We spent 30 days in Thailand traveling all over from East to West, North to South starting in..
We stayed here for six days and bused down from Bangkok which was a very quick 1 1/2 hour bus ride. We rented a beautiful apartment off airbnb right by the water which was very relaxing and nice. We got our first taste of Thailand (literally, yummy pad thai right outside our building) and explored a bit visiting the very cool wooden temple called The Sanctuary of Truth.
As far as the quality of the city goes… it is nice, quite touristy and I wouldn’t stay anywhere other than where we were because we were able to somewhat escape on the roof top pool and hide in our apartment when we wanted to. However, Pattaya is the capital city for prostitution in Thailand and some say even the world so on any given street you would see tons of foreigner men roaming around with local ladies or at night walking down the busy bright lit streets full of bars. We were fortunate to meet up with some friends of friends who work with a small organization who walk along side some of these women in the sex tourism industry and offer English classes and helpful transitions to other job opportunities. It was hard to see, but great to gain perspective and a greater respect for those who help provide an alternative option for ladies in the sex tourism industry.
We were glad to have a place offered to us to stay over Christmas time of friends who live and work in Thailand who left for the holidays. So we had a nice apartment to ourselves close to the city and some great street food. We spent one day exploring Bangkok taking a FAST long tail boat ride down the river and roamed around the flower market and ate on the street that was made famous for backpackers by Leonardo DiCaprio from the movie The Beach. One day in the city was enough for me, and Luke got sick for almost a full week so I was stuck in with him resting and tanning out at the pool.. which I can’t really complain!
We took an over night VIP bus from Bangkok to Phuket that we found on a great transit website called for Thailand called 12 GO ASIA . If you are going to take a bus in Thailand I HIGHLY recommend paying the extra few dollars for the VIP bus. This one we got on was A M A Z I N G . The seats basically reclined 80% , you get a snack and drink and sometimes a meal, blanket, pillow and a massive amount of leg space. It was better than anything we experienced in all of Europe haha. We stayed in Phuket over Christmas at a great little secluded spot on the tip of the city and then rented scooters for the day and zoomed around the city exploring some beaches and eating food. Luke says it still is the best day so far on our trip!
KOH YAO NOI
This was a bit of a trek to get to since we ended up going to the wrong pier initially. Make sure to to google the stops for each pier in Phuket because they’re all a bit far from each other and not every pier takes you to all the same islands. We ended up taking a more local ferry to Koh Yao Yai and then a taxi across the island to get to a pier to take us to Koh Yao Noi. We ended up staying at an airbnb and rented a scooter for the few days we were there. It didn’t have SPECTACULAR beaches (but there were some nice ones for sure as you can see), however if you want a quaint simple island life experience where you can drive around the entire island in two hours, and not very touristy or crowded at all, then this is the perfect island to go to. I loved driving around the city and we spent most of our days doing that and exploring the rice paddies and back streets than actually sitting on any of the beaches.
We chose to go to Krabi because it was highly rated for the beaches and just popularity, but I don’t think I would recommend it myself because I’m just not the crowded tourist type and it definitely was so here. There were some nice beaches, but you had to explore around for them and so we ended up shelling out to take a half day tour around some local islands with a group. I personally would say, if there’s a way to not pay for a tour of islands and you can find someone to take you around privately, then do that. But we just weren’t successful in trying to find private boat drivers for less than the tour. It wasn’t terrible and we did stop at some gorgeous beaches and snorkelled a couple times and had a buffet style dinner at the end. Thailand has SO many island I would love to go back with my own private sail boat and explore so day!
Chiang Mai was probably one of my personal favourite cities because I got to experience a bucket list item and we spent a very cool time in the country at an eco lodge which you can read about HERE.
So we stayed over New Years eve in Chiang Mai and we picked a spot from air bob right downtown that was right near this traditional lantern celebration. Now I do want to say… lighting lanterns how we did (and how thousands of others did) is extremely wasteful and it definitely is deliberate littering not to mention quite dangerous. BUT despite this (hey, we’re not perfect), watching them float in the sky throughout the night and then making the choice to light two off of our own which was honestly one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced. I love Tangled and it reminded me of that movie watching them all float off.
Now, back to my bucket list item; we spent an exclusive half day on New Years day hanging out with some beautiful elephants. It was such a great experience and we even had a mini Thai cooking class to ourselves to end the day with. The best experience k to start the New Year.
Finally our last two days were spent at an eco lodge one hour north of Chiang Mai called LISU LODGE. It was nice hanging out in the country just soaking in the peaceful surroundings and resting in such a beautiful cottage. You can read our recent review on it HERE.
We feel like we really got to know Thailand and it’s culture this past month. I’d love to hear places you’ve been to and loved (or hated) while in Thailand.