A couple of weeks ago, I was able to escape the smog and congestion of Bangkok to visit the countryside near the city of Khon Kaen in Northern Thailand.
Though there weren't many options for accommodation, these little bungalows overlooking the sleepy rice field made a perfect and quiet place to relax.
Salads made with fresh herbs and vegetables are a huge part of the diet in Northern Thailand.
Since I enjoy browsing fresh markets so much, it was a joy to walk around and see all the ingredients in the low-key local market.
All things looked like they had been harvested just moments before arriving at the market.
Silkworms are a popular local snack item.
Fry them up in hot oil, give them a generous dash of salt, and they make a tasty countryside (protein rich) snack.
One day we took a little drive to the side of the lake for a lovely view.
A sausage known as naam in Thai is one of the specialties in the area. Though often made with pork, this version was made with local fish.
The fish is first mixed with spices and then wrapped into a banana leaf and left to ferment for a few days.
The result is a sausage that has an excellent sour tinge and is served with raw chilies and garlic.
Along the lake, I came across a huge Thai spirit shrine teeming with all sorts of animal statues including zebras, elephants, dogs, horses, and roosters.
When the hot afternoon sun kicks in, there's absolutely nothing better to do than head to one of the restaurants on stilts above the water.
The environment paired with the excellent food made the dining experience one of the most perfect meals I've had in Thailand.
Like I mentioned before, the produce in the Northern Thailand countryside is excellent, fresh, and crisp.
This plate of steamed mushrooms and flowers served with a chili dipping sauce was delicious.
The green papaya salad, prepared with local red shrimp (much redder than a normal plate of green papaya salad in Bangkok), was also delightful.
For the quiet atmosphere, clean air, and fresh food, one of the enjoyable things to do in Thailand is spend a few days every now and then relaxing in the countryside!