Thursday, October 28, 2010

Researching Thailand

Wow, we've been overwhelmed with all of the amazing advice we're received since posting about planning Bali. Thank you thank you thank you. If anyone is looking for a good story, ask my mom's dear friend Deb about flamethrowers at funerals or cat-munchin' pythons, you're in for a treat.

So! The next itinerary that needs planning is Thailand. As with Bali, it was cool to find out how many people have spent time in Thailand once we started asking around. From Derek, who was there for three weeks, to Amanda, who spend much of her childhood there, to Gloria, who had some unique experiences in Northern Thailand, there is a wealth of knowledge to tap.  Here's how the plan is shaping up so far.

 In general, Sarah and I are not huge beach vacationors. Nothing against white sand and mai-tais, but between Sarah's tan-resistant (and very subburnable) skin and my short attention span a day at the beach usually turns into Sarah repeatedly applying SPF 50 and my asking after two hours if it's time to go ride bikes.

That said though, I hear the saying for Thailand is - when in Thailand, do as Leo DiCaprio does. Which is go to Ko Phi Phi because you will never see a more beautiful beach. And we figure on a five month trip, one leg that is mainly beachy will be fun. Ko Phi Phi here we come.
Before we get to that tiny island oasis though, we'll spend a few days in Bangkok. We're staying close to the Old City, where Rattanakosin's temples, palaces and pavilions will be a definite stop off. We've also hear of an enormous market that happens on the northern outskirts of town. On one of those days we'll head up the river to Kanchanaburi, where we've heard you can do some touristy but unmissable things like ride elephants, check out a provincial marketplace on the water, visit some historical shrines, etc.

Then, it's time to hop a flight to Krabi (RT 100 per person), then a quick longboat out to Railay, which is a town with no roads that is only accessible by boat. Cool. Thanks for the recommendation Derek. Lots of walking in this area, checking out the Princess Shrine and Cave, hiking out to beautiful beaches, and hopefully renting some kayaks to explore the caves in the limestone karsts. Excellent.

Finally, another somewhat longer longboat ride out to Ko Phi Phi, the proclaimed gem of the Andaman Coast islands. It's hardly an undiscovered place, and apparently has quite the party scene, which we aren't particularly interested in, however there are lots of ways to get away from the party circuit and just enjoy the naturally stunning beauty of this little island. Snorkeling, hiking, and yes, beaching it will be the main items on the agenda for the days we end up exploring Ko Phi Phi.

So that's what we've got! Please let us know if you have favs in any of these places that we should check out - restaurants, beaches, shrines, cultural activities, whatever. We've loved hearing everyone's stories, so let's keep it going.

Next on the planning agenda - India. We've identified Southern India as the general destination, but other than that, there's some thinking, reading, listening to stories to do.

55 days til takeoff.


  1. Hello!

    My friend Heather shared your site with me. She says she told you about my site ( and travels awhile back...

    Your Thailand plans looks great. If you don't like the beach scene that much then here is some things I would recommended to you to do instead.

    Khao Sok National Park - would be a great stop over between Kanchanaburi and Krabi. Go sleep in a tree house with monkeys and also take a over night tour to a floating lake house.

    Don't know if you are heading North.... but Chiang Mai and Pai are great places far far away from a beach that are packed full with lots of exciting options of hikes, zip lines, mountain relaxation, waterfalls, hot springs. etc etc. Also the Sunday Night market in Mai is the best market we ever experienced.

    On the way up to Chiang Mai you can stop in some smaller towns like Sukothai with some old city ruins and giant buddhas.

    Koh Phi Phi is beautiful but I wouldn't call it a true Thai beach town. So you might really like it since beaches are not your thing! The beaches are much more populated with things going on and a huge night life. Take a private long tail out to Koh Phi Phi Don (The Beach) rather then the group ones. You will have a better time. The snorkelling around there is amazing.

    If you like giraffes check out Safari Park in Kanchanaburi. You get to get up real close them! Pretty much can hug them. Also the national park with the crazy tiered waterfall is amazing. Make sure to go and take the tour there that gives you the most time there. Or go on your own. Many people there wanted to stay longer but couldn't due to their tour bus leaving. Best guest house we stayed at in Kanchanaburi is Noble Nights.

    Anyways... Happy Travels!

  2. The blog looks cool. The realistic picture about the several distinct places in Thailand had been displayed along with the beautiful pictures. My uncle and aunt had visited Chiang Mai, which is situated in Thailand seven months back and had experienced wild life safari on the back of elephant. These services are provided by Asian Elephant Safari (, which takes you through the widely spread Thai forest and give you glimpse of Karen Hill Tribe people and their way of life. The food served in the Lodge is quite amazing.