28 Mar

Planes, Trains and Automobiles…and TukTuks…and Motorbikes…and Camels…

planes-trains-automobiles

Besides food and accomodation, the other element of our trip that will see plenty of variety is modes of transportation.

Moving from place to place, and getting around each place we’ll be visiting will be a huge part of our trip.

I can only imagine all the types of vehicles we will encounter while traveling such distances, through so many different countries, and over such diverse terrain. Read More

21 Mar

Thailand Itinerary

map_of_thailandWe come into Thailand after India. As I’m unsure of how I will feel about India, I’ve designed the Thailand itinerary to allow for some decompression which is, I’m told, what Thailand is all about.

We plan for 5-6 weeks here so there is plenty of time to settle in and to move around. We’ll fly into Bangkok and spend just the minimum amount of time to get our bearings and make travel plans for heading south…to the beaches.

Reading the guidebooks, and talking to friends who have been there, shows that there are countless beaches to visit. It is nearly impossible to choose while reading a guidebook sitting thousands of miles, and a number of months, away. We’ll need some local and traveler expertise while on the road to help us make the final decisions. Although it seems that one can’t go wrong by choosing any of them.

There are a few ‘must sees’ it seems. The island of Phuket, the Phi Phi Islands and Krabi draw many people to their shores – there must be a good reason for it. Beaches, parties (although we are a little long in the tooth), snorkeling, rock climbing and general ‘chilling’, all have appeal.

Once we’ve had our fill of the beaches we’ll head back to Bangkok to enjoy the thriving metropolis that it is. Many travelers would avoid the city like the plague, but we enjoy cities and so will spend longer here than perhaps the average traveler might – maybe up to a week. Bangkok has all that any city has to offer with the addition of some wicked markets – the floating market, and the night market. I’m also interested in seeing Wat Po – the reclining Buddha. There is, obviously, much more to see – we have plenty of time to discover all of it.

Once we’re done with the city we’ll head north, probably by train. We’ll be heading to Chang Mai stopping along the way wherever we feel like it.

Chang Mai, Chang Rai and the surrounding areas offer plenty to see and do.  We can explore the ancient walled city in Chang Mai, take cooking classes to learn how to make the amazing food, relax with a Thai massage, visit countless temples and head into the hills to do some trekking.

I’m looking forward to Thailand for the relaxation, easy traveling, the famously friendly people, the great food and the beaches. From what I hear it is a very difficult place to leave.

xxx

14 Mar

Every Experience is Perfect

miningWhile researching for this trip, one of the big pitfalls I’ve been careful to avoid is getting caught up in expectations.

Long ago I had trouble truly enjoying travel because I was always trying to find the ‘perfect experience’ or the ‘best spot’ that I had read or dreamed about. I couldn’t really get lost in the moment because I was busy thinking about how it didn’t quite measure up to the ‘ideal’. I have, for the most part, managed to shed that bad habit but I am still vigilant against it so it doesn’t lessen any of my experiences.

It’s impossible not to have expectations. I have read countless guidebooks, forums, blogs and books about all the places we are planning on visiting – expectations slowly build themselves. The trick will be to recognize them and allow the actual experience to usurp them. Read More

07 Mar

India (and Nepal) Itinerary

map_of_indiaIndia is a place that has facinated me for many years. I am, at the same time, excited to finally be going, and terrified of what it holds and how I will react.

Ten weeks is not very long to spend – we have friends that spent 6 months in India alone! So we have limited ourselves to the north for this trip.

A few weeks ago we went to see a talk about trekking in Nepal put on by a local, Vancouver Island fellow. Since seeing that, and reading more about our friends time in Northern India and Nepal, we have pretty much decided to add another two weeks to our time here in order to see a little of Nepal also.

For this itinerary, I’ve dispensed with the route planning and moved more toward creating a list of places that we would like to see. Primarily because it’s difficult to know what the best route might be – although I think we’ll start at the northernmost part simply so that as we move south we can ditch the cold weather gear that we’ll have toted since the beginning – this should be the start of the warm weather! Read More