A Travellerspoint blog

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Songkran

Thai New Years

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One of the ways the Thais celebrate their New Years is with a three day-long water fight. I went to Chiang Mai, in the north of Thailand to experience it, and it was absolutely crazy! Everyone participates, young and old, willing and reluctant. I couldn't walk anywhere without getting a bucket of water dumped on me. The only way to do Songkran is to fully embrace being wet for three days, but it felt good in the 106 degree heat.

Here is a video I found on YouTube that shows what it is like:

I got a water gun, protective plastic bag for my phone, and joined the fight with a bunch of friends from Thammasat

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We soon observed that the Thais don't dump water on your head or spray it near food, however they will totally spray you from behind and even splash water on motorcycle drivers and in through the windows of cars. There is no mercy for people wearing ponchos trying to stay dry, or for street-side shop owners and their merchandise. It was madness and so much fun!

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Before Songkran I visited Pai, a small town in the north.

Lod Cave (a river runs straight through the mountain)
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Hotspring
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Trail at Pai Canyon
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A beautiful sunset from the Pai Circus Hostel
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After Songkran I did a day trip to Chiang Rai to see some beautiful, and very different, temples.
The White temple
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Black House (not actually a temple but a museum)
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Posted by juliaaugh 05:48 Archived in Thailand Tagged sunset hiking thailand cave chiang_mai pai songkran hotspring chiang_rai study_abroad thammasat ucsb eap uceap Comments (0)

Dogs of Thailand

I didn't do much this week so here are some dogs

Dog on a (parked) motorcycle
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It got down to a chilly 65 degrees for a few nights in January, people put shirts on all of the dogs so they wouldn't get cold.
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This dog modeled dog clothes at the Chinese New Years celebration
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Huskey Cafe! You can pay to hang out with dogs at this breeders house in Bangkok
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Dogs for sale at the market
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Stone dogs with raw meat and eggs at a temple
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Someone painted this dog
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(not painted)
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And this is just a really cute cat
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Posted by juliaaugh 21:21 Archived in Thailand Tagged dogs pets dog-lover funny_dogs Comments (0)

Myanmar

This week I went to Mandalay, Bagan, and Inle Lake in Myanmar. It was really interesting to visit Myanmar again after seeing Yangon Myanmar on Semester at Sea. The first time I was there I could only compare Myanmar to the US but now that I know Thailand pretty well I was able to compare Myanmar to Thailand and understand Myanmar so much more.

Mandalay
We flew into Mandalay and biked around for the afternoon. It was very dark and cloudy the whole week but we only got rained on this first day.
Kuthodaw Pagoda, the World's Largest Book. Each white stupa has a stone "page" inside.
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We climbed 1729 steps to the top of Mandalay Hill
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Bagan
We biked to so many temples, the highlight was exploring them up close and seeing the monkeys at Mount Popa.
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Inle Lake
We took a boat ride around the lake to see how the Burmese make traditional crafts. It was stormy the whole day but it never rained.
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I biked to Red Mountain Winery for a tasting, the wine was no good but the view was amazing. And on the way back I got stuck behind a herd of cattle.
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Posted by juliaaugh 00:57 Archived in Myanmar Tagged temples monkeys boat bagan burma mandalay inle_lake myanmar biking wine_tasting mount_popa Comments (0)

Seoul, South Korea

After hectic, smelly, and crowded Bangkok, the orderliness of Seoul was just what I needed to transition back to western life. Living in Bangkok has been amazing but it has shown me how much I can appreciate good public transportation, clean restrooms, and food prepared under somewhat sanitary conditions. There was so much to see and do in Seoul. I walked around many of the neighborhoods known for their architecture or shopping, went to two museums and one palace, hiked along the ancient wall that surrounds the city, and drank in the famous nightlife districts. And I still didn't get to see it all. Seoul has so much to offer, I really hope I can go back soon to do it all again and see more.

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Bulgogi soup and side dishes

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Cheonggyecheon Stream going through downtown Seoul

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At Gyeongbokgung Palace

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Gyeongbokgung Palace gate and the city

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"Ramyeon" best ramen of my life

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Korean curry and fried pork

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View of the fortress wall

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Three public restrooms within a two minute walk, how do I pick which one to use?

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Dongdaemun Design Plaza at night

Posted by juliaaugh 12:11 Archived in South Korea Tagged food hiking palace seoul public_restrooms Comments (0)

Saying Goodbye (plus my collection of weird Thailand photos)

It has been a wonderful semester, I am going to miss Bangkok and all of the other exchange students so much. I don't really know how to put it in words, but living abroad has been an amazing experience.
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Here are all of the weird pictures I have collected this semester, most of these things became normal to us:
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I almost understand what they are trying to say

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Perfectly consistent weather

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Unusual taste in lawn furniture

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This sort of sign was in most bathrooms

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... and sometimes a child-sized toilet

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wooden floors in buses

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This taxi driver had the brilliant idea to attach his tablet to the steering wheel so that he could read while driving

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Pretty common

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This man's job was to collect money on the canal speed boat by crawling around the outside. He had to wear a helmet incase he forgot to duck as we went under one of the many bridges.

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Gas for motorbikes

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The assortment of gummy desserts that are way too salty to be called desserts in my opinion.

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The elephant building in Bangkok

Posted by juliaaugh 21:00 Archived in Thailand Tagged bangkok goodbyes study_abroad weird_pictures Comments (0)

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