Kate Travels: So I’m planning a trip

As a teacher in Thailand, you do get quite a lot of holidays. Except, unlike the UK, it’s split up into two big holidays rather than a week here and there for half term, 2 weeks at Easter and 2 weeks at Christmas. In Thailand, you get a month off in October and, if you stay long enough, 2 months off between the middle of March and the middle of May. It’s quite nifty because it means you can take elaborate trips during these 2 holidays. Also, they pay you just enough that you can save a good amount for travelling throughout Southeast Asia – but nowhere else.

(I’d just like to point out that none of the below pictures are mine. I found them all on Pinterest. My pictures will come AFTER my trip, obviously.)


27th September – Finish school!!!!!!!!!!! Yay. I love school but 5 months is a long term and I am tired.


28th September – Make my way to Bangkok with Ruth. (Ruth is the other English teacher at my school, she’s not coming back next semester though so I’ll have to say goodbye to her at this point and make my way alone in the world.)


29th September – Catch a midday flight (on my own) out of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport to Chiang Mai, which is Thailand’s 2nd biggest city right up in the north, quite near to the Myanmar border. It’s quite high up in the mountains so I’m hoping it’ll be nice and cool – unlike where I live in Prachinburi, which is always super hot. Although today it is raining a LOT.


Picture of Chiang Mai


29th September – 1st October – I’m staying at a hostel in Chiang Mai’s Old Town for two nights (on my own) until my friends arrive. I’ve booked a double room all to myself because I’m slightly scared of being in a dorm (on my own), which is silly because dorms are the best way to make friends whilst you’re travelling – but I am a baby. The hostel looks good online and it’s only 698 baht for 2 nights, which is about £7 a night. I’m going to wander around the Old Town and probably get lost. I want to visit the night bazaar as well, which sounds like something out of Aladdin.



Night Bazaar, Chiang Mai


1st October – Levi and Lorna arrive in Chiang Mai!!!!! YAYAYAYAY. I haven’t seen them for weeks and weeks and weeks and I miss them a lot.


1st – 3rd October – We’ve booked 3 beds in a mixed dorm at the same hostel, which will be fun. The dorms work out about 400 baht each for 2 nights, which is about £4 a night. Such a bargain!!!

(This is where my plans become a little less comprehensible because we haven’t booked anywhere from here and we plan to go where the wind takes us… well, not quite but you will see.)

3rd – maybe about 5th or 6th October – we’re planning to head to this town called Pai (pronounced more like the English ‘bye’ than ‘pie’ FYI), it’s about an hour and a half north of Chiang Mai and it’s meant to be really beautiful, with big lakes. There’s also a big canyon called the Pai Canyon (surprisingly), which I’m hoping will resemble The Grand Canyon both in size and beauty – I am very optimistic. There’s a hostel there called the Pai Circus School & Backpacker Resort, which looks so so, so good, with swimming pools and all sorts of good stuff to do. They actually teach you circus tricks!!!! Like a REAL circus school!!!! What could possibly be better? Also, I think you can rent mopeds really cheap in Pai so hopefully we will do this and I will not fall off. I envision this part of our journey being a lot like Ewan Mcgregor’s motorcycle documentary trips.





Also Pai


6th – 9th October – I think about this time we’re planning to begin our travels to Koh Tao, which is a lonnnggggg way away, let me tell you!!!! Koh Tao, Koh Phangan and Koh Samui are all islands that make up the trio of popular tourist islands on the Eastern seaboard, situated in the Gulf of Thailand (look how informative I am about geographical matters). They’re about an 11-hour coach ride from Bangkok and seeing as Bangkok is about an 11-hour coach ride from Chiang Mai I’d say that’s a long time to spend on a coach. I think we’re going to split the journey up with a night in Bangkok though. I love Bangkok. Every time I go, which seems to be a lot, I have a completely different experience and it is always so much fun. There’s also a place west of Bangkok, which we may visit called Kanchanaburi. It’s got some amazing waterfalls and also “the Death Railway”, or Thai Burma Railway, which goes through this part of Thailand. This was the railway built during WW2. Forced labour was the main source of manpower for construction and a lot of British, Australian, Canadian and American serviceman died. ‘Bridge Over the River Kwai’ is a film made in 1957 about the building of the railway. The railway itself is very famous and dangerous looking and scales all sorts of mountain ledges but I’m sure it’ll be fine.



The Death Railway


Erawan Waterfall at Kanchanaburi


10th – 17th October – This is roughly when I think we’ll be on Koh Tao. Koh Tao is my absolute favourite island. It’s quite small and it’s where people go to do padi dive courses, which means that during the day the beaches are all super quiet whilst everyone is out diving – but it comes alive at night!!! I refuse to do a dive course on the basis I might panic and kill someone. As much as I like the idea of diving and I love activities of any kind, I get really claustrophobic. Also, I hate getting any sort of water in my eyes, let alone salt water from the ocean (I think my sensitive eyes are becoming a weird theme, sorry about that). These 2 things mean that under water I am likely to panic and I don’t want to subject anyone else to being my dive partner and dealing with that issue. I will, however, rent a quad bike and visit the coves and beaches dotted around the island without any fear. Last time me and Vikki did this we realised that Koh Tao is a particularly hilly island and since neither of us has a driving license; I was in charge of driving (I have more hours of lessons than she does so it makes perfect sense) – It got a bit hairy at times, let me tell you.



Swing on Koh Tao


18th October – Catch a boat to Koh Phangan!!!!!



Koh Phangan, as seen from the sky

19th October – FULL MOON PARTY!!!! This surely needs no explanation because Thailand’s Full moon parties are famous throughout the world.  I am mega, mega excited because last time I was in Thailand I missed out on the Christmas full moon by literally a couple of days. I’ll save my detailed explanation until after I’ve been but I will say this (and you know I like a good back story!) – the full moon parties started in like the 80s when Thailand was really first beginning to be a popular place to travel. Apparently it was someone’s birthday and they had this huge party on Koh Phangan, which just happened to coincide with the full moon.  According to legend, it was such an amazing party that they decided to do it every month after that and so became the Full Moon Party. I always wonder where this person is now whose birthday it was… part of me hopes they’re a suit-wearing business man, with a wife and 2 kids and part of me hopes they’re still kickin’ it on Koh Phangan, living a beautiful, slightly aging, nomadic life.


Full Moon Party, Koh Phangyan


So here ends my knowledge of any October plans. From here we might visit Koh Phi Phi, which is an island on Thailand’s west Andaman coast. There’s also, Koh Lanta, Phuket, Krabi and several other islands this side AND it’s where they filmed The Beach. Who knows! All I know is I have until the 28th of October when I have to be back at school and I am going to have as much fun as I can during these dates. Can you tell I’m excited?


Love Kate


p.s I’ll have my laptop and my camera so expect a lot of pictures.

p.p.s I love Thailand.

p.p.p.s I’m going to be so brown when I get back to school that none of the kids will dare make fun of my white skin again.

(Read more about Kate here)