Story from Rasi Yi, CTEPer
It has been several months already since we got to know one another during the first Cambodian-Thai Exchange Program in Sihanouk province, Cambodia. Time flies so fast indeed, and we hardly forget how much our Cambodian-Thai friendship had been grown during the 7 unforgettable camping days that we had been learning to live together as a family. It truly was our good memory, it always remains within us, and we promised to meet one another again one day.
5 months later, it was like a dream comes true for us because most of us have met again during our New Year trip to Thailand in April. The whole trip was so amazing since we had a great chance not only to travel and visit beautiful places in Thailand, but also to celebrate our CTEP reunion with joy and happiness. I just could not deny how much fun we had, and how happy everyone was during this 7-day journey. I still remember vividly how everyone smiled, laughed, hugged each other, danced, sang Karaoke together, and enjoyed sightseeing, taking photographs, and travelling Thailand.
Our Cambodian friends initiated this trip several days after the first CTEP ended. Everyone was so excited about this trip, but not everyone was sure to be able to join this trip. As time passed by, one after another made their decision and confirmed his/her participation.
Our Thai friends offered kind help to suggest us good places to visit and activities to do in their home country. Our Cambodian team helped one another with the whole journey planning. Without them, this trip could not be this much awesomely fulfilled. We only spent 7 days there, from the 12th until the 19th of April, but we’ve been to many great places in Thailand; that is, we have undergone an over 3000-km travelling, from Phnom Penh to Bangkok, from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, and from Chiang Rai back to Bangkok.
Gratefully, we will never forget to thank our CTEP Thai friends there for their warm hospitality. They will always stay with us and be with us as our host family and as great non-licensed tour guides to travel the city and the provinces. Haha Wherever we go, we luckily have a kind company from at least one of our Thai friends. Merly about 20 individuals of them amazingly made us feel as though we have friends throughout Thailand.
In Chiang Mai, we have Am and Net; in Chiang Rai, we would have May. And if we had been to Issand, we would have had P Nahm, P Kate, Eng, Ging, and A who would offer to provide us a guide of the tourist sites there. Whereas, P Ben, Darid, Arthit, and Loukwha would have toured us the whole trip if we had gone to the south of Thailand. Let alone in Bangkok, we have almost everyone there to welcome us and to voluntarily provide us with enormous help.
Much more than the hospitality and the tour guidance, it was the happiness, the caring, and the love that they never forgot to show us when we were there since they did want us to enjoy the trip in their home country as much as possible. If recalling the memory I have, I still remember that despite their busy learning and working schedule, our Thai friends would rather take their times to come and meet us for dinner (and for Karaoke time at night), and for the sightseeing in the city. We did have fun, but meanwhile we also gave our Thai friends a hard time.
I did appreciate their generosity for helping with the complicated process of booking and the arrangement of bus or train tickets and the housing. The night we stayed at Bangkok, they could only sleep only for a few hours at night. Some would spend the whole day and night just to accompany us. Mommy would get up in the early morning and cooked breakfast for us while we all wouldn’t care to wake up until 10 or 12 am.
In Chiang Mai, we visited the ancient temples, the wats (the Buddhist monasteries), the local markets, the natural parks, the mountains, the long-necked tribe village, the zoo, the elephant camp, the tiger village, the umbrella factory, and so forth. Moreover, it was our luck to be there during Songkran, therefore, we could enjoyed, more than the sightseeing in town, the local traditional celebrations at home and at wats, and the throwing of water along the street, the night market, the lantern floating, and etc… Whereas in Chiang Rai, the marvelous White Temple and Wat Prah Kae never fail to impress us with its amazing look and creativity in architecture and sculpture.
However, Bangkok was so special that many beautiful temples, building and especially many skyscrapers emerge from the ground up high to the sky so breathtakingly. And what caught our interests the most seems to be complexion of the routes and highways there. We were surprised and wondered if the Bangkokian were petrified of the road transportation in the city as we were or not! (haha)…..!