Another quick hitter post to get closer to catching up to current day. Wife and I took a quick (2-night) trip to Chicago during Christmas, 2015. We stayed at the Ritz-Carlton on points and got cheap roundtrip flights on Southwest. Flew from New Orleans (MSY) to Chicago (MDW), with a connection on the return in Nashville (BNA). Highlight of our trip was dinner at Girl and the Goat on the West Loop. Fantastic food and great atmosphere, can’t recommend enough.
A couple of years ago (prior to baby #1), my wife and I took a weekend trip to Washington D.C. Spent 2 nights in the city (1 at a generic Marriott and 1 night at the Park Hyatt). We managed to secure an upgrade to a suite for $45 same-day at the Park Hyatt, more than worth it!
We flew Southwest non-stop from ATL both directions as we managed to secure a really cheap flight. Nothing special to report from the flights.
Some pictures from our trip:
Really fun weekend with some great food and 1 really nice hotel (Park Hyatt D.C.) + 1 mediocre hotel (Marriott Washington – Georgetown). Some of the restaurants we enjoyed:
-Mintwood Place (Dinner – Really solid)
-Le Diplomate (Brunch – Highly recommend)
This was our last trip before baby #1 was born, little did we know how our life would change (for the better!).
To finish our trip through Thailand we spent 2 days on the island of Koh Samui. One night at the Le Meridien and one night at the Conrad Koh Samui, both on points. Given this was the end of the trip and we were exhausted we spent very little time outside of each hotel as this was supposed to be the “relaxing” end to the trip. The pictures can speak for themselves but I don’t know if I would go back. The hotels were incredible but the island itself was haphazardly developed and the beach / water at both places left something to be desired. If I was going to choose a beach destination in Thailand (based on our experiences) I would go with Krabi.
Unfortunately, this concluded our wonderful time in Thailand. A few pictures below of the journey back through Bangkok to Seoul to Atlanta. Can’t say enough how amazing Thailand is, both the destination and the people. Would love to return again in the future, maybe skipping Koh Samui on the return trip…….
After a wonderful two days in Chiang Mai it was time to head to the south of Thailand to spend our final coupld of days relaxing by the beach. Our first stop was Krabi. We flew Air Asia non-stop from Chiang Mai to Krabi but unfortunately it was an early (emphasis on early) morning flight. I think the blurriness of the picture below completely captures the moment perfectly.
We had pre-booked transportation from the hotel and the driver was waiting for us outside of baggage claim with a sign for the hotel. Loaded into a van with ice-cold air conditioning and cold, bottled water for the ~30 minute drive to the Sheraton Krabi. On the return to the airport a couple of days later we used a taxi which ended up saving about $5 per couple.
The entrance to the hotel may look familiar; that is because it was the lobby featured on Hangover Part II.
On our second day in Krabi we decided to rent a boat to travel to Railay Beach; about 45 minutes away by long-tail boat. I can’t recall exactly the price we paid but I think it was in the neighborhood of $30 USD per couple.
The beach and surroundings were pretty cool and I would recommend spending a half-day there. Biggest issue was the crowds; it was difficult to find a place to spread out on the beach.
One thing I do want to point about the Sheraton is that it is a long ways from Krabi Town and we never actually ventured into the city. However, there are several restaurants within walking distance of the hotel and a 7-11 right outside the hotel gates. One place that I cannot recommend enough is the Indian restaurant below (Gajanana). It was some of the best Indian food I have ever had.
After an extremely relaxing, pleasant 2-night stay at the Sheraton Krabi it was time to head on to our final destination in Thailand, Koh Samui. We had booked Bangkok Airways non-stop flight from Krabi to Koh Samui leaving during the middle of the day.
Up next: 2 days in Koh Samui with one night at the Le Meridien and one night at the Conrad.
Our second day in Chiang Mai started early with a roadtrip to Tiger Kingdom about 30 minutes north of Chiang Mai. As this was one of the top “attractions” in Chiang Mai we were very excited to experience it for ourselves. What is not to like about getting in a cage with a 1,000 pound, live tiger? Oh wait, nothing.
Now, some notables on Tiger Kingdom:
-Entry is not cheap; this one of the more expensive activities during our entire trip (approx. $40 USD per person for the Big+Medium+Small package)
-Included in the price of your ticket is short-term medical coverage as almost all health insurances would exclude coverage for any incidents resulting from a Tiger injury (as they should)
-You can hire a photographer to accompany you and it might make sense if there are only 2 people in your party; however, with groups of 3 or more it would not make sense as someone is always available. The photographer is not cheap
-The Small Tigers were the most active and, quite frankly, the scariest to me as they were the most unpredictable. The Medium and Big Tigers were relatively calm and used to human interaction
-The Tigers appeared to be well-cared for and we never felt like we were in danger but Tigers are large, live, dangerous animals (it is important to note that accidents do occur at Tiger Kingdom locations – a tourist was killed in the Phuket location several weeks prior to our visit to the Chiang Mai location)
Overall, I would recommend to future travelers to make the trek to Tiger Kingdom as it is an extremely unique experience that provides lasting memories.
We arrived back at our hotel just after lunch and headed out to enjoy the rest of the day with no plans. Wandered out to grab some lunch, tour some temples, and ended up staying out at some local bars before heading back for the night.
Coming up: Early morning flight to Krabi on AirAsia and 2 nights in Krabi at the Sheraton Krabi.