Hi everyone, I hope you are all well.
As I said earlier in the blog, I will be doing a travel related post every month, with a different destination each time. For my first in this series, I’m going to be chatting all about Thailand. If your not interested in travelling, or planning holiday you can click the exit button now, because your probably going to get very bored.
Despite seeing plenty of lovely places in the world, Thailand was my favourite, and on this freezing cold December day, as I’m sat in college, I am loving looking through all my old photos and thinking about lying on those beautiful beaches.
I went to Thailand last year for just under 3 weeks, with my boyfriend and our friends. We travelled to 5 different places, some I liked, some I didn’t and some I could have moved there forever. As there is so much I could say about the place, I’m going to cut it into three different sections: Where I Went, What I Packed and How Much I Spent.
Where I Went
I landed in Bangkok on the 11th March 2015, after a gruelling 46 hours of travelling. If I learned one thing from travelling, it was to never just book the cheapest flight again and always check your stopovers. Spending 15 hours in Abu Dhabi Airport is not something I want to do ever again, EVER!
As much as you might think, ‘nah I’m young, I’ll be fine. I’ll be able to do it.’
No you won’t, and you’ll want to cry physical tears because you are so tired!!
And why are airports absolutely freezing? There is no need for alllll that air con. Ah I could write a whole other blog post on how much I hate airports.
One major thing that I worried about before I left, was knowing my way around, and not getting lost. Now I wouldn’t claim to be the next Indiana Jones or anything, and I’m pretty useless when it comes to map reading, so getting lost while I was away was something I had nightmares about . I was recommended from friends, to stay near Koh San Road, as this is the main street for shopping, eating and most importantly drinking. As long as I knew I could walk home every night I was fine.
I stayed in the Veingtai Hotel. This was our first stop in Thailand and I was pretty nervous to see what the hotel was like. But I was pleasantly surprised; it was clean, nicely decorated, the staff were lovely and I felt, most importantly, safe. It was perfectly located, and the pool area was beautiful. It’s temporarily closed at the minute but I would recommend this hotel in the future to anyone – you can find their trip advisor page here. I had already booked and paid for my three nights here before I left, so that took the pressure off the savings.
If someone was to ask me to go back to Bangkok, I would say no. I loved it at the time, because this was the first experience of South East Asia I had got, and I loved wandering the streets and sampling the local liqueurs – turns out its any kind of strong spirit in a plastic bucket and a small taste of mixer – rocket fuel.
But it wasn’t until I saw other areas of Thailand, that I realised what suited me more. I’m glad I went and saw it but once was enough. Bangkok would be brilliant for someone who loves to party, and go a bit mental. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I don’t love a good bucket or two, but when your fresh off the plane, albeit very jet lagged, it can be quite overwhelming, and after just 3 days, I was itching to get out of it.
Next stop was Koh Pha Ngan. Now this is what I had imagined Thailand to be like.
I flew from Bangkok to Koh Samui, and then got a connecting boat over to Koh Pha Ngan. Getting flights and boats organised is so easy as there are travel agency almost every where you turn. I can’t even type words to describe the surroundings, it was breath taking and when you come from Ireland, and the farthest you have ever travelled is Spain, I was like a child bursting with excitement. Everything was green, and tropical. The sky was bright blue, there was wild parrots flying over head. The airport looked more like a spa resort than an airport with its bamboo decor and massive palm trees. Ah I have a smile on my face now remembering it all.
Trailing our suitcases down to the peer wasn’t the most glamorous of activities, but we were all that excited we practically skipped there. After catching the boat over to Koh Pha Ngan, and we checked into Macs Bay Resort. Check out their Trip Advisor page here.
I would definitely recommend this place to anyone. Your own private apartment, situated on the beach with your own hammock outside, and a cocktail pool two steps away? Sounds like my kind of place.
This was very secluded, and you couldn’t just walk to the shops or anything, but the staff are more than friendly, and there are taxis that take you anywhere you might want to go. We didn’t leave the place all day, and sunbathed at the pool drinking every cocktail on the menu, getting prepared for a big night ahead – The Half Moon Party. If you have never heard of Thailand’s infamous beach parties, you can check out their website here.
Unfortunately while we were there, the very popular Full Moon Party wasn’t on, so we had to make do with the mid-month version,but omg it did not disappoint!! I could write all day about it, but I wouldn’t know when to stop so i’ll just pop in some photos for you to see yourselves.
After a spending a longggg day on the beach trying to shake the hangovers the next day, we began packing to move on to our next stop. In the morning we would be getting the boat back over to the larger island, Koh Samui.
The next three days would be spent chilling out and relaxing by the beach. We stayed in the Crystal Bay Beach Resort, and this was beautiful!! You can find their trip advisor page here, and prepare to get instant wanderlust.
If you don’t want to jump straight on a plane after looking at their photos then there must be something wrong with you. Staff were amazing, the scenery was amazing and the food was too.
The only thing I wouldn’t recommend is getting a massage from the lovely, Thai ladies that work in the cave; I was almost crying, and despite her trying to tell me ‘pain is good’ , I didn’t enjoy it so much.
While we were in Koh Samui, we rented mopeds and drove up and down the mountains looking for waterfalls and viewpoints. I would definitely recommend this to anyone, but be careful on the roads because there are some crazy drivers out there.
After spending a few relaxing days in Koh Samui, we caught a bus, a boat, a coach, another bus, and finally one last boat to get to Koh Phi Phi. This took about 12 hours, but it was much cheaper than flying across the country. It was fine, and we had no major dramas, apart from a few toilet mishaps. But if I was doing it again, I’d splash out and get the plane.
Koh Phi Phi was, and still is my favourite place on earth, it is just magical! Although I do know I haven’t visited everywhere on my list yet.
There are no cars on the island, so when you get off the boat you have to cart your suitcase to your hotel, or hostel yourself, which was great craic. I can’t remember the name of the hotel we stayed in on Koh Phi Phi but I wouldn’t have recommended it anyways- it wasn’t great. One tip I did learn that when your looking at hotels, they’re star rating is different from ours and when you book a 3 or 4* hotel, you mightn’t always get that quality.
We did all the touristy things, but they really did not disappoint. Going to see Maya Bay, the famous beach where Leonardo DiCaprio filmed The Beach, is a must, as well as monkey island.
These are very crowded beaches, and you will be lucky to get a spot to lay your towel down, but it is still an amazing experience nonetheless. There are a lot of other hidden islands I would have loved to have seen, had we had the time but unfortunately we didn’t.
Everything was just mind-blowing, you would be standing right there and thinking no way, this must be a post card I’m looking at.
Although it was a god awful climb, and I’m pretty sure I sweated 500 litres worth, the climb to see the view point is another amazing experience.
The infamous Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 wiped a lot of Koh Phi Phi island and the surrounding islands out, and from up in the mountains you can see the devastation it caused.
And then of course I spent the whole of the rest of the holiday looking up tsunami videos on youtube, scaring my self stupid that it would happen again, a fear that has not left me, Ill tell you!
So with a heavy heart, we boarded the boat back to the mainland and stayed in Phuket for a few mad nights before heading back to Bangkok. Phuket is another party capital, with Bangla Road being the main night life area. Expect to see a lot of lady boys, a lot of dancers and everyone holding a brightly coloured bucket sucking from a straw for dear life, stumbling about the street. If this is your kind of thing, then you’ll have the time of your life, but if your We went out one night, but after a dodgy McDonalds earlier that day, I wasn’t feeling so great and had to call it a night on the partying. Another life lesson learned- don’t eat McDonalds in Thailand, you will get sick and cry.
After Phuket we had a flight booked back to Bangkok, and after a massive disaster with cancelled flights and a lot of money later, we eventually boarded our one way flight to Perth, Western Australia. I was sad to be leaving our friends and the amazing trip we had, but also so excited to see what the land down under had to offer.
If I ever get the chance to see Thailand again I would stay a lot longer, and see a lot more places. I would love to visit Chang Mai, Koh Tao and a lot more of the secluded islands off Koh Phi Phi. As well as this, I would love to travel next door and explore Cambodia and Vietnam, and see what they have to offer. Thailand is a great place to start travelling, as it is so central to every where else in South East Asia, jump on a bus and you could be in Malaysia, Singapore or Laos in a matter of hours.
What To Pack
Packing was quite difficult for me, because not only did I have to pack a summer wardrobe for Thailand, I also had to bring my everyday wardrobe for my new life in Australia. This was so difficult and stressful at times, trying to wittle your whole life into 30kg. I dare say, it would have reduced a grown man to tears.
If I had of just been going to Thailand and home again, or off on a few months travelling, I would have brought very little. I can imagine my friends reading that and laughing, and yes, I almost laughed at myself there for a second, but no, I’m serious. I would have brought a few basic things that will match everything and buy the rest out there.
There are stalls and stalls of super cheap, beach dresses and skirts, hareem pants, shorts and everything in between. The prints and colours are amazing, and even if your suitcase was bulging, you would still want to buy more.
Obviously you can take whatever you want but if your going in the early months of the year, expect the temperatures to be high, and the humidity to be unbearable at times, so you will want loose fitting clothing. Unless your down with the odd sweat patch or two.
You’ll need bug spray, and a high factor suncream. I wore factor 30 the whole time and I was a like a walking, talking tomato for a few days.
Good old flip-flops are the way forward. You may think you’ll wear them lovely,strappy, Topshop sandals that you spent a fortune on, the whole trip, but you won’t. Well I know out of the 7 pairs I brought, my trusty old black, Primark flip flops got the run of their lives.
How Much I Spent
I don’t remember exactly what I spent, so you may be cursing my name at this section, but I felt the need to pop it in anyways.
Before we left, everybody and their granny told us ‘Thailand is sooooo cheap, you’ll not spend a penny.’
Well we did, and we spent a lot more than a penny at that.
Yes it is cheaper than Ireland or the U.K, but it certainly isn’t as cheap as what people had made out it to be. Hotels and accommodation are very reasonable, and I don’t think we spent over £60 for three nights in lovely hotels. However eating and drinking wasn’t half as little as I thought it would have been. Maybe we just weren’t eating or drinking in the right places, but picking up street food wasn’t for me.
Taxis and travel are very reasonable as well, with internal flights as little as £50.
So what I’m trying to say is don’t get too surprised when you see prices of things, and take a little more with you than you think you’ll spend.
If you have read this far, thank you so much, and give yourself a pat on the back. Now I don’t claim to be the mayor of Thailand or anything, and like I said in my initial travel post, I’m only doing this to give the average person, like me, some tips on jetting across the world.
If you have any tips on travelling Thailand or anywhere else in South East Asia, please leave them in the comments below, I would love to hear all about them.
Much love and happy travels
The Big F Word. x