Amazing Thailand!

We had very enjoyable 2 week long family get-together and holiday in Thailand back in July. Amani and I flew to Bangkok on Qatar Airways. Zawadi, being almost 7 months pregnant at the time, was not in the mood for flying. She thought I was pretty brave travelling solo with an 18 month old child, but I wasn’t concerned – just took it all in my stride. As it turned out, he was no trouble at all and was in fact a great little travelling companion, and he had a ball spending time with his big brother and sisters.
My adult children and their families flew out from Australia on three different flights. Thankfully travel plans went off without a hitch and we soon successfully hooked up with Brad & Sarah, Hayley, Skye & Simon and Jenny at the Royal River Hotel in Bangkok for a couple of days before flying south to one of my favourite get-a-ways in the world – Railay Beach in Krabi province in southern Thailand. The scenic beauty of the place is impossible to describe in words.
Railay Beach
Getting to Railay Beach is a bit of an adventure in itself! A 1 hour or so flight to Krabi Airport, then about 30 minutes in a mini-van to a marine pier followed by a 30 minute long-tail boat ride to Railay. Railay is not actually an island, but there are no roads in there and no cars once you get there, so it definitely has an island feel. We stayed at the Sunrise Tropical Resort (I had stayed there before a few years ago, before the tsunami). It’s a delightful boutique hotel on Railay Beach East. Their ‘Tropical Villa Plus’ rooms are wonderful – teakwood floors, big comfortable bed, a bay window overlooking the swimming pool & gardens and with your own little fish pond just outside. A huge indoor bath with a large window facing a private walled garden where there’s an outdoor shower. It’s exhilarating having a warm shower outdoors with the sun shining down on you, but even more so while it’s raining! Amani loved sitting on the cushions in the bay window watching the fish in the pond and people swimming in the pool.
Amani - Sunrise Tropical Bay Window
As I mentioned, the scenery at Railay is truly stunning and there’s no shortage of things to do, like scuba, snorkelling, sea kayaks, relaxing on beautiful beaches, exploring caves or simply chilling in the evening with a cold beer while listening to reggae music at the Gecko Bar :-)
Brad & Sarah kayaking
4 days later we did the reverse journey back to Bangkok, all vowing to return to Railay Beach again one day.
I had pre-arranged for a mini bus to meet us at Bangkok airport to transfer us to the Pung Waan Resort in Kanchanaburi province, about 3 hours drive north west of Bangkok. It was quite a lot of travelling to do in one day, but well worth it once we got there. The hotel’s setting on the banks of the River Kwai is really beautiful. Although the rooms were nothing special, it didn’t matter much because we didn’t spend much time indoors. We were too busy getting close up and personal with real tigers at the Tiger Temple, riding elephants, rafting down the Kwai River and even bathing with an elephant!
Tiger Temple

Rafting on the River Kwai
It was an action packed and highly enjoyable couple of days.
Bathing with elephants
We then went back to the Bangkok airport for another adventure – a flight to Ubon Ratchathani in the east of Thailand. The driver was there waiting for us and about 45 minutes later we were settling in to our very comfortable rooms at the Tohsang Khongjiam Spa Resort on the western bank of the Mekong River, where we “suffered” through a couple of days of spa treatments, sunbathed, swam & relaxed and enjoyed al fresco dining with views across the mighty river to the country of Laos beyond.
Tohsang Khongjiam Bedroom

Tohsang Khongjiam Pool
Our last night together was spent in Bangkok at The Montien Hotel, one of my favourites. It’s an “island of tranquility in a sea of mayhem”, so to speak. If you’ve ever visited Patpong markets at night, you’ll understand what I mean! We all had much fun shopping for bargains in the street markets, preceded by a ‘surreal’ dinner at a Mexican restaurant with transvestite waitresses!
The two weeks had flown past and there were sad farewells the following morning as we each headed home.

A photo slide-show may be viewed by clicking here

Footnote:
I haven’t purchased a travel “package” for many years. I prefer to travel independently. Online resources used in booking this trip included: Air Asia, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Tiger Airways & My Hotel Guru