Tag Archives: festival of lights
February 3, 2012

PVX: McDonald’s in Thailand

We waited over a month to do our McDonald’s video for Thailand, knowing that if we did, we’d be able to wrangle our friends into trying it with us after they arrived.  That was a long time to wait to try a Samuari Pork Burger, let me tell you!  Was it worth the wait?  You’ll have to watch the video to find out…

Not much to say about Thai McDonald’s that we don’t already say in the video.  I will say that it’s darn difficult to find cover footage for editing when you’re shooting five people with one camera.  See if you can may spot any editing tricks I might have used to avoid a jump cut!

Thanks again to Wendy, Dusty, and Sarah for helping out (we certainly wouldn’t have tried so many things without them!)  We’ll eventually see them one more time when I put together a video about our shared experience at a Thai cooking school.  In the meantime, be sure to read about their take on Thailand on their blog, Roam the Planet!

February 1, 2012

Thoughts on Thailand

Out of all the countries we visited on our trip around the world, Thailand was the one in which we spent the most time. 61 days, over two visits.  It has since gone down on our list of places we want to return to someday, but when we first arrived, we were not impressed.

We had been traveling fairly quickly ever since Africa and by October we were both ready for a break.  While we were still in Russia, we planned out the last three months of our trip.  In order to conserve money – we had just officially gone over our travel budget – we wanted to find a place to sit down and rest for a while.  I sent out a request on Facebook and Twitter and asked our friends and followers for their recommendations in Thailand.

We received a lot of good advice, but ultimately had a hard time taking advantage of it because we were set on a month-long rental.  We checked Craigslist and various vacation rental websites, but the vast majority of listings were only available in the largest cities or most touristy areas.  We debated traveling out to the remote islands until we found a place to our liking, but ultimately took the easy way out.  We spent just a couple days in Bangkok, recuperating from our jet lag, before flying to Phuket and following up on some leads there.

The first place we stopped was in party central, Patong.  I can’t even remember why we chose that town, because foam-party nightclubs, seedy massage parlors, and plentiful weed are not on our list of travel necessities.  Nevertheless, Oksana found us a cheap hotel away from the beach, and we stayed there a week.

Prices were low, as October is still officially the off-season.  And no wonder – it rained hard just about every day we were in Patong.  That didn’t bother me especially much because I had just come down with my first cold since leaving home almost a year and a half before.  For the next week, all I wanted to do was lie in bed and sleep.  Easier to do during the day – night were miserable… at least until I visited the pharmacist, a real life anime character, who prescribed me some heavy sleeping pills.

Unfortunately, just as I was about to get over my cold, Oksana picked it up.  Most of our month off was spent battling head and chest colds.

Eventually, we left the Starbucks and McDonald’s behind by moving just four kilometers down the island to Karon Beach.  The oceanfront was prettier, the tourists more family oriented, and both of those things suited us just fine.  For about $19 per night, we stayed in a huge hotel room, venturing out once a day to the pool or to place an order at the on-site restaurant.  We caught up on some internet stuff, rested our travel-worn feet, and worked on our tans.

Prices went up on November 1st with the official start of the high season, but we didn’t mind.  Our friends from Roam the Planet were due to arrive any day and, with our batteries recharged, we were ready to hit the road again.

Because of the record flooding that was going on in central Thailand during our stay, we didn’t get to see as much of the country as I’d hoped.  Most of the things I noticed about Thailand came from the few places we did spend some time: Bangkok, Phuket, the Phi Phi islands, Chiang Mai, and Koh Mak.


November 10, 2011

One Year Abroad

Last year, on November 10th, our flight from Miami to Quito kicked off our trip around the world.  Since then, we’ve traveled tens-of-thousands of miles across five continents, seen amazing sites, and met amazing people.  One year later, to the day, we’re still going strong.  We just arrived in a new city, Thailand’s Chiang Mai, and because of a fantastic coincidence, we happened to arrive during their Festival of Lights (Loi Krathong.)  We pretended the whole city was turning out to give us a huge anniversary party!

Originally, our year of travel was supposed to begin on July 1, 2010.  We’d budgeted $100/day for the entire year, setting aside a whopping $36,500 for our trip.  But we had setbacks and delays in the States which eventually delayed our trip by three months.  By the time November 10th rolled around, we had already been gone from home 140 days.  Assuming we’d stuck to our travel budget, that was $14,000 already spent.  We discussed it and made the tough decision to start again at zero – time-wise and money-wise – when we flew to Ecuador.

We did fairly well in South America (aside from spending too big a chunk on the Galapagos Islands), but Africa pitted our travel budget spreadsheet against us.  We regained some ground when we stayed with friends and family in Europe and Russia, saving on housing, but the transportation costs caught us again.  By September 12th, we had exhausted the $36,500 we’d set and realized that any remaining travel costs would be coming out of our savings.  We had fallen 58 day – almost two months – short of our goal.