Our Grown Up Gap Year has begun. Our first stop is Thailand.
Just a quick background check up. We decided that it was time to treat ourselves to a gap year. I know that is more of a in your 20,s thing…..but we decided it was more of a grown up thing for us. So we sold our house and quit our jobs and are traveling South East Asia for a year. We love SE Asia. We lived in South East Asia when the kids were younger then we moved to Paris, France and most recently about 6 years ago back to the United States.
We are keeping this on a budget. You may ask what is that budget…well we are trying to keep about $30,000 USD for the entire year. Those of you who have traveled Asia know that is a very doable budget….but I am not looking to stay over a noodle shop as Jeff puts it. That $30,000 USD needs to include…Health Insurance, Flights and other Transport, Hotels/Condos, Food, Clothing, Entertainment and Incidentals. I will post about the different costs etc over the next year. Wish us luck.
Now on to the First Step of our Travel plan. We chose Thailand for a couple of reasons.
*No Fee Visa on Arrival for US Passport holders
*Late Aug and Sept is the beginning of low season so lower prices for hotels
*I love Thailand
*But the Biggest reason is that we could get Air Mile Tickets to Thailand.. (44,000 miles + $25.44USD + $30USD Travel Ins)….30 hours flight United to Munich—-Thai Air to Bangkok—-Thai Air to Phuket. I mean that is a great price….of course it was economy way way way in the back…but for $55USD each we flew from Houston, TX to Phuket Thailand. Now that is a deal.
*Hotels and Transport booked through Booking.com
Flight 1: United airlines…economy seats row 31
We did curb side check in at IAH terminal C and then we were off to security and a quick stop at the United Lounge for snacks and last min luxury before our 30 hour economy excursion. United boarding was smooth as normal with about half of the passengers wearing Masks. (we were part of that half). Flight was smooth with terrible airline food and the worst wine I think I have ever had in my life….I mean it was so bad I just handed it back and asked for water…lol
When we landed in Munich we had to go find a transfer desk as United was unable to print our tickets due to our change to Thai Airlines. After a bit of a wander about we found the desk but they were also unable to print the tickets because apparently even though it is all Star Alliance the systems do not interact. We would get our tickets at the boarding gate but our bags were booked on, so no worries there. We opted to wait out our layover with a delicious breakfast at Selman’s Restaurant.
Flight 2: Thai Airlines…row 54 seats
After our breakfast we headed to the gate to get our boarding passes etc. We were required to show proof of vaccination for covid as it is required to enter Thailand. All good with the boarding pass but the gate agent asked if we had selected our seats…we of course had not because remember this is a $25 airmile ticket…. She just looked at us for a minute and then said…”The seats were assigned by the system and they are good seats.” ummmmm I am surprised that she said it with a straight face as the seats were row 54 middle and window…lol But lets remember the price. As is the norm with European airports we took a bus to our plane and then had to walk stairs with our carry on baggage to enter the jet way for the plane. In the end the seats were fine I sat in the middle Jeff on the window. There was an announcement that Masks were required at all times, we complied, however some did not. I was concerned it would be a problem but the airstaff let it slide, we wore masks. The food was a bit better and there were tons of movies to watch on the seat monitors.
We arrived in Bangkok on time and tired. We went through passport control and were stamped into Thailand easy peasy. Transferred to the in country terminal and had some massively needed coffee as it was 6am local time.
Flight 3: Bangkok to Phuket on Thai Airlines…row 69
Good flight again if not almost last row on the plane. But as Jeff said “We will actually arrive first as the back wheels hit the ground first.” I mean he is not wrong. lol Flying from Bangkok is a beautiful flight. You fly over Phang Nga Bay an incredibly gorgeous location. This is where James Bond Island is and many films have been made.
We landed in Phuket and miracles of miracles our bags filled with 1 years of clothing and essentials all arrived safe and sound. We headed off to customs and out to find our booked transport.
After a long 30 hour flight and an additional 1.5 hours with customs and transport we arrived at our hotel the Old Phuket Resort on Karon Beach for 9 days…….to looks of utter confusion as to who we were……ummmm not great. They had no record of our booking. After showing them our booking and some confusion as to how this could have happened and a long lunch at their pool we had our room on the pool and promptly went to sleep completely missing our first day in Thailand. lol
Stay Tuned for more of Our Grown Up Gap Year Adventure.