I've been struggling with making vacation plans for my Christmas break. 3 weeks, limited funds and so many options. I worried that I'd become too jaded. Nothing seemed to really catch my interest. At least nothing that I could afford.
Cooking class? Yeah, swell. The description "You'll experience exotic ingredients like lemon grass and tamarind..." Really? That's everyday stuff when you live in SE Asia.
And the promise of seeing rows of monks? The novelty of seeing monks wore off about 11 months ago. Not that I'm not still amused seeing 3 monks on a motorbike or taking tourist photos, but the idea of flying to see more of the same just didn't get me excited.
And pagodas? I've seen pagodas. And monasteries. A lot of them. In multiple countries. Not that I won't visit more but again, the idea of paying to fly to visit more? Not really excited.
I sat down and thought about what I really want from this vacation. I want culture. Shopping for local crafts and antiques. I want options for dining. I want a nice hotel room with all the amenities and I don't want to pay much for it.
After days on the internet, I've finally booked what I think will be a great vacation. Plus, I'll be adding two more countries to my list, bring me to 70.
From Mandalay, I'll fly to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with a 2 hour layover in Bangkok (where I plan to eat either a Big Mac or Subway). After a week enjoying the urban life, I'll fly to Vientiane, Laos for a couple of days and then fly on to Luang Prabang, Laos, where I'll spend a week. From there, back to Bangkok for a few days and then back to Mandalay. It should be a good combo of new sites and relaxation, developing world and luxury.
I promise there will be photos.