Last week, I wrote that I couldn’t join in the Commonwealth Games because I had other plans…!
OK guys. Surrrrrprise!
We went to Bangkok.
And Chiang Mai.
I’m sorry, but we also spent a night in Doha, Qatar.
Yep! Yep! Yep!!
But how did this happen, you might ask? She didn’t even mention it!
Well, if you have been reading my blog you would know that I would be going to Asia for some part of the summer, I just didn’t say when. You know. Insurance n’ all that. And as much as it was a surprise for you, it was also a surprise for The Music Producer, and “The Tall Young Gentleman,” as they had never been to Asia before.
Oh, but I lie. They’ve been to Turkey of course, but it’s not the same. I mean the Asian subcontinent.
They both loved it and had a fantastic time.
We didn’t get scammed.
Well, just on the last day.
We didn’t get robbed.
Well, except for the price of wine. Daylight robbery!
We didn’t have Delhi Belly except that I had Bangkok Belly on the second (2nd) day, and Bali Belly, on the last day, oh, and The Music Producer became ill. More about that in a later post……!
Considering that we were on the other side of the world, we had hardly any trouble at all because:
- This trip was organised by a more experienced person – ME!
- I put in a lot of time in order to maximise and enhance the Asian experience.
- They went in with pure open minds.
- They weren’t afraid to ask questions.
- They tried to taste everything. At least once!
Now don’t get me wrong. My family travel, but they are not like me. And that’s OK.
I’ve been to Asia many times, practically most of Western Europe (except for Greece), parts of North Africa, West Africa, and South Africa, the USA, one (1) Caribbean island, and I used to live in Eastern Europe.
By the time our son was 5 years old, he had already been to twenty-three (23) countries. None of them in Asia. Then international school beckoned which meant running around with skiing, music, theatre, martial arts, Boy Scouts, a stint of modelling, and so many life changes.
Stability was going to France or Scotland! My husband preferred Italy and the opera, but I have a great husband, and whenever I needed to “take off,” I would go to Asia. So every couple of years, with the help of the German grandparents, I would go on a solo adventure to satisfy my soul. This time, I decided to take my family with me.
It. Was. Time.
Time to share why I love Asia so much.
At first, I thought, let’s go to India. That’ll be exciting!! Yeah, but that’s also selfish since I wanted to go to India.
So I back-tracked and decided to think of my boys, instead of myself. Yes, I can be selfish. And yes, I had the opportunity to open their eyes to the world of colours, tastes, smells, and unpredictability.
Oh, I forgot to tell you. My husband otherwise known as The Music Producer, is German, and he isn’t 25 years old anymore.
I love my husband and want him to have a good time and be comfortable doing so, so I decided to choose the middle road.
CHOOSING THE MIDDLE ROAD.
I’ve slept in a mixed hostel in Prague for $3.00 per night, a hostel on the Isle of Skye for $21.00 per night. I’ve slept in a “deluxe” hotel in Delhi for $19.00 per night, and a hotel in Africa for $6.00 per night. Hell, I’ve even slept in a casino ‘cos all the hostels were booked up on the 30th of December….!
I know the meaning of cheap.
But I didn’t want to do cheap. I also didn’t want to do exquisite luxury as this was a family holiday, and not a couples romantic weekend, where I’m willing to pay much, much, more, for that extra splurge. Say hello Milan, London, and New York!!
So the idea of what I coin “the superior cheap,” came into play.
HOW TO GO TO BANGKOK ON THE SUPERIOR CHEAP.
- Use a travel agency: What? It contradicts everything you’ve been working for re-cheap. But hear me out, and think again. We wanted to go from Berlin – Bangkok – Bali – Berlin. In August. If you check the prices of Berlin – Bali – Berlin, it’s outrageous. Yes, Bangkok is much cheaper, but I wanted to move around. We were thus able to get our return flights for just a little over €800 or $1100 via STA – the Student Travel Agency in Berlin. I’ve been booking with them since 2005, and they’ve always come up trumps.
- Use a scheduled airline: We booked with Qatar Airways, and the flight schedule changed. The airline with the help of STA, organised a hotel, transfer, food, etc. for FREE! We didn’t have to do a thing.
- Make the hotel bookings yourself: I did a lot of research and read posts by other bloggers who were either in the country or region that I wanted to go to, or had just left. I contacted the hotels and home-stays concerned, and told them where, and how I had found them. It inspires confidence that the writings of bloggers work. Real people who could become potential customers, read them.
- Don’t pack the days too full: We all know how tiring it can be when we pack our day full as if there’s no tomorrow, and we also all know the end result: tiredness, frustration, and tears! We decided to take things easy when we initially arrived as it’s good for your budget, and it’s good for you. The day after we landed, we walked around our Bangkok neighbourhood, and then we went swimming. That’s all we did for that day!
- Have a budget, but be flexible: We decided on a budget of €100 or $132 per day all in. It could be a little less or it could be a little more, and that’s perfectly alright. We’re on holiday and life is for living, and not denying yourself because it’s too expensive. I mean, when are you going to do or buy that “thing”? If it’s your dream, go ahead and do it. You can cut something out somewhere else.
- Pack smartly: We had a 30 kilo allocation. Thank you Qatar Airways, but we were still flying within Thailand with budget airlines Nok Air from Bangkok to Chiang Mai on 15 kilos and from Thailand to Bali with budget airline AirAsia, for 20 kilos. Packing smartly made sense. I’m not the best packer. I’m usually the girl with 4 pairs of shoes, and a pair of boots. Just in case! This time though, I was strict – three (3) lots of trousers, shorts, summer dresses, “nice” dresses, T-shirts, underwear, and sigh. Three (3) lots of shoes!
- Buy toiletries in your home-country: I know that Asia is cheap, that’s true, but if you have kids, I’d recommend getting toiletries in your home-country BEFORE you leave. Things such as tissue paper, disinfectant, detergent, sun-cream, cleansers, wipes, insect repellent, moisturisers, shower gel, shampoo, plasters, etc. are superior, and don’t have extra chemical agents included, and they’re certainly much cheaper! We tried to buy a nasal spray that usually costs $4.00 in Germany, but shockingly cost $26.00 in Indonesia!
- Eat everything, everywhere: If you’re travelling to a developing country for the first time, you might be shocked by how disorganised things seem to be. Don’t worry about it, and don’t look too deeply. Try not to criticise. It’s another culture. Take it all in. Breathe. Go to that dusty stall on the side of the street. Sit down. Eat and Drink. You won’t die. You might get an upset tummy the first few days, but you won’t die. You might even like it!
- Try to go off-season: That wasn’t an option for us as we have a pre-teenager and Germany frowns on taking kids out during the academic year. Even though it was the summer holidays, “The Tall Young Gentleman” was given school work to do during the holiday in order to “improve certain weaknesses.” He wasn’t happy about it, but we did it anyway. August in Thailand is monsoon season. Surprisingly, it wasn’t very busy. In Indonesia, it’s peak season, in my eyes, it wasn’t as busy as I expected it to be either. In fact, at one point in Bali, we went to the beach, and it was pretty empty of an afternoon!
- Don’t worry: If you run out of time, don’t worry, you can always come back. I like going back to places. I don’t subscribe to the “I’m-never-going-to-go-back-there-again-because-I’ve-already-been” school of thought. If I like the place, I go back again, and again, and again: cue Italy, the Czech Republic, Poland, Scotland, the Isle of Wight, Denmark, Egypt, France, Spain, Thailand, Indonesia, America, etc. I can’t count how many times I’ve been to the above countries. I’ve included America here even though I’ve been only once as we plan to go to America in 2015 AND 2016!
- Have fun: Don’t forget to enjoy yourself. You’re on holiday or on a break in the Land of Smiles, surrounded by beautiful, attractive people, and gorgeous weather. Smile, and Relax.
This article is not sponsored and all opinions, are my very own!
I have so much to share with you so for the rest of August, and the month of September only, I will be writing about our adventures in Thailand, Indonesia, and Qatar and at the same time, keeping you posted as to the fantastic things going on in the wonderful city of Berlin.
Berlin Music Week is going to take place from 03.09.14 – 07.09.14. Berlin is going to show it’s unique mix of music and technology, festivals and club events on a world stage with two core events: the WORD! conference for business and SOUND! for live events.
STRICTLY STAND UP – The English Comedy Night is going to take place on 10.09.14 at the Quatsch Comedy Club in Berlin.
November 9th, 2014, marks the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Events are taking place all over the city until then.
September is going to be a beautiful month.
Choosing the Middle Road on The Superior Cheap. What do you think? Would you like to go to Asia?
Are you coming for the autumn?
See you in Berlin.
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