2014 In Review: A Travel Summary
When we started Poplar Travels, we were beyond excited to move to Thailand and start exploring the other side of the world. We have now been in Thailand for four months and we absolutely love it. While based in Chiang Mai, we have had the opportunity to travel to some really amazing locations in and outside of the country and even make a trip home to the East Coast. 2014 has been a fantastic year and in the spirit of the new year, we want to take a moment to reflect on where we’ve been.
The Beginning of Poplar Travels
Poplar Travels has yet to turn one, so we will look back to the beginning of 2014 when the travel blog was just an idea. We made a couple trips to New York where we spent entire days sorting through vintage and second hand stores. We scored a few bargains and left the city a little poorer, as we always do. Eric went to New Zealand to visit his sister who was doing some pretty amazing volcanic research and Evanne went on a dive trip to Turks and Caicos with her family. We spent the Fourth of July in Hilton Head, South Carolina and visited the lovely town of Charleston where we had ice cream we still dream about.
After starting the summer in Washington, D.C., we headed for California in August where we visited a friend in L.A. and then spent a week in San Diego. We fit in as much Mexican food as we could, and then left the United States for Thailand at the end of the month.
Our excitement trumped our jetlag and we jumped right into activities in Thailand. We found an apartment, got massaged by prisoners, played with elephants and learned how to cook all within the first couple weeks. We took advantage of our proximity to nature and went caving, rock climbing and zip lining in the jungle.
In a country that is mostly Buddhist, there are endless temples to explore and we have yet to grow tired of their fantastic decor and unique architecture. We learn more about this amazing country every day. One of our favorite tours has been at the Jim Thompson House in Bangkok where we learned about silk making and traditional Thai architecture.
Outside of Chiang Mai, we have visited Bangkok twice and made a wonderful trip to the South where we explored the famous beaches of Krabi and Phuket. We drove a total of 7 hours on our motorbike to and from Chiang Rai, and probably won’t do it again.
We have had two wonderful volunteer trips with Amigo Vision Thailand that allowed us to explore remote parts of Thailand where we were able to help poor communities receive eye care and free glasses. Volunteering with people from around the world has been an amazing experience!
During one of our visits to Bangkok we took a bus to the ruins of Ayutthaya, the once formidable capital of Siam. Back in the crazy city we were offered drugs, scammed, got lost, decided we like Chiang Mai better, and then decided to visit again. The more time we spend there, the more we are able to see past the endless highways, smog and noise into the spirit and culture of the city, and the more it grows on us.
Singapore, on the other hand, swept us off our feet as soon as we landed. It’s like Disneyland for adults. Insanely clean streets, beautiful architecture, delicious food, modern amenities and welcoming people have pushed Singapore to the top of our list of favorite cities in the world. We found ourselves at a speakeasy, 57 floors above the city, looking at statues of Buddha that were hundreds of years old, and driving within feet of lions during our visit.
Our plans for 2015 are just as exciting and we are looking forward to sharing our adventures with you! At the end of January we are traveling to Myanmar where we will visit Yangon, Inle Lake, Mandalay and Bagan. In February a friend is visiting for a tour of Chiang Mai and we are excited to share our city with our first guest! You can expect more adventures, more traveling, more amazing hotels and restaurants, and lots more culture in the next year!