REVISITING PARADISE – THAILAND 2018

After our epic adventure in Thailand last year, in which we managed to visit Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Krabi and a fair few islands too, we were super excited to book our next adventure for this year.

We spent absolutely ages poring over forums and websites, considering where to go next. Coming out on top were Vietnam, India and Nepal. Unfortunately though, we simply couldn’t decide where to go! There were so many pros and cons to each place.

It was difficult because Thailand last year was just such a pull [not least because I’d wanted to visit for so long]. It was super easy to choose where to go because we both had a set idea of what we wanted and expected from our travels. The country has the best of everything. Shopping, nightlife, animals, tranquillity, bustling cities, religion and culture alongside just the right amount of sleaze.

We managed to fit a hell of a lot in, although we had to cut out some must-go places simply to fit into the time we had. On our hunt for the next adventure, we kept finding ourselves saying things like “Why don’t we try to fly to XX via Chiang Mai” and “Perhaps we could do half in XX, half in Thailand?”. In the end, we just looked at each other and decided there and then that we’d return to Thailand.

And here we are.

We worried that returning to Thailand would be a cop out. Why not try somewhere new? But then again, why not return to somewhere you loved? We’re changing up our itinerary to fit in all the stuff we couldn’t get to last time.

We also have more time, and a considerably bigger budget than last year [watch out, ballers coming through], so we can afford to live in style. Here’s what we’ve got planned so far. Let us know if we’ve missed something amazing.

Be massive poshos in Bangkok
Our first night in Bangkok, we were happy to forgo Khao San Road and head to the Sky Bar from The Hangover for ridiculously overpriced cocktails. Totally predictable, but whatever. Unfortunately, the receptionist at the hotel who was arranging our taxi took one look at Mr Jones’ shorts and told us they wouldn’t let us in. It wasn’t the end of the world, we just had the craic in the form of buckets and a game of checkers above KSR. We’ll make sure Will has something suitable to wear this time round and head to the bar. I feel like it’s just one of those things that needs to be done. Literally so excited for hangover Schweppes Manao as well – we’ve missed this shit so much!

Patong
We have a thing by which we visit a strip bar in every new place we visit. That sounds wrong, but it’s out of hilarity’s sake than anything else. Whilst we went to a few go-go bars in Bangkok, we found that the main ‘action’ was over in Patong. However, last year we’d heard about a few scams and because we were fresh off the boat as it were, we decided not to go. We’re going to head over this time though. I’ll write about it here if I can get away with not being TOO graphic.

Although, I’m not sure anything will beat the guy in the go-go bar in Chiang Mai. He was basically dressed as the KFC Colonel, drinking tea from a cup and saucer and cheers-ing with it every so often.  He was loving it!

Pai
One of our friends travelled around Thailand before heading off to Australia – he recommended Pai as the place to go. I’ve heard about the 726 curves to Pai and don’t really fancy sitting in a mini-bus trying to avoid other people throwing up on me [Will included, he’d get motion sickness on an escalator!] – but apparently it’s worth it.

There is also an opportunity here to visit a Karen Long Neck tribe…but I’m torn on this. This is something that really interests me, but I’ve read a fair few reviews that have put me off slightly. Quite a few have mentioned how much of a tourist trap it is – and really, how authentic can it be? Like the elephants last year, I’m going to have to do some more research into whether or not this is ethical, or even worth it.

Cooking class
Since we began living together, we’ve cooked up a storm in the kitchen. We’re always up for trying new things and I’d love to learn how to cook some authentic Thai food in an authentic setting. We couldn’t do this last year as we ran out of time, but I’ve found an amazing deal to do a half day at the famous Mama Noi cooking school for under £20 each! Bangin’.

More animals
One of the best experiences of my life was visiting the elephants at the Chiang Mai Elephant Jungle Sanctuary. We did a load of research and found so many cheaper options. Unfortunately, a vast majority of these had tethered and ridden elephants. So sad! The elephants at EJS looked so happy and were literally loving it – although we did nearly get trampled by some over-zealous teenage ‘phants! You know when they say “my life flashed before my eyes” …literally.

Anyway, similarly to the above, we want to have the best experience possible…ethically. I do like the idea of hanging out with tigers in theory – but it’s unlikely we’ll find somewhere we can see them where they’ve not been drugged or taken from their mothers. Do you know anywhere?

More beach time
As I say, we crammed a shit ton of stuff into two weeks, and barely rested. We spent one or two nights in different places and lived out of our bags. We finally slowed down and spent four days and three nights on Koh Phi Phi. Absolute dream – stay at Beach Front Divers Resort for a brilliant experience and practically your own private beach! They also run a diving school which is much less overrun with tourists than the ones nearer the ferry port.

ANYWAY. We loved those days on the beach to just chill, take boat rides island hopping, eat and drink at leisure without worrying about catching our next flight. In fact, we loved it so much we considered missing our flight back to Bangkok and booking a new one because we really didn’t want to leave.

This time, we’ve been able to learn from experience and have set aside a good five days to be beach bums and simply be. That being said, which island should we choose? Top of the list are Koh Pha Ngan, Koh Lanta or Koh Tao…

We’ve got a whole travel bucket list [and another 14 holiday days spare later in the year], so are looking for inspiration to go elsewhere this year and next. Where would you recommend?

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