We spent some time in Bangkok and the surrounding area, but most of our time was spent on the island of Ko Samui.

Golden Buddha Statue in Thailand

Bangkok and Surrounding Area

A group of people standing in front of a palace in Thailand
Gene smiling outside in Thailand with a group of friends

These status seekers surprised us. We were walking around the Grand Palace in Bangkok when I heard, “Good morning Mr. Rodgers.” I turned to find the stewardesses from the airline. I’m sure they just wanted to be in a photo with me.

Floating street market in Thailand
Floating Thailand market

These shots were taken at Wat Sai floating market in Thonburi, near Bangkok.
We rode in one of these boats, called longtails, through the city’s extensive network of canals.

Golden Buddha Statue in Thailand
The gold Buddha at Wat Trimitr, Bangkok
(we missed this but you shouldn’t)
Gene smiling with a happy monkey holding his shoulders looking at the camera.
Gene smiles while a Monkey poses for the camera holding his shoulders.

The Golden Buddha statue is the largest golden Buddha statue in the world. It was created (13th century) when Sukhothai was the capital of Thailand. It is made of pure gold. The figure is unrivalled in beauty, measuring 12 feet 5 inches in width, height of 15 feet 9 inches from the base to the crown and weighing approximately 5 tons. Now more than 700 years old, it is a valuable treasure of Thailand and of Buddhism. When the Burmese were about to sack the city of Ayuttaya, it was covered in plaster to hide its value. Two centuries later, still in plaster, it was thought to be worth very little. But in 1957, when the image was being moved to a new temple in Bangkok, it slipped from a crane and was left in the mud by workmen. In the morning, a temple monk, who had dreamed that the statue was divinely inspired, went to see the Buddha image. Through a crack in the plaster he saw a glint of yellow, and discovered that the statue was pure gold.

Elephant Verses Jeep

We compared traveling on an elephant verses traveling in a jeep. If you look closely, you can see I took the back wheels off my wheelchair and had Davin tie my wheelchair securely to the seat on the elephant. The wheelchair gave me support on my back and sides. It also held my feet up. The elephant handlers assured me I wouldn’t need it, but I knew, from riding elephants in Nepal, that it would be helpful.

I’m using a Quickie wheelchair. Since Quickie uses inferior materials and have fundamental design flaws that allow it to fall apart under normal use, I recommend using a different brand name.

Gene wearing a safari outfit in Thailand
Gene riding an elephant in India
When these big gals get hungry, they just pick up a coconut, pop it their mouth and crush it with their tremendous jaws.
Gene smiles with Noi in Thailand
This is Noi from Island Safari. She got me the best elephant to ride. She is also an autograph seeker and begged me to get a picture taken with her.
Gene rides an elephant in Thailand with a guide
Kids, don’t try this at home!
Jeep in Thailand
This is the jeep we rented. My wheelchair fit nicely in the back.
Jeep in the jungle of Thailand
We never had a parking problem with the elephant and they could handle as tough a terrain as a jeep. The jeep was a bit faster though.
Road in the Thailand jungle, a dirt road with a beautiful scene of lush greenery, water and mountains in the distance.
These views are typical of what we saw driving around Ko Samui.
Thais drive on the left, hence the steering wheel on the right.
Davin loved driving around the island. Luckily we had 4 wheel drive.
Gene smiling with a happy monkey holding his shoulders looking at the camera.
I don’t know where this flea bitten varmit came from but he sure looks cute holding that monkey.

Ko Somui

We spent a lot of time on the island of Ko Samui. You can see it on the lower central part of this map, in red.

Three boats are docked next to a palm tree
A waterfall in Thailand with a silhouette of a person standing near a tree in front of the falls
There were several waterfalls on Ko Samui and many more on the mainland.

Thailand is a photographers dream. Everywhere we looked, there seemed to be a photo opportunity.

Large Buddha shine in the jungle of Thailand
There were temples all over. Notice Big Budda in the top-center.

A group of people sitting at a restaurant with the ocean and palm trees in view
It was almost impossible to find a restaurant that didn’t have an ocean view.
Gene and Davin rest after a nice meal in Thailand.
Davin and I are resting after another great meal.
A group of palm trees next to a body of water
The views from each restaurant were spectacular.
Gene and a friend enjoying the sunset.
Here we are all stressed out, watching a sunset.

Oriental Hotel

We stayed at the Oriental Hotel on the island Ko Samui. Our room was finished (built) just hours before we arrived, otherwise we would have had no place to stay on New Years. Luckily, we had a wheelchair accessible shower – that happens to me much more in developing countries rather than in the USA.

The next 3 shots must be viewed (virtually) as one.

A person sitting at a table in front of a body of water
A wooden boat in a body of water with a distant large Buddha in the background
We had many drinks (mostly lemonade) while sitting on this deck of our hotel.
The pole right next to me is hiding the Big Budda, barely visible in the next picture. The arrow points to Big Budda. We walked there on several occasions.
Golden Buddha Statue in Thailand
This is Big Budda of Big Budda beach fame on Ko Sumui.
It is the same one the arrow points to in the previous picture.
Gene standing near a tank of Eels

The hotel’s restaurant had many tanks filled with different types of sealife to eat.
This particular display had aphrodisiac eel for sexual power. I didn’t want to think about it though – I would have needed it if I married Jessica Alba, but she refused to sign the pre-nuptial agreement.

Gene, Steve and Wendy pose for the camera at a restaurant table in Thailand.
Say “hello” to Steve and Wendy from Australia. I was getting pretty thirsty until Steve came by and rescued me with his Jack Daniels canteen.