As you may already know, I use to draw during my trips. I have been creating travel books for several years now. I would like to share with you my latest travel to Thailand (it was the last time that I took plane and traveled far). It was just before the health crisis that we are still going throughâ€¦ In fact, it had already begun, but I was not yet aware of the seriousness of the situation and of the magnitude that it would take in the coming weeks and months… It was February 2020â€¦
So letâ€™s travel a little in Thailand thanks to my notebookâ€¦ before we could soon go again to discover the world!
Excerpts from my travel book in Thailand
I draw my travels in watercolors
First step: Bangkok
We have made our first walk through Bangkok by night, through the Khao San Road area. Many street vendors offer skewers and other tempting dishes. The olfactory sensations are contrasted: it alternates between the foul scent of the street and the delicate fragrances of Thai food. The day after our arrival, we have walked to discover the flower market. Saleswomen are spending their days putting on (not pearls!), but flowers, to make crowns for temples.
Our visit to the city continues to a colorful long boat, on the canals called the khlongs. We feel like in an Eastern Venice, with multicolored gondolas! The houses are authentic wooden huts on stilts. The laundry is hanged to the windows. The vegetation is lush. Golden temples scattered here and there. Itâ€™s nap time. People living here are swinging around in their hammocks. Only a few goannas are awake and waiting for their prey in the shade…
The next day we visit the Wat Pho temple, a complex of buildings with colorful roofs (not always tasteful!) and chedÃ®s (bell-shaped architecture).
A multitude of golden Buddhas smiles at us in each of the temples. The lying Buddha (45m long!) is really impressive, and seems stuck in his little home!
We discover the mango and sticky rice: a real delight! Rice cooked in coconut milk, accompanied by fresh mango! Unfortunately, I never had time to draw one along the journey ; we ate them too fast every time!!
Second step : Sukhothai
We flew to Bankgok-Sukhothai. On arrival, the airport was tiny! A beautiful traditional wooden building, planted in the middle of coconut trees!
Visiting the ancient city of Sukhothai is absolutely charming. We ride our bikes to wander among ruins; remains of red brick temples, immense chedÃ®s, Buddha sculptures in the middle of palm trees, and other exotic vegetation. The place is almost emptyâ€¦ We fully appreciate visiting this UNESCO site without the hordes of tourists that it should attract in normal timesâ€¦
Third step : Chiang Mai
We have 200kms to travel by bus to reach our next stop: it will take us 5 hours and a half! I have not yet specified that the driving of Thai people is veeeery cool compared to other countries! As much for taxis, buses or tuk-tuk!
The geographical location of Chiang Mai is central to visit many nearby sites. We start at Doi Suthep Temple, 15 km away. As soon as you leave the city, the road climbs very strongly, and you find yourself surrounded by dense vegetation. The temple is located at 1500m altitude, it is cool here! To reach the temple, we have to climb the 300 steps of the magnificent staircase (the railing is none other than the body of a giant dragon!). The decoration is very rich: gold is omnipresent! The large central chedÃ® is also made in gold!! The pilgrims go around it three times with a flower in their hand, then prostrate themselves before Buddha.
We will discover the next day a village Hmong: Doi Pui, which is located in the surrounding mountains. The place is a little sad. Houses made of cheap materials; wooden walls, dried palm roofs for the prettiest, but for most corrugated sheetsâ€¦
No tourists here yet, but we find ourselves in a village full of gift shopsâ€¦ Many fresh and dried fruits (dried strawberries and mangoes, yummy!), traditional Hmong costumes add to the usual memories. Weâ€™re in the country, chickens and roosters are roaming free. I enjoy drawing the pretty embroidered outfits of the villagers. What patience work all these embroideries by handâ€¦
The experience of Thai massage!
It is hard to come to Thailand without testing Thai massages! We choose an address recommended by a touristic guide. It is really professional. They wash our feet with salt and lemon. Then they give us loose clothes. The massage is far from relaxing! It feels more like an osteopathy session! She massages me with her whole body, makes me take very special posturesâ€¦ Anyway, I know what Thai massage looks like now!
Local market experience
I love to stroll through the markets of all the countries I visit. We always discover unknown food or objects. The olfactory, sound and visual environment is full of surprises! We leave to the Warorot market. It is really typical. There are only local people. You can buy everything: fruits and vegetables of course, but also dried fish (beware of smells!), spices, golden buddhas, shoes, clothes, beauty products and jewelry! The restoration is done directly on site.
We buy some very typical souvenirs, tomorrow we go back to Bangkok, and the day after tomorrow in France. A last little sketch near the hotel before leaving:
So, I hope I have made you travel a little with these excerpts from my travel diary!
Did you know that these travel books are the source of my wedding books?
It was in 2014, for my brotherâ€™s wedding, that I created my first wedding book!
Would you like to see what it looks like in the “wedding ” version?