New Travel Plans: Thailand And New Zealand

Last modified on June 27th, 2011

I’ve been alluding to it for a few weeks now, but I’m pretty close to buying my plane tickets for the fall. I was originally planning on going to New Zealand, but a few friends convinced me to add Thailand to my list as well.

Milford Sound, Photo from Wikipedia

New Zealand

As everyone knows, Lord of the Rings was filmed in New Zealand, and the geography shown in the movies is absolutely breathtaking. Since seeing Fellowship of the Ring in 2001, I’ve been dreaming of someday being able to visit the country and do some exploration. As an added bonus, filming for the The Hobbit movies is currently underway, and it’s possible I may get to see some of that when I’m down in New Zealand, which would be cool.

Whenever I met a world traveler on my previous four month adventure, I’d always ask them what places were their favourites. Almost without hesitation, anyone who had visited New Zealand ranked it either #1 or #2. My friend Andrew from Ireland (who I met in Buenos Aires) even went as far to rank Wellington, New Zealand as his favourite place in the world so far.

So, I’m excited to finally visit it.


While planning for New Zealand, my friends Scott and Sam let me know that they were going to be in Thailand, and that I should come along at the same time. Considering I was going to leave Vancouver at the end of August, that schedule lines up perfectly with when they are going to be there, and allows me to kill a bit of time while New Zealand warms up.

There was a list printed a few years ago of the top destinations in the world for expats. Argentina ranked #1 on that list (where I spent January to March of this last year), and Thailand ranked #2. So it’ll be interesting to contrast and compare the two destinations.

Making Plans

My current plan is to leave Vancouver around August 31st and head to Thailand. Scott and Sam are in a similar situation as me in that they are working as they travel, so it’ll be good to have some company while working during the days (or evenings, depending on how things go). I’ll probably stay for two months in Thailand, and then fly to Auckland via Kuala Lumpur around October 31st or so (just as it’s heading into late spring and early summer in New Zealand).

I’ve been told December and January are the nice months down there, so when I head back to Vancouver is up in the air. My family would be disappointed it if I didn’t come back for Christmas, but given how far and how expensive it is to get from New Zealand to Vancouver, it’s possible I won’t make it back for Christmas this year (which would be the first time ever). But, I’d have to play that by ear.

I’ll probably spend a bit more time making plans this week, and hopefully book some flights next week. Right now I can do the whole trip, Vancouver to Thailand To Auckland to Vancouver for around $2,000, which is a pretty awesome deal considering how much traveling is involved.

9 responses to “New Travel Plans: Thailand And New Zealand”

  1. Tyler says:

    I’ll defintiely be wanting to hear about your Thailand portion as we’re going next year. It will be the last leg of your trip but we’re dedicating about 6 weeks there.

    As for New Zealand, see if you can sneak into Hobbitant and get photos of Underhill!

  2. I’m planning to go to Thailand and Malaysia in October/November probably, so maybe we can meet up somewhere there if the dates are the same 😀

  3. Duane Storey says:

    That would be fun! I’m meeting a group there as well, so will be lots of people to meet. I should be there for September and October.

  4. Henry Lee says:

    That’s fantastic, Duane! I’m looking forward to reading about your New Zealand trip. 😉

    By the way, I did an initial pricing of a OneWorld RTW fare, and with my initial itinerary, the first cut on their website came out to about $7000 US (economy fare), which was below my $10k expectation. As I’m hitting 5 continents (including North America) in total and given what you quoted above in your post, I think that the estimate isn’t bad at all.

  5. Duane Storey says:

    I’ve priced out Around The World tickets before, and have never been that sold on them. The Pacific Rim ATW fare came out to like $3,500, and I’m doing the major parts of it for $2,000. Sure, their fare includes more legs, but you have to pre-book all your flights which means that you aren’t really all that flexible. If you’re sure about when/where you want to travel, it’s a good option. But I like the flexibility of only booking the major legs myself and then branching out from there once I set up shop.

    Either way, sounds like a great adventure dude, good for you!

  6. H says:

    Watch out for the political climate in Thailand. There is an election coming soon and the old king is about to kick the bucket. Depending on the result, there might be some “unrest” going to happen. Maybe if Bruk is still there, he can help you navigate around those issues.

  7. Jen says:

    Awesome – Thailand is fantastic. We really enjoyed it there last year. Any idea which areas you’ll be aiming for?

    Also, a colleague of mine recently went to NZ and toured around in a “Spaceship” (google it) – considering your love of camping, it might be a cool idea for getting around.

  8. Duane Storey says:

    @Jen – strangely enough, I don’t really know anything about Thailand. Everyone says they love it, and it’s been rated one of the top places in the world for digital nomads like myself. So I thought I would definitely check it out.

    And yah, everyone falls in love with New Zealand, so I’m looking forward to checking it out. I’m meeting Scott Hadfield and his wife Samantha, probably in Bangkok, and then I think the plan is to set out for Ko Samui to rent places and then branch out from there.

  9. Jen says:

    Ko Samui was great, we spent a week there. Ko Tao, nearby, is supposed to be even more stunning, and a little less crazy (Samui is beautiful, but super touristy). Thailand is so well traveled & documented, any of the guide books are pretty reliable (as is just showing up and winging it)

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