Thailand – There and Back Again – Family Trip Planning http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com Family Trip Planning for Busy Folks. Cut the Fluff! What you REALLY need to plan a meaningful family vacation! Mon, 18 Jun 2018 18:15:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Fabulous Friday Foto: A 1,000 Year Old Temple in Chiang Dao Thailand http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/photo-wat-chiang-dao-thailand/ http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/photo-wat-chiang-dao-thailand/#comments Fri, 07 Dec 2012 10:00:00 +0000 http://thereandbackagaintravel.com/?p=5347 This temple looked older than time itself.  It was slowly deteriorating, and it looked like the moss growing all over it might have been playing a role in holding it together.  Quiet hung around the ancient monument like a child hanging on its mother’s skirts.  The atmosphere in this off the beaten path temple in […]

The post Fabulous Friday Foto: A 1,000 Year Old Temple in Chiang Dao Thailand appeared first on There and Back Again - Family Trip Planning.

]]>

A 1,000 year old wat near Chiang Dao Nest, Thailand

This temple looked older than time itself.  It was slowly deteriorating, and it looked like the moss growing all over it might have been playing a role in holding it together.  Quiet hung around the ancient monument like a child hanging on its mother’s skirts.  The atmosphere in this off the beaten path temple in Chiang Dao Thailand was exquisite.  It was moments like this that made out time in Thailand really special!

 

The post Fabulous Friday Foto: A 1,000 Year Old Temple in Chiang Dao Thailand appeared first on There and Back Again - Family Trip Planning.

]]>
http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/photo-wat-chiang-dao-thailand/feed/ 3
Fabulous Friday Foto: Incense and Offerings At A Temple in Thailand http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/temple-in-thailand-offering/ http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/temple-in-thailand-offering/#respond Fri, 23 Nov 2012 14:00:00 +0000 http://thereandbackagaintravel.com/?p=5576 I found the sincerity of the offerings that we saw being made at the temples that we visited around Thailand to be refreshing.  It was clearly evident that the majority of the people who were there to worship at the temple in Thailand felt a deep connected to their faith.  They had taken time out […]

The post Fabulous Friday Foto: Incense and Offerings At A Temple in Thailand appeared first on There and Back Again - Family Trip Planning.

]]>

Worship At Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai, Thailand

I found the sincerity of the offerings that we saw being made at the temples that we visited around Thailand to be refreshing.  It was clearly evident that the majority of the people who were there to worship at the temple in Thailand felt a deep connected to their faith.  They had taken time out of their days to make a special trip to the temple and had prepared offerings to offer at various shrines throughout the temple.

 

The post Fabulous Friday Foto: Incense and Offerings At A Temple in Thailand appeared first on There and Back Again - Family Trip Planning.

]]>
http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/temple-in-thailand-offering/feed/ 0
Fabulous Friday Foto: Bells at a Temple in Thailand http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/bells-temple-in-thailand/ http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/bells-temple-in-thailand/#comments Fri, 09 Nov 2012 10:00:00 +0000 http://thereandbackagaintravel.com/?p=5527 The giant bells fascinated me at this temple in Thailand.  What a beautiful way to announce your prayers!  We saw bells like these at a number of different Buddhist temples around the country.  Can anyone enlighten me about exactly how these are used in Buddhist practice?

The post Fabulous Friday Foto: Bells at a Temple in Thailand appeared first on There and Back Again - Family Trip Planning.

]]>

The bells at a temple in Thailand

The giant bells fascinated me at this temple in Thailand.  What a beautiful way to announce your prayers!  We saw bells like these at a number of different Buddhist temples around the country.  Can anyone enlighten me about exactly how these are used in Buddhist practice?

The post Fabulous Friday Foto: Bells at a Temple in Thailand appeared first on There and Back Again - Family Trip Planning.

]]>
http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/bells-temple-in-thailand/feed/ 1
Overcoming a Fear of Spicy Food in Thailand http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/food-in-thailand/ http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/food-in-thailand/#comments Sun, 17 Jun 2012 10:00:00 +0000 http://thereandbackagaintravel.com/?p=4127 I have never been a fan of spicy foods.  I was always the one that thought that something was spicy when no one else did, gulping down water and wiping tears from my eyes.  That was until I tried the food in Thailand. My taste buds just haven’t been the same since!   The food in […]

The post Overcoming a Fear of Spicy Food in Thailand appeared first on There and Back Again - Family Trip Planning.

]]>

I have never been a fan of spicy foods.  I was always the one that thought that something was spicy when no one else did, gulping down water and wiping tears from my eyes.  That was until I tried the food in Thailand.

My taste buds just haven’t been the same since!   The food in Thailand is an alchemy of flavors; sweet and spicy, salty and bitter, all balanced in amazing culinary harmony.

Papaya salad does not sound like a particularly intimidating dish, nor does its simple presentation give much of a hint about the spiciness that lies beneath the surface.

Thai Papaya Salad food in thailandPapaya salad (also known as som tam) consists of shredded green papaya with a cast of characters that can include chiles, peanuts, sprouts, green beans, garlic and lime juice.

This innocuous dish is said to be one of the spiciest varieties of food in Thailand, and the reason for this reputation becomes quite evident about 15 seconds after putting the first bite in your mouth.

The burn starts slowly, giving you you the false confidence that you can continue to eat more.  Before you know it, the heat has spread over your tongue like a wildfire that nothing seems to quench.

Despite the burning, I continued to eat because the unique flavors combined with the crunchy texture of the raw, green papayas makes a dish unlike anything else that I have ever tasted.

I not only survived my encounter, but thoroughly enjoyed it!  The burn slowly faded, and as the feeling slowly returned to my tongue, I realized that some of the fear that I had about spicy foods had faded as well.  A whole new realm of culinary experimentation had been opened up before me.

A couple of night later, I felt emboldened by my encounter with the Som Tam and I decided to push my boundaries a little further.

Tom Yum soup had been recommended to my as the next possible outlet for my culinary experimentation. It sounded safe enough.  Spicy Chicken soup with lemon grass and vegetables.  I enthusiastically ordered it for my dinner that evening.Thai chili peppers food in thailand

It arrived in a giant earthenware crock.  Without delay I anxiously picked up my spoon and started eating.

I had a moment of fear return when I asked my husband to try some and it was even a little too hot for him.  Had I gotten myself into more than I could handle?

After a few bites my mouth was on fire, and I could rapidly feel my tastebuds becoming numb.

Water did nothing to quench the blaze, yet I kept eating, spoonful after spoonful, because the flavors of the lemongrass and herbs mixed with the spicy chiles were so fresh and vibrant that I had to keep eating.  Every.  Last. Bite.

Since our return, I am happy to report that I have been readily consuming foods that were previously considered “much too spicy” and I feel like the sky is the limit to my new culinary horizons.  Anybody have any advice on what I should try next?

What is your favorite spicy, foreign food?

Have your food and travel tastes changed as a result of a specific place that you have visited?  Have you become more adventurous in your food choices as a result of travel?

 

The post Overcoming a Fear of Spicy Food in Thailand appeared first on There and Back Again - Family Trip Planning.

]]>
http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/food-in-thailand/feed/ 11
A Our Budget for Thailand for One Week http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/cost-living-thailand-budget-for-thailand/ http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/cost-living-thailand-budget-for-thailand/#comments Sat, 21 Apr 2012 10:00:00 +0000 http://thereandbackagaintravel.com/?p=1692 Here is a play by play list of all the things that we spent our bahts on while in Thailand.  We visited Thailand in December of 2011 for 8 nights.  I hope that this will give you an idea of how much one week in Thailand budget travel will cost you. Here are some other […]

The post A Our Budget for Thailand for One Week appeared first on There and Back Again - Family Trip Planning.

]]>

Here is a play by play list of all the things that we spent our bahts on while in Thailand.  We visited Thailand in December of 2011 for 8 nights.  I hope that this will give you an idea of how much one week in Thailand budget travel will cost you.


Here are some other great tips and ideas for planning a trip to Thailand:

Transportation Options in Thailand
How I Learned to Love Thai Food in Thailand
Should you Visit the Long Neck Karen Tribe In Thailand?
How to Avoid Promoting Elephant Abuse in Thailand
Hiking in Thailand with the Chiang Mai Hiking Club

A recount of money spent on a recent trip to Thailand (January 2011) to give you an idea about how to budget for one week in thailand budget

Lodging in Thailand

  • One night at Holiday Inn Bangkok: $60 (I was cheating on this one…I used my Holiday Inn Employee discount.  This is not the rate that is available to the general public, but it is actually much higher than the rates for many of the local hotels in the Bangkok.)
  • 3 nights at Chiang Dao Nest Resort: $78
  • 2 nights at Top Garden Hotel in Chaing Mai: $22
  • 2 nights at the Chiang Mai Blue House: $22

Transportation in Thailand

  • Taxi from airport into Bangkok (60 kilometers): $18.00.  ***We have since discovered that we overpaid.  The meter will usually be less than the flat rate that the drier might offer you.
  • Train to and from Ayutthaya for 2 (about 45 minutes from Bangkok): $2.10
  • Tuk tuk rides to and from ruins in Ayutthaya for 2: $3.50
  • Taxi from central Bangkok to BKK Airport (about 35 km): $15.00
  • Private car from Chiang Mai airpotr to Chiang Mai bus station (a few kilometers): $4.00
  • Bus from Chaing Mai to Chiang Dao for 2: $2.50
  • Bus from Chiang Dao to Chiang Mai for for 2: $2.50
  • Tuk tuk to the edge of Chiang Mai to go hiking: $2.00
  • Tuk tuk rides to and from night market: $4.00
  • Overpriced tuk tuk to airport (because we were in a hurry): $5.00

Thailand-Tuk_tuk one week in thailand budget

Food in Thailand

  • Breakfast for 2 (Street Food Spring Rolls): $2.00
  • 1 bottle of water: $0.33
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner for three days at Chiang Dao Nest for 2
    people:  $132
  • Lunch at unnamed local restaurant next to river in Chiang Dao for 2: $3.10
  • Street Food dinner for 2: $4.00
  • Snacks and water for hiking purchased at 7-11: $4.00
  • Dinner for one at Just Khao Soi (entree and large bottle of water): $4.00
  • Egg roll and fresh pineapple street food lunch: $2.00

 

Street food in Thailand one week in thailand budget

Activities in Thailand

  • Nancy Chandler Map of Chiang Mai: $9.00
  • Entry into Doi Suthep Temple and elevator ride for 2: $3
  • 2 hour massage for 2 people at Chiang Dao Nest: $60
  • 2 one hour massages: $12
  • Full day tour to hill tribe village/elephant camp and bamboo rafting for 2 people: $80
  • Full day Thai cooking class for 2 people: $60
  • Bananas for elephants on elephant ride: $2
  • Tips for elephant tour guide: $4
  • 1 hour of massage: $6
  • Entrance to Chiang Dao Cave for 2: $2.75

Our elephant ride in Thailand one week in thailand budget

Souvenirs from Thailand

  • 2 silk ties: $6
  • Wine bottle holder: $3
  • 2 handmade bags: $7.00
  • 5 decorative hair pins: $3.00
  • 8 bars of handmade soap: $12
  • 3 silk scarves at the night market: $9.00
  • Coconut and rosewood water dipper: $2
  • Jade pendant: $3

Total One Week in Thailand Budget (not including airfare): $675.78


What was your cost for one week in thailand budget travel last time visited?

The post A Our Budget for Thailand for One Week appeared first on There and Back Again - Family Trip Planning.

]]>
http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/cost-living-thailand-budget-for-thailand/feed/ 4
Visiting a Thailand Market; A Photo Essay http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/visit-thailand-market-photo-essay/ http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/visit-thailand-market-photo-essay/#comments Wed, 18 Apr 2012 10:00:00 +0000 http://thereandbackagaintravel.com/?p=2751 A visit to the local market is always a highlight of any trip for me. When we walked into the Thailand market , my senses were assaulted with a number of unusual sights and smells. The pungent smell of fresh chili peppers and unusual herbs and spices tickled my nose.  Fresh fish and seafood of […]

The post Visiting a Thailand Market; A Photo Essay appeared first on There and Back Again - Family Trip Planning.

]]>

A visit to the local market is always a highlight of any trip for me. When we walked into the Thailand market , my senses were assaulted with a number of unusual sights and smells.

The pungent smell of fresh chili peppers and unusual herbs and spices tickled my nose.  Fresh fish and seafood of all varieties added its unique aroma to the air.  We saw tables and tables of bottles of sauces that I was not familiar with but that are standards in Thai cooking.  When combined with fresh local spices and herbs, these are what give Thai food its unuque bouquet of unique flavors.

We heard the lyrical voices of the workers at the market, calling back and forth to each other in Thai, sounding happy in their days work.  Our visit to a Thailand market gave us a window in which to view the daily life of a person living in Thailand, and a unique insight into a type of cuisine that I now love to eat.

The post Visiting a Thailand Market; A Photo Essay appeared first on There and Back Again - Family Trip Planning.

]]>
http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/visit-thailand-market-photo-essay/feed/ 2
Thailand or Japan? A useful Comparison Between the Two Countries http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/thailand-or-japan/ http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/thailand-or-japan/#comments Sun, 26 Feb 2012 10:00:00 +0000 http://thereandbackagainblog.com/?p=1093 Are you considering whether you should go to Thailand or Japan on your next vacation? The points of comparison below should help you to make an informed decision. If you are looking for more information about planning a trip to Thailand or planning a trip to Japan, check out these other informative posts: What We […]

The post Thailand or Japan? A useful Comparison Between the Two Countries appeared first on There and Back Again - Family Trip Planning.

]]>

Are you considering whether you should go to Thailand or Japan on your next vacation? The points of comparison below should help you to make an informed decision.


If you are looking for more information about planning a trip to Thailand or planning a trip to Japan, check out these other informative posts:


Thailand or JapanThailand or Japan?

Weather:

No contest here in the winter time, Thailand has much nicer weather at this time of year (January…I do not know what the weather is like at other times of the year, and I do know that Thailand has a wickedly rainy season…so do your research!).

It is colder here in Tokyo right now than I think it is at home in Minnesota. Definitely winter here.  If weather is a consideration in your decision to go to Thailand or Japan in the winter, I vote for Thailand!

Pedestrian Safety:

Sidewalks were almost non existent in Thailand. The ones that were there were either filled with vehicles, riddles with holes and debris or occupied by mean looking dogs or piles of smelly trash. Continuing on the mean dog note, there were a minimum of 2-3 dogs on each block, many of them sick and infected looking, many malnourished with sores that were oozing pus.

As a result, we rarely saw Thai people walking anywhere if they had any other option. Crosswalks were non existent in many places, so you just had to look carefully and leap before cars came. Oh, and police officers were a rare sight in all of Thailand. We only saw them at rush hour directing traffic at particularly busy intersections.

In Tokyo, there are well repaired sidewalks everywhere. We have not seen a stray dog yet. Crosswalks are well marked, and cars actually respect pedestrians almost too much (what I mean is that they are so respectful of your space as a pedestrian that they will sit until you have completely cleared the intersection before turning. In many cases, they sit through gaps in pedestrians that even I would have shot through at home. Almost too passive.)

Police and security guards were EVERYWHERE. When we walked past constructions sights that were near pedestrians on the sidewalk, there was one guy standing there just to watch pedestrian safety.

Tokyo definitely wins the category for pedestrian safety.

Food:

Tokyo has sake, so there is a big plus there, but I am not crazy about sushi. We ate some pork over rice tonight over Miso soup from a fast food restaurant, and it was good.

I generally LOVED the food in Thailand, and it was much cheaper. We ate many meals on the street for 2-3 dollars for both of us. Even when I ate out in a restaurant one night, I paid about $4 for a HUGE bowl of Khao Soi (noodles and vegetables in broth with chicken) and a bottle of water.

Then, there was the yummy banana deep fried in an egg roll wrapper and drizzled with sweetened condensed milk, and the mango and stick rice….yum.

Thailand wins on the food front.

Cleanliness:

Obviously, Tokyo, hands down. Bangkok was filled with trash. It was everywhere. The city stank of trash and animal excrement.  The rest of Thailand was better, but Tokyo was clean to a fault. No trash on the streets, and very clean smelling for a big city.

Japan Imperial Palace thailand or japan

Part of the Imperial Palace complex in Tokyo

Hotels:

Tie.  Both countries have a wide range of hotel accommodations available.  Hostels, hotels, bed and breakfasts, pod hotels and everything in between.  Obviously from a cost perspective, hotels and other accommodations in Thailand will always be cheaper than accommodations in Japan.  Barring that difference, the places that we stayed at in both countries were clean, efficient and safe feeling.

Ease of getting into the city from the airport:

Bangkok wins this one. To get in from Narita airport in Japan, it involved $30 and 90 minutes on the train with multiple transfers (plus a 1 mile walk at the end to get to our hotel).

Getting to our hotel in Bangkok was just about the easiest thing that I have ever done. Once we got a cab outside of the Bangkok airport (which did involve waiting in a line for about 20 minutes) it cost us $12, took about 25 minutes and the driver dropped us off directly at the door of our hotel.

It would cost a small fortune to take a taxi from the airport at Narita, Japan (and if you had that much money, you would probably just arrange a pickup by helicopter.)

Internet Access:

This one might surprise you. Thailand wins my vote for easiest/best quality internet access. There were internet cafes everywhere, lots of restaurants and cafes had free wifi available and all of the guest houses that we stayed at it offered some form of wireless internet included with our room.

We have been having a hard time finding wireless internet access for our computer in Japan. Signals that are supposed to work don’t seem to for unknown reasons, or the signal isn’t strong enough to make a good connection.

We have bought coffee at countless coffee shops all over Japan trying to get wireless access to no avail. Finally, we got a decent connection at Mc Donalds, but this and Starbucks were the only two places that we found reliable internet connections (many coffee shops only offered wireless for phones through a Japanese cell phone provider called “Softbank”, but this generally didn’t help us connect with our computer. This was very surprising to me for a country that is so technologically inclined.

Chiang Mai flower market thailand or japan

Shopping:

Thailand had better shopping, no question. Obviously, prices were cheaper, so this has to factor into my comparison, but separate from the price issue, the markets in Thailand can’t be beat for variety and sheer joy of the shopping experience.

During the day, there are many easily accessible food markets in Thai cities to buy spices and unique local foods (including lots of fresh fruit!) The night markets are THE place to go for souvenir shopping. Yes, a lot of the stalls carry the same touristy junk, but there are also hidden pockets of unique, one of a kind handicrafts at prices that are incredible.

 



 

Want to find out what other travelers enjoyed doing most when traveling in Thailand and traveling in Japan?

 



As a bonus, you can try some wonderful street food at the markets and because they are generally busy, it usually hasn’t been sitting for very long so illness is less of a worry (we enjoyed more than one street market dinner in Thailand!)

Make sure to bargain to get the best price. It felt awkward to bargain at first, especially because the dollar is so strong against the baht that it hardly seemed worth it sometimes for the fifty cents or a dollar that it would save me, but it is part of the experience and the vendors mark everything up expecting you to do this.

Decide what feels like a fair price to you after having a look around a bit to get your bearings, and offer slightly below this so that they will come up a bit to the price you wanted. If it still is too high, keep going and you will probably find the same thing at another vendor down the street. Chances are good that as you are walking away, they will agree to your price rather than lose your business to a competitor.

Shopping in Japan was good, as well. We saw lots of beautiful ceramic bowls, sake cups, chopsticks and the like, and many local handicrafts. I didn’t allow myself to buy much because of our budget (things are quite expensive in Japan, especially compared to the weak USD right now. A postcard cost us $1.50!) so there are plenty of nice souvenirs to be had, but the shopping experience just didn’t compare to the exhilaration of shopping in the markets in Thailand.

Ease of Communication/Navigation:

While more people spoke English in Japan (most people spoke fluently and just about everybody spoke a little) many things were not printed in English. I don’t say this in judgment, only in comparison, as I never go to any place making assumptions that everything will be printed for us in English.  Winner-Thailand.

In Japan, important things like signs in the airports and train stations were in English, but restaurant signs and menus often weren’t (if we had gone into the restaurant, perhaps we would have been offered en English menu, but without being able to read the signs, we couldn’t figure out if there was anything that we might want to eat there or not.)

Japanese restaurants and shops just didn’t feel very welcoming to us. All it would have taken in most cases was a small sign in English on the outside and we might have felt adventurous enough to go in, but this was not usually offered.

In contrast, far fewer Thai people spoke English, but the vast majority of signs and written communications were in English as well as Thai. This made a huge difference for us in the intimidation factor.

The preponderance of English has a lot to do with the huge numbers of expats living there from English speaking countries (mostly US, UK and Australia, from what I could tell.) If you were really in a pinch, there was generally always somebody around that spoke our language to help out.

Communication and understanding were significantly better in Thailand.

I hope that this post was useful for you in deciding whether to go to Thailand or Japan on your next trip.

Which country did you like better, Thailand or Japan?  Why?

The post Thailand or Japan? A useful Comparison Between the Two Countries appeared first on There and Back Again - Family Trip Planning.

]]>
http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/thailand-or-japan/feed/ 3
What to Do in Thailand: Things I Missed in Thailand This Time http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/what-to-do-in-thailand/ http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/what-to-do-in-thailand/#comments Sat, 18 Feb 2012 10:00:00 +0000 http://thereandbackagainblog.com/?p=1294 You know what they say about the best laid schemes of mice and men, right?  Thailand took my carefully laid out travel itinerary and reshuffled it like a lunatic black jack dealer reshuffling a deck.  We had our ideas for what to do in Thailand and they did not all work as planned. The trip […]

The post What to Do in Thailand: Things I Missed in Thailand This Time appeared first on There and Back Again - Family Trip Planning.

]]>

You know what they say about the best laid schemes of mice and men, right?  Thailand took my carefully laid out travel itinerary and reshuffled it like a lunatic black jack dealer reshuffling a deck.  We had our ideas for what to do in Thailand and they did not all work as planned.

Buddha Statue in Thailand What to do in Thailand

Buddha Statue in Thailand

The trip was wonderful, and the reshuffling meant that we got to spend some extra time in Chiang Dao which was one of our favorite parts of our trip and go to Ayutthaya, the ruins of an ancient city located about 1 hour from Bangkok.

Actually, the dismantling of my trip plans started with the brutal jetlag that we experienced upon arrival in Bangkok, after spending close to 20 hours on an airplane.  That was when my plans to go to Ko Samet got laid by the wayside because it would have just taken too much energy to get there.

Here are four places that I missed on my trip to Thailand this time that are top on my list to hit next time I go:

Beautiful beaches in Thailand What to do in Thailand

I missed out on my beach fix this trip to Thailand…maybe next time.

Thailand has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and I had been hoping for a place to vegetate for a couple of days to enjoy this scenery and recover from my jetlag.

Ko Samet is an island that is about 3.5 hours from Bangkok, Thailand by bus and a ferry.  It is on my list for next time and I look forward to going there to do absolutely NOTHING.

Don’t have the same Thailand travel regrets that I do.  Go enjoy one of the most beautiful assets that this country has to offer and go to the beach!

The White Temple and Chiang Rai:  This went on the Thailand travel wishlist after we returned and I saw this blog post on the Never Ending Voyage Blog about Chiang Rai and the White Temple.  This place looks macabre and fascinating, and it is going on my list for our next trip to Thailand.

More Waterfalls:  I know that this is very vague, but I had this idea in my head that I was going to go to Thailand and go swimming in the pool at the base of a waterfall.  This never happened.  There are many beautiful waterfalls in Thailand, and next time I go back, I am going swimming at the bottom of one of them.

The temples in Bangkok:  We didn’t really see much of Bangkok.  As I noted in a previous post, it was the smelliest, dirtiest city that I have ever seen and the smell was bad enough that it was making my husband ill to his stomach.

There were some thing that I had really wanted to see here, though.  I had planned an evening dinner cruise to see the temples of Bangkok lit up at night.  I had also really wanted to visit Wat Pho to see the massage school there and have a massage by one of the students (it is one of the oldest and most highly acclaimed Thai massage schools in the world).

A Floating Market:  I saw many photos of floating markets around Bangkok, and they all fascinated me.  Vendors pull up in long, skinny boats to the market to sell their wares, fruits, vegetables and other items right from the boat.

Thailand floating market What to do in Thailand

A floating market on Thailand

Due to time constraints and our last minute decision to spend 2 days in Toyko, all of these things had to get bumped from my Thailand itinerary.  Looks like I have at least one more trip to Thailand already laid out for me 🙂

 

What are your suggestions for What to do in Thailand?

If you are looking for more ideas for what to do in Thailand, check out these other great pieces:

 

The post What to Do in Thailand: Things I Missed in Thailand This Time appeared first on There and Back Again - Family Trip Planning.

]]>
http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/what-to-do-in-thailand/feed/ 4
Our Hike with the Chiang Mai Hiking Club http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/beaten-path-chiang-mai-hike-chiang-mai-hiking-club/ http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/beaten-path-chiang-mai-hike-chiang-mai-hiking-club/#comments Mon, 30 Jan 2012 10:00:00 +0000 http://thereandbackagainblog.com/?p=1298 Looking for an off the beaten path activity in Chiang Mai?  A chance to connect with the local community and see something that might generally be off the tourist radar?  You should check out the Chiang Mai Hiking Club! If you found this post useful, please continue reading these other great Thailand travel tips! What […]

The post Our Hike with the Chiang Mai Hiking Club appeared first on There and Back Again - Family Trip Planning.

]]>

Looking for an off the beaten path activity in Chiang Mai?  A chance to connect with the local community and see something that might generally be off the tourist radar?  You should check out the Chiang Mai Hiking Club!

HIking with the Chiang Mai HIking Club


If you found this post useful, please continue reading these other great Thailand travel tips!

Hiking with the Chiang Mai Hiking Club

On the day we visited, there was a solid group of about 40 local Thais and foreign expats living in Chiang Mai excited to head by songthaew up to the top of Doi Pui for spectacular views and a hike down the ridge to a Hmong village, ending at Doi Suthep Temple.

Shanna and Aaron at the Summit of Doi Pui on our hike with the Chiang Mai Hiking Club

 

 

We had a lovely time on our hike with the Chiang Mai Hiking Club!  We met some great people.  The hike met at the appointed location and left at the appointed time, giving the impression of an organized and well run group.

This was a budget friendly way to see some beautiful scenery that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise.  It turned out to be one of the most memorable parts of our trip!

The Chiang Mai Hiking Club organizes a number of hikes to different locations though out the month, all of which are posted on their website.  If you like hiking and beautiful scenery and your visit to Chiang Mai corresponds with a hike that interests you, I recommend that you check it out.

The post Our Hike with the Chiang Mai Hiking Club appeared first on There and Back Again - Family Trip Planning.

]]>
http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/beaten-path-chiang-mai-hike-chiang-mai-hiking-club/feed/ 2
How I Learned to Love Thai Food in Thailand http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/learned-love-thai-food/ http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/learned-love-thai-food/#comments Thu, 26 Jan 2012 10:00:00 +0000 http://thereandbackagainblog.com/?p=1222 Before our trip to Thailand, I had no idea what galangal was, what to do with the lemongrass that I have been growing in my garden for years or what the difference was between Thai Basil and Holy Basil (nor did I know the wonder of life that is fresh coconut milk). Thai food uses […]

The post How I Learned to Love Thai Food in Thailand appeared first on There and Back Again - Family Trip Planning.

]]>

Before our trip to Thailand, I had no idea what galangal was, what to do with the lemongrass that I have been growing in my garden for years or what the difference was between Thai Basil and Holy Basil (nor did I know the wonder of life that is fresh coconut milk).

Thai food uses a number of unique ingredients, and now that I have tasted them and learned to cook with these unique ingredients, I have no idea how I lived so long without them in my life!  Long beans, where have you been hiding my whole life?Thai chili peppers

We loaded into the back of a songthaew and went out of Chiang Mai into the beautiful countryside of Northern Thailand.  A quick stop in a local market for some fresh coconut milk and some other essential Thai sauces and ingredients and we were on our way!

We drove past rice fields, past farms and houses, and onto a dirt road.  The farm came into view, looking like a peaceful haven, a world away from the city of Chiang Mai where we had just come from.

We had been transported to the magical land of the Chiang Mai Thai Farm Cooking School, where we discovered the amazing wonder of fresh galangal (a root that is somewhat like ginger and very distinctive) and of fresh tumeric and we were able to pick fresh keffir limes right from the trees.

Thai Farm Cooking School Garden

Our teacher gave us a tour of the garden where many of the unique Thai herbs and spices that we would be using in our cooking would be coming from, then she herded us into the open air kitchen to start cooking.  We each got to choose our own dishes, and it was amazing to me to see how many Thai dishes can be made from roughly the same formula with minor changes made to it, making Thai cooking relatively easy to learn.

Our first cooking lesson was about the proper way to cook rice.  I learned how to properly make sticky rice and jasmine rice, and about the roles that each type of rice play in the daily lives of Thai families (jasmine rice is for every day an sticky rice is only for special occasions and they are very rarely both eaten during the same meal)

While the cooking was wonderful and super simple to learn, the eating was heaven on earth.  Jasmine and stick rice, chicken with basil, pad thai, spring rolls, mango and sticky rice…all I can say is “yum” (and that I am salivating now).

Our cooking class cleared up a couple long held misconceptions about Thai cuisine…first that curry is always REALLY spicy.  We customized our curry paste to our taste for spiciness and mine was definitely warm but tolerable and delicious.

Thai farm cooking schol chicken curry

The curry that we made in class at the Thai farm cooking school was yumymy

The other misconception that I had was about coconut milk.  I generally have thought that I hate coconut.  In the past, though, my only reference for coconut was coconut flavored drinks and those dried coconut flakes that are usually put on all of the wrong things.  Real coconut is nothing like that, and I discovered first that I love it and second that it can be used for a variety of cooking purposes.

Of course we had been eating Thai food during our trip, but our cooking experience was what really brought the cuisine of this amazingly diverse country alive to me, infusing its spicy essence deep into my soul like when you get the oil from your chili peppers onto your hands and just can’t quite get it to wash off.  I’m stuck on Thai food and can’t wait to get my next fix!

The post How I Learned to Love Thai Food in Thailand appeared first on There and Back Again - Family Trip Planning.

]]> http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com/learned-love-thai-food/feed/ 6