Auntie Orn’s Organic Cooking Class – Chiang Mai, Thailand

While in Chiang Mai, Thailand, we had the opportunity to attend Auntie Orn’s Organic Family Cooking class.  The class takes place on a organic farm just outside of the city, giving participants the opportunity to see a working organic farm in action.  Auntie Orn’s family and helpers are all some of the nicest people you will ever meet, and the whole experience makes you feel good on many levels.  We learned how to cook three classic northern Thai dishes: Khow soi, tom yam, and panang curry!

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We were picked up a little before 9am and driven to a very local market in the countryside outside of Chiang Mai city.  We were very excited about learning to cook Thai food, as taking a class had been on our list since our first days in Thailand.  At the market Autie Orn met us and showed us around.  We sampled a few of the local items and we picked up a few things for the class.  We were the only farang (foreigners) in the market and the locals got a kick out of me sampling some ant larvae which was in season and harvested in the jungle.  It had a real interesting flavor and texture, even better with hot sauce.

After the market we drove a few minutes away to the farm owned by Auntie Orn.  In the front was a cute kitchen and tables and the land behind it was planted with all types of fruits and veggies.  There were three couples in the class, and the first thing each of us did was to plant a tree on the farm.  It was a great way to contribute something to the land!  After planting our banana and mango trees, Auntie Orn invited us back anytime to check on our babies.  You could tell she really meant it and we hope to make it back in a year or so to check on our baby banana tree!

Next we started preparing the food.  We used large a mortar and pestle to crush up lots of different stuff into a Thai curry paste which was the base of the khow soi and panang curry.  We pounded and pounded to extract the flavors of the ingredients and produce an amazing spicy aroma.  Our hunger grew as we saw how delicious everything was getting, and we couldn’t wait to try the final product!

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Auntie Orn’s Cooking class was about to get HOT!  She heated up three woks, helping us work our curries into shape.  The final product was a HUGE feast and we were all very proud of our labors! We ate until we couldn’t eat anymore, and maybe it was because we had made it ourselves, but we all thought it was by far the best food we have had in Thailand.

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While our food digested we went on a tour of the farm, learning about permaculture farming methods and how the farm would progress in the future.

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After the tour we learned how to make the ever-delicious mango sticky rice!  It was very easy and so so good, a great way to finish the meal.

The final part of the day was extra memorable.  We all received a very special New Years blessing along with bracelets for good luck!  The blessing was given with holy water and everything.  We felt special to be part of such an amazing ceremony.

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Auntie Orn’s classes are by appointment only and you can contact Auntie Orn to make a booking via her website!

Enjoy this post about Auntie Orns Organic Thai Cooking Class in Chiang Mai Thailand?  Check out our archives for other adventures! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @laaventuraproject and subscribe to our Youtube Channel.

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Grasshopper Adventures Chiang Mai Night Bike Tour – Into The Old City

While in Chiang Mai we were fortunate enough to go on our second tour by Grasshopper Adventures – Chiang Mai Night Bike Tour.  This was again a night time biking tour which took us though the old city highlighting some incredible temples and history.  Our guide was absolutely fantastic and his knowledge of the city was scholarly.  Here is a video showcasing our experience!!!

After meeting up at the Grasshopper Adventures Chiang Mai headquarters, we mounted our bicycles and headed off into the city.  Again, we were very impressed with the quality of the bikes offered by Grasshopper — so comfortable and with front and back lights!

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Our first stop was at Chiang Mai Pae Gate.  It was built as the main entrance to the walled city, easily accessible to traders coming though on the nearby river.  We learned that the city had several ways in, each for specific types of people, historically.  One exit was reserved only for the dead on their funeral marches.

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There were tons of Chinese tourists taking selfies with pigeons here for some reason?
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The Three Kings Monument

Next we rode to several amazing temples, each with Buddha relics and lots of good energy.  We used a kind of rope and pulley at Wat Lok Molee to send holy water which automatically dropped over the temple.  Apparently doing this together would guide our spirits back to each other in the next life.  “I don’t know, one life with you might be enough…” said Carrie, maybe joking but probably serious.  I am a piece of work sometimes.

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Near the end of the tour we walked through the grounds of Wat Chedi Luang, located right in the middle of Chiang Mai Old City.  The temple is partially collapsed on top and reminded us a lot of places we visited in Cambodia.

Our final stop was at the Chiang Mai Gate Night Food Market  We were treated to some amazing coconut pancakes, mango sticky rice, and some smoothies.  Food always makes me quite happy, and even though we had taken a feast of a cooking class earlier in the day, I was happy to eat again.

Grasshopper Adventures Chiang Mai Night Bike Tour was a great look into the history of the northern Thailand city.  We learned much about the Lanna empire which existed independently before they were absorbed into the Siam empire (Later Thailand) and how the younger generations are trying to bring back their historical culture.

Additional information:

Address: 87, Bumrung Buri Rd, Prasing, Muang, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

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Website:  www.grasshopperadventures.com

Also check out our review of Grasshoppper Adventures Bangkok Night Bike Tour

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Songkran Thai New Year Water Gun Battle in Chiang Mai, Thailand!

We had a very wet, exhilarating blast of a time during our first Songkran Thai New Year celebration!  In Chiang Mai, people converge around the Old City‘s moat with water guns, hoses, buckets, and refill barrels!  Our friends from the USA picked Songkran week to visit us in Thailand so they could join in on the madness!  We had tons of fun acting like kids, dueling with Thai families, dodging water gun fire all around us and sneak-attacking unsuspecting tourists!  Who’s coming to Thailand for Songkran next year?

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Enjoy this post about Songkran Chiang Mai? Check out our archives for other adventures! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @laaventuraproject and subscribe to our Youtube Channel.

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Ramayana Waterpark in Pattaya, Thailand

Ramayana Waterpark in Pattaya is the top-rated waterpark in Thailand and third place in Asia.  With over 20 slides, you will be thoroughly entertained and exhausted by the end of the day.  We are 30-year-olds and we loved it, but there are a lot of things for kids to do too.  We took a lot of Go-Pro videos and here is a little film that we made!

Our favorite slide was the Aqualoop, which has you climb into a tube like you’re about to be launched.  The timer goes 3-2-1 and then the floor falls out and you plunge down a super tall slide then around a 360 degree loop.  Another favorite of ours was Boomerango, which has an primary slide then you slide up another hill until you are almost vertical then you end up coming down backwards.

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Getting ready to drop down the Aqualoop!

Most of the bigger slide have the option of scanning your wristband before descending.  Once you get to the bottom simply scan your band again to view the pictures and video from the slide.  From there you can email the files to yourself for free!

The restaurant at Ramayana Waterpark has local and western foods.  We got some curries that were pretty tasty with huge portions.

Ramayana Waterpark has a van that brings you the 20km from Pattaya and back.  It does the trip several times per day for 120 Baht.

Hours: 10am – 6pm

Price:

Adult: $36

Kids: $27

Seniors: $18

Website:

www.ramayanawaterpark.com

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Free Yoga in Bangkok

Bangkok is a crazy city that has everything you could possibly want, healthy food trends and fitness included!  Yoga is hugely popular but it usually comes with a big price tag since it’s trendy and many of the gyms and studios are super new and fancy, geared towards wealthy Thais and expats.

I spent the last four months living in Bangkok and discovering all the options for FREE and donation-based yoga.  After some looking on Meetup, Facebook, and asking around, I found some great **free** classes and made new friends!

Yim Yam Hostel & Garden (the hostel we are marketing consultants for!) has a free sunset rooftop class open to everyone Tuesdays at 6pm!  The class is taught by Kwan and it’s usually a hatha style class suitable for all levels.  After the class, you can hang out in the garden or cafe at a Post-Yoga Social Hour with 30% off all drinks!

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Yoga with Evelin offers classes in Benjakitti Park around sunset twice a week!  Tuesday at 6:00pm is a Hatha Strength class and Wednesday at 6:30pm is a Relaxing Yin class.  I loved coming to her Wednesday yin yoga class to really stretch and meditate while watching the sunset!  Evelin is an amazing teacher and also runs cool yoga/meditation retreats on Koh Samet!

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Photo Credit: Yoga with Evelin

Wanna do yoga on Thursday?  Kwan, the teacher from Yim Yam Tuesdays, sometimes offers a FREE class in Benjakitti Park.  Check her Facebook page, Bangkok Free Yoga, to see if it’s happening!

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Photo Credit: Bangkok Free Yoga
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Photo Credit: Bangkok Free Yoga
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Photo Credit: Bangkok Free Yoga

Last but definitely not least, my favorite Bangkok restaurant Broccoli Revolution, recently started a donation-based class on Thursdays on their rooftop at 5:30pm.  The volunteer teachers rotate through and have always had great music and a great flow every time I’ve gone.  Donations from this class go to Sati Foundation, a nonprofit working on health and education programs with under-served and at-risk populations in Thailand.  So this class has a great karma yoga thing going on and it’s a great excuse to eat amazing vegan food for dinner after class!  Just check Broccoli’s Facebook page for the official dates of this class and send them a message to sign up!

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Photo Credit: Broccoli Revolution
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Photo Credit: Broccoli Revolution
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Photo Credit: Broccoli Revolution

I hope this guide helps you find some wonderful, affordable yoga classes to attend in Bangkok and leads you to some meaningful connections with other yogis as well!

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Railay Climbing Take 2 and The Penis Cave!

In early January we had our first friend from home come to visit us in Thailand!  Hooray!  Mackenzie is my old climbing and hiking buddy from San Diego.  She’s a natural adventurer and in super great shape– she’s basically Superwoman!  I knew she would love Thailand, and I guessed correctly that the world famous rock-climbing peninsula of Railay Beach and Tonsai Beach would be her favorite spot!

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Coming back to Railay after our previous quick visit last October was a great opportunity to go straight to the climbing routes we knew we could tackle, and to fly our brand new drone!  Yes, that’s right, we bit the bullet and purchased a DJI Mavic Pro.  Get ready for some next-level travel videos as we’ll now be adding drone footage of every destination video we make from here on out!

We stayed in Tonsai Bay on this trip, which is the super-hippy Burning Man-esque village on the beach full of dirtbag climbers, reggae bars built out of driftwood, cheap/sketchy Thai food, and fire-spinning slackline shows!

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Getting our yoga on with all the awesome Tonsai murals

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Side crow for the win!

Here’s a 10-minute vlog all about our adventures with Mackenzie in Railay and Tonsai!  We think it’ll give you a sense of how laid-back and beautiful this peninsula is!  And we hope you’ll notice we got better at climbing!  We even crushed a 5.10a!

Ahh, yes, the infamous “Penis Cave”.  As I explained in the video, this cave has been filled with phallus figurines by locals as a way of summoning both fertility and success in fishing!  No disrespect to Thai beliefs intended, but it’s definitely a unique site and a hilarious place to visit!

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The Phra Nang Princess Cave (aka “Penis Cave”) is a short hike from Railay East Beach!
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So many phalluses.  Or is it “phalli”?

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Friends who climb in Thailand together stay friends forever!
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Zach rocking the splits on Ramazon 5.10a!
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Ramazon is a super fun climb with an awesome jump to a stalactite in the middle!

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A beautiful last morning at Phra Nang Cave Beach

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It was great to feel way more comfortable on the walls of Railay and Tonsai!  And we always feel at home in the hippy vibe of Tonsai Beach so we can’t wait to come back for another visit!

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The Golden Mount and Wat Saket in Bangkok, Thailand

The Golden Mount Temple and Wat Saket in Bangkok, ThailandThe Golden Mount and Wat Saket in Bangkok, Thailand is one of the most beautiful sacred sites in the city.  Sitting on top of a small hill, the temple is crowned with an impressive 58-meter golden stupa (the monument at the top which points at the sky) which contains a relic from the Buddha. With 360 degree views of Bangkok encompassing both the old city along with the modern skyscrapers, the Golden Mount is one of the most impressive places to watch Bangkok’s famous sunsets.

The Golden Mount Temple and Wat Saket in Bangkok, Thailand334 steps lead you to the top of The Golden Mount.  Originally built before Bangkok was the capital city, the original structure collapsed and eventually became covered in weeds, creating an artificial hill.  When the capital was moved from Ayutthaya to Bangkok, King Rama I began renovations of the grounds.  The temple was continuously added to by his grandson Rama III and more by his son Rama IV.  In the 20th century the sides of the hill were covered in concrete to prevent erosion.

The Golden Mount Temple and Wat Saket in Bangkok, ThailandAs you head up the steps there are many rows of hanging bells and several large gongs.  There are also speakers along the way where monks are continuously chanting, creating a very strong and calming energy as you head up the steps.

The Golden Mount Temple and Wat Saket in Bangkok, ThailandIt’s amazing to see the contrast between the traditionally built temples and the modern skyline of Bangkok, Thailand.

The Golden Mount Temple and Wat Saket in Bangkok, ThailandThe most popular time to visit the Golden Mount is during Loy Krathong, one of Thailand’s biggest holidays occurring every November during the full moon.  People release “krathong” offerings — little boats made from banana leaves, flowers, candles, and incense — on the canals and lakes all over the country. The festival originated as a way to honor the river goddess, but it also has Buddhist meaning. “The candle venerates the Buddha with light, while the krathong’s floating symbolizes letting go of all one’s hatred, anger, and defilements.” (Wikipedia) Some people put their fingernail clippings or hair in the boats to “get rid of the bad parts” of themselves.

The Golden Mount Temple and Wat Saket in Bangkok, Thailand

The Golden Mount Temple and Wat Saket in Bangkok, ThailandThe Golden Mount and Wat Saket entrance fee is only 20 Baht and it is open from 9am to 7pm.  If you are staying near Khao San Road you can walk to the temple, or if staying in another part of the city we recommend the canal boat.  You can check out our article about navigating Bangkok’s many transportation options for more information.  You can see the temple’s stupa from all over the old city, so don’t worry about getting lost!

The Golden Mount Temple and Wat Saket in Bangkok, ThailandEnjoy this post about The Golden Mount and Wat Saket in Bangkok, Thailand? Check out our archives for other adventures! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @laaventuraproject and subscribe to our Youtube Channel.

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