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Where Were We?

So September started off as planned, and then totally took a left turn…for the good. At the beginning of the month we left Hawaii for Bangkok. Even though we loved Hawaii, ever since we started this RTW Adventure we were looking forward to being back in Asia, and Thailand. Traveling here a year and a half ago is really what made us start to think about traveling full time, because we truly hated to leave!

Last time we came we only had 10 days, so when we had to go home, we felt like we were only just getting a feel for Thailand. And there was SO much that we didn’t get a chance to see. So the two of us were very excited when we got off the plane in Bangkok. It felt great to be back, and even better to know that we had so much time ahead to explore the area.

Around the World Adventure

 

Leg 1: A Week in Bangkok

 

Our accommodations in Bangkok (Airbnb) was in an authentic Thai neighborhood - filled with locals, and few tourists.

Our accommodations in Bangkok (Airbnb) was in an authentic Thai neighborhood – filled with locals, and few tourists.

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Accommodations:

  • Airbnb homestay – with Mac, our new friend in Bangkok and his wife Noi. We stayed in an authentic Thai neighborhood, where there were hardly any westerners. It felt great to be among the locals!

 

Highlights of the Trip:

  • Learning how to use different forms of Bangkok transportation..like the boat taxis.
  • Not rushing to sight-see, just enjoying the real Bangkok life.
  • Mac introducing us to his Monk friend, and having a meeting with him (story to come!)

 

Travel Tips From This Leg of the Trip:

  • I shouldn’t have tried to go without A/C for a couple days — tried to save money, but we were just miserable!
  • Get outside the tourist zones! So great to see everyday life, and not as many of the “hustlers” out there.
  • Make sure the Taxi driver’s use their meter! If they refuse or say it’s broken, move onto the next.       Technically, they are required to use it…but they try to avoid it. If they try to barter instead, then they know they are ripping you off.
  • Use various forms of transportation, mixing it up will help you get around the city better (such as combining water taxis and buses).
  • Bangkok is a night town. So be sure to go out and explore the markets at night, and eat at the street food stalls…quite good!

 

Budget / Spending:

  • Accommodation: Our Airbnb was only $16 USD per night. But we increased it to $19 the last few days so that we could air conditioning. — total $127 spent
  • Food: $125 (including dining out and grocery stores)
  • Transportation: $46
  • Shopping / Fun: $140

 

Total spent: $438 (plus misc. cash)

 

Most Memorable Moments:

  • Liz   I really enjoyed the feel of being in a Thai neighborhood and feeling like we were living the local lifestyle. I also enjoyed not rushing around to see the sights from sun up to sun down. It was nice to take it easy and wander through side streets and local markets.
  • Josh:  Sitting down with the Monk! Such an amazing experience, and his presence was so calming and inspiring.       I will never forget that experience.

 

Leg 2: Kanchanaburi

Kanchanaburi thailand map

A short train ride to Kanchanaburi (outside Bangkok) is a great way to spend a weekend in the countryside!

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Accommodations:

  • Bungalow on the river Kwai – awesome!!!

 

Highlights of the Trip:

  • Our awesome hosts at the bungalow hotel. The family was so kind, and the woman even drove me on the back of her motorbike to a shop nearby to print our boarding passes for departure flights!
  • Seeing the Erawan waterfalls! A beautiful area for hiking and swimming.
  • Just relaxing out in the countryside and enjoying the incredible scenery outside of the city.
  • Always love the train rides. Really enjoying looking out the window as the landscapes pass us by.

 

Travel Tips From This Leg of the Trip:

  • There are many ways to get to Kanchanaburi from Bangkok, but we really enjoyed taking the train. It is 100 Baht for foreigners, regardless of your distance. But it’s a nice 3 hour trip.
  • When in the Kanchanaburi area, it is most convenient to take pre-packaged day trip tours of the area. A lot of the sights are spread out, and taking taxis will be expensive. There are a few buses that will take you to some of the main sights, like the Erawan waterfalls, but if you want to see a lot in a day or two, just book a package trip. It’s much easier.

 

Budget / Spending:

  • Accommodation: $16 per night x 4 nights = $64
  • Food: $70
  • Transportation: $18
  • Shopping / Fun: $65

 

Total Spent: $217

 

Most Memorable Moments:

  • Liz:   I really loved when we went swimming at the Erwan Waterfalls, especially when we rode the natural rock slide down into the water!       The water was a perfect temperature, so clean, and refreshing on a hot day. Usually I’m a bit chicken about jumping off or sliding down rocks (as we know from that video in Maui…) but once I got past my fear, I had a blast sliding down that rock and splashing into the water. So much fun!
  • Josh:  I enjoyed having a peaceful breakfast on our first morning in Kanchanaburi. At the bungalows where we stayed, they offered breakfast outside in the garden — which had beautiful grass that overlooked the river Kwai. After bustling Bangkok, I loved being able to drink my coffee and have breakfast in such a beautiful, and peaceful setting.

 

Leg 2: New Zealand…What?!?!

new zealand route

Our route around New Zealand.

 

­Accommodations:

  • Mountain View Villa
  • Campervan

 

Highlights of the Trip:

  • First, it was just the fact that we were in New Zealand!!! Not expecting that, but it was awesome.
  • Definitely renting a campervan to drive around and explore. Such a blast!
  • Visiting Milford Sound in South West New Zealand.       Easily one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever seen, and it is the epitome of New Zealand.

 

Travel Tips From This Leg of the Trip:

  • Definintely rent a campervan! They are inexpensive, and everyone drives them to explore. NZ has great camping too, in fact, they are known for being very open to “freedom camping” – as long as you are not on private property or if there isn’t a sign that says “no camping” – then you are generally free to stay there. Beautiful camping spots include those along the ocean of the west coast, and along rivers and lakes!
  • Splurge for a campervan with a toilet / shower — they call these “self-contained” vehicles and have approved stickers on them.       These are much more convenient, and you can camp in more places around the country because sometimes they limit areas to “self-contained” only.
  • New Zealand is very expensive…so budget accordingly.
  • Try to get a Diesel campervan, the fuel is much cheaper.
  • Be sure to explore many parts of the island(s). The land in New Zealand is very diverse.
  • Careful of the Sand Flies! They are brutal in some areas and will eat you alive (as Liz knows), so use bug spray.
  • Carry plenty of clothes for layering, as the weather changes in New Zealand constantly.
  • They drive on the left hand side of the road!

 

Budget / Spending:

  • Accommodation: Nothing for the house while we were working, campervan was $197 total for 5 nights.
  • Food:  $445 (groceries and dining out)
  • Transportation: Gasoline only – $220
  • Shopping / Fun: $200

Total Spent:  $1062 

Most Memorable Moments:

  • Liz:   Wow, but I’ll say just driving around New Zealand and being able to camp where we wanted to. On the first night in the campervan, we actually camped along side the beach the west coast. We fell asleep to the crashing waves, and even went outside at night to see the moonlight waves, and see all the sparkling stars in the sky…more than I’ve ever seen. It honestly looked like glitter sparkling all around you.
  • Josh:  SO many!!! But I have to choose the cruise out in Milford Sound! Especially when our small boat cruise went out into the open water at the mouth of the sound, and we played on the crashing waves. It was fun bouncing around the boat and watching people get splashed with the ice cold waves. A lot of fun!

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