Well, I have been back for almost a week. We did more in Thailand in 7 days than some expats do in a decade according to some whom I met there and currently have as colleagues in the Middle East. The photos of of Buddhist sites do not reflect any religious connotations contrary to the rules of The Gear Page forum. They are posted for you to enjoy seeing the beautiful architecture and culture of Thailand. I am also not involved in the tourism industry. Any links or recommendations are purely my own and do not express any relationship financially in whole or in part with any of the businesses listed in this thread. I hope you enjoy my photo journey. All photos were taken with a 5 year old Sony Cybershot DSC-W550. We flew from, Bahrain to Doha to Bangkok, last Friday at 6:00 p.m. With the time zone differences, we arrived at the hotel, Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. Now, this was an extremely busy hotel across the street from the secondary airport in Bangkok, so we could not get into our room. They told us there was a hotel bus going to a market in 40 minutes, so we changed in the washrooms, left our bags with the concierge and went. Luckily, it was the Bangkok weekend market, which was on the list of places to see. It was full of tiny shops selling clothing to semi precious gems and stones. I bought a handsome tiger's eye bracelet for more power. I would need it, as my travelling companion tried to kill me during the trip. She only needs 6 hours of sleep maximum, and I am last year's Canadian, gold medal winning sleeping champion. There were lots of tourist items and really cool clothing stalls, foot massages for dirt cheap, and food kiosks. At night we went to the famous MBK Mall - 8 floors of mostly fake brand goods. It was fun for an hour, but not worth really going to. Afterwards we were taken by tuk-tuk to a seafood restaurant. We had the greatest river shrimp I had ever tasted. Pearl says in Spanish they are called langostinos. The tails were like butter and the bodies were very rich tasting. They had no price on the menu in this section. I should have checked. Oh well, you only live once. Pearl said it would have been almost triple the cost in America at a good seafood restaurant. I will never forget the taste. Amazing! Day 2 we were up at 5:30 to fly to Chang Mai city in the North. We were a little concerned, as now it is summer, and burning season. At this time of year, farmers are defoliating the land to create more land for farming. Planes are delayed and some go to the hospital as the air is so bad. The air was a little humid, but very heavy with residue from the burning. It was not comfortable for breathing, and it made the air extra sticky, though the humidity level was high. Luckily, our hotel, the D2 was very comfortable: http://www.hotelclub.com/hotels/Thailand/Chiang_Mai/Dusit_D2_Chiang_Mai.h319327/ It was next to the night market, and walking distance to the old city. I loved Chang Mai. It is a city of 300,000 in the city including the surrounding area. Here is a temple we happened upon while walking towards the old city district: As we were driving through the countryside to Blue Elephant Thailand on the morning of day 3 of the trip, you could really see how thick the air was due to the burning being done in the region: We absolutely loved the interaction with the elephants with the Blue Elephant Thailand Tour. http://www.blueelephantthailandtours.com/ The elephants were very cute and quite friendly. They are smaller than their African counterparts: http://www.upali.ch/differences_en.html The camp was in a picturesque valley with a stream running through it. You could ride, feed, pet, play with and bath the elephants. It was an amazing experience. The following photo is of the 7 year old male elephant I was able to play with. He was very cute with a strong personality. The marks on his head are from him scratching himself against trees, which he liked to do as much as he could. It was a working elephant camp, but we researched which camp to go to well. These elephants were well taken care of at Blue Elephant. If you do ever get a chance to go, I recommend Blue Elephant with their wonderful tour guide, Mr. Ti who showed us the best day of our 7 day tour. As we went on to Doi Suthep Pui National park, I was surprised as the foliage could have passed for a park in the NW, save for the banana trees, as all of the jungle foliage was dried up until rainy season. Keep in mind that March and April are the hot and dry summer months in Thailand. Next, Blue Elephant took us to the tiger Kingdom, where you could play with tigers. But it was amazing. I was told the animals were hand raised and carefully trained, but by their pupils and actions, I am quite sure they were track 19 from The Wall. From there we went to an orchid farm, and then on to Doi Suthep Pagoda on a mountain above Chang Mai City. This pagoda is among the 3 most important in Thailand. Once you make the 13 km drive up the mountain, you may walk 300 stair, or take the gondola up to the top. The next morning, Day 4 we were up at 4:00 a.m. to fly to Phuket. I highly reccomend the Avista Resort on the mountain top which we stayed at: https://encrypted.google.com/search...a=X&ei=_8kbVe3vC4itswHV24HIAg&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ All common areas were open air and the staff was friendly and professional. My travelling partner loved the spa. I loved the bar you could swim up to in one of their pools. Although there were a few families, this resort catered to mostly those in their 30s to 50s. Here is a view of the pool area from my breakfast table in the restaurant. That night we went to Phuket Fanatsea. If you love Disney, this is the place for you. Personally, I would have rather been disemboweled with needle nose pliers. Day 5 we went on a speed boat cruise to James Bond Island. Bring sun block from home. We only found SPF 15. I am still recovering from burns. Here is the Muslim fishing village we stopped at for lunch. This is mostly a tourist trap. From the plane, you could see that the real fish processing plant was around the bend, past the tourist area. Below is James Bond Island, (Kao Phin Kang) from Man with the Golden Gun. It really looks larger on film, and in the summer, you lose the beautiful jungle foliage you would normally see.