Planning…

When I start to think about this trip and how much I want to fit in for us, I become very overwhelmed! Even though we are going for three weeks, there is still so much to squeeze in (both activity-wise and backpack-wise 🙂 ). I feel like my Dad is even more overwhelmed than I am, so I am trying to plan this the best way possible. If anyone has any tips from previous trips feel free to share!!

What I am thinking is that we will fly into Bangkok and spend a couple of days there to adjust to the climate and busy city. I want to go to the Grand Palace, Wat Arun, Wat Pho, Wat Phra Kaew….basically all of the main “Wats”, or temples. There’s actually so much to do in Bangkok! I have a huge list and it keeps growing but we will stick to the main tourist attractions plus some cool local things like the floating markets , Khao San Road and Chatuchak market. Oh, and ride in a Tuk Tuk of course!

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The streets of Bangkok

From Bangkok, we will take a domestic flight to Hanoi, Vietnam. Basically, we are excited to be able to say “Back in ‘Nam…” I am excited to explore this city and eat all of the delicious Vietnamese food! There is this place called Hoa Lo, an American POW prison which looks interesting, also the Temple of Literature looks gorgeous.

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The Temple of Literature, Hanoi, Vietnam

From Hanoi, we will go on a cruise on the Halong Bay. This is something that I sense is a “must-do” while in Vietnam. Cruising along the Halong Bay, stopping and canoeing/kayaking into many different caves and beaches, along with squid fishing and cooking lessons, it sounds like a very fun two days. I have found a good cruise line that isn’t too expensive but still has good reviews from past customers. Hopefully it won’t be raining when we do this!

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Halong Bay, Vietnam

From here we will fly to Siem Reap, Cambodia. (Also, may I add this will be on my 25th birthday!). I am sooo excited to visit Angkor Wat. It is where Tomb Raider was filmed and just the history and architecture of this structure gets me pumped. It’s the largest religious monument in the world built way back in the 12th century! Can’t wait for this one! I also included a picture of Phnom Kulen National Park where there is a beautiful waterfall I would like to see.

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Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

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Phnom Kulen Mountain, Cambodia

From Cambodia, we are going to take a night train to the North, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Here we will see Doi Suthep (Holy stairs!!), Wat Phra Singh, and best of ALL…. we will be there for the annual Lantern Festival! Or, Yi Peng.

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Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai

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Yi Peng, Chiang Mai

Now on to the place I am MOST excited for…  the Elephant Nature Park. We are going to stay at the park for a night and spend time with elephants, bathing them, feeding them and getting to know them. I researched this a lot and found a sanctuary that does not allow riding of the elephants as this is a huge tourist trap in Asia. (Side note, we will NOT be visiting the Tiger Kingdom which is also an inhumane tourist attraction). I cannot wait to meet a baby elephant, like Come On!!!

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Elephant Nature Park

From Chiang Mai, we are going to do a short day trip to Chiang Rai to see the White Temple and more. The White Temple is another work of art. I am going to have to bring so many SD cards for the camera!

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Wat Rong Khun, Chiang Rai

And now… time to relax on the beach for a week!! This is basically the only part of the trip that I do not have planned out very much. I think we will just island hop and go wherever we enjoy the most. I hear that Koh Phi Phi is unreal, but can be very busy, so that may be more of a day trip instead of staying on that island. Krabi, Phuket, Railay Beach, Ko Lanta, the list goes on!

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Railay Beach, Krabi

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Koh Phi Phi Viewpoint

Sorry for all of the pictures!! I cannot wait until I can replace them with snaps of my own instead of stealing them from Google 😀 . Here is one more great picture…. My dad surprised me the other day and bought us backpacks for our trip (from Banff my current favourite place I have been)!!! Behold…the Outbound Talaroo 65 L !! Do you think there’s enough room for all my things??

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Xoxo, Hales

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