June 28, 2022
Our last few days in Thailand have been some of the best. Our rock climbing in Chiang Mai was amazing. We repelled down a 50-meter wall and climbed way up into the cliff side. One of our guides even told us his firsthand account of the famous Thailand cave rescue of the boys’ soccer team that was performed by the Chain Mai Rocking Climbing Association. The girls were honored to have the opportunity to not only rock climb with such experienced instructors, but also to have learned about the role they played in such an important event. After we finished our final day of rock climbing, we treated ourselves to a three-course meal & let’s just say dessert was the highlight.
The next day we put on our aprons and hair nets and got to work on cooking an authentic Thai meal. The girls learned how to make spring rolls, pad Thai, sticky mango rice, and butterfly pea tea. We most definitely had full bellies when we left. To walk off our food coma, we ventured to the market to do some last-minute souvenir shopping and then we headed to back to the hotel to collect our belongings and make our way to the Chang Mai airport to fly back to Bangkok, where our time together began just three weeks ago.
After being able to sleep in, we woke up well rested for our final day together to explore Bangkok. Our Thai guide Nina picked us up in a pimped-out tour bus and we headed into the city. Our first stop was at the Grand Palace, where we saw so many ornate buildings, statues, and even the emerald Buddha. It was the hottest hot we had felt all trip, so quickly after our palace tour, we headed into an air-conditioned restaurant for our lunch. We then ventured on to a long tail boat where we cruised the canals of Bangkok. There were close encounters with some river monsters and a crazy amount of fish. We saw more temples, some traditional river houses, and a giant Buddha! Lastly, we went to a show at the Royal Theatre and saw some really cool traditional costumed dance performances. It was finally time to head back to our hotel.
For our last dinner, we had a banquet feast featuring sushi, various soups, fancy mushrooms, and some gyoza. Everyone was covered head to toe in our recently acquired Thailand gear. We were quite the sight to behold. We recounted our favorite moments from the trip, ate blizzards and shared an ice cream cake. At our final moonup, everyone got their own personal nug jug, a keepsake and a little something for the long journey home. We all agreed that our group was pretty special, and that we were grateful for the time and experience we had shared together. At the drop off checkpoint, lots of love was exchanged.
Now coming to you live from Bangkok Airport: Brooke and Hailey are wiping away the tears. Saying goodbye is never easy, but this group made it especially hard. We will never forget our Girls of Thailand!
June 26, 2022
Hi All!! We’ve missed you. We arrived safely back in Chiang Mai and have been really busy since our last update. First off, we made our way to the highly anticipated elephant sanctuary. As expected, the girls loved every second of it. We had the amazing opportunity to not only prepare food for and feed the elephants while saying the proper commands to indicate meal time, but also pamper them with a relaxing mud bath and water rinse. The girls all had a blast being able to share this once in a lifetime experience with none other than Thailand’s national animal, the elephant. After the elephant sanctuary, our awesome guide, Uncle Chai led us into the Karen Village for 5 days for our service section. We hiked all day to get to our little jungle bungalow where we would stay. At lunch, we stopped at a waterfall to cool down on the hot summer day. Our accommodations were awesome because we had the best view of the mountains, and one big open room where we would all sleep! The crickets and frogs provided us with some live action nature sounds to fall asleep to. For the next three days, we mainly focused on the bulk of our service project, which was building a fresh water well for the village. This required searching for stones in the river, assembling the well, and cementing it all together. The girls worked hard and gave their all to the project. Emma was useful for high up tasks because she was the tallest of all of us a.k.a the long one. Melissa got nicknamed Hercules. Ellie and Daphne carved out some new arm muscles because they carried the most buckets of sand and rocks. Katie was queueing up some fire songs on the aux and ML would entertain us all with a griddy. Even the guys from the village liked the music that we were playing. Lilly worked her butt off and was a motivator to us all. Sienna was suspiciously good at smoothing out the concrete so the finished product looked pristine. In the end, our well was awesome. We painted it with our logo, our names and all of our hand prints. The hard work was ~well~ worth it!! Anyways, we also got to spend some nice time with the Karen Villagers. They invited us into their homes to learn about their traditions, clothes weaving, and rice pounding. We even learned a thai elephant song. Just ask the girls to sing “Chang Chang Chang” when they get home, they’ll understand. One afternoon, we got to go to the local school and teach the kids some english lessons about color, clothing and body parts. Afterwards, we got to play with them for a while which was so much fun. We played volleyball, soccer, frisbee and tag. It was such a joyous afternoon and a wonderful moment of connection. It was a really incredible experience to have spent so much time in the Karen Village and to have learned from them. It brought a tear to our eyes to say goodbye, but we all agreed that we would cherish our memories forever. We only have a few days left, but we are making the most of the rest of our time together.
A big ole thank you to my grandparents for allowing me to go on this amazing trip-wouldn’t be here without you guys! I can’t wait to show you so many pictures and tell so many stories!
A HUGE thank you to my mama and chipper for making this trip possible!! I love and miss you both so very much!! larky ladies I love you so much and can’t wait to see you all!!
Lots of love, Katie
An enormous thank you to my mom and dad for sending me on the most amazing trip of my life! Y’all are the absolute bestest and I love and miss y’all so so much!!
Thank you mom and dad for making the most amazing trip possible! Sending lots of love and miss y’all so much !! This has been the best experience ever.
Hey mom and dad! Literally having the most amazing experience in Thailand : ) Love and thanks to y’all for this experience! We have to come back here someday… Tell Katie and my friends see you soon!
Thank you so much mom and dad for sending me in the most amazing trip ever!!! Thailand is the best! I miss you all and can’t wait to tell you all about it!! Tell Clara, Lida, Thomas, Henri, and Tripp I miss them so much!!!
Love you all and see you soon!
Hey hey mi familia!! Thank you so much for sending me on the best trip I could of imagined! I’m having such an amazing time and experience and I love my new best friends more than anything:) I can’t wait to see all of y’all so super soon. I love y’all all so much!!!
Thank you mom and papa for sending me on this trip. I’ve learned so much and I miss you guys so much! I can’t wait to go home and see you guys! I love you!
See you soon, The Girls of Thailand
Hailey and Brooke
June 21, 2022
Checking in from Thailand!
After completing our scuba certification in Koh Tao, we headed to Krabi to start our next activity: rock climbing. We enjoyed a delicious dinner at a local Thai restaurant before our activities in order to fuel up for the next day. Before getting some rest after a long travel day, Ken from Real Rocks visited us at our hostel to brief us on all that Railay had to offer. We learned about the rock formations, the history, as well as culture of rock climbing on Railay, but most importantly safety protocol. Known as one of the top rock-climbing destinations in the world, Railay offers rock wall enthusiasts the perfect combination of challenging climbs & stunning views with the ocean tide rising right at the base of the rocks. We were in for a treat!
Our first day of rock climbing consisted of an early wakeup call and breakfast before heading the shop to get fitted for our harnesses, shoes, and helmets. After gearing up, we met our guides and hopped on a long tail boat at the nearby pier for a quick ride to Railay. Upon arriving at Railay, the girls provided us with some entertainment while the guides surveyed the scene. Katie narrated a game of Mafia while Mary Lucy and Melissa competed in a game of charades. Once everything was ready to go, we headed to the rock cove and began our day of climbing. As an experienced climber, Ellie started us off and quickly made it to the top to enjoy the wonderful views that the vantage point had to offer. Lilly then followed in her footsteps and quickly scurried to the top. The girls quickly learned how to successfully navigate the rocks and communicate with the guides in order to follow the best route. They were naturals! After spending the morning working up a sweat and using our muscles, we rewarded ourselves with a yummy Thai lunch provided by Real Rocks. It was just what we needed after a morning of hard work. After lunch, we played card games and heads up, where our acting and singing skills were put to the test.
Once we regained our energy, we began our afternoon activity. We carried our gear to the base of a rock cave and began to climb inside to explore. We made it to a lookout that offered us a spectacular view of the Railay Bay. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, we were given the perfect photo opportunity before rappelling down the side of the rock. Daphne was able to snap a shot of her doing hook ‘em horns. It was awesome! After a long day of hard work, we headed straight to dinner and enjoyed a meal that most of would consider to have been the best yet! With full tummies and high spirits, we headed to the nearby Ao Nang beach to enjoy the sunset, continue practicing our sac skills, and snap a few pictures. Brooke and Sienna went on a very successful shell walk. We then concluded with a Moon-up , led by our LODs, Katie and Ellie. It had been a day!
The following morning, we headed back to Railay on the long tail boat and had another opportunity to improve our climbing skills for the first half of the day. After Emma, Lilly, and Ellie successfully climbed 90 feet, we knew we had given it our all. Yet again, we enjoyed another fabulous lunch before saying goodbye to Railay and heading back into town to do some souvenir shopping. The girls all found just what they were looking for. Long flowy pants, jewelry, elephant stuffed animals, & shorts constituted for a successful shopping spree…and don’t worry lots of gifts were purchased too! After wearing ourselves out both rock climbing and shopping, we headed to an Italian restaurant we’re we all did a shopping haul and enjoyed margarita pizzas. After dinner, we hit the laundry mat to have clean clothes for our next leg of the trip to Chiang Mai, everyone was eager to finally have the opportunity visit the long awaited elephant sanctuary. We concluded the night with a Moon-up and tried to catch some sleep before our big travel day ahead.
By this point, our girls are travel pros, and our travel day went swiftly and with ease. We arrived in Chiang Mai in the evening, just in time for a quick dinner and a meeting with our elephant and service guide, Uncle Chai. Over the next few days, we will get to play with elephants, make some meaningful connections and work in the village. Everyone is so excited! We can’t wait to tell you all about it!!
Love, The Girls of Thailand
Brooke & Hailey
June 16, 2022
Hello from Thailand! After three long days of travel including airplanes, shuttle busses, and boats, we made it to Koh Tao. The island welcomed us with open arms, good food, a beautiful sunset, and comfortable beds to sleep in. Everyone was grateful to catch up on sleep to start our diving section off right.
Our first LODs (leaders of the day), Mary Lucy and Daphne led us into our first day, with a lot of learning to do! The open water group started with a classroom learning section while Brooke and Ellie went out on the dive boat to work on their specialty dives for their Advanced certification. There, they met the group’s new favorite companion, terry the parrot. Terry has been an absolute hit with the group, walking on our arms and perching himself atop our heads. By our third meal at our restaurant, we had already figured out the favorite items on the menu and Emma even became friends with our waiter! The most ordered item has been the mango juice, as it is out-of-this-world tasty.
For our second full day, the open water group had to put their dive knowledge to the test, literally. This comes as no surprise, but all the girls passed with flying colors. Katie and Daphne both got a perfect score! During the afternoon, everyone got to go on the boat together and hang out in between the open water dives. We learned that Sienna has the best snacks, and she graciously shared them with us. Our LODs Lilly and Katie used our group disposable camera to take a snapshot of everyone in the water. The sun was hot and by the end of our diving, everyone was wiped. We filled our tummies, had a good moonup, and went swiftly to bed.
The next day, the open water girls were able to sleep in and have a leisurely morning full of reading on the beach and catching some rays. Then, we all met up to do some afternoon diving together. We sang Atlantic City by Bruce Springsteen, the group’s favorite song, and Lilly snapped some awesome photos of everyone on the boat. She has quite an eye for photography. As we concluded our dives for the day, everyone had completed their skills and got officially SCUBA certified! Even after all that, somehow the group still had copious energy, and we played a spirited game of death sack (a fun hacky-sack game that is not as scary as it sounds). We worked up an appetite and had another delicious meal at our restaurant. We even got dessert!! Our LODs Ellie and Sienna led us in an awesome moonup that ended with the group feeling a little bit closer. Afterwards, we walked down the beach to see some cool fire dancers that we had spotted, and then howled at the full moon to end the day.
Yesterday was our last day of diving! We took the dive boat a far way out to a dive site called Chumpon, which is regarded as the best dive site in Koh Tao. There, we did two group dives, where we finally got some footage of us putting our new skills into action, as well as all the cool things we got to see. Melissa, Katie, and Emma even descended without using the rope. Down on the sea floor, there were so many fish that one of our dive buddies fondly referred to it as “like swimming in an aquarium.” On the boat, we got out a speaker and put on the group playlist. Mary Lucy requested some bangers and the girls agreed that they all had crazy similar music tastes. When we got back to shore, we ran straight to lunch! Because they know we love it so much, the lovely chefs at our restaurant have started cutting up fresh mango special for us. We feel so spoiled!! Our LODs Emma and Melissa then took everyone on a mission to find snacks for our upcoming travel day, and to a store where everyone got to pick out friendship bracelets! 🙂 We got dinner and started getting ready for our early morning departure.
Today we left Koh Tao to venture to Krabi where we will do our rock climbing. Our LODs Mary Lucy and Lilly led us fearlessly through our transfer on two different ferries, a bus, and a shuttle. We arrived safely at our new lodging and are excited for what’s to come. Until next time, the Girls of Thailand.
<3 Brooke & Hailey
June 10, 2022
Hello Thailand Families!
We just heard from our leaders that the group has landed safely in Bangkok. The trip is off to a great start, and we cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventure.
Please remember our leaders and students will be unplugged during their trips but we will be posting up to three trip updates throughout the next couple of weeks! This will allow you to follow along with the trip and the students will also give a special shout out mid-way through! You can also follow us on Instagram, @moondanceadventures, to see more of what we are up to this summer!