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Travel planning

Travel plans, and how I can’t stick to them

Travel plans and I don’t tend to get along. I struggle to make them, and then as soon as I’ve done so, I start finding ways to do something completely different. This isn’t just an occasional affliction – it happens all the time.

When travelling solo this isn’t a problem – changing my mind on a whim doesn’t really matter to anybody else – but it’s the kind of thing that can cause massive arguments amongst groups or couples. When someone has their heart set on a particular place or just likes to have everything organised far in advance, and then a spanner is deliberately thrown in the works… well, let’s just say that chaos often ensues.

Luckily for both of us, Lauren is exactly the same as me when it comes to planning. We’ll both throw ideas around for a while, come up with the best one we can, commit to it… and then immediately start thinking of something else we’d much rather do instead.

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Sukhothai elephants

Scenes from Sukhothai

December 3, 2012 | Thailand, Travel | 6 Comments

Sukhothai, in north central Thailand, doesn’t tend to make it onto the itineraries of many visitors to the country. It doesn’t have the beaches of the south or the humid excitement of Bangkok, and is far enough away from Chiang Mai (5-6 hours) that most people don’t bother to make the trip.

After a quick visit last month, I’m really struggling to understand why that is.

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Sky full of lanterns

Yi Peng lantern release: Magic at Mae Jo

November 25, 2012 | Thailand, Travel | 38 Comments

The first time I came to Chiang Mai in 2010, I didn’t even know what Yi Peng was. Each year, usually in November, many thousands of lanterns are launched into the air around northern Thailand as part of a long-standing Buddhist tradition. The biggest of these releases happens near the university at Mae Jo, a small town outside Chiang Mai. Of course, having no idea this was happening, I had booked my onward flight to coincide with the start of the festival.

Last year Yi Peng was early in the month. I couldn’t quite finish up in Australia in time to make it for the lantern release, missing it by a matter of days.

This time, no matter what it took, I was going to be there to experience this incredible event for myself.

I’m happy to say that it easily exceeded my expectations. It was simply magical, and one of the most incredible things I have ever been a part of.

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Peeking Buddha, Sukhothai

The Friday Photo #137 – Peeking Buddha in Sukhothai

The ancient city of Sukhothai, in the central north of Thailand, is a ruin-lovers paradise. It reminded me of a smaller Angkor Wat without the crowds or touts.

Nearing the end of our wandering, we came across what had been described by the ticket seller as the ‘big Buddha’. I think perhaps ‘peeking Buddha’ would have been a more apt description, or perhaps ‘Buddha with the creepy eyes that follow you as you walk around’.

A less catchy name, perhaps, but one that is a lot more accurate…

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Melbourne - Yarra

It’s weird being home

I’ve been back in Melbourne for a week after finally, reluctantly leaving Thailand. I’m only here for two weeks – just long enough to catch up with friends and family, deal with a bit of paperwork and head back to the airport, really. It’s only a short break.

Because my return is only temporary I don’t feel the same depression that I did last time I came back. This is a time of celebration, of drinking with mates, gossiping with my sister and cuddling my little nephew until he’s blue in the face. I’ve done all those things, repeatedly, and it has been wonderful … but I just can’t shake this weird feeling I’ve got.

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Dave at Songkran

Songkran 2012: now that’s what I call a water fight

May 2, 2012 | Thailand, Travel | 5 Comments

The transition to a new year is celebrated in many different ways around the world.

In much of the western world it’s an excuse to drink too much, watch some fireworks and kiss a random stranger.

In Sri Lanka gifts are exchanged, food prepared and oil lamps lit to mark the occasion.

In several Asian countries money is given out in red envelopes and plenty of noise made to scare away evil spirits.

And in Thailand they have one hell of a water fight.

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Longtail on the beach, Koh Nok

The 11 things I will miss most about Thailand

April 30, 2012 | Thailand, Travel | 50 Comments

175 days after I flew to Thailand last year, I finally left. The country got under my skin more than anywhere else I’ve ever been, and I miss it every day.

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Tsunami sign

Panic in Phuket: My tsunami experience

April 25, 2012 | Thailand, Travel | 11 Comments

In a few seconds everything changed.

An abrupt announcement over the loudspeakers.

The strangely peaceful sound of many hundreds of people drawing breath in a collective gasp.

And then…

Total panic.

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