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February 16th

Bangkok and Southern Thailand 2024 Tour Diary Day 1

Sawadeekah from Bangkok, Thailand! We are starting our new Bangkok and Southern Thailand tour and we are so excited!

A 12 hour flight, and then a 5 hour flight, but we made it to Bangkok and we both were marveling at how much we love Thailand and have missed it. Nico helped design this tour, it’s only the very best parts of our very favorite place, so I think it will be excellent.

As we’ve arrived late, we ordered delivery. We got Hong Kong style ramen for a total of 190 Baht, $6 for both. Uber eats for this same thing at home would have been $60, and Nico is now wondering why we don’t live here.

February 17th

Bangkok and Southern Thailand 2024 Tour Diary Day 2

Our Bangkok days had two elements I love most about that city, Tuk Tuks and Chatuchak Market. Come along for a mini adventure with me and Nico.

February 18th

Bangkok and Southern Thailand 2024 Tour Diary Day 3

Our tour kicked off in Bangkok, but it really started today with an early wake up and flight to Phuket.

The south of Thailand is so different than the north, with tropical islands and turquoise ocean. It’s one of the most beautiful places on earth, imho.

Our day took us to a home cooked lunch, then for a batik painting class, a traditional art form in this area. We stopped by a coconut farm to taste fresh young coconut and see how they are prepared. And on our way to our island home base, we stopped in the middle of the water to visit a lobster farmer who had a collection of creatures, like a pufferfish.

We arrived on our island at last, Koh Yao Yai, and checked in to our lovely huts. I am purposely staying away from the famous islands, like Koh Phi Phi, or Samui, because what appeals to me about the south is the culture, not the touristic hubbub. I’ve picked hotels that are very nice, but are local and reflect the community and the natural surroundings, and this place didn’t disappoint.

We are all pooped but had a fun day exploring.

February 19th

Bangkok and Southern Thailand 2024 Tour Diary Day 4

I’m going to admit something to you. Sometimes, I am a little selfish. This tour, Southern Thailand, was constructed specifically because I adore this part of the country and love the beach. We aren’t visiting temples. We aren’t seeing historical things. But instead, we are snorkeling, visiting fishermen, seeing monkeys, and eating fried rice on secluded white sand beaches. We are staying at very nice but very Thai hotels and eating local food. We are supporting ecotourism vendors and getting to know the lifestyle of southerners. It’s pretty selfish, running a tour to please yourself. But, as it turns out, my guests are pretty pleased themselves so I think it’s all working out.

Today was a day on a traditional long tail speedboat, exploring islands. It was magnificent.

February 20th

We’ve moved on to our next island home base, Koh Lanta. This is in the Krabi district of southern Thailand, and is one of my favorite spots. The water is crystal clear and the air smells like plumeria and coconut. Paradise. Here are a few impressions of our first day here.

#thailand #kohlanta #islandgirl #adventureswithsarah

February 22nd

Elephants are a tricky subject in Thailand. They are a symbol of the country, and have been historically used in royal pageantry, in war, and for hard labor such as logging.

In the past several decades, elephants were recognized to have a more lucrative purpose—tourism. Elephant rides have been a standard on most tourism itineraries, as have elephant shows. It turns out, owners could get double the work from an elephant, tourism dollars in season and logging work at other times.

To get the elephants docile enough for these tasks, they were broken in terrible ways from birth and bonded to a human. The human would use a pick to direct the elephant by stabbing it in the side. They were also routinely chained.

The use of elephants for tourism and work wasn’t really questioned, even a decade ago. Times have changed, and the awareness of the cruelty has become clearer. The problem is, how do you change a culture?

The folks at Following Giants are trying it. This was a former riding park, but the owner was approached by an animal charity to convert into a true sanctuary. Guests visiting cannot touch or interact with the elephants, but may walk in the jungle and observe them going about their day.

I’ve struggled with including elephants in Thailand tours, when even posting a photo of an elephant will practically get you cancelled. Sanctuaries are not all what they seem. Some rent working elephants for the tourist season to pose as rescue animals. It’s hard to know what is true.

I was glad to find @followinggiants because they are true to the mission of caring for these massive (and expensive) animals and raising awareness of animal protection. My guests were happy to see these beauties in their habitat as well. Win-win? I hope so, but I still expect the internet to have an opinion.

February 23rd

We went on a snorkeling excursion in the Andaman Sea, off the coast of Koh Lanta. I decided to skip the more famous islands of Koh Samui or Koh Phi Phi in favor of some quieter spots with good snorkeling. Come along for a virtual snorkeling excursion where you’ll see coral, fish, and the prettiest white sand beach. And before you ask, yes, there were jellyfish but we had “bodyguards” that moved them when we saw them, and our guide even filmed one up close for you.

February 26th

Thai Islands Tour, Last Days

After leaving Koh Lanta, we took a speedboat to a Phuket Island. We had lunch at a really excellent restaurant in Phuket City, and then traveled north to Khao Lak. Along the way, we first stopped to visit a workshop where women make textiles. All of the women are victims of the 2004 tsunami, which devastated this part of the country. Most Thai victims were men who had gone to work, so the women banded together to make a living, and still do so today.

After, we visited the historic city of Phuket, a quiet village with a cool, Portuguese-Thai architecture style. We had some shopping and snacking opportunities and then headed for our final hotel at the beach. A busy but very fun day.

AWS Staff

This post was published by the Adventures with Sarah team. Click here to find out more about the people that make everything at AWS happen.

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