When Visited: January 2011
Duration: 12 days
Thailand Itinerary Day 1: Train from Penang to Bangkok
Our arrival in Bangkok is always going to be a bittersweet memory for me. My husband had managed to get me a used, unlocked iPhone for Christmas. As we gathered our things after our two-day train journey from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok I realized that the phone was missing. I’d only had it a couple of hours earlier. He was mad. I was mad. I felt stupid. Like I said, bittersweet.
Thankfully we were able to get to our awesome Lub.d hostel pretty easily (i.e. without killing each other). He went for a nap. I took our kids out for our first wander in Bangkok. Given that we were based in the Siam Square area of Bangkok they were in teen kid heaven: there were malls, food courts, and familiar brands. Undeterred, I directed us to the nearest Buddhist shrine. For a day that started so badly, it was a fun afternoon.
Thailand Itinerary Day 2-4: Bangkok
So we got ripped off in Bangkok. Since this seems to be a tourist rite-of-passage in South East Asia it was good to get it out of the way on our first full day in the city. After that the next two days passed in a blur of temples and tuk-tuks with a side of tourist shopping on Khao Sanh Road. Murph and the boys also found time to visit the Center for Venomous Snake Toxicology and Research (top of everyone’s list of attractions in Bangkok, I know) while I got to spend a morning at a spa – and we got visas for Vietnam and Cambodia from a little shop next to our hostel. Like any city, Bangkok has it’s lovers and it’s detractors, we’re all in the former camp.
Thailand Itinerary Day 5: Travel day to Chiang Mai
We thought we’d booked train tickets from Bangkok to Chiang Mai but when we turned up at the train station we got shuttled onto a bus to a dingy side street. South-East Asia, it appears, has entirely different rules for independent travel than South America. You really DO need keep your wits about you at all times. My temper was flaring about this cluster when the hostess came to shoo us on to the bus. I did a double-take: the hostess was a host with an ill-fitting wig but a convincing chest. OK so. Distracted, I climbed on and helped my kids find their seats.
Thailand Itinerary Day 6-10: Chiang Mai
I detail our time in Chiang Mai in Five Days in Chiang Mai for $600 but as a quick summary: we rode elephants, took a cooking class, chatted to monks, did a cycling tour of the area around Chiang Mai and generally had an incredible time. Murph and I even got to have a date night where we had dinner at the very swish Rachamanka.
Thailand Itinerary Day 11-12: Golden Triangle
It took almost a full day to travel by bus and minibus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Saen but it was worth it. We didn’t have enough time to go into Burma but we were able to have dinner at a street side cafe at a bend in the Mekong where you can eat in Thailand but see Burma just across the river to your left and Laos across the river to your right. We spent a day exploring the Hall of Opium Museum and the next day continued on into Laos.
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Information on traveling to Thailand with Children.
Ooh the Rachamanka Hotel is gorrrgggeous – hope you enjoyed your time in Chiang Mai!