After spending a day in Pai we hopped back on the motorbike and headed towards Mae Hong Son, the next overnight stop on the Mae Hong Son Loop we set off to complete. Mae Hong Son is less touristy than Pai and they had a wonderful night market with tons of yummy food stands and trinkets around the lake. The next morning we began the long journey back to Chiang Mai – 8 hours on the back of a motorbike!!
After spending four day in the little Northern Thailand village homestays we headed back to Chiang Mai and hired a motorbike for three days to head back up North to ride the Mae Hong Son Loop over three days. We hoped on the bike, with our small overnight packs, and zoomed off to Pai – the first overnight stop on the Mae Hong Son Loop.
I absolutely loved Pai – a small hippy town in Northern Thailand. With a plethora of street food and tons of shops and cafes we ate and drank our way down the three main streets before jumping back on the bike to reach a simple bungalow set on a small lake just outside of town.
On New Years Eve we spent the day riding two elephants bareback, eating fresh fruits, and letting off a wish lantern at midnight …. while there was no champagne or festive parties to be had, we felt that we entered 2016 in style!
After spending a day in Chiang Mai we packed our small bags and headed North with a local guide for a three day village homestay/ trekking experience through Northern Thailand. We started the first day by a visit to a large local market to gather all of the food we would need for the homestay and trying bits and pieces along the walk through.
From here we visited a waterfall, stopped for bamboo sticky rice (a favorite!) and walked around two hours to our first village – a local Karen Tribe – living in the wilderness with no electricity, the rice they harvest, and each other company. We stayed with a local family and had a wander around the village before enjoying a home cooked dinner over candlelight that was prepared by fire … ah the simplicity!
Our first stop in Northern Thailand was the magical Chiang Mai … a place that we both loved! Not only was the flight North a bit of a break from the hot sunshine in the South, but the culture, colors, smells and sights were a bit different too. We stayed inside the old fort area which allowed us to explore the area very easily by foot. From trying tons and tons of street food to viewing many a Wat we had a blast.
With one full day in Phuket we decided to rent a motorbike for the day and explore as much ground as we could cover! Starting our day off at a local Pad Thai restaurant – where we tried about everything they had to offer – was the perfect idea as we had a big day ahead. With multiple stops including Big Buddha, several Wats, stops for fresh fruit juice, and even a baby elephant kiss, we had the best time exploring Phuket.
After a few days exploring the beaches around Krabi – mainly Tonsai Bay and Railay – we jumped on a water taxi speed boat and headed to the Island of Koh Phi Phi. Phi Phi is known to many as a party island, but we found a much more quiet and remote side of the island while staying on the end near Long Beach, which we much preferred!
We enjoyed time swinging in the bungalow hammock, drinking fresh fruit juice, and putting on our hiking boots and heading up to the Phi Phi lookout!
We spent a lovely Christmas morning on Railay Beach followed by an afternoon sailing cruise around the area – with stops for cliff jumping, snorkeling, and a few swims along the way!
After a few fun filled and chaotic days in Bangkok it was time to head down to the Thailand beaches! We started our beach tour on Tonsai, around one hour from Krabi, and a long boat ride away from Ao Nang Beach. Tonsai Beach is known as the hippy/ chilled out beach village as there are no police that stroll the street (s) – there are two main ones! Young Thai boys learning how to juggle fire sticks to hammocks all around, we were totally relaxed!
There is so much to do and see in the city of Bangkok it was hard to even know where to begin! We chose to explore the downtown area for our first full day in Bangkok before heading off to the islands for Christmas. We started the day with a traditional Thai breakfast served in a hot pan at a local cafe which used to be a small general store. From here we headed down to the river and jumped on a long boat for an hour long tour of the canals. We concluded our day with a few beer Changs and a visit to the Grand Palace, an absolutely magical and elaborate place.