Tag Archives: thai
February 13, 2012

PV018: The Good Time Resort

When we were planning our trip to Thailand last September, we knew we were going to stay awhile.  After traveling across four continents, we were ready for a break and our plan was to rent an apartment for the month of October. We had new two goals in mind: Resting and relaxing.

We asked our Facebook friends and Twitter followers for recommendations.  “If you had a month to spend in Thailand, where would you stay?”  We got all the answers you might expect: Party in Phuket, stay cheap in Bangkok, visit the temples in Chiang Mai.  After our downtime, we would go on to tour all of Thailand, so our ideal location for October would be a quiet, out-of-the-way place with a solid internet connection.  Perhaps one of those picturesque islands with the white sand beaches, plentiful coconuts, and some snorkeling hot spots…

We read up on the suggestions we’d received: Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, Phang-nga, Koh Samui.  Advice from my ex-girlfriend had me worried.  She told me that, years before, she’d passed up Phang-nga (too touristy) for Koh Tao.  There, she had found a quiet spot on the back of the island where she could relax and interact with the locals, but still take in a little SCUBA diving if she felt like it.

But Koh Tao isn’t like that anymore.  She told us that since she visited, the island has developed into yet another tourist hotspot with ATMs and 7-Elevens on every other corner.

The Thailand of yesterday sounded just like what we were looking for, but I wondered if we’d even be able to find it.  We did, but not until much later…

We took the easy way out and spent our month in Karon Beach, on Phuket.  It wasn’t the island getaway we’d imagined, but it was cheap and we had our internet access.  Come November, though, we were ready to hit the road again.

We traveled with friends up into Laos, then parted ways and traveled through Vietnam and Cambodia on our own.  We were in Siem Reap, visiting the temples around Angkor Wat, when we sat down to plan out the last few weeks of our round-the-world journey.  I wanted to see Kuala Lumpur and Singapore before flying to Australia.  Oksana petitioned for one last week of beach time.  Once again, we found ourselves pouring over a map of Thailand, looking for the perfect island getaway.

And then, a funny thing happened.  I was skimming updates in a travel blogger’s Facebook group when I came across something another blogger had posted.  She wanted to know if anyone was interested in managing a Thai island resort for a year.  She went on to explain that the owners wanted to embark on a round-the-world trip of their own and needed to find someone to run their business while they were away.

I didn’t think much of it at first.  In fact, I didn’t even mention it to Oksana until the following day because managing a resort just wasn’t something I thought we’d be interested in.  But then I started thinking.  We were planning to spend a year working in Australia… why not Thailand instead?  And since we had to pass through Thailand again on our way to Malaysia…

When Opportunity is knocking, one should at least open the door to see who’s there. (more…)

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.


August 25, 2004

Cotton Anniversary

We had our cake and ate it, too! (25k image)I’ve been working at UAS (in my present role as Digital Media Specialist) for almost four years now. For the last three, I’ve managed to schedule my annual leave in mid-August… just in time to miss Convocation. I wasn’t actively trying to skip out on the returning faculty members and the ensuing ITS meetings that surround them. It was just a coincidence. Swear.

So here it is, my fourth year, and it looks like I’m finally going to be in town for Convocation. I figure my boss is going to be happy – he’s been ribbing me all this time because I (and my position) still haven’t been formally introduced to the faculty at large.

Oh, but of course there was a snag! Two years ago, the big reason to take some vacation time was for my wedding and subsequent honeymoon. It never occurred to me that getting married in August would be a problem down the road. I now realize that if I want to take a day off to celebrate with my wife, I would more than likely have to find a way out of three days of meetings.

Fortunately, that didn’t turn out to be much of a problem. I approached my boss last week and asked him if he had a Convocation schedule. He did, and the whole department was allotted just 45 minutes to talk about the new technologies and procedures that we’d be bringing to campus this fall. Obviously he didn’t need me to hop up there on the podium with him, so I quickly followed up with, “Great! Can I have half of Tuesday off?”

Oksana was going to be pretty busy at work, too, since a coworker was going to be on vacation. She didn’t think she could justify taking a whole day off, so we talked about a half-day instead. Besides, who were we kidding? If we took the whole day off, we’d just end up sleeping ‘til noon, anyway!

With our bosses’ approval gained, we were ready to make the best of our second anniversary on August 17th.

May 11, 2004

Mother's Day II

At the Shrine of St. Therese (25k image)Almost two years ago, when our families were arriving in Juneau for our marriage, Oksana and I tried very hard to be good hosts. Unfortunately, in planning the wedding, we weren’t able to spare enough time for the task. We were hoping that Alaska would play nice that summer and show our guests what it can be like on a sunny, warm day. That way we could turn them loose and let them make their own fun.

Seeing as we live in Southeast Alaska, though, it was much more likely that it would rain the entire time they were with us. That’s why I was practically ecstatic when the day of their Tracy Arm cruise dawned to clear blue skies – no matter what happened from that point on (including the possibility of a rained-out wedding), they would look back and judge their entire stay on that one, perfect day.

I was hoping for at least one such day during my mom’s visit this last weekend – lucky me; I’m batting 1.000.