Robert Schrader in Bangkok

Here’s Where I’m Headed the Rest of Year—Will Our Paths Cross?

Can you believe 2017 is nearly half-over? It’s passed quickly for me, with trips to Russia, Malaysia, China and the U.A.E., as well as two separate visits to Japan: One to the island of Shikoku and another to Kyushu. I’ve also officially relocated to Thailand and have made several domestic weekend excursions, most notably to the coastal paradise of Krabi and to Sukhothai Historical Park.

Below, I’ve outlined my travel plans for the rest of the year. Leave yours in a comment below, particularly if our paths are going to cross. I love to meet up with my readers!

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Trapped in Thailand—Sort Of

I’m in Thailand on an education visa, and although many foreigners use such visas as insurance for long tourist stays, I’m taking my studies of the Thai language seriously. In addition to four classroom hours, I spend about three hours each week studying independently, and as much time beyond that as I can practicing with Thai people.

Staying in Thailand on an “ED” visa is easy, but leaving is complicated: I need to apply for a re-entry permit every time I leave the country. The cost of these permits is nominal and I have an immigration office on my block, but they also happen to take up an entire passport page each—and I only have a few left.

Were I to get a new passport, the obvious course of action in this situation, I would be left with two potential problems. The first is that Thai authorities are sometimes reticent to transfer an old visa to a new passport, and simultaneously to stamp a new passport according to a visa left inside an old passport.

The second (and more existential) one is that I’ve used my current passport number to apply for a tourist visa to the country that’s currently #1 on my bucket list—I’m not going to mention its name here because I don’t want to jinx it, or my country’s fragile relations with it.

After I’ve gotten my visa to this Forbidden Land and have returned safely from my trip there (which is currently planned for late October), I’ll get a new passport and roll the dice RE: transference of my ED visa.

For now, however, I’m choosing to see this annoyance as an opportunity: To see more of Thailand! This weekend, I’ll be traveling to Nakhon Si Thammarat, far off the beaten path in Thailand’s deep south. Two weeks later, I’ll head way, way up north to the Golden Triangle, where Thailand meets Myanmar and Laos amid mountains and the meandering Mekong.

Ireland, Finally

Ireland has been calling my name for a long time—and not just because it’s the only country in Western Europe I’ve never visited. Certainly, I’ll be longing for some cooler weather by the time mid-July rolls around, which on its own makes a 10-day road trip around the Emerald Isle worth sacrificing a couple passport pages.

Currently, I’m planning to start in Dublin, then head around the island counter-clockwise: Down to Cork and over to Killarney, then up the west coast and along the Wild Atlantic Way to Northern Ireland, ending in Belfast, which has been a must-visit for me ever since I became addicted to The Fall. I’ll be hitting up must-visit destinations like the Cliffs of Moher, Giant’s Causeway and Skellig Michael of Star Wars fame, but I’m open to any other suggestions y’all might have.

Home for Christmas

After Ireland and before (redacted), I’ll continue taking trips somewhere in Thailand every other weekend. Tentatively, I’m planning to visit the town of Mae Sot on the Myanmar border,  the Isaan region (probably a couple different places, at minimum Loei and Ubon Ratchathani) and the popular seaside resort of Hua Hin, where I’ve inexplicably never been.

Once I’ve returned from you-should-probably-know-where-by-now, I’ll have about six weeks until I head back to the U.S. for Christmas. If I do decide to get a new passport at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok (which, realistically, will be less stressful than doing so stateside during the holiday), I’ll squeeze in a couple of international trips. I’d love to see the fall leaves in South Korea, for example, and I’m dying to return to Taiwan.

I’ll definitely continue exploring Thailand: A long weekend in Chiang Mai in late November, which is the time when sunflowers bloom in nearby Pai Dok Bua Tong; and an excursion to underrated Koh Wai, which is currently going through its heaviest period of rainfall—if it wasn’t, I’d be there right now.

Where Are You Going?

Enough about me—where will you be headed the rest of the year? Leave your travel plans in the comments below, or on social media. Here’s to hoping some of our paths cross!

Leave Your Daily Hell   Filed under: Travel

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is the author of 780 posts on Leave Your Daily Hell. Robert founded Leave Your Daily Hell in 2010 so that other travelers would have an entertaining, reliable source of information, advice and inspiration at their fingertips. Want to travel more often? Subscribe to email updates today!

 

informs, inspires, entertains and empowers travelers like you. My name is Robert and I'm happy you're here!

 
 
 

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Dani G June 11, 2017 at 9:44 pm

I’m planning on trekking some part of Ireland (haven’t decided which part yet but since im arriving from Scotland it will probably be Northern Ireland and North West RoI) and i will be thoroughly exploring every site of interest throughout, i hope to have a Black Isles experience (tomb raider 5 (Lara explores a haunted church and meets demons). Also desiring a return to Montenegro (which i beat you to last year by 2 weeks lol 🙂 in August maybe…

Lynnae June 12, 2017 at 4:03 am

I spent a semester in Northern Ireland studying just outside of Belfast. Within Belfast, try to go to St. George’s Market if you can. Some of my best food experiences of the whole semester were from the many food vendors there (although local restaurants are also delicious). Depending on the day, there are also local artists, vintage dealers, etc. who are good for a chat and to check out their interesting wares and art even if you’re not looking to buy. For bars, I thought the Crown was beautiful (not to mention historical and iconic of Belfast) and worth a visit, but I hung out most often at the Empire for live music and Filthy McNasty’s for a funky atmosphere.

Elsewhere on the island, Portrush is a lovely place to check out and is not far from other desirable stops at Dunluce Castle, Bushmills, and Giant’s Causeway. Nearby Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is also popular, but I didn’t quite get what the hype was. I don’t know at what point you’re planning to leave the Wild Atlantic Way and head to Northern Ireland, but Slieve League remains one of my favorite places that I went to hike / walk. It’s not too strenuous and offers incredible views. I even enjoyed it more than the Cliffs of Moher, plus there were significantly fewer tourists. Enjoy your travels on the Emerald Isle and elsewhere!

Karl Buckley June 12, 2017 at 5:50 am

Hi Robert, I hope you enjoy coming to Ireland in a few weeks. As someone who lives near Killarney on the Wild Atlantic Way I can assure you that this is one of the nicest areas to explore here. I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now so I look forward to hearing your perspective!

Robert Schrader June 12, 2017 at 7:48 am

Thanks for your kind comment, Karl! I can’t really describe how excited I am.

Robert Schrader June 12, 2017 at 7:56 am

I’m actually spending one night in Portrush, and your comment makes me feel like this was a good decision. I’ve actually written down a lot of your suggestions. I really appreciate them! 🙂 Are you heading anywhere fun in the next few weeks?

Zac Woodiel June 12, 2017 at 9:11 am

Southern Vietnam and Cambodia in March, yes I know that’s 2018, but the rest of 2017 will see me focusing on a move to Austin!

Victoria Scrima June 12, 2017 at 9:17 am

Still hoping you’ll be in Bangkok in October! Any update on Iran? Looking forward to hearing more about your travels.

Anonymous June 12, 2017 at 9:54 am

We’ll be in Ireland in August. Wish we could cross paths! 😘

Laura June 12, 2017 at 12:05 pm

Honeymoon time – heading to do a safari in Kenya and Tanzania and then to Zanzibar for some beach time in late September/early October!

Robert Schrader June 12, 2017 at 5:21 pm

Congrats on the wedding—a very nice place to celebrate! If you can swing it, I definitely think a night at Four Seasons Serengeti is worth the expense, FWIW. Breakfast with elephants! Falling asleep to the roar of lions!

Robert Schrader June 12, 2017 at 5:23 pm

Enjoy your trip!

Robert Schrader June 12, 2017 at 5:24 pm

I will be in the first two weeks of October, fingers crossed! Still patiently waiting RE: the visa…

Angie June 13, 2017 at 8:15 am

Hi Robert,

Your plans sound amazing! I haven’t been back to Thailand since I left in 2014, so my goal for next year if I don’t go anywhere else is to head back there. A couple of questions for you: can you get a multiple entry stamp? I wasn’t there on an ED visa like you were. I got a visa through my school and then I was told I could either apply for single or multiple re-entry stamps at my local immigration office. Of course the multiple re-entry was more, but when I added it up against the number of times I left Thailand and came back, it was actually cheaper.
My next question is if you’ve been to Kanchanaburi in western Thailand. It’s a great town which still has a reputation of being relatively undiscovered. The city is the site of the original Bridge on the River Kwai. The bridge has been rebuilt and is a very popular tourist attraction in town. There’s also an AMAZING restaurant not far from the bridge called Mrs. On’s. So if you go, I definitely recommend trying it. You can also find amazing and cheap street food and foot massages for around 200 baht!
I’m going to St. Louis at the end of the month to meet friends and see the Cardinals play, since they’re my favorite baseball team. In August I go to Cuba and the Bahamas, and then in September I head to Las Vegas with some friends for a long weekend. A couple have never been there, so it’s always fun to see the city through their eyes. Then in October I head to Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary on a river cruise. Cruising isn’t really my favorite way to travel, but something about river cruising appeals to me. My friend who is going with me has been before, and she said we’re probably going to be the youngest people on the boat by 35 years! Should be fun.
I always enjoy reading your blog. It’s like talking to an old friend. It sounds like I’m going to have to start watching The Fall now!

Robert Schrader June 13, 2017 at 7:45 pm

Hi Angie:

Thanks for the comment! Multiple entry ED visas are available, but only in one’s home country. I applied for mine in Thailand (and got it in Laos), so I couldn’t get one. I can get a multiple entry re-entry permit, but each is only good for three months, which is the interval at which the visa needs to be renewed. I have been to Kanchanaburi, but haven’t explored it as much as I would like to. I imagine I’ll probably head there once the rains stop.

Your travel plans sound amazing—I hope you’ve checked out my Cuba content! And I have younger friends who’ve done river cruises and been surprisingly impressed by them.

I literally watched the first two seasons of The Fall in one sitting!

Theo June 15, 2017 at 3:03 am

Hey Robert, I’m really exciting you’re going to Mae Sot. I went there about 4 years ago and had an incredible time. It doesn’t feel like you’re in Thailand anymore cause of the huge Burmese influence. I stayed at Bai Fern Guesthouse, and I loved meeting all the foreigners because they’re not just backpackers, they’re journalists or photographers or aid workers that came to see and work at the refugee camps, which are massive! You can see them even just driving by. Try lots of Burmese food, go to the markets, talk to everyone you can, especially Burmese refugees who have stories about what they’ve been through to get to Thailand. Excited to read about your travels there!

Angie June 15, 2017 at 9:40 am

I just saw The Fall is on Netflix, so I will have to check it out. And I will definitely look at your Cuba content. Still not happy I have to pay $75 for a visa, but I guess it’s better than not going at all. Happy travels, and stay safe!

Robert Schrader June 17, 2017 at 9:07 pm

Thanks for the encouragement and the comment. Very excited!

Angie June 21, 2017 at 11:15 am

Just finished watching season 3 of The Fall! I’m obsessed with Stella’s wardrobe now! Ready to clean out my closet and buy silk blouses now!

Nobi July 21, 2017 at 9:02 am

Hi Robert. I’ve been enjoying reading your travel blog for over a year now. In my opinion, it is the by far the most interesting & well-written travel website in the entire Internet universe! BTW, I THINK I can guess which country you are trying to travel to in October. If my guess is right, you will enjoy this country tremendously – it probably will far exceed your expectations. Out of 40 countries I have visited, this is now my most favorite country because of its amazing culture, exoticism, and people. Yes, the reputation of this country’s people is true, I have never met kinder and more hospitable people anywhere else in the world. Even if you have to be accompanied by a guide all the time, you should try your best to sneak out on your own at night and mix with locals. Streets are extremely safe and locals love Americans. Just make sure you won’t take pictures inside of a Metro station (like I did) and you will be fine. I can almost guarantee you that you will get your visa approved sooner or later. I was able to get a visa-on-arrival using my Asian passport instead of my U.S. passport (I’m “technically” a dual national), but it was a bit nerve-wrecking to hide and carry my U.S. passport in my backpack while there. Anyway, I wish you luck with your upcoming travels and please keep up with good work on your website!!! N PS: I wish I could show you some of the photos I’ve taken in this country.

Robert Schrader July 24, 2017 at 2:43 pm

Thanks for the words of encouragement! I hope you are right about the visa.

Pedro Duarte July 25, 2017 at 2:44 am

Hi Robert. I really like your blog. I’ve been reading it for awhile. Do you know Madrid (Spain). If you come, let me know!!!

Robert Schrader July 30, 2017 at 7:53 pm

I have been to Madrid and I really want to come back! I will let you know when that happens.

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