I remember telling Marko that I wasn't quite ready to travel across the world for my trip to Thailand. I had so much change going on with my business and didn't feel like sitting on a plane and airport for 25+ hours. Well, IM SURE GLAD I took the plunge and got my booty to MSO.
This trip was a long time coming and in the works for a while. My good photographer friend, Julianna, told me that her and her friend, Dana, had planned a trip to Thailand. I remember quite vividly when she told me because I was sitting in my law clerk office writing up a very intense draft order for chambers. My daily life was all about reading, researching, and writing, and I was itching to get out and travel. So, when the opportunity presented itself, I booked a flight to Bangkok and the fun began!
Luckily, the trip was already planned by Dana and all I had to do was show up. As a type A person, I am so used to planning every minute of my vacations, so it was literally the best thing ever to put the planning in someone else's hands and just go with the flow. I'm sure that's a big part of why this Thailand trip was so phenomenal.
We started in Bangkok, made it up to Chiang Mai, played with elephants at the ethical Patera elephant farm, flew down to Krabi, drove around on mopeds, zoomed over to Railay beach on a long boat, took the ferry to Koh Phi Phi, partied it up (28-year-old-style, haha) with fire dancers and raves on the beach, went snorkeling hopped on a fast powerboat ferry to Koh Lanta, sipped on some yummy Thai drinks at Mr. Love Bar, went on an interesting snorkeling excursion to Koh Rok and Koh Ha, and then ended the trip at an amazing resort called Dusit Thani back in Krabi. It was a fast and furious couple weeks, but some of the best days I've ever had while on vacation. I completely UNPLUGGED and only used my phone to contact Marko and my family when I had wifi. It was glorious to let the Paige Marie ship run without being hands-on every waking second, and I had time to relax, read books, and take in moments.
I could go on and on about why everyone should go to Thailand, and why this trip was THE BEST, but I'll just let you scroll through my pics below and see for yourself. Many photos are courtesy of the incredible Julianna J (I mean... traveling with another professional photographer has its perks), including the drone shots.
I also wanted to write out my top ten for Thailand! I always come back from trips and think hard about the good and the bad. While there was very little bad on this trip, you always learn a lot when you travel abroad! Without further ado, here is my list!
My big 10 for traveling to Thailand:
- WIFI:Don't worry about not having wifi (pronounced wee-fee over there)! Literally every restaurant has wifi and they conveniently place it on their napkin holders. All hotels have wifi as well.
- Mopeds: Do rent a moped for like 250 baht ($7.50) a day and ride around the islands/towns. Its a great way to see everything for a fraction of the cost of Tuk Tuks. (But also ride in a couple Tuk Tuks because they are super fun!)
- Excursions: Don't get too excited about snorkeling excursions. No boat is super nice, its packed, and the snorkeling isn't amazing. But, seeing the islands and beaches is great. Just don't do a full day snorkel tour--its not worth it. Stick to the 3-4 hour ones.
- Planning: Don't plan too much. Make sure you have extra days here and there to decide whether you want to stay in a city or move on to the next. Flights are less than $50 domestically, so you can easily hop on a plane to your next destination when you're ready.
- Elephants: Do make it a point to ride elephants!!! This was a highlight of my trip! But, ensure you choose an ethical farm that allows you to ride bareback. I highly recommend the Patera elephant farm in Chiang Mai. They taught us everything about caring for our elephants and the history of elephants in Thailand. We got to brush them, bathe them, feed them, and roam around a waterfall with them. It was incredible.
- Bangkok: Don't do it. Not worth it. Big, dirty city with nothing worth seeing. The grand palace is grand and beautiful, but you can see other beautiful temples around the country. Just do yourself a favor and skip Bangkok and go straight to Chiang Mai.
- Thai food: EAT IT ALL! OMGGGGGG so good! Thai food in America will never be the same. And I highly suggest going to the hole-in-the-wall places on the side of the road. They are about $2 for the most delicious Pad Thai, curry, and stir fry dishes. Yummy! ALSO, take a cooking class if you have time! I can't wait to show Marko my new wok skills.
- Thai massages:Get a massage every day, if not every other day! Its about $8 for an hour massage. Just do it because you will feel tons better (and there is air conditioning, haha). There is a massage place on every corner and its worth every penny. You can get a foot massage, thai massage (lots of stretching and deep pressure), a traditional oil massage, head/back massage... you name it!
- Sweating: You will sweat all day long. Its hot and humid. Just don't do your hair or makeup too much because it will all fall off by the end of the day. Embrace the sweat!
- Packing/Clothing: Don't bring too much. Literally pack HALF of what you think you will need. And, only take a small carry on or a small hiking backpack. The shopping is amazing and you will want to buy all the thai pants, linen clothing, and cute tops there! Its about $3-5 for clothing items and 100% worth it! I love everything I bought over there and wish I could have bought more if I had more room in my luggage! Oh, and pro-tip, wear lightweight pants/capris (not shorts) because its easier on the sweaty leg chaffing and also a win-win for going into temples. ;)
FINALLY... here's the most epic travel film of our trip by the talented Julianna J! Wooooo!!!! Please go check out her stuff on Youtube and on her website here: http://juliannajphotography.com/