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First trip with kids to Cambodia (Angkor Wat), Laos (Luang Prabang), and Thailand

First trip with kids to Cambodia (Angkor Wat), Laos (Luang Prabang), and Thailand

Mar 29th, 2019, 06:59 AM
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First trip with kids to Cambodia (Angkor Wat), Laos (Luang Prabang), and Thailand

Good morning,

Departing from our usual European destinations, we went in March to Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. This is a record of our first impressions.

Who: My husband, our two daughters (3 and 6 years old), my sister Kate, and myself. I live below my means in the United States to fund traveling, which is my passion. The more I read about places to visit, the more I want to see. The world is ever expanding. Also French is my first language, and I apologize for any spelling or grammar mistakes in this trip report.

When: 16 days in March. My eldest daughter's spring break week was in March and we took her out of school for an extra week.

Luggage: carry-on only, although we were over the 7 kilo limit of Air Asia, our luggage was never weighted.

Health: We followed the CDC recommendations. I also got the rabies vaccines for myself and the children. We used a picaridin repellent for mosquitoes. We did not take anti-malaria pills. I actually was more worried about dengue.

Itinerary:

2 nights in Siem Reap in Cambodia, at the Golden Temple Hotel
4 nights in Laos ( 2 nights at the Belle Rive Hotel in Luang Prabang, 1 night at the Elephant Village, 1 night at the Villa Chitdara in Luang Prabang).
2 nights in Phuket, Thailand at the Holiday Inn Mai Khao Beach
3 nights in Koh Yao Noi, Thailand at the Koyao Island Resort
1 night in Railay Beach, Thailand at the Railay Bay Resort and Spa
2 nights in Bangkok, Thailand at the Anantara Riverside Resort

Trip preparation:

I had this vague idea that visiting Thailand would be beautiful based on pictures I had seen; it would be a departure from my usual travels in Europe. However I was reluctant because of pollution and traffic. I had inquired on Fodor on where to find a pedestrian, bicycle friendly city in South East Asia, and the name Luang Prabang surfaced to the top. I am very grateful as Laos was not even on my radar. From Fodor, I also got the suggestion to not miss Angkor Wat, since it was so close to Thailand.

Plans to go to Thailand were put on hold as my aging father expressed that he wanted to go to Bali. Last July, with my parents, we had a wonderful time in Bali, Java, Singapore and Andalusia. As soon as we came back, I continued with the trip planning. March was not going to be during the rainy season and it was during spring break, so my daughter would only miss 5 days of school. My sister was able to secure round trip business class seats with Delta 8 months in advance. I used a combination of skyscanner and google flights to find which days were cheaper to fly and booked our tickets. Hotels were booked either on booking.com or agoda.com all refundable but as the trip approached, I booked non refundable directly with a few hotels to get a much cheaper rate and transfers included.

Looking back, I would have added a night to Siem Reap and to the Elephant Village (rescued elephants from the logging industry; no chains; no chair riding, no hitting the elephants, no circus tricks) and taken these nights from Thailand. The highlights for us was Laos and Angkor Wat.

Angkor Wat and the crowds: In Angkor Wat, my primary focus was to avoid the hordes of the tour groups. I read nightmarish tales of being engulf in a swarm of people trampling the other travelers; of people not respecting turns for pictures; of people obsessed with their selfie sticks; of sunrises shared with a thousand people destroying the moment. My circuit was heavily inspired by a blog, the Chic family, where the mother’s primary concern was to avoid the crowds at Angkor Wat. I am pleased to report that her strategy worked splendidly. We had an amazing experience at Angkor Wat. I also reserved in advance a driver and a guide through Sam Tuk Tuk.

Initially I considered many options on how we were going to tour the temples, including by bicycle. I am so glad in the end that I chose a car with air conditioning and cold water bottles. The roads are scorching hot and the permanent dust clouds from the traffic would have made a miserable experience pedaling. A tuk tuk was my next choice but again I did not want to put a mask on when traveling. So shockingly for me who loves bicycles, I chose the car!!!

Corresponding with Sam Tuk Tuk from the United States was very efficient: he always responded fast and understood my itinerary. He modified it a bit, offered two extra activities: one an excursion on the lake to see a village on stilts, and the other Cambodian dances with a dinner buffet. We turned down the lake since it was going to be the dry season and the reviews on TripAdvisor are really mediocre. Plus I worried about the safety of the children and the availability of infant life jackets. We accepted the dance and the dinner thinking it would please the kids, but it turned out to be a disaster. More on that later.

Cambodia, Angkor Wat

Our longest flight Atlanta to Seoul was not full, and we were gleefully able to lie down and sleep. We had a brief overnight in Bangkok at the Novotel Airport hotel where we were able to get refreshed and sleep a bit before our plane departing at 7:25am for Cambodia. After our 4th airplane, we finally arrived in Siem Reap, the city gateway to the marvelous Angkor Wat complex. We were obviously tired, but the excitement of arriving in a foreign place was enough to extend the momentum. We had a busy day.

We had in 2 days and a half, 11 temples that we wanted to see. And I had no idea how that was going to go with the children. I figure, we could try, and if it got too hard, one of us would go back to the hotel with the kids and swim in the pool. As for the city of Siem Reap itself, I had little interest.

I knew that I only had two early mornings before the hordes would descend late morning. For the first morning, I chose Bayon, the temple of 216 Buddha faces and for the other, Ta Prohm, a temple overgrown by trees. Those were fantastic choices and their visit exceeded my expectations. Adults and children alike loved visiting them!

We already had two copies each of the evisa on arrival and entrance into Cambodia was smooth. A representative from the Golden Temple Hotel was waiting for us and off we went!

The Golden Temple Hotel was perfect for our needs: charming decor, a large pool with a waterfall for the children (and with the added bonus that in the afternoon it gets shaded and have less to worry about sunscreen applications on slippery children), one dinner and one lunch included, and one massage for free if you spend at least 2 nights. The massage was one of the worst ones of my life, but the food was good.


We were at the hotel earlier than expected, and so promptly the kids went for a swim. Then at noon we met our guide and driver from Sam Tuk Tuk.

On the agenda were only two temples: the classic Angkor Wat and Preah Khan. Our guide Run Reah tried to discourage us from going to Angkor Wat because of brutal sun and suggested we leave it for later. However I knew that there was no time for it later, and so we soldiered on. Our ever prepared driver had cute flowery umbrella that protected us from sun and delighted the children. I am not going to lie, it was hot. But the hordes had retired for lunch and the crowds were at a minimum. Plus Angkor Wat is large temple that can absorb people easily.

Our next temple, Preah Khan, was in the forest and shaded. It is not one of the most popular and often the guidebooks describe as a good alternative to Ta Prohm without the crowds. Overgrown trees have taken over the temple and it was refreshing to explore it alone. My daughters had fun pretending their were discovering a long lost temple.

After our two temples, we got back to the Golden Temple Hotel. It was already 5pm. The children fell asleep in the car. We attempted to go to the Cambodian dances, even ate at the buffet over there, trying to wake them up, but I have never seen my children so tired in my life. We aborted our outing. I was having a hard time staying awake. In retrospect it was a mistake to try to do something that evening.


The next day, we woke up at 4am with a sense of trepidation. We collected our breakfast boxes that the children devoured immediately since they skipped dinner sleeping yesterday. In the dark, everyone was making their way to see the sunrise at Angkor Wat. Except for us. We were going to enjoy a peaceful the sunrise at Phnom Bakheng. I had seen pictures of what the sunrise at Angkor Wat looked like and how chaotic and loud the hundreds of tourists were while struggling to get their picture. I wanted something different.

My eldest daughter is holding one of the flash lights. We are following our guide in the dark. The children are so excited that the following morning they were disappointed we did not do a repeat. We have plenty of time to climb up to the temple and wait. The sky changes color. A pink sun, to the delight of my daughters, appears. It is weak enough to look at for a while without damaging the eyes. The sun is like a small deep pink ball hovering in a multi color sky full of blues, pinks and whites. Our guide happens to be an excellent photographer. He takes goofy pictures of my daughters holding the sun in their palm or eating it.

From Bakheng, we go to one of the highlights of Angkor Thom, Bayon. It is known for featuring 216 Buddha faces smiling calmly. It is extremely popular. I think the guide knows me well now, because we are the first ones in at 7:30am opening time. We walk around in the delicious morning light, with very few people, taking pictures of this remarkable temple. As we leave, we notice that the hordes have arrived and are painfully clogging the entrance to the Bayon.

From Bayon, we visit the ancient city of Angkor Thom, and from there we drive out into the country for 40 minutes to Banteay Srei, otherwise know as the pink temple or the women temple. Banteay Srei was a late addition to our itinerary, and how lucky that we did not miss it! Very photogenic, Banteay Srei is adorable like a fancy candy. The carvings intricately depict women. Unfortunately by now the sun is hot and this enchanting temple is besieged by ... you guessed it by know... the hordes!! If I had a third morning to spare in Siem Reap, I would use it for Banteay Srei, and be there at 7:30am.

It is now noon and we are done “templing” for the day. The children swim for two hours with my husband, while my sister and I have a massage. I keep comparing it my Bali massages, and this one I did not like.

At 5pm we tremendously enjoy a acrobatic show put on by Phare Circus, all Cambodian performers. They were all children from the streets that were send to school by a charitable organization, eventually given the opportunity to learn a trade, and some chose to become acrobats! They are fantastic and so full of energy. The local is small, and I bought VIP tickets thinking that it would be neat for the children to be close to the performers, but really it was not necessary. My youngest is sleeping at first, but wake up later and follows the show fascinated. The show was also pretty intellectual, and it added a nice dimension for the adults.

Both children fall asleep in the Tuk Tuk coming back home and once again are unable to have a proper dinner. I give my 3 years old two bottles of milk that she takes sleeping. The older one wakes up briefly and have some food but soon enough is falling asleep in her chair. I am soon to follow them in the land of dreams.

Our last day in Siem Reap we wake up late at 6am hahaha... actually the children were up earlier than that. We have a sit down breakfast, which I am so excited about because of the coffee!! Oh, and the delicious cut mangoes.

Our first temple of the day is very special one, named Ta Prohm, famous for the trees growing around the walls and roof of the temple. The trees and the temple are interwoven forever creating a mysterious aura. It was the location filmed in the Lara Croft movie. And what a location! I can just imagine the location scout touring the temples and seeing this one and being immediately certain that this one was the one! Since then because of it’s popularity it has been renovated even further.

We are the first one in at 7:30am. Wow! Wow! Wow! I can’t believe how incredible scenic this temple is! It is like an osmosis of the living tree with the rocks. We cannot stop taking pictures! But we don’t forget to just enjoy it. As we are leaving, the hordes are here. The serenity is broken but we were able to have that 30 minutes of tranquility.

The rest of the temples that day follow the minor temple circuit, but instead we are doing it counterclockwise compared to the tour groups. We see Banteay kdei, Pre Rup, East Melon, Ta Som (whose structure would have collapsed if not for a giant tree holding it together), and finally Neak Pean, a temple hospital on water.

By then we were are done seeing temples and this was a good time to stop. There are more than 500 temples in Cambodia, so there is always more for next time.


The children swim and we have our free lunch at the hotel. We transfer to the airport for our direct flight to Luang Prabang. I am looking forward to being at a higher altitude, close to both lush mountains and the river, instead of the dust and dryness of Siem Reap. But as the plane is descending on Luang Prabang in Laos, the mountains are obscured by thick smoke. It is the burning season of fields this month and in April. Oh! My Goodness! How can I not have known about this? Are we going to cough for the next four days? Is it our time in Luang Prabang is going to be completely ruined? This is not a good surprise.

Last edited by ToujoursVoyager; Mar 29th, 2019 at 07:10 AM.
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Mar 29th, 2019, 09:10 AM
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Signing up for more. Sounds like you did loads of research for Angkor and it paid off.
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Mar 29th, 2019, 09:52 AM
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Thank you thursdaysd. There are so many experts here on Fodor who can probably describe these temples better than I ! I think I read every single trip report on Angkor Wat. We really enjoyed our time in Angkor Wat and to be honest, I wish I had a least 5 full days. There were others temples I wanted to see. We were in a good groove, heading out early and by 11am being done for the day, relaxing by the pool. The children enjoyed the temples more than I expected, exploring them, especially the 6 years old. The three years old still needed me to watch her footing. In the end my top four were Bayon, Ta Phrom, Banteay Srei, and Ta Som. Also I wanted to see Koh Ker but it was too far and I would not sacrifice anything else in the itinerary.
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Mar 29th, 2019, 10:16 AM
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Great report, with lots of detail. This is shaping up to become a great resource for future travellers to Angkor, especially those with children.
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Mar 29th, 2019, 10:52 AM
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Thanks for a delightful trip report. We had a week at the temples and loved every minute of it. Ta Som was my favorite temple, but I wonder how it has changed, as they were beginning to do some restoration work on it when we were there (2001).

I admire how you managed to balance the needs of the adults and the children. Well done!
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Mar 29th, 2019, 01:44 PM
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Thank you crellson for writing your blog accidental nomads, as I have gathered a lot of information from it.
And Kathie, you are the one that suggested that I should see Angkor Wat in the first place when I was contemplating a trip to Thailand in the first place. For that I am extremely grateful!
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Mar 30th, 2019, 04:17 AM
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Thanks for sharing your experiences at Angkor and the crowd avoidance tips. Looking forward to more.
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Mar 30th, 2019, 07:36 AM
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Ta Som
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Mar 30th, 2019, 07:45 AM
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Bayon
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Mar 30th, 2019, 07:55 AM
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I am really enjoying your report and am looking forward to reading more. I loved our visit to the temples just a few months ago. Great photos!
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Mar 30th, 2019, 08:26 AM
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Luang Prabang: a languid small city on the banks of the Mekong River. The French influence in the architecture of this small town in Indochina, is abundant. The streets are clean and the shops are cute. I worry because of the air having this permanent haze due to to the burning of the fields. Within the city, it is not as much apparent and we are lucky that none of us suffer from asthma. Despite the air, I am enchanted by this small little town. Immediately I think that my parents would enjoy a Mekong river cruise and a stop in Luang Prabang. Of all the towns that we visited during this brief trip, Luang Prabang is the one that I could see myself linger for a few weeks.

We have no plans the evening that we land. After filling out what it seems like endless paperwork at the boarder crossing, we are pick up by the Belle Rive hotel. There was a lot choice for beautiful hotels in Luang Prabang, and while I wanted to stay within a certain budget, I kept coming back to The Belle Rive Hotel. It was the terrace on river that appealed so much to me. I could see us having a long idle breakfast on the banks of the river. We were not disappointed. It was a gorgeous hotel with a terrific staff; the rooms were big and the furniture early 20th century.

We got up early again (this is becoming the norm) to see the Alms ceremony in the street. The rest of the day was unrushed. We did climb Mount Phousi, and my daughters wanted to buy all the birds to release them. I somewhat reluctantly bought two paper cages containing each two small brown birds. On one hand, I felt I was contributing to the demand of imprisoning birds; but it was hard not to give in when my 3 years old wants to free the birds on top of the mountain. The children both climbed without any complains to the top holding their precious package, naming the birds, and releasing them. " The birds are probably just recaptured at the bottom" said my husband, the realist.

I know there were some temples to see, but my family was happy just walking down the streets; we tried to go in the royal palace but it was closed. We crossed over a bamboo rickety bridge. We ate lunch at the Belle Rive hotel, rested and then went for their 5 pm river cruise with an elderly couple from the United States. It was very tranquil on the brown river and my sister and I enjoyed a quiet glass of wine while my husband watched the children. In the evening we went to the night market and I bought colorful skirts for my daughters. Soon we noticed that the children were falling asleep and promptly fed them street food in a narrow alley. We ended the evening on the terrace of the Belle Rive hotel, while the children slept in makeshift beds from the cushion seats. The adults kind of went crazy ordering multiple dishes from the menu, everything sounding delicious.
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Mar 30th, 2019, 08:33 AM
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Alms Ceremony
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Mar 30th, 2019, 08:42 AM
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When planning my trip to south east Asia, I knew that elephants were going to be a huge part of it.

However I had heard and seen the horrors of the elephant tourism and I already knew what I did not want. I did not want to have anything to do with elephant chained, or the use of chairs on their back. I did not want them to perform circus tricks, like painting, I did not want them to be hit.

There was a time when I had a hard stance against elephant riding. It has softened up over the years. Families in Laos rent their elephants to the logging industry and they depend on that money to survive. An alternative would be for them to rent their elephants to humane responsible tourism camps.

The Elephant village in Laos, close to Luang Prabang was beautifully built. There is no chair riding, no chains, no usage of the metal hook. But they do allow riding the elephant on their neck, one tourist at a time for a maximum of four hours per day. Their neck is the strongest part of their body and contrary to what most people think, their back is quite weak.

The Elephant Village bought three elephants (40,000 $ each if less than 60 years old) and rents the rest for 600$ a month per elephant from Laos families.

Conditions in the logging industry are horrendous, abusing elephants and working them under duress until they die (with the help of amphetamines) a lot sooner than the average of 100 years old.

Ideally, the elephants would be wild and free. It is currently against the law to capture wild elephants in Laos. The elephants at Elephant Village have already been broken and beaten in another life. They cannot survive in the wild.

As you can see it is not a black and white situation. The social economic ramification of elephants in the Laos society are quite complicated. If your personal stance is that elephants should never be ridden, I respect your opinion. It was mine for a long time.

So with that in mind, I was ok contributing financially to the Elephant Village and riding the elephants. And it was, I will not lie, really fun. We get each our own elephant. Mine is a girl who is 25 years old and who damaged her foot on a land mine. She looks healthy and happy here. All the elephants that I saw here have beautiful skin without any marks of abuse.

The Elephant Village is set up like a dreamy canvas from the 19 century. It is located only 30 minutes from Luang Prabang and we were pickup promptly at our hotel. As soon as you come in, you see elephants eating, others crossing the river. The camp is set up high from the banks of the river. On the other side small parcels of agriculture supply the camp with vegetables. Long metal pirogues are pulled on the shore. Two young Laos girls, maybe 8 years old, swim and splash half naked.

The references to the 19 centuries exploration of Indochine are omnipresent in the form of the furniture, the paintings, and the journals.

We feed elephants bananas. It is time to meet our individual elephants. We get each our own and take care of our elephant for two days with the help of a mahout. By then, my daughter who had previously ridden the six years old elephant, was excited to meet her “mommy” elephant. All of the elephants at the Elephant Village are female.

We headed out to the river, the elephants loving the water. My husband liked the coolness of the water and had his feet in the river on either side of his elephant. His was the fastest and the natural leader. I was riding mine high on its neck with my legs behind its ears. I felt very comfortable and after a while, did not need my hands to hold my darling beast. For the most part, I left my elephant alone, she knew where to go.

Riding bareback you really feel in touch with the elephant. And you do feel transported to another time.

After a delicious lunch, we swam a little in the pool. I wanted the children to have a bath in their 19th century bathtub (the whole tent is set up as if it is a luxury tent of an colonial explorer) but there were a lot of ants in the bathtub and the water was yellowish. I think the water filter was never changed since the place was sold. That’s a shame. But this minor hiccup does not distract you from this extraordinary experience.

In late afternoon we were reunited with our elephants and we rode them across the river into the jungle where we wish them goodnight.

I slept well in the tent; the night was quiet; the fans were blowing cool air. The children hardly ever moved. Waking up early in the morning, the sun is soft on the river. The farmers are already taking care of their fields. Two mahouts are washing their elephants in the river. The elephant is sitting in the water. The mahout is standing on its back pouring water and scrubbing it. It gives me clues as how to wash mine later.

We are lucky to have one more intimate experience with our elephant. We cross the river in a pirogue. My youngest can recognize hers immediately. We go into the water with them and wash them with the help of our mahout. I stand up on mine so I can dump water on it and scrub it on every part of its body above the water. It seems like the elephants enjoy the experience as much as us. My eldest is laughing in delight. My youngest is serious about cleaning the head of her mommy elephant. The mahout that is with her always has an arm around her waist and I feel that she is safe.

For reference we bought the 2 day Mahout experience with the Shangri La supplement at the Elephant Village. The "tents" are luxurious and the all the meals are provided and delicious. We had a private pool. There are only three tents and I reserved two of them 8 months in advance.

Last edited by ToujoursVoyager; Mar 30th, 2019 at 09:23 AM.
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Mar 31st, 2019, 08:08 AM
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The 6 years old elephant has been adopted by an older female elephant while she waits for her mother to be bought and rescued.
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Mar 31st, 2019, 08:09 AM
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Our "tent"

From our balcony
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Mar 31st, 2019, 09:06 AM
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Luang Prabang

We left the Elephant Village early afternoon and we were driven back to Luang Prabang. The driver pointed out a major railway station being built by the Chinese and how a Chinese city will be built close by. The influx of tourists will definitively affect the landscape of Luang Prabang, and I was not too enthralled. For budget reasons, we did not come back to the Belle Rive hotel but to the modest Villa Chitdara.

I chose the Villa Chitdara based on the location, still walking distance to restaurants, the river, not far to night market. It also had a garden where the children would play, a generous breakfast and it was across from a laundry room. The Belle Rive hotel wanted to charge us per item to do laundry. Here, it was per kilo, dirt cheap even as a rush order (we wanted to have it back by tomorrow morning).

It was a nice needed break in our travels and for us time to take care of mundane tasks such as finding a pharmacy for my sister's recent eye infection (she wears contacts). We found cipro drops easily and over the counter; we remarked that seeing a doctor in the States, getting a prescription and filling it, would have cost a few hundreds of dollars. But here in Laos, it cost us a total of 3$. She responded immediately to the treatment and in 24 hours her eye was much better.

We wandered over to a lovely small Laos restaurant called the Bamboo Tree and had a nice late lunch. Later we took a tuk tuk to the night market and had drinks and ice cream. The following day we had reserved a car with the Villa Chitdara to go to the Kuang Si waterfalls. Once again we got up early and had breakfast at 6:45am. By 8am we had arrived and we enjoyed the place crowd free. The water was clear, a beautiful blue. I had heard of a secret natural pool on top of the waterfalls, and we attempted to trek to it in the jungle, with my 3 years old on my back. But the trek was tough. We encountered a group of backpackers seemingly on the same mission. Unfortunately the top of the path had been walled off. There might have been another way, but by then, I just wanted to enjoy sometime swimming in the falls, and we trekked down. My six years old enjoyed walking on a high branch (with our assistance) and jumping in the falls. The water was cold! We were the only ones swimming beside the same group of backpackers. Friendly group. The tour groups had arrived, and they were looking at us amused, talking pictures especially of my daughters (and not asking permission).

We came back to Luang Prabang and packed; after a mediocre lunch at the airport, we boarded our flight to Phuket (with a connecting flight via Bangkok). We arrived around 7pm in Phuket, tired but we did not have far to go. I had chosen the Holiday Inn Mai Khao Beach only based on it's proximity to the airport and the departure tomorrow for our John Gray Sea Canoe tour Hong by Starlight.
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Mar 31st, 2019, 09:19 AM
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[COLOR=left=#222222]Phuket

Arriving at the Holiday inn in Phuket felt like we were in an exotic faraway land and we just landed back in America. [/COLOR]

[COLOR=left=#222222]I have to say the Holiday Inn has the most comfortable beds of the trip. Our tour with John Gray was going to last 10 hours, so I was not expecting to spend any time at the Holiday Inn. But the children loved being in a resort: there is a trampoline, a pool, a playground and a huge breakfast buffet: “this is the best hotel, mommy” “what about the one with the elephants?” “Ok, can we have two favorite hotels?” Lots of Russians here, not leaving the resort, escaping March weather back home. [/COLOR]

[COLOR=left=#222222]The John Gray Sea Canoe tour was a well run tour, with delicious food, 2-3 people per canoe with a Thai guide. Islands of the Phang Nga Bay can erode in the middle, creating a hole (like a donut). These islands are called hongs.[/COLOR][COLOR=left=#222222]We explore two of these hongs. The getting to the inside hollow portion of the island has to be meticulously planned in function of the tide: too high, the water obscure the hole/cave opening and you would need to swim underwater for 10 minutes to make it to the other side; if the tide is too low, there is no water for the canoe to float. And by foot, you would sink into the mud like quicksand. We highly enjoyed our tour, and we had the privilege of have John Gray himself on our boat! He was so sweet with my daughters! [/COLOR]

The following day we transferred by a traditional Thai longboat to an island in the Phang Nga Bay called Koh Yao Noi. We have three nights here of unstructured time.

I apologize for annoying parenthesis saying "color". I can't seem to get rid of them.

Last edited by ToujoursVoyager; Mar 31st, 2019 at 09:42 AM.
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Mar 31st, 2019, 09:39 AM
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Still following along. Very sad to hear about the airport and city near LP, but I had pretty much decided not to return after my third visit in 2011.
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Mar 31st, 2019, 09:41 AM
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Mar 31st, 2019, 09:47 AM
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Haha thursdaysd, you are reading my report but I was reading your blog My Time to Travel last night. Wow! You are inspirational!
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