Planning Thailand – It’s a love/hate relationship..

By Posted in - Asia & Big Trip & Budget Travel & Thailand & Travel Blog & Travel Resources on April 24th, 2011

On a Thailand train fom Bangkok to Ayutthaya by Enricod.

I’m trying something new with the next leg of the trip. I’m trying to actually PLAN.

Something I discovered on the European part of the trip was that I hate planning. I also unfortunately discovered that in order to really take advantage of every bit of your trip planning really helps. I guess I’m good at entertaining myself and I’m perfectly happy wandering around and getting lost in a new town for most my travel entertainment. However, as much as I hate to admit it – we could have gotten more out of Europe by planning in advance. Not only would we have known about certain things we wanted to do early on in the trip (visiting the Catacombs of France is a good example) we certainly would’ve saved some money with a bit of research as well.

So far I’ve compiled a list of things I want to do in Thailand:

  • Volunteer & work with elephants at the Elephant Mahout Project
  • Learn how to cook a few Thai dishes without fish sauce
  • Visit Khao Sok National Park
  • Practice Yoga & learn Meditation
  • Walk the Bridge on the River Kwai
  • Island Hop while surfing & snorkeling
  • Relax on several top notch beaches
  • Visit Chatuchak market & the floating & night markets
  • Explore the caves & lagoons of Phang Nga Bay
  • Learn a LOT about Buddhism
  • Get a dental cleaning and my twice yearly thyroid ultrasound & bloodwork
  • Hit up a drag show cabaret
  • take a row boat through the Khlongs of Bangkok
  • Get endless $5 massages
  • Wwoof on a farm- not sure where yet

This is really just a small sample of some of the things I want to do in Thailand. It seems like whether your Thailand holidays are based around meditation & food or if you are more interested in adrenaline fueled adventure holidays there are endless things to do in this beautiful country! It’s become obvious to me that I don’t have much of a choice but to start planning out some activities in order to make sure we actually accomplish some of them.

I’m hoping that some of you reading this can help me with a couple things:

1. Do you know of anything else I should add to my list? Offbeat and random ideas, as well as old standby’s are welcome! We’ll be in the region for about 6 months and we’re open to anything & everything.

2. If you are a non-planner how do you deal with actual planning? All the details frustrate me and even with all these already excellent ideas on the list I still don’t really want to start the research & planning. If anyone has tips for making this Thailand holiday planning a little less painful I would love to hear them!

If you have any tips please feel free to share them in the comments below. 🙂

*Please remember all photos on this website, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted and property of, & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you want to use one of them please contact me first because I do love to share and I would be flattered. Thanks!

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(24) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Erica -

    April 24, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Oh look at you with all your fancy planning (kinda)! 😛


    • Bethany -

      April 25, 2011 at 7:50 am

      Yeah so far this is as much as I can muster. hahaha

  • Alouise -

    April 24, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    I love to plan trips, not every detail but I love researching the different things to do when I travel. Wish I had some Thaliand tips for you but I’ve never been there. Your plan so far looks great though.

    • Bethany -

      April 25, 2011 at 7:51 am

      I used to like the research as well. Used to love it but when the trip turned more long term I started to dread it

  • megan -

    April 24, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    Nothing wrong with a bit of planning! And this is kind of how I like to do it, too – a list of “must-do’s” is better than a fully scheduled itinerary.

    The weekend market in Bangkok is awesome and a lot of fun – if you’ve got loads of time I’d actually go twice – it’s so easy to get lost in one section that you’re too exhausted to look at anything else by lunchtime!

    And as well as getting about on the khlongs of Bangkok, you should also try just generally getting about by public transport. I rarely take taxis or tuk-tuks in Bangkok – between the skytrain, the ferries on the river and your own two feet, I found there’s hardly any need to.

    And while walking on the bridge over the River Kwai…if you suddenly notice that you’re the only one standing on the tracks…it’s probably because they’ve seen the train coming that you haven’t. Not that it happened to me. Nope, not at all. And no one laughed. And the train didn’t blow it’s horn. Not at all. 🙂

    • Bethany -

      April 25, 2011 at 7:52 am

      Oh My! I can’t believe that happened to you. I have to know – what did you do to get out of the way? Also thanks for the tip about the skytrain I haven’t even heard of that! 🙂@megan,

      • megan -

        April 28, 2011 at 2:43 am

        Jumped to one side, very quickly!! 😀@Bethany,

  • Turkey’s For Life -

    April 24, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    I’ve just read your post with interest as we’re not planners at all. We have a rough idea of things we want to do when we go somewhere but we only think about the detail when we get there – and sometimes it doesn’t pay off. So, can’t help you with number 2, sorry. As soon as I even attempt any planning, I just get bogged down with it all and it all seems more confusing. 🙂

    • Bethany -

      April 25, 2011 at 7:53 am

      I feel the same as you. I’m trying to find a happy medium so I don’t miss out on things and money from my wallet. haha@Turkey’s For Life,

  • Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista -

    April 25, 2011 at 10:16 am

    I am a planner and love to read and plan trips out but I might plan too much. There is a fine balance to be set in the middle somewhere. I think you are smart to make a list of the things you want to do for sure. The rest you can wing it and fill in.

  • jasmine jean -

    April 25, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    ummmmmm…….did you Say
    “Get endless $5 massages”


    • Bethany -

      April 26, 2011 at 7:53 am

      I have heard SEA is the land of the cheap body massages and I can’t wait! @jasmine jean,

  • Seattle Dredge -

    April 25, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    I’m liking the endless $5 massages, and the floating market :]
    That photo is great too!

    I’m 50/50 when it comes to planning. Sometimes I just leave without a map or idea of where I’m going. Sometimes I organize everything so meticulously, that nothing can go wrong–but something always does go wrong. Planning or not, there will always be extra costs and unexpected delays. In the end, planning helps, but it’s never the final word! 😀

    Great post!

    • Bethany -

      April 26, 2011 at 7:54 am

      Yeah, I agree sometimes when you plan things go wrong! It sounds like you are really 50/50 – a perfect mix! I’m going to try that. 🙂@Seattle Dredge,

  • Mica -

    April 25, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    This is great. Since I am also planning on being in Thailand/SE Asia come this August, I have also started a list that looks alot like yours. I want to do alot of volunteering with animals and take all kinds of classes I’ve heard about, from cooking to weaving. If I hear of anything interesting I’ll send you a note! Sometimes, planning can be fun…especially the daydreaming part of it! SO exciting!!!

    • Bethany -

      April 26, 2011 at 7:58 am

      Ok, that sounds like a plan! I’m a little bummed I just found out that the elephant thing I was planning on doing is really expensive! I need to find another one. I’ll let you know if I find a good alternative. 🙂@Mica,

  • Tijmen -

    April 26, 2011 at 12:24 am

    I do plan a bit and love to do some research and reading about a destination before I arrive, but I rarely arrive somewhere with a detailed plan of what I want to see and do. I tried to make a plan a few times, and every single time I ended up doing something very different. But still had a good time 🙂

    • Bethany -

      April 26, 2011 at 8:01 am

      Thanks for commenting! Every time you do something different huh? Well you can’t fight the natural flow of things when you travel. 🙂 BTW, love your post on the trains – very cool! @Tijmen,

  • Kelsey -

    April 26, 2011 at 3:32 am

    I applaud your planning plans! I plan my first day in a country, and that’s pretty much it.

  • Erin in Costa Rica -

    April 27, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    I’m awesome when it comes to planning trips (pats self on back). Here are a few tips:
    1. Make a list of everything you want to do.
    2. Prioritize the list in terms of what you want to do from most to least.
    3. Then look at where this list puts you geographically and add or subtract more things from the list according to convenience.
    4. Make sure to plan some down time for relaxing or unexpected adventures.
    5. Don’t be afraid to throw that list away once you get there.

    • Bethany -

      April 27, 2011 at 4:01 pm

      Damn Erin! You are impressive! Seriously I am blow away right now. You are becoming my idol! @Erin in Costa Rica,

  • laura @ -

    June 27, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    I totally hear ya on the planning thing. I used to be a serious planner, making the most out of my vacations, but that was when I had only 1-2 weeks! Now my boyfriend and I are travelling around for 7+ months, and the planning gets so tiring! It’s just all the decisions you have to make…is it the right price? when should we get there? how long should we stay? are we doing too much? too little? aaah!

    I found that travelling slower is much better for us 🙂 We can take in the sights and scenery at our leisure without feeling crazy!