I travelled Thailand way back in 2014, but I have never written the experience down, or been able to advise people on where to go, or when to go and I kind of just want to relive it myself. As we travelled here a while back, I cannot for the life of me remember all of our hotels, however I do remember a few and I do remember how we travelled, so this I can kind of help with.. sort of. One more thing, we were not spontaneous on this trip, I am an utter control freak so I had to book everything before hand, the travel, the hotels.. well that was it. Call me boring, but if I had just gone and hoped for the best, trust me… someone say anxiety? One day I hope that this is something I can do, but for my first long trip away. No.
Our first stop was Hong Kong which I will write about in another post because that place is 100% worth your time.
We flew to Bangkok first, now… Bangkok is a place that you HAVE to see if you are in Thailand. You just have to. However I would recommend staying here for about 3 days, max. It’s the kind of place that once you have seen it.. you have seen it. Then you start to really see it, Bangkok was our stop of place for every destination, every single time we stopped of here for either a couple nights or just one night, we were always mugged of a treat from someone, standard tourist scenario, just try not to fall for it…. It’s great in Bangkok, but move on quickly.
We then started our trip to Chiang Mai, this is around a 12 hour bus journey, we did stop of after 6 hours in Sukhothai, then hopped back on the bus for another 6 hours, which I would massively recommend doing if you are not a bus person…. which I am not. When we booked the bus we went with STA and booked the Bamba bus, I would use this over and over again. Bamba Bus is so easy to hop around places on, you can catch them wherever and depending on the one you choose, they are just normal transport. For the whole 2 months we used Bamba Bus and there were ZERO problems with it. http://www.bambaexperience.com / http://www.statravel.co.uk/bamba-bus-southeast-asia.htm
Once we arrived in Chiang Mai we stayed at the Furama Hotel, about a 20 minute walk from the centre, the hotel was right outside a shopping mall and a little market which was built out of shipping containers. I’d say if you wanted to stay somewhere not right in the centre but still amongst the hustle and bustle, this is the place. The hotel was cheap, but the rooms were huge! The area was beautiful. There is SO much to do in Chiang Mai, so I really would advice spending at least a week here. You can fly in the trees, go to the zoo, you have to see the night market, it’s a must! It is huge, you will be looking around for at least 3-4 hours, there are acts, food, souvenirs, clothes, literally everything. It was every Wednesday, however this could of changed in the years. You can see the tigers ( please be aware of which place is good and which place is bad) and you can also see the elephants, again do your research, there is so many elephant orphanages in Chiang Mai, I recommend these! You can also take a couple days away from the city to go and do a Hill Tribe Trek, I recommend this. If your like me, it takes you so far out of your comfort zone, but in an incredible way. You walk miles and miles over however many days you choose, we were away for 3 days. We visited two different Hill Tribes, staying in huts with the rest of our group overnight, being cooked for by the tribe ( the food was ridiculously good) we had the pleasure of having a mini show by the Tribe, where the children sang and danced for us. It really was a memorable experience and something I would 100% recommend. Again we booked this through STA.
Once we said our sad goodbyes to Chiang Mai ( a very sad good bye ) we stopped off in Bangkok again for our next place, Cambodia! Which again, I will write this is another post as there is just SO much to say about this beautiful place.
Finally after another stop in Bangkok ( I’m pretty sure we saw this place about 20 times ) we made our way to the islands, the amazing, crystal blue sea islands.
The First Island : Koh Tao
The first Island was the oh so incredible Koh Tao and oh boy did she wow us. Now before any of the dreamy stories, getting to Koh Tao is a trek, because we came from Bangkok ( I’m not sure of another way) we travelled… ehem… 9 hours on a sleeper train ( I loved it ) a 2 hours stopover (somewhere) a 6 hour ferry journey and FINALLY we were had arrived, I swear it worth it though. Imagine seas so blue that its like looking in a filtered glass of water, or just imagine yourself quad biking around the island for the day while you sip on your coconuts that had just been cut open for you. Well this my friends is exactly what you will receive on Koh Tao. I highly recommend renting out a scooter or if you feel like you would die… a quad bike. Get lost and explore the island, because it will be the best day, I guarantee it. Then after a long day of exploring, go to the beach to watch the most beautiful sunset.
While you are visiting Koh Tao, a must trip and I mean a MUST trip, is to visit Koh Nang Yuan. This is a small island of which you can get a tail boat to, here you will see even more crystal blue seas, you can scuba dive, sunbathe, explore, climb and just have a great day out. We stayed here for about 5 days, in the Simple Life resort, it says it in the name guys, its simple and its cheap, however its nice and is about a 3 minute walk from the beach and restaurants and bars. It does the job well.
Island number 2 : Krabi
I mean, I honestly don’t have much to say about Krabi, I honestly don’t think we did much. The place was obviously beautiful, there were so many high cliffs which just made everything look more like a photo than real life. Apparently and i’m saying apparently as we didn’t visit it, one massive regret. Railay beach is a must, you know the standard picture of Thailand which the boat on the sand? Well.. it’s that. Don’t ask why we didn’t go. However we did book a full day trip to see some of Krabi, I highly recommend this day trip as it was just incredible. Packed full of activities and places to see. We were with a very small group, about 8 of us in total packed in on a mini van, we visited Tiger cave Temple, this place has SO many steps to get to the top, so get you’re walking shoes on and get that Beyonce playing cause we going to need some motivation music here! Once you get to the top turn Queen B on mute, because this view will take your breath away ( literally because you just walked so many dam steps ) it is stunning. You can see everything. This is a religious area so you will see some incredible Thai culture at the top. Once you have reached the bottom again you will see a million monkeys .. Picture time!
After this bootcamp experience we then visited the hot springs, which is always right up my street. Although being in a very hot country to then dip into some very hot pools is never the best idea, so they only recommend staying in the pools for up to 15 minutes. But they are all natural, clean and so clear. We visited multiple hot springs on this trip, all surprisingly different. My absolute favourite was the Emerald Pool, imagine a clear, pure blue small lake with natural mini waterfalls to shower under. Heaven !!! If you ever visit the Emerald Pool, make sure you take a walk up a bit, it’s not massively long but its pretty steep, but 100% worth it. There is a secluded pool at the top, you are not allowed to go in the pool due to sinking sand, which I think makes it all the more perfect. When I say emerald coloured, I mean emerald coloured. Its incredible to see.
Island Number 3 : Koh Phi Phi:
Koh Phi Phi, our second from last stop and my absolute favourite. This island, along side Koh Tao, is pure paradise my friends. It is quite odd to see, as one side of the island is clear blue seas, the other… not so much. Please remember as well how touristy this place is. On one side of the island I was almost disappointed due to the amount of rubbish on the beach left there from the night before. However we managed to stray away from the tourist area and just simply get lost ( literally ) in Koh Phi Phi. Now when I say lost, I mean lost. We had decided to venture up to the famous View point.. Highly recommend, its basically a must. However, instead of us realising that near the more touristy area there was a signed way of getting up this mountain, we decided to be completely oblivious to this and find our own way. Which, ok.. it was pretty beautiful and secluded and thats how you make the real memories right ? But at the time I generally thought I was going to die. Too dramatic ? I think not. But once we arrived ( 3 hours later ) all was well again, the view is simply beautiful. Please hold up a post card of what Koh Phi Phi used to look like before the Tsunami to what it looks like now, it really will shock you.
We took one of the most incredible day trips I think I will ever have in Koh Phi Phi, you get to see all of the little islands and trust me, they will blow your mind. The only thing I will say with these trips, take the small boat, they travel so much faster. However saying this… whats the rush ? We went snorkelling to start with ( do not underestimate the tide, its still cool to wear a life jacket ok ! ) We visited Maya bay, which ok… this place is simply beautiful, it really is. It is where Leonardo’s film ‘ The Beach’ is filmed. However this place is also massively over crowded. Speaking to other people about this who have also visited do say differently, so maybe we came at the wrong time. However all the boat horns and screaming just kind of stole away the peacefulness that this island has to offer. Saying this, it really is a sight to see. We also visited Monkey Island, this little beach is FULL of monkeys and let me tell you, these monkeys are mean! I mean you have come onto their beach, to their home ! Why shouldn’t they be a little mean? But they do chase you, but they also let you take pictures with them too and you can feed them water.. all in the experience I guess… Be aware though they will steal you’re things.
To finish off the day our boat plonked itself down in the middle of the ocean, ready for the sunset. Imagine music playing, your eating watermelon and you are watching the most incredible sunset you have ever seen right in the middle on the ocean. It sounds just as good as it looked and felt. I will forever remember that feeling.
And finally… our trip had come to an end. I have missed out Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan and Phuket. Koh Samui I was ill so I would prefer to not go back to those memories, Koh Pha Ngan, visit here for the full moon party and that is it, I could be being a snob but we stayed 5 days here, which I’m pretty sure is the minimum amount of days allowed by hotels around the Full Moon Party but it’s pretty dirty and not all that exciting, but 100% go to the Full Moon Party, what a night!!!! Phuket… meh. It was a nice tourist area which was a nice finish to the trip.
I had the most perfect time in Thailand, it opened my eyes to so much and was the place that wanted me to visit so much more. I recommend Thailand to everyone, whether you are travelling or you would just like to go on holiday. Fly for a little bit longer and go here. You will not regret it !