A Travellerspoint blog

Ko Lanta & Khon Kaen 1

Enjoying a tropical island and the transition to a buddhist volunteer project

The people of Thailand have truly touched and inspired us with their kindness, respect towards each other and the Divine, their care for family and their unconditional giving nature.
On the island Koh Lanta where we stayed for 4 days, Buddhists and Muslims live happily and peacefully together. In general, the island was amazing: tropical, with beautiful white beaches and jungles which are so alive. We had an adventurous caving experience there: our group of 4 each received a head lamp and headed through the jungle, poring down with sweat, towards the top of the hill where the entrance was. Inside we came across a clear water pool, crossed many doubtful hand-made bamboo 'bridges' and wooden ladders, and climbed over a wealth of slippery rocks. Near the end was a cove with hundreds of bats, twitching their little ears fierce-fully as we spoke.
By chance we also met June, a lady with the title of 'princess', as she's the grand-daughter of I-can't-remember-which-king, but who decided to live an alternative life in nature after having studied, worked for 8 years and paying off all her mothers debts, and traveling for 12 years while collecting precious gems.
Now she lives with her little family of 3 in a self-made hut/house (which they can easily take apart and build again elsewhere), enjoying nature and life through her animal rescue project (stray cats and dogs are omnipresent in Thailand) and making her own jewelry out of gold and silver thread and the gems she collected during her travels.
Our mouths remained wide open during pretty much the whole day we were there (we totally forgot about the tour around the island we had planned on doing that day), listening to all her stories. One about her enlightened teacher (and reading his teachings, which were just profound, indescribable) which she met after praying for just that -the monk arrived a week later on foot and went straight to meditate in the hut on the hill where she had prayed, one concerning her vision of the tsunami and their subsequent move to another part of the island, and many about how she found the different gems, such as a pink ruby as big as a fist and two crystals adapted by people over a span of 800 years, now containing all 7 colours of the colour spectrum, with technology our civilisation do not master yet.
Another interesting story was about how her teacher got a message during his meditation to go to a specific cave keep-safing man-made rocks containing gems which an ancient civilisation hid there 4000 years ago when their society was on the brink of collapse. They have the chemical structure of quartz crystals, but come in many different colours, are as clear as glass, and have a density of around 7.5, which makes them way heavier than any normal crystal. This type of gem is not natural and she presumes that they made it either with some technology we have no knowledge of, or with pure mind power.

Having brought our own jem collection to hand out as gifts during our travels, we were inspired by June to make our own silver-threaded jewelry. So on our way north to Khon Kaen, we stopped over in Bangkok to get our luggage and go on a silver-thread quest. It took us deep into Chinatown into a silver handling factory where we could watch the process from melted silver all the way into a 0.5mm thread we received.

Anyway, now we are in the rural area of Isaan in the North East, near Khon Kaen, at The Mindfulness Community. We share the space with about 25 other wonderful people, waking up at 6:15 for yoga and meditation, after which we do some work consisting of earth building, mosaik making, gardening, or helping out at the monastery.
In the afternoon we have free time and in the evening we have a sharing circle and some Buddhist teaching before going to bed well on time.
It's wonderful here to share time with a bunch of like-minded, beautiful people, learning about Buddhism and other physical skills, showering with a bucket, eating the most delicious fresh, organic food, and sharing smiles, knowledge about art and conversations about stuff that matters to us.
More on that soon! :)

Loads of love!

Posted by KiwiChocoTrip 19:34 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Sawadee-ka!

Touristing in Thailand

30 °C

And so the big adventure across the water towards kiwiland has begun. Nothing can stop us now! Well, except a two month stopover in Thailand. It seemed like a good idea at the time... The first ten days were kept free for 'being the tourist', after which we have some voluntary projects planned at buddhist communities, with some room for flexibility and improvisation.

So, let me tell you a about what has been going on so far. To start with, we had a little excitement in the airport when they couldn't find any stamps in Scott's passport documenting when he had entered any European countries, which could have him banned from Europe for several years. Thankfully, they found one, which was enough to let us go. On the flight to Kuala Lumpur we watched all the movies we wanted, and after a smooth transit to Bangkok we finally arrived at our hostel, tired, and ready for a nap.
Bangkok turned out to be a busy place at all times of day, with black fumes coming out of cars which ruthlessly fight for their space on the road and won't allow themselves to be stopped by any pedestrian. A place with hardly any street signs at all, so walking far distances by yourself is not really an option, and scammersscattered around, ready to try their luck on ignorent tourists. It is also a place with seducingly delicious smells coming forth from the omipresent stalls of streetfood, excuisite food at ridicoulous prices (the equivalent of about 1 to 1.5 euro for a meal - so yes, we eat out for breakfast, lunch, dinner, ànd snacks if we can't help ourselves - more on that later), and wonderfully decorated temples with gigantic buddha statues in the middle.
The latter part counts for most of Thailand, I guess, as does also the hot, but relaxed temperature allowing you to go out at any time of day, without having to worry about a jumper for later. Also, the Thai markets are fantastic, and the smiles from the locals heart-warming. As I mentioned before, the humerous prices also go for accommodation, which has not been any luxuries in our case, but cheap and clean, and the fresh coconuts -why drink water from a bottle if you can sip it from a young, juicy coconut?
Anyhow, after two days of exploring Bangkok, Scott and I got tired of the hustle and bustle, the continuous shoutouts from taxi- and tuk-tuk drivers, and decided to go to Ayutthaya, Thailand's former capital, known for its ruins of what were once majestic palaces and temples. The stories were true, although they did not mention the naughty red ants which eagerly start nibbling at your toes as soon as you stand still, nor the hundreds of stray dogs, which when felt territorial might attack you. The warning we got from one of them -although staying way out of its way- was enough to make us carry around 'dog rocks' in our pockets. Thankfully, we did not need to use them.

It was hard to choose from all the wonderful, paradise-like sounding islands where to go next, but as Scott has a friend on Koh Lanta, it's beautiful, not too touristic and in the south (we won't have another opportunity to go there during this trip), we dicided to head down by night bus and get our milky white butts out in the sun.
After a long travel we were warmly welcomed by Glenn, Dave and their incredibly friendly dog Georgie in their absolutely stunning guest appartment, which turned out to be all ours for the next few days. What can I say, it's way better than we could have dreamt of. The island is lush, filled with palmtrees, mangroves and beautiful beaches, and the appartment is simply heaven: tastefully decorated in Thai-style, with two bedrooms, a view on the ocean and sounds of monkeys im the surrounding rubber trees.

Pictures will follow soon! (If I'm not totally eaten by the mosquitoes by then).

Sending so much love, cuddles and smiles to all of you loved ones; we're so glad to share our story with you!

Posted by KiwiChocoTrip 20:36 Archived in Thailand Comments (2)

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