We are officially back and I’m having a bit more time dedicated to editing our trip. When people as how the trip was I describe it in three words: awesome, hot, far.

With the images below I also wanted to provide some “pro tips” we picked up along the way. Things I wouldn’t have known prior to going, even after research and reading countless blogs, there are still tid bits you need to experience for yourself. So, that said, I’ll begin this two-part series with an overview and notes from Bangkok and Chiang Mai, followed by Koh Lanta and Hong Kong to follow shortly.


  1. Do some research. It’s such a different culture than the U.S. and I’m glad we read through a few travel blogs prior to get an idea of what to wear, pack, do, common Thai phrases, and the like.
  2. PACK LIGHT. I can’t emphasize this enough. Luke and I both brought an oversized backpack and that was plenty. I wore workout clothes almost everyday (also no makeup) and loved every minute. Even during dinner we wore light, casual clothes or a light dress. Read: it’s friggin’ hot so dress to be cool and comfortable. Also pack: light rain coat, bug spray, sunscreen, cheap sunglasses. I read to just wait till you get to Thailand to save on weight, but we noticed they hike up the price of these things for tourists. So just bring the stuff you like. Also bring like 50+ SPF. No joke.
  3. If you can, go for two weeks. We went for 10 days and it just wasn’t long enough. We didn’t rest much. Always on the go with the next thing we wanted to do. Also traveling between locations takes longer than I anticipated. And my friends, jet lag has never been more real.
  4. It’s basically cash only everywhere, even at 711 and restaurants. Take out a cash at ATMs that will last you awhile. I should also note that we felt totally safe the ENTIRE time we were there. So no worries about pulling out dat cash money.
  5. Bangkok – We stayed here and here which were amazing (and about $100 each), went to the Grand Palace, then the weekend market before heading to the train station to take the night train to Chiang Mai. I’ll just say that the market and night train were experiences I’m glad I did, but probably wouldn’t do again. On our second visit, we went to this humongous amd gorgeous mall, ate some of the best ramen I’ve ever had, ate some incredible small plates here, and went to Moon Bar. Definitely enjoyed Bangkok on our second time around.
  6. Chiang Mai – We stayed here and loved it, everyone was so incredibly helpful and sweet. Get massages, like 1 per day. Go to the night bazaar and find all the street food you can, just take bites of everything. Get Khao Soi. It was no joke the best thing we ate while in the Northern part of the country. We did Doi Suthep, one of the most famous temples outside of the city and didn’t do Tiger Kingdom. It just felt so inhumane, sickening actually. No predator should be that tame with a stranger.
  7. Chiang Mai highlight #1 – I took a Thai cooking class! One of my favorite memories, and I absolutely cannot say enough about Yui and the way she teaches each, intimate class (only 8 of us). Tells us WHY she does each thing, understands and encourages each dish to be slightly different, and is so knowledgeable in more than just food. She’s interested in the logic and science behind cooking as well.
  8. Chiang Mai highlight #2 – Patera Elephant Farm. Luke surprised me with a day outside of Chiang Mai (like 2 hours outside) to a village that rescues elephants, brings them back to health, and welcomes people in to teach them about elephants and allows you to take care of one for the day. My elephant’s name was Ploy. We learned common training phrases (“dee-dee” means good girl), fed them, bathed them and rode them through the mountains. Bareback as this is something to look out for between responsible and irresponsible training camps.

Click here for part two of our travels, including Koh Lanta and Hong Kong.

Outside the “old city” wall in Chiang Mai

Pad Thai all by myself!

Traditional green curry

Local market after our class, where you could get a thai iced coffee for a mere $.15 — gimme two please

Doi Suthep

Upon our arrival to Patera, a sight I’ll never forget