Koh Nang Yuan

Koh Nang Yuan

Koh Nang Yuan is a set of 3 tiny islands connected by a shallow sand bar.  The island has no permanent residents, and has only a few bungalows that can be rented out for an expensive price by Thai standards (but hey, remember you’re staying on an uninhabited island).  For those not staying in the bungalows, the island is only open from 9-5pm, adding a small incentive to stay there to enjoy some peace and quiet for those with deeper wallets. A mere 5 minute longtail boat ride from Koh…

Angkor Wat’s small circuit – Legends of the Hidden Temples Part II

Angkor Wat’s small circuit – Legends of the Hidden Temples Part II

This post covers Day 2 of temple sightseeing, this time at Angkor Wat’s small circuit.  For details on the large circuit as well as sunrise at Angkor Wat, please see my post here. Annika and I had both heard of people renting bicycles to see the temples that make up the small circuit.  Wanting a bit more independence as well as an excuse to get some good exercise, we were able to find a place within Siem Reap that would rent them to us for $2/day (with a $50 deposit)….

Angkor Wat’s grand circuit – Legends of the Hidden Temples Part I

Angkor Wat’s grand circuit – Legends of the Hidden Temples Part I

Since my 30 day Thailand visa was about to expire, I decided to do a visa run to a neighboring country to extend it.  It just so happens that Siem Reap, home of Angkor Wat, is right on the border of Cambodia and Thailand, and only about an 8 hour bus ride from Bangkok.  I decided it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.  This post chronicles the first day of temple sightseeing including the sunrise over Angkor Wat and Angkor Wat’s grand circuit. The two most travelled paths…

Conquering “The Challenge” on Koh Phangnan

Conquering “The Challenge” on Koh Phangnan

While we were on Koh Phangnan for the Full Moon Party, there was one other activity that I knew I definitely wanted to do.  After reading about my friend Dan’s experience at a “Wipeout” style obstacle course, I knew that “The Challenge” on Koh Phangnan would be right up my alley. For those of you not familiar with the show, “Wipeout”, it basically involves the contestants trying to complete a crazy inflatable obstacle course while in the water.  After fully recovering from the Full Moon Party, we ventured over to…

Chinese New Year and Monks Almsgiving Ritual in Chiang Mai

Chinese New Year and Monks Almsgiving Ritual in Chiang Mai

Chinese New Year and Monks Almsgiving Ritual in Chiang Mai On February 8th, was the start of the Chinese New Year, the year of the monkey.  I’m a little embarrassed to say that I never ventured to Chicago’s Chinatown in my 3 years of living there.  Thailand has a huge population of Chinese people, as well as being a very popular tourist destination for Chinese travelers as well.  Chiang Mai is known for having great festivities to celebrate, so I decided to check it out. Around 6pm I left my…

Trekking in Doi Inthanon National Park

Trekking in Doi Inthanon National Park

In addition to Thailand’s many beautiful beaches and islands, it is also host to lush forests and mountainous regions, particularly in Northern Thailand.  I knew that I definitely was interested in going on a multi-day trek into the countryside, but there were a variety of options available.  I wanted to avoid the more “touristy” ones that include stops of elephant riding where the elephants aren’t treated well, and the Long Neck Karen tribe, where women wear brass coils to elongate their necks.  Some of these tours treat these people like…

Ziplining in Chiang Mai

Ziplining in Chiang Mai

While I’ve been lucky enough to do several more daring activities such as skydiving and bungee jumping, ziplining is an activity that I previously never had a chance to do.  Since Chiang Mai offers a plethora of adventure activities, all at affordable rates, I knew I could not pass it up this time. After researching several of the different companies and comparing reviews and pricing, I chose to go with Zipline Skyline Adventure, and did not regret it.  They picked me up at my hostel early in the morning around 8am,…

Buddhist Meditation Retreat in Chiang Mai

Buddhist Meditation Retreat in Chiang Mai

I had heard about an overnight introduction to a Buddhist meditation retreat in Chiang Mai by a local Buddhist University.  Always looking to try something new and experience the local culture, I researched further into it and decided to give it a try.  It is only held once a week, starting on Tuesday at 1pm, and ending around 4pm the following day.  Luckily, I had planned to head back from Pai Tuesday morning, so it fit perfectly into my schedule. To be perfectly honest, I did not know much about…

Helpful Tips for Motorbiking around Pai

Helpful Tips for Motorbiking around Pai

Pai is a sleepy little hippie town, located about a 3 hour drive northwest of Chiang Mai. The population is extremely small, only about a few thousand people. In recent years, it has become very popular with travelers and tourists, and has a similar vibe to Thailand’s island minus the beaches and sand. One of the best things to do besides chill out in Pai is to rent a motorbike and go motorbiking around Pai to see its famous sights, all located within biking distance of the city center. It…

Thai Cooking Class in Chiang Mai-Thailand’s Next Top Chef!

Thai Cooking Class in Chiang Mai-Thailand’s Next Top Chef!

Taking a Thai cooking class was something that was high on all of our lists. As there are a lot of different and cheap options in Chiang Mai, we decided to do one here versus in Bangkok or in the touristy islands. After reading some great reviews, we decided to take the evening half day cooking class at Asia Scenic Thai Cooking School. I highly recommend this place, as we all had an enjoyable, informative, and delicious evening! To start the class off we had some short introductions. In addition to us…