Chiang Mai Part 3 {Thailand- Day 2: Morning}

We’re so terrible at sleeping in…

When we booked our return flight from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, we booked the earliest we could get, and because we booked so last minute, that was 15:25. I figured it would be okay because after all of the travel and the excitement of the festival, we’d be dead on our feet. Our plan was to sleep until around 9 or 10, but after getting no more than 4 consecutive hours of sleep for the past several days, we woke up before 7 😱!

Turns out, most hotels around here include a breakfast, and the meal at @Chiang Mai Hotel was pretty delicious! After eating, we wandered around the city, no destination in mind, just seeing the temples. We did try to get a smoothie, but everywhere we walked past was closed!

While wandering, we found a Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institute! Back home, I’m a federal criminal defense attorney and have been to more than a handful of prisons, I wish we had clients in facilities like these. The rainbow sign welcomes visitors to their vocational training center where women are trained in “traditional Thai massage, spa and food and beverage services.”

We also took advantage of our adorable hotel to relax poolside for a little while and enjoyed the fairy garden.

The rocky edge & cool water of the pool felt amazing on my feet (but kyle’s socked feet at the best!)

For lunch, we went to an apparently famous roast chicken place called “SP Chicken”

1/2 rotisserie chicken, papaya salad, & delicious pork ribs (which were so good, I ate them before we could snap a pic 😳)
Gotta love finding Sprite (& other pops) in foreign languages 💕

Then it was time to check out from the hotel. Kyle finally got his sticky rice & mango! (I just ordered one while mango)

After 1.5 perfect days in Chiang Mai, we treated ourselves to Mai-Tais and Piña Coladas on our way back to the airport to catch our flight to Bangkok.

And now, we’re headed back to Bangkok and we got word that our lost packs are waiting for us at the hotel– YAY!! Check back in to follow our adventures in Bangkok.

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Floating Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai (Thailand- Day 1: Evening)

on a suggestion from Kyle’s parents (hi Bruce & Amy!), we picked up a copy of the Fodor’s Travel Guide to Thailand and, while reading the first few pages, Kyle learned that the annual Yi Peng Festival would be happening in Thailand during our trip. What a wonderful coincidence. This is a Lanna Festival meant to celebrate the full moon.

At first we thought that we would enjoy the festivities during our timing in Bangkok (as that was where we were scheduled to be on Friday 23-Nov), but then we learned that in the central and southern parts of Thailand, the festival is celebrated by floating candles in rivers, which is beautiful… butttttt, not what we were expecting.

In a slapdash hurry, we rearranged our schedule so that we could be in Chiang Mai for this festival. Almost all of the tickets were sold out, but we found one company (Insight Thailand Tours) who still had some available. The tickets seemed like a good deal, and we didn’t see any negative reviews, so we purchased. Then, while waiting for the company to pick us up, we found several new google reviews from the night before which said that they never came to pick up the tourists. We instantly called for a Grab (Uber) and made our way to the festival ourselves. Gearing up for the Yi Peng Festival in #ChiangMaiThailand… its gonna get lit (I couldn’t resist 🤪)

Now… what we were most exited for!

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Chiang Mai (Thailand- Day 1: Morning)

What a day, what a day! We landed around 7:30 this morning and instantly caught a “Grab” (like Uber) to our hotel (@ Chiang Mai Hotel- highly recommend). The ride was smooth and it gave us good practice learning how to communicate with the locals.

Without any luggage, we didn’t need to go to the hotel, but thought it was worth a shot to see if we could get in super early. No dice, but the folks were super nice and said we could still get in by 11.

Instead, we ventured off to find breakfast at Angel’s Secrets Cafe…

First food in #ChiangMai! A handmade buttered croissant and fruit smoothie from #AngelsSecretsCafe. The smells coming from the kitchen are as heavenly as the name suggests 😇. But the real star here is the fruit spread next to the butter, it is some kind of passion fruit mixed with another fruit that is incredibly delicious!Next Stop:

Wandering around markets! (I love shopping & Kyle actually had a good time too!)

So the airline lost our checked luggage (at least it didn’t make it to Bangkok and they don’t know where it missed the connection), so we had to leave for Chiang Mai without it. Thankfully we had a few essentials (fresh underwear, toothbrushes, and ibuprofen) in our carry-on packs, so we trekked on without. Honestly, it was a good thing! Lugging those packs for such a short jump would have been a bit annoying and this way, we got to buy some sweet #ElephantPants!! (Along with 2 shirts for Kyle, a tank & purse for me, sun block, and toothpaste. All of this totaled less than $30USD)

I think I’ve mentioned this, but if not, this trip was inspired by Phil Rosenthal’s (creator of Everybody Loves Raymond) trip to Thailand during the first season of his Netflix show “Somebody Feed Phil.” We’re trying to see how many of the same places we can check out.

Khan Soi from the same restaurant that @phil.rosenthal are at in his #NetflixAndPhil show #SomebodyFeedPhil. {{Thank you for inspiring this trip, Phil!!}}

I think Kyle’s expression says it all 🥰

Finally, we made our way back to the hotel for a much needed nap, making sure to take pictures of every adorable elephant statue & grab a smoothie on the way.

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25 hours later… we made it to Thailand

We’re three flights down!

Our first flight was delayed about an hour, which wasn’t a big deal, because we had a 3 hour layover scheduled at JFK… until we got to JFK and learned we had to leave security, take a train to Terminal 1, go back to the Air China desk, and back through security before we could even get an over-priced & under cooked airport meal.

{here’s a pic from our first flight, bright-eyed and ready to take on the day}

Our first flight went smoothly though, and we made it on to our second flight, which was a 14 hour journey over the North Pole (Hi Santa!!) to Beijing.

{here’s a pic from the start of our longest leg, notice how we aren’t totally disheveled… yet}

Between our landing in Beijing and departing for Bangkok, we only had a 55 minute layover, in which time we needed to exit through customs, go back through security and get to our gate (we landed at E26 and departed from E28, so it should not have been that far). We ended up sprinting to catch the flight and my good deed for the day was informing the ticketing agent at the gate that another family was still stuck at security and needed to get on the flight.

Securely aboard our third flight of the day (and going in to our 20th hour of travel, not including getting to ATL this morning), I was asleep before we even took off.

They fed us, again! We were pretty pleasantly surprised by all of the food that Air China fed us throughout our 19 hours on board their jets. From scheshwan peppers used in one meal to the pretty decent duck, which served as our Thanksgiving dinner, we ate well! (I have no idea how I’m still hungry)and now… the downside. It was only a 55 minute layover (but the gates were also only 2 doors apart and a bunch of other people were on the same connection!)

Our luggage, those two wonderful backpacks we were so pleased with, did not make the transfer.

This morning (as it is currently 01:44 am here in Bangkok), we depart for Chiang Mai to attend the Yi Peng festival tonight. According to the airline representative, “luggage never makes the connection from Beijing to Bangkok on this airline”… <helpful>

She did tell us that our luggage will likely arrive on the 6pm flight tonight (but we obviously won’t be here) and it will be delivered to our hotel in Bangkok tomorrow. So here’s hoping 🤞🏻!

We packed a few essentials in our smaller carry-on packs and may need to pick up a few things (uhmmm mascara?!) in Chiang Mai or behind security here at the airport.

Thanks for checking in! Looking forward to sharing the rest of our trip with you :)!

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The Journey Begins

Kyle and I have only done one big trip together so far, he’s never had a passport before, and I haven’t left the country in over five years, so we’re totally diving in to the deep end with this one. We were talking about going to Italy this year, and then discovered a Netflix show called Somebody Feed Phil (it is a true gem!). In the first season, he goes to Thailand and we were so enamored with his travels, that we had to plan a trip there. So here we go!

[[If you’re just here for the packing tips, scroll down tot eh bottom!!]]

Because of an unexpected work trip, I was unable to spend my usual full day packing and getting ready on Saturday, and because we both had to work hard Monday and Tuesday, we were fairly limited on the amount of time we could spend packing. So we did it all on Monday night and some touch-ups Tuesday night.

All packet & ready for our first #InternationalVacay together— Thailand here we come!! ✈️ Since we’ll be traveling for 12 days, taking 12 flights, and spending more than 55 hours traveling, we opted for backpacks. The packs will also allow us to wander cities when we’re between hotel checkout and flight takeoff without needing to worry about checking our luggage somewhere. We also chose to bring small backpacks that fold to about the size of a wallet, so we can store them in our bigger packs. #AirChina only allows 11lbs for a carryon (yikes!) so we needed to check our big packs. ✈️ I chose the @ozarktrail_mty 40L pack partly because it’s just cuter than regular packs, but mostly because it opens all the way like a regular suitcase, which means I don’t have to blindly reach into my pack like it’s Hermione’s purse (#harrypotterreference). Kyle went for the more traditional & industrial 55L pack with plenty of exterior pockets from #AmazonBasics. ✈️

We’re on the first of our 11 flights, in the air on our way to JFK (New York, USA).

A brief outline of our plans…

  • ✈️Atlanta, USA ➡️ New York, USA ➡️ Beijing, China ➡️ Bangkok, Thailand ➡️ Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • 🎇Yi Peng Festival- Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • ✈️Chiang Mai, Thailand ➡️ Bangkok, Thailand
  • 🕌🏙🌃 🚣‍♀️ 🛍 🍜 exploring the city, eating everywhere, night markets, boat markets, shopping
  • ✈️Bangkok, Thailand ➡️ Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • 🐘 overnight excursion with Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
  • ✈️ Chiang Mai, Thailand ➡️ Phuket, Thailand
  • 🏖 🏨 🏝 lounging, relaxing, spa day
  • ✈️ Phuket, Thailand ➡️ Bangkok, Thailand ➡️ Beijing, China➡️ Newark, USA ➡️ Atlanta, USA
  • This will definitely be a {wonderful} whirlwind adventure through the country, but we’re excited to share it with you!

Keep checking back here to follow along with our adventures!

But before you go, a few tips on packing and some things to remember before you go:

  • Travel wallet that has RFID blocking. LINK.
  • Seriously the BEST neck pillow. We wish that we’d bought them before the trip. LINK.
  • LOVED this converter. A lot of places actually had US outlets (or the super multinational ones that allow everything to plug in) but I blew out my curling iron in Phuket. LINK.
  • We also printed all of our confirmations beforehand and separated them by city. It was very VERY useful because our phones didn’t work at first, and even when they did, we didn’t want to waste data loading confirmation numbers. I loved storing them in these different envelopes. I also used them to sort souvenir post-cards, coasters, tickets, and other things that I picked up along the way. LINK.
  • Backpacks. (IG pic.)
    • Kyle got this Amazon Basics backpack. We both went for about 40L, but his felt a lot bigger and more cumbersome than mine– mostly because i think it’s built for someone taller than me. LINK.
    • I got mine from Wal-Mart. I really really loved it because it opened all the way like a regular suitcase, so i wasn’t having to dig into this bottomless pit everytime i looked for something. It helped me feel more organized and less chaotic. LINK. [[I couldn’t find mine on Amazon, so this link is for Wal-Mart]]
    • We each got a foldable backpack to use for wandering during the day and to use as our carryon since we checked our backpacks (checking them on ChinaAir was free, and we weren’t allowed any carryon that didn’t fit under the seat in front of us). LINK. LINK.
  • PACK MEDICINE! I got a cold about halfway through the trip and nowhere sold like DayQuil or anything! Trust me, you’d rather have packed a few extra doses of cold medicine or Aleeve and not have needed it.
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