I'm in love with shoulder season travel. I'm talking heart going pitter-patter, light-headed, happy just at the thought of it, in love.
Before I get ahead of myself, you're saying just answer the question, woman, why don't you: What is shoulder season?
Shoulder season is not off season or low season. Shoulder season falls between high season (Christmas and New Year in most of the world) and low or off season.
What are the best parts of traveling shoulder season?
- it's cheaper than high season, and you have better luck negotiating prices
- crowds are thinner
- prices are lower than high season
- attractions and restaurants are still open
- weather is usually good (though you usually run a higher risk of bad weather than high season)
- lots of daylight hours
- locals can be more relaxed and friendly, as the influx of tourists has eased
Koh Mook, a small island paradise in the South West of Thailand in the Andaman Sea is a place of quiet tranquility. Due to it's small size and lack of almost anything, this is the perfect place to get away from it all. There are a few small resorts on the island however the place remains fairly low key even in the high season.
Besides for spending your days lounging in the 28°C ocean and stretching out on the glistening white sand, you'll probably find yourself enjoying a beer or two as your days slowly blend into each other. The biggest excitement of the day is watching the few longtail boats drop off and escort away the guests of the island since that's the only way to get there. Occasionally you'll see a sailboat tied up off the tip of the bay and the occasional diving boat might drive by in the distance.
In the morning there are usually a few...
Tamarindo is just one of those towns: You love it or hate it. Noone seems to be ambivalent about Tamarindo. Me? I loved and hated Tamarindo.
Tamarindo's amazing beach to seems to go on forever
Great waves, perfect for surfing, boogie boarding, or just chilling by the sand. At high tide, the waves are way too big and powerful for little kids and weak swimmers. At low tide, waves are smaller, and a bit more manageable for the little ones, if you keep an eye on them.
A foodie's dream beach town. Tamarindo has a great selection of fantastic restaurants (though a bit expensive), but there are a few budget options.
Friendly folks and a laid back vibe.
Not really having a plan except knowing we wanted to spend some time in the southern states, we booked a cheap flight from San Jose, Costa Rica to Miami, Florida. The weather was gorgeous and we were looking forward to North American style dining, shopping and ease of travel. It also didn't hurt that the local language was English again. At a minimum, the kids were definitely excited to be able to watch cartoons in English now.
After a few quiet days laying low and acclimatizing ourselves to the US, our wanderlust finally kicked back in. I hadn't been to Florida since I was in my mid teens and really didn't remember that much about it. One thing I do remember is that we didn't go any farther south than St. Petersburg. This trip I was adamant about seeing the Florida Keys and going for a hike in the Everglades.
We managed to rent a car and headed south for a few days of exploration. The kids and Micki were excited to see...
The Angkor Wat Temple in the Siem Reap Province of Cambodia is a gorgeous example of Khmer architecture. It was built in the 12th century and is the only temple in the area that has seen consistent use since it was built. It is a large complex spanning over 500 acres.
It has become a major tourist destination in Southeast Asia and is the number one tourist destination in Cambodia. It's located around 6 kilometers from the town of Siem Reap and passes are required to enter the Angkor area. They are on sale at the front gate for 1-day ($20), 3-day ($40), or 7-day ($60) intervals. The 3-day pass is valid for any 3 days within a week, while the 7-day pass is valid for any 7 days within a month.
When we were there we hired a tuk tuk driver in Siem Reap...
The Bohorok Orangutan Centre at Bukit Lawang in Indonesia is one of the only places in the world where you can see orangutans in the wild.
Half a dozen orangutans were swinging in the trees around us when we snapped this photo. The rangers were feeding some of the orangutans on a feeding platorm a few feet away.
Bukit Lawang is a small village deep in Sumatra's forest, packed with backpacker hostels and cafes. To get there, we took a ferry from Penang, Malaysia to Medan, Indonesia, and jumped on board a mini-bus to Bukittinggi. From Bukittinggi, we took a local bus on roads with potholes deep enough to lose a car.