When we were in India we saw a couple with a small baby and I remember thinking “How on earth can they be in a place like this with a baby?”… Perhaps there are people who thought the same of me during our last trip to Thailand.

It was a trip that impacted me for a variety of reasons: the religiousness of the people, the spicy (and hot) food, the amazing beaches, the suffering of the animals on the hands of tourists… the heat… for these reasons and many more, it was an unforgettable trip and I do not regret doing it with Ruben.

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Here is our itinerary with a few recommendations, all of these baby proofed (or maybe not, you tell me, am I crazy?)…
However, you can follow these tips whether with or without children.

1. Bangkok

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Chatuchak Weekend Market

The highlight of this city – for those traveling with no children – is the nightlife… something we missed, but not only because we had Ruben with us, but also because of another unexpected event, which I will tell you about later.
Other than the nightlife, places you can’t miss are theGrand Palace and Wat Pho. I can’t give you more details on these because, as I said, we did not have the opportunity to see them (one more reason to go back to Bangkok, even though Sergio avoids repeating destinations!).We did get to visit Chatuchak Weekend Market, despite the almost unbearable heat, and even got to shop for a few things. This place is a labyrinth of shops where you can find anything from souvenirs, to clothing, fruit, hand crafts, imitations, electronics… etc, etc, etc.We walked through Soi Rambuttri (it was really expensive to get there, thanks to our cunning taxi driver who didn’t even drop us off exactly there…), a street filled with shops, restaurants and bars. Excellent place to grab a bite to eat, and probably very fun in the evening.

 

2. Chiang Mai

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Karen Long Neck Village

Our first activity was a visit to the Karen Long Neck Village, regarding which there is a lot of controversy. Some say this is a human zoo, where women and children continue with the ring wearing practice to elongate their necks, arms and legs only to attract tourists, and other say they do it to make sure their cultural practice lives on. We went despite our doubts, and found a wonderful group of entrepreneur women, all very motivated in generating the necessary resources to survive, based on the sale of their weaving and other hand crafts. Although some of them do take advantage of tourist’s curiosity to sell their things (sometimes quite expensive), it was a nice experience, which I recommend others to do conscientiously.

We continued with a visit to Tiger Kingdom, basically a zoo with tigers, where these wonderful creatures walk in circles in their cages, only to come out to take photos with tourists. Although the tigers did seem healthy and were beautiful, I have my doubts as to the rumors saying they are drugged.

The most incredible thing we did while in Chiang Mai and in all of our trip through Thailand was Elephant Nature Park. I know I have a reputation for cry baby, but this time my tears were justified! This is a nonprofit organisation that rescues elephants from different tourist attractions and rehabilitates them. Many elephants there used to be tortured to perform in circus shows, exposed to extreme physical activity in elephant riding parks, and sacrificed in old landmines. It was truly an extraordinary experience, which changed my perspective on animal rights and currently has me reflecting on the option of our family becoming vegans. Post coming soon.

Elephant Nature Park

Elephant Nature Park

We also visited a night bazar located in Chang Klangwhich was very fun, and a temple called Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, both activities not be missed.
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep

Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep

3. Phuket

Perhaps I could have taken Phuket out of our itinerary. To be honest, we saw so many temples that we had no motivation left to continue doing so in Phuket. We only wanted to hit the beach!
Also, one of the highlights of Phuket is the nightlife, which we are in no condition to explore. Therefore… if I were to plan this trip again, I would exchange the two nights in Phuket for two more nights in the islands.
In Phuket you can visit the Big Buddah, Wat Chalong, y Promthep Cap, I can’t comment on these because as I said, we decided to spend our time there in Kata and Karon Beach.
We thought these beaches were amazing… until we found…
Karon Beach

Karon Beach

4. Koh Phi Phi

Long Beach

Long Beach

We were very concerned about the trip from Phuket to Koh Phi Phi because many people had made comments on how complicated the ferry trip is, how everyone gets sick on the boat, falls or is frightened by the people on board. However, we had a spectacular experience! We made prior reservations using Phuket Ferry , which worked wonderfully. We even had transport from the hotel to the pier, at a very reasonable price and the truth is that the trip was actually enjoyable!

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We stayed at a “resort” in Koh Phi Phi. Do not get confused with the resorts you can find in the Caribbean… these are really normal hotels, small and very cozy. Of course there are different price ranges, but you won’t find the monstrosities of the Caribbean in Koh Phi Phi

We stayed in the perfect place: Long Beach.

From the hotel we hired a taxi boat to take a trip to the famous Maya Bay, where the movie “The Beach” was filmed. however, the island really has so much more to see than just that one spot.

Actually, Maya Bay was plagued with tourists and tons of boats, so we just got off to take some photos.

As a side note, there is a 200 baht fee for just stepping on Maya Bay (around 4000 CLP, 5 USD and 5 euros), something I totally agree with because of the pollution that results from so many tourists visiting the place. A shame.

Getting on and off the taxi boat is an adventure in itself, not only if you are carrying your baby in a carrier, because it was a challenge for all of us, and I dare say that by the last taxi boat boarding, I managed to do it best than the rest, even while carrying Ruben!

Other than Maya Bay, there are many beaches and scuba diving places around the island that are wonderful.

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5. Krabi

 

 

Our original plan was to stay at Railay beach, which is recommended everywhere. I was so angry when, by chance (thank god) I called the hotel to confirm our arrival time and was informed that they do not accept children. I felt discriminanted.

Anyways, we had to make a change of plans and finally stayed at Ao Nang, which is not at all bad. The beach is not as beautiful, but there is a lot going on in town, for all ages. Also, we took a trip to other islands and beaches which was amazing, especially Koh Hong, a beautiful natural park with a spectacular beach.

For this trip we booked a tour in the main street where there are tons of small tourist agencies. I should point out though that we had a very bad feeling about the trip at the beginning – we began with a bus ride (which was half an hour late) that was about to fall apart, to a place where the people looked violent and hostil, and that was very dirty. They made us wait two hours in this place filled with trash (not just us, but about one hundred other tourists as well), to, finally! – get on a speedboat that marked the beginning of a wonderful day (yes, there were moments in which I feared I’d fly off with Ruben), .

Koh Hong

Koh Hong

Baby Proofing your trip

This was our first beach trip with Ruben, and I must confess, never before had I packed so many useless things. I’ll soon publish a more detailed post about that, but for now, here are the essentials to baby proof this trip:

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  1. Babycarrier… DUH!
  2. Sunshade, easy to transport, medium size, lightweight (ours was an excellent purchase made by Sergio to a man on the street, made from banana leaf)
  3. Fan… it was so hot!
  4. Baby chair harness – turns any seat in an appropriate baby chair.
  5. Sunscreen
  6. Sippy cup – especially because it is a place where it is so, so, so hot
  7. Water nappies (which apparently as imposible to find in China)
  8. UV filtered wet suit
  9. DEET free mosquito repellent
  10. Hand sanitizer and wipes.

And, by far, the best travel gear that babyproofs any trip… BREASTFEEDING and BABYLED WEANING… no need for bottles, formula, purees… nothing!