Aerial view of Phuket Town. Photo © Sunanta Boonkamonsawat/123rf.

8-Day Best of Phuket and Ko Samui Itinerary

This itinerary will begins in Phuket, where you’ll get a chance to tour waterfalls, snorkel, dive, explore the world-famous beaches, and do some island-hopping, too. After that, you’ll take a flight to Samui, where you’ll visit not only the main island but also neighboring Ko Pha-Ngan.

Aerial view of Phuket Town. Photo © Sunanta Boonkamonsawat/123rf.

Discover Phuket

It’s no wonder millions of people visit Phuket each year. The landscape, with its hilly, green, forested interior and clean, sandy beaches, is awe-inspiring. The vibes of the beaches and their surrounding areas vary from spring break fun to secluded romantic getaway to family-friendly. The accommodations range from unbelievably cheap to unbelievably luxurious. The tourism infrastructure is solid, and anything you want—perhaps a spur-of-the-moment diving trip, a midday massage on the beach, or a bespoke suit made in 24 hours—is available with no hassle.

Woman in New Zealand

Being a Woman in New Zealand

There’s a lot of good news when it comes to being a woman in New Zealand. Generally, women are educated, well treated, and respected in New Zealand. But the picture isn’t all rosy. They face the same challenges as women in the US and Canada with compromises to their careers as primary caregivers and the pervasive danger of violence against women.

Aerial view of a southern Thai island.

Geography and Climate of Thailand

Moving to Thailand means not only getting used to a whole new set of rules and social customs, it means navigating an entirely new physical country too. While a general overview of the lay of the land is helpful for a traveler, for an expat, it’s one of the keys to a successful life.

A pair of transgendered performers greet visitors.

Gender Roles in Thailand

Thailand is a traditional but increasingly progressive society when it comes to gender roles. Women are actively involved in what some might consider ‘men’s work’, but they’re also usually primary caregivers in the family. Additionally, Thailand has an extremely progressive and tolerant view toward homosexuality, and it may be one of the most open societies in the world when it comes to transsexuality. Despite this, Thai women and anyone identifying as LGBT face the same issues as their counterparts all over the world.

A game of cricket in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo © Aloysius Patrimonio/123rf.

Talking Cricket in New Zealand

To most North Americans, the rules of cricket are rather mysterious. After all, a single match can last for five days! But playing can be good fun, and even watching might enthrall you after you’ve figured out how it all works. Here’s a brief overview that may help you follow the conversation in the local pub.

A new building at Srinakarin hospital in Khon Kaen,Thailand.

Health Care in Thailand

Health care in Thailand is generally good and inexpensive. In fact, people from all over the world come here for everything from routine plastic surgery to fertility treatments. The nicest private hospitals in Bangkok look more like five-star hotels than health care facilities, and doctors often speak three or four languages. Public hospitals are sufficient for many issues but are not always staffed with nurses and doctors that you will be able to communicate with.

Thousands rally for action on climate change around New Zealand. Photo © Rafael Ben-Ari/123rf.

New Zealand’s Social Climate

New Zealanders are generally a good-natured bunch. They enjoy a climate of social tolerance and political stability, but they also enjoy a good debate and love to complain about their elected leaders as much as the rest of us. Kiwis see themselves as proud underdogs and good global citizens, generally lean left and liberal, and have a healthy sense of humor when it comes to their country and their culture.

A cargo ship with working crane bridge in a Bangkok shipyard at dusk.

Moving Your Belongings to Thailand

Thailand has nearly everything you’ll need to set up a comfortable home, so it really is feasible just to pack a couple of suitcases with the clothing, documents, and books you’ll need and get everything else while you’re here. If there are things you need to ship, author Suzanne Nam has advice about costs, timeframes, customs, tax exemptions, and tips on common items to consider packing or shipping that are either unavailable or very expensive in Thailand.

Clouds over the mountains near Queenstown in New Zealand. Photo © Dmitry Pichugin/123rf.

Weather and Climate in New Zealand

Parts of New Zealand boast that they can offer “four seasons in one day.” That may sound a little daunting, but for the most part New Zealand weather is temperate and influenced mainly by the ocean air currents and the mountains. And since New Zealand is in the Southern Hemisphere, spring goes from September to November, summer from December to February, autumn from March to May and winter from June to August.