Friday, August 22, 2008

Introductory lesson on our trip to Thailand...

Well, we're back. And amazingly in one piece. A few cuts, slices, stake through the neck and the occasional monkey bite, but that's for another entry.

We had some great adventures during our time in Thailand so I hope to bring them to you over the course of, well over however long it takes me to write them up.

Firstly I would like to give a brief summary of what the plan was. I hope to also be able to assist people who are looking at travelling to Thailand with some information on where to go, what to watch out for and where you can save money.

So here goes.

An Introduction to Thailand For Dummies - written by one.

Thailand is located in South East Asia. That was pretty easy.
To give you a global perspective for those geographically challenged (myself included with regions such as Asia)...

To give you an idea of where it is within Asia...

Once in Thailand there are a number of locations which you can decide to perch your butt for a holiday. Generally most tourists either head to the islands of Phuket or Koh Samui.
We decided to take in Krabi, Phuket and Koh Samui. Hey, if you've already taken the 9 hour flight to get there you might as well check out as much as you can.

In Summary the round trip was:
1. Flew into Bangkok
2. Caught a connecting flight to Krabi
3. Caught a taxi-with-a-death-wish to Ao Nang
4. Boat to our resort
5. Speed boat to travel around the Phi Phi Islands
6. Boat back to Ao Nang
7. Taxi-who-wanted-to-see-his-family-again to Phuket
8. Flew from Phuket to Koh Samui
9. Flew from Koh Samui to Bangkok
10. I'm putting the walk around Bangkok airport as a journey, just because it was
11. Flew out from Bangkok to Melbourne

And if those places sounded like another language to you (funnily enough) here's a dinky little map to help explain.

A courtesy note of thanks to companies that are nice enough to put maps on the web.

So you may ask, why Thailand? Isn't it hot enough in Australia?

First of all, it is a fallacy that it is always hot in Australia. Sure, if you are lucky enough to live in the more Northern parts of this country you are blessed with warmer weather most of the year. But as I sit here typing with fingers who are wondering what they ever did to me to deserve this kind of cold I can confirm that living in the Southern parts of Australia means it gets rather chilly.

Plus, there was always something calling me to Thailand. I wasn't sure if it was my upbringing which could be loosely described as a Buddhist lifestyle, or whether it was just a desire to be warm for an extended period of time while everyone else was cold, but something was calling me.

Something had also been threatening to drag, sorry, calling my husband too. Well not really, but he was up for a trip to a hot place with nice beaches.

When explaining to my husband what each location was like, this is how it was summarised (and being able to have a visual aid for this would help a lot):
Krabi - It's the place you go when you want to chill out and travel out to some of the other islands (particularly Phi Phi) which are even more chilled. My visual way of explaining this was to cross my hands behind my head, pretend I'm lying on a beach and give a big sigh.

The Phi Phi Islands
Phuket - the town of excess. Shopping to the excess, partying to the excess and sleazy old men to the excess **shudder**. I would do a little disco dance for him to give a visual representation of Phuket as my sleazy old man impression I didn't think would sell the location to him.
The sights of Phuket - It's like a mini Vegas in Asia.

Koh Samui - It's more the "I'm over the going out until all hours of the night, but ain't dead yet" part of Thailand. My visual description was to mix the relaxation charade followed by a more subdued disco dance.

Not to be put off by my previous monkey encounter, this little gibbon in Koh Samui was heart-warming.
I hear his Mum isn't so nice though.

Did that make it any clearer, or have I just managed to confuse the issue?

When we go away on holidays we like it to be a holiday. I've tried to embrace the inner backpacker within me, but I just can't do it. I don't know if it is because I went straight to work after High School and chose to study at night rather than do full time uni, but while the idea of only spending $25 per night for accommodation is appealing, I'm not big on sharing bunks, or for that fact sleeping in bunks at all.

We stayed in 5 star all the way, but I would like to note that at the price of 3 star, just by doing a little bit of shopping around. Using the resources of, Asia Web Direct and Trip Advisor I was able to get an idea of what the going rate was for particular locations and also using Trip Advisor you get the true picture of what the accommodation was really like.

All up, I saved us $3000 by booking accommodation ourselves. That money was the difference between us going on the trip and staying home.

So with our 16 days roughly planned we set off.

Did I mention Hubby lost his passport the night before we left? ....

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