One thing I have learned about during all my travels, is that my parents are always right behind me. I move to a new country and within weeks, sometimes months, we are planning their trip to come visit me. They did it when I studied abroad in Italy, and when I lived in the Caribbean and again, when I lived in Thailand.
Planning My Parents Trip
Planning my parents trip to Thailand wasn’t very challenging. I’m blessed with parents who are up for anything and gave me a lot of freedom with the itinerary. I had been in Thailand for several months when we started planning and I already had a semi-good idea, where and what I wanted them to see and do. I wanted to make sure they experienced all that Thailand has to offer, plus more. And I wanted them to visit my home town of Lampang, which was hugely important for me and them, so I knew that would take a couple days out of the itinerary.
TIP: Use google docs to help keep all information together in one place. This is hugely efficient when planning with people on the other side of the world.
The biggest decision of any trip begins with the flights. As many travelers have learned, Bangkok is one of the easiest (and sometimes cheapest) city to enter Southeast Asia. It didn’t matter for the planning if they started in Chiang Mai or Bangkok, but ultimately it ended up making more sense for my parents’ trip to start in Bangkok.
Unfortunately, that meant my parents would be landing in Thailand without me to greet them. They would also have to be spending two days in Bangkok alone. However, it did end up making planning easier.
Length of Trip
After the decision was made to fly in and out of Bangkok, my parents had to decide on how long they would be able to take their trip. My dad owns his own company and has a lot more flexibility with his time off. My mom works at a hospital and had to plan ahead to take an extended trip.
Thankfully, in the end, they were able to take 21 days total for this adventure, including flight days.
Some people might think it’s not enough time, but to be honest, I could say that about any trip. No trip is ENGOUGH time to see everything. I didn’t need them to see EVERYTHING. I wanted them to experience a lot of why I love Thailand and I knew 3-weeks was a good amount of time for that.
Choosing Which Cities to Visit
The first few cities were easy to plan out. The outline made more sense to go north from Bangkok than head back south. Since my home of Lampang is north, that would be the next city on the itinerary.
I wanted them to see Chiang Mai, after all it was the first city I lived in and visited in Thailand. I also just love Chiang Mai, and couldn’t let my parents visit Thailand without visiting Chiang Mai.
The south of Thailand was more difficult to decide on which city. Chiang Mai offers countless flights south, which allowed us to keep our options open. However, what helped me in making a final decision is knowing what my parent’s would not want and that was scuba diving.
See, I attempted to take them scuba diving when I lived in St. Thomas and I pretty sure they told me, “One and Done.” Because I knew this, I was able to remove the east coast / gulf side from the possibilities. I would have loved to have shown them Koh Tao or Koh Phangan, but I knew it wouldn’t have been as enjoyable as it was for me.
Narrowing Down the Choices
That left me with the West coast of Thailand.
The next decision was: Do we stay on the mainland in the city of Krabi or stay on an island, like Koh Lanta or Phuket? I traveled to Phuket with my friend Chris back in March, and although I loved it, I also wanted to experience something new.
Ultimately, I decided on the city of Krabi. I did have a little help in the decision when I consulted a fellow traveler. She told me Krabi offered a great mix of jungle and island and in my head, it just sounded perfect.
After Krabi, my decision making ended. It became my dad’s choice. He had a place he wanted to visit after he saw it during my Southeast Asian adventure back in March-April 2019.
It was Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia. It was a place my dad just raved about with every photo I posted. I wanted to make it happen and their are several flights from Krabi to Siem Reap, meaning, our last city on our trip together would be Siem Reap.
- Day 1-2: Travel Arizona to Bangkok
- Day 3: Bangkok
- Day 4-6: Lampang
- Day 6-10: Chiang Mai
- Day 10-14: Krabi
- Day 15-19: Siem Reap
- Day 20-21: Travel Bangkok to Arizona
The overall itinerary for this trip might seems like we rushed through as many places as possible. We didn’t. We had plenty of time in each city and didn’t spend a lot of time traveling between each place because we flew.
Planning trips with parents doesn’t need to be complicated or hard. I might have it easy but in the end giving each parent and myself a little something special on this trip made the planning easy. My mom wanted to see the White temple in Chiang Rai, which was an easy day trip from Chiang Mai. My dad wanted to see Angkor Wat. Both parents wanted to see my home town. I just wanted to go somewhere new. All four were able to be accomplished during our trip. Planning Complete!
Disclaimer: My parents trip to Thailand and Cambodia was packed with adventures and extended a long period of time. Because of this fact, I have broken up this series into several posts. I want to provided excellent details and paint a good picture. This trip was truly a trip of a lifetime.
- Part 1: Planning
- Part 2: Arrival Bangkok and Lampang
- Part 3: Chiang Mai
- Part 4: Krabi
- Part 5: Siem Reap