People often ask us how we got started traveling and what advice we might have for others looking to do long term family travel. We were recently interviewed by Family Adventure Podcast and we touched on these common questions.

In 2014 we set off on a Year of Nomadic Family Travel and it has been one of the best experiences in our lives. It was all about change, risk, adventure, and discovery. We took, what some would consider, a crazy leap of faith, and although we can’t say what the future holds, we wouldn’t change a thing. The experiences that we’ve had in the last year are more than most could hope for in a lifetime. We are amazed and so grateful when we look back on it all.

When you decide to travel long-term, many wonderful experiences lay before you, but you must also be willing to leave behind the comforts of home and loved ones. We enjoy seeing what everyone is up to on Facebook and scheduling calls with friends and family, but the absolute best treat is hosting friends while traveling abroad. We love it when people come to visit.

People choose to travel for a number of reasons, but it often includes a desire to expose oneself to new experiences and cultures. It gives us an opportunity to grow and learn. To us, it’s what makes travel such a rich and worthwhile venture. However, putting yourself in unfamiliar situations, where you don’t always know the language, can sometimes cause stress and frustration. In fact, travel challenges are guaranteed. How you handle that stress and frustration will determine your success as a traveler and the satisfaction you get from traveling.

It was a bit overcast when we visited Wat Chedi Luang yesterday, but even with the cloudy skies, it was simply stunning. This was our second visit to this temple complex. The moment I saw it for the first time, I told myself that we’d need to return. Not only because the batteries on my camera had just died, but because it was the kind of place that overwhelms you with its grandeur and beauty.

Thailand is HOT! What better way to beat the heat than to treat yourself to some gourmet ice cream in a fun and creative setting? Iberry was established in 1999 by two brothers out of Bangkok. Their commitment to quality natural ingredients, development of more than 100 tasty recipes, and quirky design has resulted in great success. There are now 11 branches of iberry shops around Thailand.

If you’ve traveled in Europe and toured several cathedrals, then you probably noticed that after a while they all start blending together and your bar for “being impressed” keeps getting higher. Well, the same thing can happen when you’ve visited several wats (Buddhist temples) in Thailand. After a while, you see and appreciate the beauty, but they can all start looking pretty similar. That’s what makes visiting Wat Sri Suphan such a wonderful and unexpected experience. 

After our stroll through Chiang Mai’s Wat Kate area, we needed a place to cool off and rest. We happened upon the Vieng Joom On Teahouse and decided to pop in for a refreshing drink. What a wonderful surprise! The decor is beautiful and the selection of teas and drinks make for a perfect afternoon treat. It was a bit on the pricey side (for Chiang Mai), but that’s not surprising considering the location and the setting. We felt that it was definitely worth the splurge.

We decided to head over to the east side of the Ping River for lunch today. Afterward we decided to stroll through the Wat Kate Neighborhood, south of Kaew Nawarat and east of Charoen Rat.

If you spend most of your time in or near the moat or in the Nimman neighborhood, then this area will seem tranquil and green by comparison. You will find plenty of cute shops and restaurants to visit though. Here are a few things that caught our eye along the way.

Some friends took us to Khaomao-Khaofang Restaurant on Ratchapruek Road between Hang Dong Road and the Canal Road. The restaurant’s tag line is “The Imaginary Jungle” and that’s quite fitting.

Here you will find an open-air restaurant covered with a dome and landscaped with beautiful large trees, gorgeous tropical garden, waterfalls, ferns, streams, a carp pond and even a lake. The bathrooms are even decorated to feel like part of the outdoors.

We were on the look out for a delicious and affordable seafood dinner on the beach in Koh Samui, so we asked some locals We were pointed toward Bang Por Seafood (Takho) without hesitation. Like many of the simple family-owned open-air restaurants along the island’s ring road, the decor leaves much to the imagination but it has a certain charm about it. Bang Por Seafood (Takho) not only provides some of the freshest, most authentic Thai seafood dishes on Koh Samui, it provides a wonderfully beachy atmosphere and gorgeous sunset views.

A couple of our Thai friends offered to take us on day trip. We visited the beautiful Wat Phrathat Haripunchai temple in Lamphun, just outside of Chiang Mai. This temple is one of the most famous temples in Northern Thailand. The chedi is said to be built on the site of Queen Chamadevi’s palace. Construction on the chedi probably began in the late ninth century, but it was enlarged at the beginning of the 12th century.

We recently spent two weeks on Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand. The plan was to relax and spend time on the beach. That’s pretty much all we did… and it was fantastic. Here are reviews for the best beaches on Koh Samui.

Most people that visit Koh Samui stay in or around either Lamai or Chaweng, the two most popular beaches and the biggest tourist areas. Both beaches are lovely, but we also wanted to explore the islands “less visited” spots.

Chiang Mai’s “Chinatown” and Warorot Market are both worth a visit and you can do both easily in just one day. The Warorot Market, locally referred to as Kad Luang (big market), is located in Chiang Mai’s Chinatown district, so it’s a two-for-one. The market is comprised of a sprawling 3-story covered market as well as a series of street markets that spread out on both sides of Chang Moi Road and cover an area roughly between Ratchawong, Tha Pae Road and the River. It’s just north of Chiang Mai’s famous Night Bazaar.

Way back in 1990, Lisa Rossbacher, then-editor for GeoTimes magazine (now Earth) published a list of the top places every geologist should visit in their lifetime. It has been revised and modified several times over the years. A copy of it can be found here, or presented a little differently here. And a nice variation on the list is here. There are many more around.

We visited a beautiful and extensive garden at the edge of Chiang Mai, just down the road from the Night Safari, called the Royal Park Rajapruek. It boasts almost 200 acres of gorgeous scenery and 2800 different plant species. Because of the large scale, bike rentals are available and, for less active travelers, an electric bus is available to take you around.

Most people visiting Thailand have “riding elephants” on their to-do lists. We were no exception. There’s been much debate about whether it’s cruel or right to visit elephant camps in Thailand and we certainly weren’t oblivious or indifferent to the concerns. In fact, we did a fair amount of independent research before deciding to move forward with our plans and selecting a destination that focused on providing a sanctuary for rescued elephants. You can read more about some of our thoughts on the broader topic here.