After two hours of walking in the city, we arrived the center where we made a wise choice - to split...
She went for a shopping spree in the countless shops. While I chose to visit the local Doumo (impressive cathedral, the third largest in the world).
The split ended with a touching reunion, which continued to our last pizza in Italy (at least for now) and the expected return to home - after 2000 km on the roads, the 9 different ice creams we tasted and a single Fiat Punto...
We traveled to Thailand with two toddlers : our eldest was three years old and our daughter was a year and half .
Yes, you got it right - 3 and 1.5.
As the weeks progressed toward the day of the flights, our horror level reached new levels. At the time we thought this was an insane decision, but yet we hoped for the best.
I remember a particular moment at the airport when all hell broke loose. My wife and I looked at each other with a frightened look :)
Eventually, we discovered that Thailand is THE place to spend a family vacation and it certainly was one of our best experiences with the kids.
Oh... My... God...
Seriously... absolute heaven...
We didn't think it could get any better than Punta Cana Princess in Bavaro.. Even after several days in this place, we were shocked each morning.
The beach is so much more beautiful.. quiet.. not crowded. amazing. Food was one of the main highlights here - first class. Everynight, except the "usual" food they had food from a different cuisine.
Sports classes are also included.. volleyball.. Petanque even Trapezoid.
Rooms are ok, but who wants to stay in the room in such a place anyway?!
Small tip though - this resort is huge. Make sure you get a room near the center of the village or you'll have to walk some 10 min to go to the beach.
Take a massage at the waterfront.. hear nothing but the waves.. Its a bit expensive but totally worth it. Tranquility at its best.
This is our second trip to Thailand as a family, two years after our trip to Phuket and Koh Samui. You can find details under my profile.
We traveled with our 5 year-old son and our 3.5 year-old daughter. we chose to go with hotels that have kid's pools, in addition to a private beach (a thing that dictated the level of the hotel~5000 Baht per night). In all the hotels we've been to we've had an extra bed/couch in the room so my two kids were able to share. However, kids policy varies between the hotels so do the research.
All three destinations were amazing. However, we'll definitely visit Koh Chang again. It's less commercialized then Phi Phi, Phuket, and Samui. It has amazing island vibes with a wonderful island atmosphere combined with a great wide beach .
After spending approx 1.5 months on the roads, trails and jailoos of Kyrgyzstan - I came to Tajikistan a little bit tired, exhausted and with somewhat 'lighter pockets'. By then, I have already experienced some episodes of traveler's diarrhea, getting ridiculously sick while trekking around Kyrgyzstan's Arslanbob and worst of all - my 'trusty' backpack's suspension system completely fell apart while I was literally out on a limb in southern Kyrgyzstan mountains. Despite this grim introduction - the moment I stood against this massive wall of mountains that separates Kyrgyzstan from Tajikistan, known as the Alay Pamir range - I knew I was heading for the right place. Tajikistan - which has been a dream of mine ever since I pitched my tent on the footsteps of Muztagh Ata, a mountain located about 100 miles to the east in neighboring Xinjiang - was becoming a reality. The sight of 6-7 thousander mountains soaring against dry, desolate deserts is too epic to explain in words. That sight was what drew me in to Tajikistan in begin with and that's also the picture that was left engraved in my head, long after I returned home from the Stans.
There's more to Tajikistan than that, obviously, which is what this post is all about. Most of my trip was focused in the Pamirs, the remote mountainous region found in eastern Tajikistan. Many people choose to cycle the Pamirs or traverse it by a hired car. I opted for going by a mixture of hitching, hiking and the occasional marshrutka (officially - a shared taxi. practically - an old guy passing by in an old private Lada car). As a part-time backpacker, part-time student, my budget was very limited (and that's an understatement) - but even if funds are not a problem for you, I didn't came across too many opportunities to throw your cash around anyway. Tajikistan is not a very hard place to travel in my opinion, and non-trekkers can enjoy this country too, no doubt. However, moving around from place to place is not always easy, the infrastructure is pretty much bare-bones, and the 'backpacker scene' is no where to be seen - so in case you had Thailand in mind, maybe you should save Tajikistan for a later time in your life. Far from being expensive, Tajikistan ain't that cheap either. The remoteness of everything here makes food, gas and everything else that needs to be shipped across the desert, somewhat pricey. All in all - I managed to wander around for a month, spending something between 600$-750$ (excluding my plane ticket back home).
The "high season" in Tajikistan is the summer months of July-August. I traveled during September & October so it's definitely possible to go there during the "shoulder season" but you should know you're risking having a few bad weather days. The biggest disadvantage that comes with travelling in October was the fact that at times, it seemed as there were no other travelers at all left in the country. That can make things difficult for you if you are traveling alone and you are looking for some trekking buddies to join you while you are 'out there'. Unless you are a super-hard-core-rugged tough guy (or your name is Bear Grylls), you would probably want to avoid the winter months - when roads become blocked with heavy snow and temperatures drop to absurd extremes in the Pamirs.
This post ain't going to focus much on the useful practicalities (visa, GBAO permission stamps, bureaucracy issues etc.) but mainly on the non-useful stuff (e.g. my own personal experiences: getting lost in the Shokh Dara valley, getting bitten by a dog in Khorog, meeting a man that was injured by a mine in Javshanguz etc.). I will try to break my ongoing boring blabber with some pictures every once in a while to make things easier for you. Here we go.
#tajikistan #pamirs #budget