a day and a night here is probably overkill.

Driving motorbikes on Thai country roads

For only 100 baht ($3) and a temporary passport deposit, you can rent a decent scooter for 24 hours. Although it doesn’t have the thrill of a full-blown Harley, it still is the perfect way to see the Thai countryside. At Pai and Ao Nang, you can be out of the main city within minutes and cruising winding roads surrounded by limestone cliffs and all types of local attractions. We would have seen so much less without these scooters, and definitely understand why there are so many of them in this country.

Climbing the 1200 stairs to Krabi Tiger Temple for sunset

Arrive into the large temple complex in Krabi and you’re greeted by statues of Buddhas and tigers hidden amongst the caves. Then start climbing and climbing, steep stair after steep stair. 45 minutes later, you’ve made it, almost certainly covered in sweat. At the top is an enormous Buddha statue and a number of small shrines. Despite the snippets of conversation drifting over from the groups of early twenty-somethings, we had a lovely meditation here, followed by the most epic sunset we’ve seen in Thailand.

Getting dental work in Bangkok

You might think: “what is this doing in here?”. Dental work as a highlight, next to ancient temples or motorbike adventures?

But actually, it was one of those unique travel experiences that strip away another layer of the Western conditioned shell. I found the dental care in Thailand better -- and much cheaper -- than in the United States. Making an appointment was easy, and it cost about $30 for a teeth cleaning, and $30 for a filling. The only downside is that, at the beginning, the dentists were averse to using anesthetics, so the drill for filling was more than a little jarring. We’ve actually found that dental care in all the countries we’ve visited has been professional, quick, and cheap. It really helps you to drop that stereotype of “America is the best at everything”, and see that people practice things professionally around the world.

Pai canyon. hiking, Thailand
hiking around Pai canyon. Can you spot the Franklin?

The town of Pai

This hippy hamlet nestled in the mountains of Northern Thailand was so fun that we wrote a separate post about it. But, to pique your interest, here are some words to describe Pai: tranquil, happy, adventurous, welcoming, organic, dreadlocks, bungalow.

Meditation retreat at Wat Suan Mokkh

Like Pai, we wrote a separate piece about our time at Suan Mokkh here. 10 days of silent meditation in an isolated forest monastery = the perfect reset from many months of long travel. Like a pressure washer of the mind.

Fruit Smoothies

To round out this list, we can’t forget the ever-present fruit smoothie. It seems like every Thai street corner has a stand with blender, ice, and fresh fruit. If you’re lucky, your smoothie-maker goes light on the ice and heavy on fruit, and you’re sipping the perfect refresher for those hot and humid Thai days.

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