Standing in front of the Namuang waterfall on Koh Samui
I spent 74 days in Thailand, which beats my previous record from Bolivia! My budget was all over the place, as food, accommodation, and transport were extremely cheap up north and only moderately cheap down south, but then I added on loads of scuba diving, some Thai language lessons, a cooking class, and renewing nearly my entire wardrobe. Ultimately I panned out at an average of $35 per day including everything, which still isn’t too bad!
I visited 8 places: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pai, Sukothai, Koh Tao, Koh Samui, Khao Sok, and Ao Nang. I absolutely fell in love with Chiang Mai and would consider going back to live there semi-permanently in the future. It’s a bit of a cliched expat center, but for good reason!
I also enjoyed checking out some cool street art and seeing the beautiful coral reefs of Koh Phi Phi. All in all, it was a wonderful 10 weeks!
A view of the hills of Pai
From Chiang Mai it’s just a 3-4 hour bus ride up to Pai, a small mountain town filled surrounded by waterfalls and hot springs. I spent a few nights there as a break from Chiang Mai and had a lovely time staying in a quiet bungalow with resident chickens. I rented a motorbike for the first time ever and drove on the left – also for the first time ever! It was a challenge, and in retrospect it may not have been entirely smart to go off by myself for the day, but I survived the experience.
I loved hiking in the Muang Pai stone forest – a site that’s not commonly mentioned among backpackers but I saw some signs on the road near the elephant camps so decided to stop. The changing colors of the leaves and the crunch of the winter ground reminded me a lot of hiking back home. That is, I was reminded of home until I stumbled upon a bunch of banana trees!
I also had a fun night celebrating Australia Day at SpicyPai hostel. There was a delicious BBQ and good company. Nobody, though, not even the Australians, could explain what Australia Day actually is.