It’s that time of the year. If you haven’t already booked your year-end holiday by now, you should start to think about it seriously before all the flights and choice hotels are booked.
We used to only go on simple road trips or settle for staycations back when the kids were very young. More recently in these couple of years, we have been going for Royal Caribbean cruises because we just wanted to chillax and hang out with the kids and not worry about where to go, what to do or what to eat.
Since staycations aren’t cheap for us anymore as the kids are older and we have to get two rooms, we decided that we should start thinking about making other holiday plans. Last year when we met an ex-colleague at a baby shower, she suggested that we give Thailand a try. It’s relatively near, it’s affordable (AirAsia Booking Online tickets to Bangkok go as low as $179 in December!) and it offers more than we thought it does. Prior to this, the thought of Thailand brings to mind either the touristy Phuket beach or Bangkok shopping. But after some research this year, we have decided to start off with just one destination this December and slowly explore the rest in time.
Here are the three destinations in Thailand we hope to check out in the next few holidays!:
- Khao Kho
I don’t want to experience living in a sea of fluffy clouds, said no one ever. A five-and-a-half-hour drive from Bangkok, Khao Kho is nothing like the Thailand I thought I knew. Due to the higher altitude, the all-day sweater temperature also offers a cool respite from the heat in Singapore.
I first fell in love with this place when I saw this photo online:
The view if you camp overnight at Phu Thap Boek Mountain is amazing:
I would have said gamely that we’d go there and camp it out with the kids, but then I read that there’s no heater and in that climate, I don’t think we are ready to shower in the cold with the kids anytime now. I am weak like that.
We’ll probably just settle for something less at the moment. So maybe glamping at Lake Hill is a good compromise.
I’m thinking maybe we could do both Lake Hill and The Sense Resort. We are staying several nights in Khao Kho after all, so why not just try them all? 😀
A room with a view that comes with amenities? Yes, I’ll take that anytime, thank you. Starry night sky – bonus!
Boasting not merely a mystical atmosphere, Khao Kho offers other activities that we would love to do, such as checking out the National Park where there are cherry blossoms (no need to go to Japan!), the B.N Farm’s famous super sweet strawberries (and other fruits and desserts), and the artillery and weaponry (used in major battles) at Itthi Military Base.
We could easily spend 3-4 days at Khao Kho!
Side-note – Phuket, Samet Nangshe, Phang Nga
I just had to add this in because although it’s not in my top 3 destinations, I hope that one day we will make it there to view the gorgeous sunrise. If you are a seasoned camper, check out this destination, about 90 minutes drive from Phuket.
Samet Nagshe Viewpoint – Traveller photo submitted by Stephane Q (Aug 2018)
Sunrise (Traveller photo submitted by blueboxphuket (Jun 2018)
We’ll go there when we are ready for the hike and when the children are old enough to appreciate the scenery!
2. Pai, Mae Hong Son
Relatively off the beaten track, Pai caught my attention when I saw this picture:
It’s Thailand’s little Venice. While I have read some negative reviews about the Oia Pai, there was also a vast majority who enjoyed the place. My personal view is that it does seem pictureseque enough and the concept is worth a go. After all, I don’t really foresee my family going to Venice anytime soon, although I hope we would make it to Venice before it actually goes under.
At Pai, we can also look forward to enjoying hot springs. While you can actually look for hot springs in the natural setting, you can always opt for a more resort style one, which is what I think we would settle for at this moment with younger children. If you are travelling with teenagers, I’m sure there are many other options for other activities too, such as hiking to see the waterfalls.
Pai Hot Spring Spa Resort
Apart from soaking in the sights (couldn’t resist the pun), there’s also bamboo rafting. I’m not sure if there are any age restrictions. I shall have to read up more about that!
3. Khao Yai
And this is our holiday destination this December! We had our trip booked in June and surprisingly, a few of our choice hotels had already been booked or had their special themed rooms booked! So the moral of the story is, if you are intending to go to Khao Yai, it seems that half a year in advance is still not enough.
Khao Yai is an idyllic, magical town about 3 hours drive from Bangkok and it has surprisingly much to offer!
This December, we will be checking out quite a few places at Khao Yai, such as Baan Suan Noi (Hobbit Thailand). Even though we booked this accommodation in June, we still didn’t manage to get the themed room of our choice. Looks like we would have to make a second trip back. No money to go New Zealand for the real thing so settle for second best for now. 🙂
Other attractions we’ll be visiting include PB Wine Valley and Farm ChokChai among others. We will update with a blog post (or more) after our December trip so I won’t spam you with stock photos now!
Meanwhile, we (and you too!) can start dreaming about the aforementioned destinations. We’ll be doing more research and checking out the cheap flight tickets because it’s worth it to save on air tickets for short flights. Every dollar saved on air tickets is a dollar earned for the shopping budget.
Remember, it’s never too early to start planning for your trip!