Thailand & Cambodia! Elephants, Tigers, Temples, Sailboats and SCUBA!

Update: We had so many adventures in Thailand and Cambodia that it took 8 stories to describe them!  Start with the highlights or dive right into whichever story grabs you – Links: Thailand and Cambodia Overview, SCUBA Diving, Tigers in Phuket, Bareboat Sailing for 10 days, Temple ruins in Siem Reap, Volunteering with Elephants, Chiang Mai and Bangkok.

Trip Date: March-April 2015

We’re in Asia!! Sheila spent a summer teaching English is China, but Thailand and Cambodia will be firsts for both of us. We’re diving, beaching, and sailing for the first half in the Phuket and Khao Lak areas, then joining friends to explore Cambodia for a few days, then on to Chiang Mai to explore the city and spend time with the beautiful rescued elephants at Elephant Nature Park (ENP).

Our planned itinerary:

  • A brief overnight in Bangkok
  • 3 days at a beach resort in Khao Lak, Thailand, an hour north of Phuket (relaxing & adjusting to the 12 hour time zone difference)
  • 3 days on a live-aboard dive boat with Wicked Diving aboard the MV Mariner I in the Similan Islands
  • 3 days with sailing friends at Phuket beach resort
  • 10 days with friends bareboat sailing near Phuket (itinerary TBD but will probably include the Railay area, Krabi, Ko Ph Phi, Phi Phi Don, Phi Phi Le and ?)
  • 3 days at Siem Reap, Cambodia touring Ta Prohm, Angkor Wat and more
  • 5 days touring Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • 7 days volunteering at Elephant Nature Park – one hour + north of Chiang Mai
  • 2 days touring Bangkok

We’re looking forward to the culture, food, people, etc., and we love finding natural gems, i.e. waterfalls, hot springs, secluded beaches, and jungles. We’ll be in Chiang Mai during Songkran – the annual water fight festival. Sheila is a wimp when it comes to spicy food – hope she survives 5+ weeks of Thai food.

PS. The Elephant Nature Park is a true rescue sanctuary where the elephants get to just be elephants. No riding, no art, no circus tricks…Lek and her staff are great people from everything we’ve heard first hand and read online. It’s part of

We didn’t take any of these photos (of course), but they inspire us and we’ll post our own once we’re there!

Update: Our story about  Volunteering with Elephants.


? Please comment, give us your suggestions and tell us your stories!


  1. Tracy Laswell
    June 23, 2015 at 11:42 AM — Reply

    Sounds like an amazing trip, very inspiring for our 2016 vacation plans.

    • Tom and Sheila
      June 24, 2015 at 12:02 AM — Reply

      Hey Tracy! Glad you’re inspired. We’ll be interested to hear what you do and how you enjoy it in different ways than we did. Have fun planning!

  2. Annita Hickox Ferrante
    May 14, 2015 at 11:31 AM — Reply

    Enjoyed seeing the pictures and hearing of your adventures. Look forward to many more <3

    • Tom and Sheila
      May 14, 2015 at 9:54 PM — Reply

      Thanks for commenting Annita! Glad you’re enjoying our stories. We’re writing oodles about this Asia trip and posting it soon. I’d love to know where a few of your dream vacations would be!?

  3. Tom and Sheila
    May 6, 2015 at 9:00 PM — Reply

    We’re home from spending 5 1/2 weeks in Thailand & Cambodia. So many unique experiences to share! Here are highlights:
    Diving in the Andaman Sea (Surin and Similan Islands) off a live-aboard dive boat, amaaaaaazing thai massages, snuggling with bengal tigers, sailing the islands of Phang Nga bay and Andaman sea for 10 days, heart-stopping sighting of a stunning whale shark at Phi Phi Don, exploring huongs (caves), celebrating the New Year in Thailand and Cambodia, Songkran, the talented Cambodian Circus (like cirque du soleil), touching the ancient ruins of Ta Prohm, Bayon and Angkor Wat, hold-onto-your-hat tuk tuk rides, tasty street food, ladyboy caberet, Doi Suthep Temple, Doi Inthanon National Park, observing monks, visiting Karen Long Neck village, lovely waterfalls, orchid and butterfly farm, ornate temples, intense heat, lots of shopping, more amaaaazing massages, AND gazing into the eyes of sweet, rescued elephants.

    10 different lodgings (including sailboats, tiny charming inns, fancy resorts, dive live-aboard boat w bunkbed, and rustic camp style room. 10 flight segments (6 travel days), and a variety of transportation modes: tuk tuks, long tail water taxis, sailboats, dinghy, taxi, tractor, farm truck (on top of a pile of corn), mini-van, walking and fins.

    It was an experience-rich adventure for these two romantic travelers! We met some truly wonderful, adventurous, fun people at every step in our journey and we hope to stay in touch and see them again somewhere in this grand world.

    We’ve just arrived home and have thousands of photos to review, but we’ll write our stories and share photos soon! Some are posted on our Facebook page

  4. Tom and Sheila
    March 13, 2015 at 11:32 AM — Reply

    SO excited! We leave in 9 days! Just starting to pack!

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