Thailand (excl. Bangkok)
4th – 29th December 2017
Rich and I both agree that this one month in Thailand has been clearly split into two parts. We spent two weeks in the South islands in the Trang and Krabi provinces soaking up some sun and enjoying the sand and sea for the first time in a long while. We then spent two weeks in Northern Thailand visiting Chiang Mai and the surrounding area.
We soon realised Thailand is a big country and that by no means have we seen it all. There is a lot to do here and as with many countries that have such a large tourist industry some of these things often come with a high price. Despite this we did snorkel off white sandy beaches, get a Thai massage, do a cooking class, learn how to meditate and spent Christmas day with the elephants.
It is important to note we didn’t stop in Bangkok during this one month trip. Rich’s parents will be meeting us in Bangkok in February and so we will see the big city then.
Food and Drink
We really enjoyed the many curries we ate in Thailand. My favourite was the green curry whilst Rich preferred the massaman. We got the opportunity to make our own curry paste at a cooking classes we took in Chiang Mai and used the pastes to cook a real Thai curry. It was great to learn all the ingredients that made these authentic curries so flavoursome. These ingredients included kaffir lime skin, lemongrass, galangal (Thai ginger), shrimp paste and of course fresh chillies. However it is going to be hard to get these great fresh ingredients back home.
This stir fry dish is another well known Thai meal. A tasty Pad Thai was available at many street food stands for very little money and was always made fresh for your in about five minutes. The noodles are fried with egg, tofu, chicken and garlic and numerous Asian sauces and then you add your own condiments depending upon your preference. These extras included roasted peanuts, chilli powder, lime and sugar. It’s an odd but tasty combination.
This spicy salad is made of shredded unripe papaya. The papaya is combined with other vegetables such as tomatoes, carrot, aubergine and of course chillies. It then has a tasty sweet and spicy sauce made from tamarind sauce, lime juice, fish sauce and sugar.
This was the first island we visited in Thailand and was a piece of paradise. It is in the Trang province, south of the more well known Krabi area on the west coast. This small island is about three kilometres long and only a few hundred metres wide in some places. It has a handful of resorts and no village community. It has no roads and therefore no noisy traffic. Our budget beachside resort on Ao Niang beach was accessible only when the tide was out making it a very quiet location and a perfect place to relax after six months of travelling. On top of this we had some of the best snorkeling in the area straight off our beach.
Railay is a well known destination amongst travellers and when we arrived we knew why. This area feels like it could be an island although is actually on the coast West of Krabi town. It again has no cars as it has no roads connecting it to mainland traffic. Despite this it does not feel remote, like Ko Kradan, as it is well connected by boats and offers a wide range of tours and activities. There was also a very social feel to this place with numerous restaurants and bars and nice bustling accommodation.
Soppong (Tham Lod)
I stumbled across Cave Lodge on numerous blogs while I was trying to decide what to do while Rich did his four day motorbike loop. Located just outside of Soppong next to Tham Lod Cave, this lodge, and the surrounding beautiful scenery, offered a very different side to the busy tourist filled towns of Pai and Chiang Mai. Here we met like minded travellers huddled around a campfire and shared great stories from current and past trips. We were also in walking distance of the true rural countryside of Thailand making it feel very genuine.
Things we learnt
- We took a half day cooking class whilst in Chiang Mai and learnt to cook a variety of Thai dishes. There’s no doubt we both loved the Thai cuisine and we hope we can bring some of this knowledge back home.
- We both found that the islands were a lot more expensive than we’d thought. The truth is the island resorts are there for the tourists not for locals and therefore the food, drink and activities prices are higher than other areas in Thailand. Tourism is such a massive industry and they know how to make the most of it.
- At the end of Thai words or sentences you use the words `ka’ or ‘krap’ depending upon your gender. If you are a female you use the former, ka, whilst for a male you use krap.
- Hello – Sawadee ka / krap ( สวัสดี )
- Thank you – Kapun ka / krap ( ขอบคุณ )
Travel Statistics for Thailand
Beers drank: 18.5 (each)
Beds slept in: 13 (each)
Bribes paid: 0
- Plane: 2
- Bus: 3
- Minibus: 5
- Boat: 7
- Pick up truck: 7
- Rickshaw: 6
- Motobike: 6
Spending in Thailand
Currency: Thai Baht
Currency Conversion: £1 = 43.73
Number of days in country: 26
Breakdown of spending (together) –
Food & Beverage: £234.16
Total (together): £1, 262.85
Total (per person): £631.43
Average Daily Spend (together): £48.57
Average Daily Spend (per person): £24.29