Xplore Asia Excursions: Temple, pineapple farm and elephant sanctuary

IMG_2731Xplore Asia organised several incredible excursions as part of orientation week.

On Wednesday afternoon, we ventured out to a Thai Temple towards the South of Hua Hin as Buddism is a massive part of the culture. Climbing up to part of the temple, revealing pictueque views of Takiap beach, we were expected to take off our shoes, where we received a bracket from a monk before he blessed us all. It was interesting to discover that monks are not allowed to touch a women, even to give them something small. There were several status of Buddhas around the temple as well a little shrine. The shrines are outside every home, and Thai people put a blessing in front of them every morning like a bottle of fanta. The fat Buddhas are traditionally Chinese, whereas the skinny Buddha  are Thai. There was a mixture scattered around the temple.IMG_2741 After, we hiked up some steps, where as per usual I went bare foot walking on the scolding floor to the huge Buddha on top of the temple. The view was magnificent. Soon after, we found ourselves sitting on mats in front of a Buddha shrine, where we were shown how to show respect and a ritual that is performed every time. They take some incense sticks, light them and place them into a stand, then clasp their hand a certain way and bow. They do this three time. We had a short time to meditate, empty our minds, before leaving to hear a message from a monk. From my understanding of Buddism, they believe that you should stay on one emotional level, never to feel down or up, just balanced, which is why they meditate to clear every thought. I love how they much they respect each other and will always be willing to do things for others. IMG_2753

Next on the agenda was to go to ‘Rescue Paws’ compound, which is a charity that helps stray dogs. As you walk around Thailand, I am overwhelmed with the amount of dogs wondering around, looking sick or injured. This is a great charity that has helped so many dogs. We got the chance to meet some of the dogs and give them a cuddle. Normally I’m not an animal person but they were cute.

At the end of our week, we had a whole day of trips to explore the culture even further. First, we headed to a local pineapple farm. Rows and rows of pineapple plants surrounded us. I didn’t even realise that pineapple grow from the a plant in the ground rather than a tree. You learn something new every day. IMG_2799After trying the deliciously sweet pineapple as well as some mango, we packed buckets of pineapples to take to our next destination: an elephant sanctuary. I was so excited. IMG_2881

As soon as we arrived, there were several elephants. Feeding an elephant was an amazing experience but also kind of scary. The elephant grabbed the pineapple with its trunk and scoffed it into his mouth. His truck was just flapping around but managed to get a selfie with him as well as stroke his rough, prickly skins. Round the corner was a younger Chang, IMG_2889where he cuddled us all individual and played with us. Impressively, he charged at a football to score into a net.

While hanging around, I met a young Thai girl, maybe about 4 years olds, who I decided to play with. She was so cute. Thai people are so friendly and always give you that genuine smile. IMG_2920

On the way back, we stopped off at an artist village, where we were taught to do some Thai art, trying to get us connected with our creative side. Handing out henna paste meant that we were all able to draw henna on ourselves and other. This was the first time I had done this. The hardest part was deciding what to draw. 

The whole week has totally exceeded my expectations with some memorable experiences and excursion. I feel extremely blessed.

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