Hello, This Life in Motion people! I am Anna from Fitscally Responsible. Abby invited me to write a guest post about one of my favorite trips. Well, it was pretty easy to figure out which one to write about… THAILAND!!!
I visited Thailand for two weeks in May 2010 with two girlfriends, Melanie and B. Bea. We took off from Minneapolis the day they were cleaning the streets of Bangkok after the Red Shirt political protest. Because of the protests, we didn’t stay in Bangkok other than spending 9 hours trying to sleep on a bench in the airport while waiting for our flight to Phuket:
During our two weeks in Thailand, we visited: Phuket, Chiang Mai, Koh Phangan, and Koh Samui. If you can handle the 18 hours of flying time, this is a place worth spending your vacation time. The flight can be pricey (although we found a great deal through Delta vacations where we paid $1200 for the flight and two nights of hotel), but once you get there it is very affordable. We stayed in a four-star bungalow at a resort on the beach in Koh Phangan for $125/night!
It would be very difficult to cover the entire trip without practically writing a book so I’ll just share a few of my favorites from each location.
We only spent two days in Phuket and spent half of it being jet-lagged. We spent a lot of time relaxing by the water, either at our pool or at the beach. This is one of the fountains they had on the beach (the white sign on the left says “Please Do Not On Step” ):
We spent four days in Chiang Mai. We were lucky enough to stay at a condo owned by B. Bea’s friend so we also got a feel for the neighborhood life. This is our $1 meal at a local restaurant (that more closely resembled a road-side stand):
My favorite part of the Chiang Mai trip was our day at Elephant Nature Park. This is a sanctuary and rescue center for elephants. You can visit for a day to feed and bathe the elephants, or you can volunteer for a few days and actually stay on the property. I was a little nervous to feed them, as you can see in this picture:
I eventually became more comfortable around them:
These are a few of my other favorite pictures from Elephant Nature Park:
The other thing I loved about Chiang Mai is the night markets. I negotiated some good deals here! I didn’t get any good pictures of the market, but it is a place you have to visit if you decide to spend time in Chiang Mai.
This is an island in the Gulf of Thailand and the home of the original Full Moon Party. The resort here was great! I loved our bungalow:
The real highlight of this island was the Full Moon Party.
Koh Samui is also an island in the Gulf of Thailand. This was definitely a more relaxing part of the vacation. I had two dresses custom tailored for myself on this island – something I highly recommend if you’re ever in Asia and have the chance to get something custom-tailored. They have beautiful fabric for a fraction of the price.
When we were in Samui, we took a day trip to the Marine National Park for some kayaking and a “light” hike. I didn’t think I’d need much more than flip flops for the “casual” stroll (and, judging by what other people were wearing, I wasn’t the only one). I. thought. I. was. going. to. die!!! It was more like a rock-climbing expedition. It was a lot of fun but I was just thankful to make it back down alive.
Those were just some of the highlights from the trip. I could go on and on and on and on…. I loved Thailand because there were so many different things to see and experiences to be had, the food was wonderful, and – most of all – the people were great. The protests were very uncharacteristic for the general culture of Thailand. I was so glad we still decided to take our trip, despite the frenzy in the media over a protest that took place on one city block (literally). I don’t mean to trivialize the nature of the protest, but it is definitely not representative of the general culture of the people.
The biggest cost of vacationing in Thailand is the airfare. The hotels are VERY affordable and the food and activities are a fraction of the cost of Mexico. I spent a total of $3000 on this two-week vacation and I bought so much stuff I had to buy a second luggage (so it can probably be done for even cheaper). If you’re looking for a beach vacation and an interesting experience, I definitely recommend Thailand!
What is your favorite trip and why?