We both have our "Homework" to do before we visit Thailand for our vacation and scouting trip in December. Vince has been researching requirements like visa, money, bank accounts, our current state of finances and exactly how much to be saving each month and he is amazing at it and really likes it.
I have been researching where to stay for our 3 weeks in Chiang Mai....sounds like an easy job, but there are hundreds of options out there and to make it fit into the budget is just the beginning. We will not be renting a car, motorcycle or scooter because we have not grown up where "Lines, stop lights and rules are merely suggestions" . Public transportation is very inexpensive and easily available. Our plan is to walk as much as possible in the immediate area we are staying.
There are Backpacker Hostels from $10 a night clear up to places for thousands of dollar a night. I used tripadvisor.com, agoda.com, and booking.com and narrowed our choices down to 20. As we put in our dates all we were getting was "Unavailable". Our list was becoming shorter by the second.
What we decided on was a guesthouse, which is what they call boutique hotels and usually have less than 10 rooms. Some have a cafe or restaurant on site while others will provide juice, fruit, coffee and toast in the morning.
Rachamankha Flora House is on a quiet street with a cafe next door and walking distance to markets, shops, parks, and Wats (Buddhist Temples). It is family owned, and all the reviews on Trip Advisor are extremely positive and happy with their experience. They go out of their way to help you with anything you need and are very quick to chat about their city......which is exactly what we want.
Staying with them for 20 days will give us invaluable information and when we move we plan on staying there for a couple weeks while we find a condo to rent. Oh......we are only paying $35 a night and it is lovely enough to be equivalent to $150 per night in a comparable size city in the US.
It will be much hotter than what we are used to so we are prepared with these umbrellas. http://www.uv-blocker.com/
We also heard a tip to stay cool just find the nearest 7-11 and pick up an ice cold disposable wet cloth they sell at all their stores. Of course plenty of water, fresh squeezed ice cold juices, smoothies and iced coffee! Going out in the early morning and late in the evening when the locals do is a form of surviving the heat.
Vince picked up the following: Tilley hat at http://www.tilley.com/
Bug Shield shirts at http://www.exofficio.com/products/details/mens-bugsaway-chasr-long-sleeve-crew-tee
Omni Freeze Lightweight long sleeve shirts at http://www.columbia.com/Men%27s-PFG-Freezer%E2%84%A2-Long-Sleeve/FM6122,default,pd.html
I guess it is my turn to go shopping! Whoopee!