I'll start this with a very corny joke -
Confucius say man who run naked through turnstile at airport on way to Bangkok.
And that's exactly where I'm off to tomorrow, fully clothed and uninjured I might add. The trip has been booked with Intrepid Travel.
So I'll be absent for almost three weeks arriving back in Melbourne on Friday 22nd February. The itinerary is below. It will be my first taste of Asia and I'm really looking forward to it. Hopefully it will be the first of many trips with Intrepid and I look forward to writing about it on my return, with plenty of photos of course.
The trip is $850 Australian for 14 days and that's incredible value. Browsing their website there are tours upwards of 80 days for example Beijing to Bali $A4435 plus a local payment of $1350 US. That's around $A6000 for nearly three months of travel, pretty good I reckon, but that one will have to wait for long service leave.
Day 1 Bangkok
The ruling heart of Thailand is Bangkok, home to temples, palaces, floating markets and the frantic pace of a city on the move.
Days 2-3 Three Pagodas Pass
Staggering views await on a journey along the winding road to Sangkhlaburi. Travel through the limestone mountains and forests that are home to the Karen and Mon people and take an elephant ride before stopping off at the historical Three Pagodas Pass.
Day 4 Thong Pha Phum
Learn about the customs, religions and way of life of the Karen and Mon people and wander through the produce market that has remained largely unchanged over the centuries.
Day 5 River Kwai
Make an sobering visit to the Hellfire Pass Museum before taking the infamous Thai-Burma railway to the infamous 'Bridge on the River Kwai'.
Days 6-7 Bangkok
Visit the spectacular Erawan waterfalls and take a dip, try your hand at Thai Cooking or take a kayak for a paddle before returning to Bangkok. Enjoy a stay with a local family in a traditional teak house.
Days 8 Sukhothai
Travel to Thailand's first capital and explore the 12th century ruins by bike. This historical park is dotted with temples, lakes and beautiful gardens.
Day 9 Lampang
See the wooden temple at Wat Phra That Lampak Luang and admire the inspiring murals or step back in time and be chauffeured around town by horse cart. This is the only town in Thailand that still uses this transport. For a bit of indulgence head down to the local herbal sauna for some pampering.
Days 10 Elephant / Homestay
Watch elephants at work and play before jumping aboard one for a ride through the forest. Say goodbye to our majestic friends and spend the night in a remote village to learn about hilltribe crafts and rural Thai life.
Days 11-13 Chiang Mai
Fabulous temples await in Chiang Mai and there is ample time to take a cooking class, bamboo raft down the river or hire a bike and cycle off into the countryside.
Day 14 Bangkok
Return to Bangkok for last minute shopping and sight seeing at the end of an incredible journey.
I'm not sure if I'll get the chance to post during the trip but if I get the chance I'll give a quick update.