Those who know me well will know that I’m not a fan of routine and that’s probably why I love to travel in the way that we do. We do plan, of course we do, but we like to keep our plans flexible enough that we can still make choices and adapt our route on the move. I’m aware that this stye of travel isn’t for everyone, but for those who are keen to try a more flexible approach to their holidays, our recent trip to Thailand is a good example of what is feasible when you go with the flow. Two return flights to Bangkok, one mum, one son (aged 6), one rucksack, one cabin bag and one adventure on the horizon…
When travelling long haul I’ve always favoured night flights. We’re lucky that our son sleeps fairly well once he’s settled, which means we can also get some shut-eye (well, as much shut-eye as is possible when you’re sitting upright with your knees jammed against a seat). The flight was fairly painless and we arrived in Bangkok late afternoon. The only accommodation booking I made prior to leaving the UK was our first night. I found a small hotel within 2km of the terminal that offered a free airport shuttle service, had an outdoor pool and a local food market on the doorstep.
I made the booking the morning we left the UK so we got a great last-minute deal at 750 baht. It was the perfect location for our very early flight to Phuket the next morning to meet our friend who was flying in from Singapore for a whistle-stop 48 hours. Nai Yang beach, situated at the North of Phuket within 2km of the airport, was somewhere we had stayed before. It’s situated on the edge of a National Park and we loved it for its many local beach cafes that stretched out across the sand and down to the water’s edge. It was so pretty in the evenings when the cafes switched on their lights and had their candles flickering on the tables.
Unfortunately, the area had changed considerably. Businesses were legally required to have a government permit to trade on the beach, but over the course of a few decades, the local council had waived this, allowing business to trade without the correct paperwork. Two years ago there was a crackdown and any business that did not own the permit was destroyed. The buildings were bulldozed leaving 70 families without an income and only 3 cafes left trading on the sand. A sad outcome for a once bustling and thriving area.
Despite this, and despite the weather system that swept in off the back of the Typhoon in the Philipines, we still had a fantastic time. What’s not to like about meeting a good friend for 2 nights and sharing a lot of laughter and amazing food?
Arriving back in Bangkok I found my bargain deal of the holiday. A boutique hotel with beautifully appointed rooms, a rooftop pool and breakfast for 2,000 baht. Booking a few hours in advance can sometimes have financial benefits. With no concrete plans in place, and as the weather was still a bit unpredictable, we decided to stay in Bangkok for a few days and enjoy the city.
Dinosaur Planet was a hit with Alf (WARNING – the Raptor Extreme is not for the faint-hearted) And we found a great outdoor hawker area that served delicious Thai salads and noodles. Next stop the coast…. Thailand Adventure – part two