When I Say: How Can You Go Wrong with Names Like These? (Khao Luang and Phra Nakhon Khiri)

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It’s time for my first detailed travel update since getting back! Woohoo! 

As I mentioned last week, I started off my three weeks of crazy with a weekend trip to Phetchaburi, Thailand (or Phetburi, as Thais tend to call it). I totally fell in love with this small town despite the terrifying minivan ride on the way there. The owner of 2N Guesthouse (where I stayed) picked me up at the bus station with a huge smile and even drove me to a nearby ATM, 7Eleven, and night market for dinner to go. She was so friendly and spoke great English, so I felt at ease and settled in immediately. Really, I cannot say enough good things about 2N! From the owner to the employees to the remarkably clean room (seriously, the nicest room I’ve stayed in this past year) to the gigantic complimentary breakfasts, it was a fantastic experience. But I didn’t stay in the room all weekend!

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Because I got in pretty late at night on a Friday, I went straight to bed without trying to check out the town. So, Saturday morning was my first opportunity. After the amazing breakfast pictured above, I headed out on a bicycle (free of charge from 2N!) to Khao Luang Cave. KLC was, in my opinion, truly remarkable. I’ve visited countless temples and seen tens on tens on tens of Buddhas during my time in Thailand, but this was something else altogether. (Yeah, probably because it wasn’t above-ground.) The cave itself is beautiful, naturally fitted with a skylight in the middle of the first giant area you enter. As you can see in the photos below, just this one space has numerous Buddhas, so it is much more of a temple-like experience than a caving one, yet it’s so unique. It’s incredible! I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

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Amazing, right? That last natural opening in the cave is in another space later on. To give you an idea, the cave itself is located atop a hill which you need to walk up, passing monkeys and sellers of monkey treats along the way. (Yes, I fed the monkeys on my way back down!) Then, once you reach the top of the hill, you descend a slightly twisting staircase and go down into the cave. The first space you come to is what’s pictured in the first two photos in the above collection. Then you continue deeper into the cave, rounding bends as the “ceiling” gets progressively lower. So the second skylight that I’m talking about is further towards the back of the cave. Can you picture it?

From there I biked to lunch (my favorite: Isaan food!) and then headed on to Phra Nakhon Khiri Palace, perhaps what Phetchaburi is best known for (if you’re fortunate to hear of Phetchaburi at all). Man, is this place a workout. It is quite expansive, winding, and uphill, and everything that a tourist may want to stop in to see is placed in this one complex but spaced very far apart. For that reason, it’s not the typical palace that you might be thinking of. There are also plenty of cautionary signs along the twists and turns, warning tourists that no one may be held responsible for any monkey attacks. Eek! Actually, a baby monkey did jump on my leg at some point, but I like to think he/she was just hoping I’d be his/her mom. It’s nicer to think of that way :).

Again, photos.

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I wish I was more of a pro at understanding this place, but I’m not at all, so I really have no explanation to give you other than that I stopped in at one of the temples on the palace grounds and got some of these beautiful views of the city from there. And so on.

Believe it or not, those two sites took all day! And then it was on to one of the most incredible dinners I’ve had, at a restaurant owned by a Thai woman who lived in Georgia (the state in the US, not the country) for twelve years, no less! Sunday was another complimentary breakfast morning before one minivan and one bus back home. And that was that! Phetburi = surprisingly wonderful + makes you want to go back soon soon soon.

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Annnnnnnd, for my week in workouts, I’ll say this: My gym gives you the option of freezing your account for one month if you’ll be traveling for a good chunk of it. I opted to freeze my account during the month of April, but based on the serious longing I’ve had to get back there ever since last week when I got home, I’m kind of wishing I hadn’t frozen it at all. Oh well! The point is that Wednesday is the first day I’ll be able to get back to the gym, and then Thursday and Friday it’ll be closed for holidays. So this week will be at-home yoga and weight-lifting workouts for me! It is faaaaar too hot (heat index between 105 and 115 these days) to be running outside.

What do you think of Phetchaburi? Do you have any interest in going there yourself? What does your week in workouts look like? Have a wonderful Monday! 🙂

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