Harvard Business School Reunion in Thailand
This December I had the pleasure of joining my Harvard Business School classmates for a reunion in Thailand. It was truly an unforgettable experience! We explored everything from ancient temples, to the GemResearch Swisslab, to the Damnoen Floating Market and traditional rice fields. Needless to say, I tasted exquisite food and even took a Thai cooking class.
Our inspiring adventure started with a visit to The Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, or Wat Phra Kaew as locals call it. It is one of the most famous must-see destinations for tourists visiting Thailand. The Grand Palace was built in April of 1782, after King Rama I ascended the throne. The palace has since undergone several repairs and renovations, but its charm and beauty ceases to astonish visitors. It is also one of the most beautiful and significant Buddhist temples in Thailand, because of its renowned Emerald Buddha. The Emerald Buddha was carved from a single block of fine jade; a true masterpiece that will take your breath away.
Another amazing experience I had was visiting the “GRS” – GemResearch Swisslab and the “SANT” precious stone cutting factory. GRS is one of the most important gem testing labs in Bangkok, and well known around the world. The “SANT” factory amazed me with their talented and skilled stone cutters. Gazing at the beautiful gems seen during the tour, you are not surprised why this factory ships their precious gemstones to jewelry houses around the world. Truly talented, Thai cutters bring out the best cuts from a rough stone and create a magical piece of jewelry.
Our trip organizers planned a fun activity for us as well. Besides visiting the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market – one of the most famous floating markets in the world, with its bustling scene offering a timeless snapshot of the exotic Thailand – we also had the opportunity to experience a traditional rice field. For two hours, dressed in traditional garb, we learned what it takes to grow and harvest rice.
Another part of Thailand that we visited was the ancient Lost City in Chiang Mai called “Wiang Kum Kam”, which was just recently discovered. Its beauty and timelessness left me speechless. This historical settlement and archeological site along the Ping River was built by King Mangrai as his capital, before moving it to Chiang Mai. It's amazing how our planet keeps surprising us with discoveries like Wiang Kum Kam. It makes you wonder how many other unknown treasures it keeps from us! With every site like Wiang Kum Kam, we discover more of who we once were as a civilization.
Thailand left me with a lot of unforgettable memories: exploring the ancient tunnels of “Wat Umong”, experiencing Northern Thailand Lanna-style dresses, enjoying amazing food, and catching up with Harvard classmates. This trip was a great way to say farewell to 2016 and welcome 2017!