Chiang Mai, Thailand – Elephants and Songkran

Quite possibly the highlight of our trip so far, Chiang Mai totally won us over. We left Bangkok and headed to Chiang Mai just days before the start of their New Year festivities called Songkran. While Songkran is celebrated throughout Thailand, and even other parts of SE Asia, Chiang Mai is the place to be. The Water Festival is just that, several days of throwing water at people of all ages and nationalities all day long. While we hadn’t necessarily planned to be in Chiang Mai for Songkran, we were very happy to be able to participate in the celebrations!

We stayed at an adorable hostel called Uno Bed Chiang Mai. It was one of the cutest, most home-y hostels we’ve stayed in so far. The room was great, it had a lot of common areas and living spaces, the bathrooms were clean, the location was close to all the fun and city center and it had laundry facilities!

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Bangkok, Thailand

After leaving Phuket (for the third time) we headed to Ko Samui, Thailand. It involved a full day (12-ish hours) of travel for 2 very exhausted girls. We arrived in Ko Samui and it was raining and ugly weather in general. And that weather continued for the next several days. Since we weren’t doing anything but sitting in a hotel room, we decided to leave early and explore other parts of the country. The next stop on our tour of Thailand was Bangkok. Getting back to a bigger city was something that intrigued us and we were ready to explore and see what Bangkok had to offer.

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What we cooked in Thailand!

Twist to the normal food post… this time we’re talking about what we cooked. We are in Bangkok, Thailand and spent the morning in a Thai cooking class. It was a one-of-a-kind experience and we loved every minute of it. Our class was with Sompong Thai Cooking School, which we found on TripAdvisor.

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Similan Islands, Thailand Liveaboard

After getting scuba certified in January we started toying with the idea of doing a liveaboard during our RTW trip. Liveaboards involve living on a boat for a certain number of days and include a lot of diving trips in the time you are on board. We opted to try this out in the Similan Islands, a set of islands off the west coast of Thailand in the Andaman Sea. We were told it was one of the most beautiful places to dive in Thailand and a great place to try a liveaboard since day trips to these dive sites are not plausible due to them being so far off the coast.

We spent 5D/4N on the Manta Queen 3 with about 30 other people. It was an amazing experience where we made some fantastic friends, found new travel companions and even met some other Texans! We were lucky enough to have a room to ourselves as a way to ease into our liveaboard lifestyle. We did 15 dives in 4 days (we had only 7 logged dives before this trip), improved our scuba skills, saw some unique and impressive sea life, completed our advanced open water certification and most importantly, had a lot of fun.

The crew of the Manta Queen 3 were beyond amazing. They fed us, spoiled us, kept us informed and entertained, made sure we were safe, helped us in and out of our gear, shared stories of their adventures and much more. Our guide, Joe, spent every dive showing us unique and intriguing things under water and also helped us get our advanced open water certification. Fellow Texans Devon and Brandon rounded out our dive group nicely and we really enjoyed spending time in (and out of) the water with them. Brandon came to us with a proposal towards the end of the trip – that we all go on a dive trip once a year – and we gladly accepted!

Luckily Jenny started feeling better at the start of this trip once her medicine kicked in and she was able to enjoy all of the dives on the trip without any issues! Such a relief!

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The return to Phuket, Thailand

Leaving Ao Nang brought us back to Phuket and provided the opportunity to see another part of the island and do a few touristy things. We opted to stay in Kata this time around as it was a bit more calm and claimed better beaches than Patong. We found a cheap hotel that had good reviews, booked it and set out on Phuket Adventure, Round 2.

Our ferry and shuttle dropped us in Kata around 6 pm so we checked in and headed out to the Kata weekly market that was in town that evening. We sampled a variety of tasty fried foods, had a Chang beer, dominated some sticky rice, paid way too much for a cup of buttery corn and tried a new, yellow curry grilled chicken. After we were sufficiently stuffed we headed “home” for some sleep. We had a big day ahead of us the next day.

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Island hopping near Ao Nang, Thailand

Our second stop in Thailand was the Krabi region. It’s an area known for it’s beaches and breathtaking islands off the coast, so of course it was on our list to visit. We opted to stay in Ao Nang as we had read it was a great launching point for visiting many islands in the Andaman Sea and it also had the best selection of hostels and food.wp-1490444663701.jpg

This stop also included going back to dorm life which was a fairly easy adjustment. Lately we had been spoiled with hotel rooms or private rooms, so we took it easy and booked a 4 bed mixed dorm at a cute hostel called iDeal Beds. Reviews told us that it was close to the beach yet away from the party area and quite peaceful.

We took a ferry from Phuket to Ao Nang and hopped in a tuk tuk to take us to our home for the next few days. The scenery took our breath away and we hadn’t even gotten to the best parts yet!

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