We went to Thailand! First, lets rewind to how it all began. Its the end of 2017 and Kathy, my mom’s friend, sends my mom this Travel + Leisure photo contest where the winner gets a trip to Chiang Mai and a stay at the resort they ranked #1 in Thailand. My mom then sends the contest to me. Spoiler alert, I won the contest.

Fast forward to January 30, 2019. We left Chicago on one of the coldest days in history, -50 with the wind chill. We arrived in Bangkok 24 hours later to 95 and sunny, I’ll take it. Our trip was unforgettable.

Bangkok —> Krabi —> Chiang Mai

Each place had its own vibe and personality that made it feel brand new for each leg of the trip.

Bangkok was action packed. People everywhere which meant traffic everywhere. A mix of street food, bars and massage parlors. Shopping malls that make the Mall of America look modest, beautiful temples and street markets. Lots of street markets! Tuk Tuk’s, motor bikes, cars and packs of tourists stuffed in vans. All zipping around in a chaotic harmony of traffic.

Krabi was our beach getaway. The perfect segway from a hectic, fast paced, Bangkok. Krabi put on a show of some of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. Swimming in blue waters amongst the massive rock formations that remind you that you’re definitely on the other side of the world.

Chiang Mai was the perfect balance of a big city Bangkok feeling and a warm home-y small town. The New City was an architecturally impressive, modern, street art-filled hipster part of town with The Old City, just a short walk away, offering the beautifully preserved temples and raw life of locals. And about an hour outside of Chiang Mai was the elephant sanctuaries! Hanging out with a group elephants all day was definitely one of the coolest experiences. All the while ending the trip at the top ranked resort, 137 Pillars House. It was the most beautiful and luxurious stay ever…ever, ever!

Finally, as traveling always seems to do it opened me up to a place and people I have never seen before. Embracing us into their culture, connecting to it and seeing how others live. It made me feel insignificant, in the best way possible. It made me thankful for where I was born and the opportunities I have had simply because of where I was born. Ultimately, it made me yearn to travel even more.