My Time Capsule

16.2.17

Travel Updates: Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai & Bangkok

February 2017


Wat Rong Khun

Family holiday is over! It was indeed a memorable 10 days trip around Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Bangkok. Visited one Wat to another Wat which have its own beauty and uniqueness. And of course I went gaga over those sinfully delicious Thai food. Anyway, apart from the White Temple or Wat Rong Khun, here's some highlights of my trip in Northern Thailand:


Golden Triangle

tunnel at illusions at Hall of Opium

We flied from Surabaya to Bangkok via Singapore then bound for Chiang Rai on the next morning. First thing first, we headed to the Golden Triangle area because we wanted to buy and taste some opium (kidding! :p). Though I'm not a museum person, I insisted to visit the Hall of Opium which turned out to be such a great place to learn about the history of opium trading and how to smuggle it (HA!). Too bad it's not allowed to take picture inside the museum but pssttt....of course I never take a NO. I sneaked some clicks though it turned out blurry :'(


Yai at Mae Sai border between Thailand and Myamar

Because it's my first time to Northern Thailand, I thought it would be convenient to book a tailor made private tour for my family. Less hassle as I don't need to spend too much time in browsing which hotels to stay or which landmarks to visit like what I always do before travelling. Le princess needs to be spoiled once in a while, no? I just want to sit and relax and enjoy the ride :p

After comparing some local agents, I decided to book the land tour through Aimo tours. It's not a sponsored post nor a paid advertisement. I simply want to share this with you guys because their service has been beyond excellent. So next time you need to book a tour in Chiang Mai or other destination in Thailand, you'll know which company to consider :)

Booking process was easy breezy. Sophia who had been dealing with my emails are very efficient and helpful to accommodating all my requests (I avoid any kind of elephant rides and Tiger Kingdom). Yai, our local guide is also a super nice guy who ensured we truly enjoyed our journey. Apart from the itineraries I made, he added some 'off the beaten path' places which are impossible to find if I wasn't with him. Also when he found out that we are more interested in street food than restaurants, he took us to his favourite Beef Noodle stall somewhere secluded I can't even remember the place now. Lol! When they found out that my Dad was down with stomach infection, the manager showed up with a bag full of medicines and offered to take Dad to hospital. Seriously, I had quite a lot of experiences with travel agents around the world but these guys go the extra mile. Well done, Aimo tours! I'm genuinely impressed. Please keep doing the top-notch work that you are doing now :)


Choui Fong tea plantation

Karen long neck village

the Blue Temple

While the famous White Temple is undoubtedly beautiful however I am more impressed with the Blue Temple or Wat Rong Seu Ten in Chiang Rai. The huge white Buddha statue looks stunning against the bluish details and paintings interiors. It's also quiet so I could wander around freely and took tons of pictures until my camera battery ran out.


Khantoke dinner

Doi Suthep

Chiang Dao cave

Doi Inthanon

sunset at Wat Aranyawiwake

Of course a trip to Chiang Mai won't be complete without a visit to Doi Suthep and Doi Inthanon. But I was actually deeply in love with Wat Aranyawiwake. I've never heard about it before thus I didn't put it on my itinerary. Thanks to Yai, he decided to take us there on the way back to Chiang Mai city after trekking in Doi Inthanon National Park and Mae Ya waterfall. It was nearly sunset when I got there and the warm goldish sun beam enveloped the temple area. There was no one on sight but my family. It was so beautiful...so peaceful, I got goosebumps all over my body :)


songthaew ride with Ma, Pa, sis, nephew and bro :D

I requested one free day in Chiang Mai to do some shopping and street food hunting. After a week ride on a fancy Mercedes van now it's time to try the local transportation, Songthaew! It was so much fun, we giggled all the way. And because songthaews has no fixed schedules nor routes, we shared seat with some locals who were on the way to traditional market. I liked it a lot that I kept hopping on and off songthaews for the whole day. Lol!


Assumption Cathedral, Bangkok

Or Tor Kor market

Flied and stayed in Bangkok for 3 days for further shopping spree and Thai food adventure. So happy to finally visit Or Tor Kor market. It's my idea of food paradise, really. I walked through stall after stall with a big grin on my face, like a little girl's first journey to Disneyland.


Mae Ya waterfall

only 1% of 5.678.345.927 food I devoured in Thailand

There's more places I've been to during the trip including an almost deserted old temple made of teak wood in a rural area and the infamous Hell Temple which I'm going to publish on the next blog post. So stay tuned while I'm unpacking tons of luggage after the trip. It's a good thing I had around 200 kg baggage allowance otherwise I'd need a cargo service to bring all the stuff I bought in Thailand (mostly my food & snacks, dog toys and dog treats) :p



29.1.17

Poland: Malbork Castle The Biggest Castle In The World

Malbork, October 2016


what's behind the bush?

Once upon a time, in a far far land...
There was a princess who's adventurous and loved exploring new places. One fine afternoon, after days spent on the back of her beautiful white horse named Luna; they were lost in the midst of the dense forest. Suddenly she heard the sound of flowing water so she  hop off Luna's back and walked gently through the woods. She parted some branches to find out what behind the bush. Her eyes then widened in awe when she saw a humongous red brick castle standing tall and proud across the river.

"Excuse me, miss!" She heard a baritone voice echoed in her ears.

She turned around in slow motion. Her long wavy red hair swaying gracefully in the air. A smile lit up her face. She was so sure that she was about to meet her prince charming. There was a tall guy with dark brown hair standing only a few steps away. She fixed her gaze on his piercing blue eyes then move down to a badge on his clothes.

SECURITY GUARD. It's written on it.

"Miss, the entrance gate is on that side." He looked at her suspiciously. As if she was going to jump into the river or something.

Poof! and so there gone my fairy tale love story I created in my wild imagination. What's left only an awkward situation between me and the security guard. I muffled "Kbye" and walked away from my prince charming the security guard. Luna disappeared, replaced by my chauffeur and a white Mercedes Sprinter mini coach in the parking lot. My heart sank that I was brought back into reality abruptly. But I was comforted by the thought of I was about to explore the largest castle in the world...


crossing the bridge to Malbork Castle

Malbork Castle

Malbork Castle is one of many castles built in northern Poland by the Teutonic Knights, a German Roman Catholics religious order of crusaders, in a form of an Ordensburg fortress. It was built from red bricks on the southeastern bank of river Nogat and was named as Marienburg (Mary's Castle) after the Virgin Mary who was the patron saint of the Order. The castle was expanded several time to house the growing number of Knights, around 3000 of them. It was then declared as the largest fortified Gothic building in Europe on a 21 hectare site also the largest castle in the world, measured by land area.


Gothic details on the castle exterior

8 meters tall figure of Malbork Madonna


the main gate

the Middle Castle

Malbork was constructed in phases from the beginning of the 70s of the 13th century, thus throughout centuries this castle has been a witness to many events. From the residence of Polish Kings, a barrack for the Prussian army to a pilgrimage for the Hitler Youth and  League of German girls. Subjected to intensive development in the 14th century, it has received the trisection defensive form with a visibly separated High Castle (home to the monastery), the Middle Castle (home to the Palace of the Grand Master) and the Outer Castle (a widely spread economical and supporting facilities).


painted wall

I love the hallway! 

the court yard

the Blessed Virgin Mary Church

original 13th century wall and the broken statues 

Sadly during the World War II in 1945, more than half the castle was destroyed in particular the church and chapel. The castle experienced changes throughout the passage of years. It has been constantly reconstructed and completed in April 2016, just 6 month before my visit. The sacral objects upon the High Castle were restored into their initial magnificent form along with the reconstruction of the sculpture of the Madonna with a Child, which was returned into its initial position upon the Eastern closure of the church.

Walking inside the church and upon seeing the broken statues, I got a shiver down my spine. I've always love love love old buildings but somehow I'm sensitive about the energy in old places. It's hard to explain but sometimes all of the sudden I'd feel sad when visiting historical site. Perhaps because a place absorbs the memories that were in them? Or perhaps it's just me PMS-ing or feeling hungry....I really don't know. Have you ever felt that way though?


a pretty stained glass



the Middle Castle

In 1997 the Malbork Castle was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list. The Malbork Castle Museum posses 23 collections from the scope of art, artistic craft, architecture and history at its disposal. Currently the museum is the house for 40 thousand valuable items and displays one of Europe's largest collection of medieval architectural elements.


lunch at Piwniczka restaurant

selfie with the cutest shopkeeper at the souvenir shop

Besides visiting the castle, I also had lunch at Piwniczka restaurant inside the castle complex. While there's not much to say about the food, it was still an interesting experience enjoying food at a medieval dining room with brick walls, stained glass windows, beer barrels, fire place and all.

I regretted that I didn't check the castle opening hours during winter which is shorter than in summer. I only managed to explore some parts of the huge castle. I could actually spend the whole day here because there's so much to see. Well, then it's not a good bye, Malbork Castle. I will definitely visit you again, hopefully in the near future.


Malbork Castle
Malbork Castle Museum opening hours:

Winter Season (1 October - 14 April)  10.00 am - 3.00 pm
Summer Season (15 April - 30 September)  9.00 am - 7.00 pm
* On Mondays and holidays only some areas, sections and interiors of the castle area available.


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