“Cool camera! Can I see?”
I turned around. Before me, one of the street kids that haunt the markets of Chiang Mai, all knees and elbows and wearing a faded blue singlet with flip-flops. He was pointing at the camera around my neck, an old East German Praktica from the 1980s, silver grey.
The path from Burma to Thailand is a dark one. In World War II the Japanese invaded British-occupied Burma and started looking for a more secure overland supply route to connect the neighbouring countries.
There are a lot of myths about sailing the high seas. Some people think you need to know the nautical names of every sheet (sorry, ropey thing) and smell of seaweed all day, others reckon you can only do it on a giant cruise ship with four cinemas and a pants-exploding buffet station.
Since the birth of our little one five years ago, our adventurous travels have been restricted to camping trips at one end of the scale and to all-inclusive family holiday resorts in the Algarve at the other. But with our youngest reaching the trip minimum age of 5, we decided to book Intrepid’s Thailand Family Holiday – Land of Smiles.
I began reading the trip notes that I downloaded and my excitement was building around seeing the elephant sanctuary, hill top temples and exploring the khlongs of Bangkok. But there was also some nagging concerns about travelling on holiday as a family.
From sloths hanging out, to whales breathtakingly breeching and lions stalking their prey – when we asked you about your best experiences with animals when travelling, we were inundated with more than 2700 special moments.
Selecting just a small handful to share for you was one tough task, but here are 15 of the most fabulous animal encounters from travellers…
Intrepid travellers to Bangkok, in April and May 2013, were amongst those who took part in research for ‘The Child Safe Traveller’ (World Vision, 2013). This study looked deeper into tourist perceptions of child exploitation in connection with tourism in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam.
The research also assessed tourist reactions to child safe tourism communications. A total of 268 tourists from across the globe, representing different traveller types, ages, genders and socio-cultural backgrounds, completed surveys and interviews. Participating tourists had been in Thailand for varying lengths of time and many had travelled (or were travelling) elsewhere in South East Asia and beyond.
Nested near the Burmese border in northern Thailand, Chiang Rai City boasts an extraordinary display of flowers around the end of December and early January.
From north to south Thailand is famous for its orchids and Chiang Rai makes a beautiful backdrop for a flower festival. On display are exotic and ornate butterfly orchids, insectivorous pitcher plants and bizarre examples of the flowering ginger family.
Are you curry-blind when it comes to trying to pick a red, green or yellow Thai curry? They are all hot, spicy and delicious and as Intrepid’s Karen Rastall discovered during her tour of Thailand, guessing which one you’re eating is all part of the fun…
“One of my favourite countries for food would have to be Thailand. The flavours and tastes are incredible and there is such an array of different food to try. On a trip to Chiang Mai we found a little local restaurant with a typically huge choice of dishes. After reading the menu back-to-back, I eventually decided today was the day for a yellow curry.