i can’t tell you when thailand first appeared on my radar as a vacation destination. looking back now, it seems that for years the land of smiles has held captive a part of my imagination that longs for idyllic beaches, the promise of outdoor adventure, and a combination of flavors so complex, piquant, and balanced that they are unlike anything i could find fried up in the american south. when i watched disney’s tangled and found out that its flying lantern festival was based on a real annual festival in thailand, my mind was set. i had to go.
flash forward a few years, and my husband and i decided to plan a quick summer vacation to miami. within a week and some extremely compelling presentations on my end, our plans had escalated, and we were instead planning a winter getaway to my dream destination. we knew that with his vacation time being limited we needed to plan our trip wisely, so we decided to go over thanksgiving when he would already have a few days off from work. lo and behold, loy krathong and yee peng, the lantern festivals, were going to be taking place at the same time! this determined that we would visit chiang mai, as it is arguably the best city to be in during the festival, would be one of our two destinations, and we chose ao nang, a beach area in the southern town of krabi, as the other.
i could spend hours writing about the research i did and include a breakdown of each day of our vacation, but let’s be honest, even my mom doesn’t have time for that. instead, i will map out our favorite things from both towns with a rough breakdown of costs and tips for getting the most out of your trip (because trust me, by the end of this, you’ll want to go, too) to Thailand. the most expensive part of the trip is getting there, and, depending on where you fly out of and into, you can score a major deal on airline tickets. the most miserable part of the experience was the full day of travel (or day and a half on the front end), but if you allow for a long layover, you can avoid some of that exhaustion, too. transcontinental travel is rarely easy, but it can be done efficiently and somewhat easily with proper planning. i hope that our mistakes will become your gain and that you are able to plan a trip that will, more than likely, change your life for the better.
take a look at the following posts for an in-depth look the our highlights and tips for visiting chiang mai and krabi. kop khun kha!