Thursday, July 12, 2018

#611 : Sawadee Ka : Planning a Vacation to Thailand

I missed celebrating my first anniversary as I was in Spain for work. There can't possibly be a way to compensate that, but I wanted to take off, reset myself and spend some quality time with the husband without going bankrupt. North East of India and Bhutan were top on the list, sadly, it is monsoon there now. The next option was Bali, followed by Thailand. We zeroed in Thailand finally after considering budget and places to visit. We've already been to Mauritius and indulged in a bit of water sports and all, so we were clear about what we wanted to do in Thailand.

Our aim was just to relax and leisurely explore a new place without rushing in and visiting all places. This vacation was somewhere between being a traveller and a tourist - a vast improvement from our Mauritius trip where we did just the touristy stuff. 
Being a "traveller" is not easy no matter how romantic it sounds. Planning a vacation all on your own without using the services of an agent can be daunting. The downside hower is the lack of flexibility to explore and experience the destination fully. 


Leading a machine life with 10 hours of work with 2 hours of commute literally leaves us with no time and patience to plan and execute a proper vacation. Yet we didn't want to miss out on experiencing the place. Thus we decided to go ahead with a travel agent. After much deliberation and little of what research we could manage, we decided to zero in PickYourTrail - the start up travel company which fit our bill. More about the experience as such to follow! Tackling only the planning in this post. 


We contacted the PickYourTrail team via their chat feature on their website. The partner available gave us a call and listened patiently to our expectations and suggested various options before going on to create a login for us to customize the trip via their planner online.


The online planner was the jackpot for us. It let us customize the trip by letting us pick hotels, flights, places and activities. 



The planner ( Price hidden for personal reasons)

We decide to visit Krabi and Bangkok - Krabi because I wanted beach and peace, Bangkok because husband wanted to! The other options were Chiang Mai, Ko Samui, Pattaya and Phuket. Pattaya was out of question - not really the ideal place to relax and I was in no mood to party. Phuket - Too crowded and mainstream for my taste. Chiang Mai and Ko Samui didn't attract me at all. Krabi sounded peaceful and it was indeed peaceful. 

Now to the itinerary builder tool. There were various options to pick from based on the interests - as in the builder had options to pick if we wanted to party or enjoy nature or do cultural sightseeing etc. Then it gave out suggestions of places to visit and things to do. We played around and customized it before freezing and booking our trip. Here are some pros and cons of the builder tool. 


Pros : 

1. We had  complete control over the itenary. We picked what we wanted to do.
2. This meant more time to explore on our own which also proved to be cost effective. 
3. Options of hotel and flights were just too good - only that we didn't have to worry about bookings and all. 

Cons: 

1. The activities suggested are pretty conventional and standard - it was like a standard set which all tour operators offered. We had done enough research to know that. 
Signing off now! Watch out for my next post on Krabi. Nothing really stood out in this aspect. 
2. The timing of the activities - This is one big issue we faced. We wanted to do things in leisure. The builder had a different time on it while the final itinerary document mailed had a different timing for pickup and drop - we were set on the timings we picked and didn't really notice the itenary. We eventually had to actually rush for a couple of activities. 

More about Krabi, Bangkok, Live concierge, Monkeys and beaches in my next post! 

PS. If you are wondering why it took me almost a month to write this, blame it on post vacation blues. Go figure. 




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