I went to Thailand this summer for a month, before creating this blog. I only have great things to say about Thailand. It’s cheap, friendly, fun, and full of adventure! I’ve had a few friends reach out to me about what I did on my trip and places I stayed, so I decided to put together a little guide on how I did my Thailand trip. I went with my long-time BFF and Travel Buddy Amanda (here we are with some nice elephants).
What We Did
Bangkok– I would start in Bangkok (we did). We did 3 days and that was enough. I would suggest maybe just 2 nights. It’s not that it wasn’t fun, I just liked all the other places more! We went on a long-boat tour of the canals and river which was really good for hitting all the big things. We walked through a flower market. We went to a temple, not the palace, but Wat Pho. This was 100 Baht as opposed to 500 Baht at the Palace. Khao San Road is very popular, the hostel we stayed at was very close. Night Markets are the best! All over Thailand night markets are the best bang for your buck for food. You can try a lot and it is very inexpensive.
Processed with VSCO with t1 preset
Krabi – We flew to Krabi from Bangkok, flights are relatively cheap in Thailand. We hung out at the beach the first day. The second day we rented a long tail boat for half a day and hit all the big things (Railey Beach, Tonsai, Poda, and Chicken). Having your own boat was great because you could go at your own pace and the owner knew a secret beach where we got to swim and explore completely on our own. I would try and make friends and do this because it will be the same price if two or ten do it. The last day we rented scooters, which I 100% recommend! It’s the most economical way to get around because it is usually 200 Baht for 24 hours and a tuk-tuk ride is at least 150. It’s especially nice for going to the beach during the day, or night markets at night.
Ko Phi Phi
– Bob’s Booze Cruise
! Must do if you’re in Phi Phi. I was hesitant because of the price ($75) but it was definitely worth it. We had unlimited drinks, lunch on the boat and a BBQ for dinner after. You hit all the big things like Monkey Island, Maya Beach, Snorkeling, Viking Cave, and a cool lagoon where we swam. They’re also really good about taking lots of pictures. We ended up meeting some cool Canadians on the boat that we continued to meet up with the rest of our trip.
We went to a pool party at a hostel called Ibiza, it goes from 1pm-sunset most days. It was fun but I would not recommend staying there, we heard the dorms were pretty nasty. I had a spider bite on my toe that became infected so I can say the Med Clinic there is really nice! Amanda rented a kayak for a few hours and really liked it. Check out a bar called Banana Bar
. They play movies every night on the roof and there’s a bar and Mexican restaurant (actually really good!).
Ko Samui – This was probably my least favorite stop on our trip. We stay at the southern part of the island, which was nice because it was a lot quieter. We were a 45-minute scooter ride from Chewang Beach. While we were there it felt extremely touristy (It didn’t even feel like we were in Thailand but more like a mall in the U.S.) We went to Lamai beach one day and we really enjoyed that. Amanda and one of our Canadian friends rented a jet ski! We were only there for two days before the Full Moon so it was also the shortest stop on our trip. We rented a scooter through our airbnb which made getting around much easier
– The first night we were there we went to the Jungle Party
(Pregame for the Full Moon). This was very cool, like a small festival in the jungle. The next night was the Full Moon Party.
Check out this link
for dates of all the Full Moon Parties. It was a super fun beach party that goes all night.
The last day was a recovery day after Full Moon! We also rented scooters here. We went to a night market the last night and I tried crickets, grasshoppers, and larva! Also, keep an eye out for sushi! They sell it at 5-10 Baht a piece(15-30 cents)!
– We stayed at a resort about 30 min from the pier. It’s extremely hilly so I would not recommend renting scooters here. To get a ride anywhere from our hotel was 500+ Baht which is a lot by Thailand standards. We mostly hung out at the resort, we did do a snorkeling trip that we booked through our resort which was fun. Koh Tao is very well known for its snorkeling and scuba diving so if you’re going to snorkel anywhere I would recommend doing it here. Our boat tour saw sharks, turtles, rays, tons of fish, octopi and bright colored corals. We went to a bar called High Bar
, on the highest point of the island. It is quite a walk to the top, but was a really cool place to check out. This place was also a hostel so it looked like a very cool place to stay.
Khao Sok National Park – Koh Tao to Khao Sok was probably our longest travel day. It was a combination of multiple ferries and multiple bus rides. In between our last two bus rides, we made a stop at “bus stop”. It was more like a bunch of tables on the side of the road. A guy approached us about the Jungle Hut Resorts and we booked for one night, I think it was 300 Baht (150 each). There were also many people offering different things when we got off the last bus. We were able to book our national park trip at the resort’s reception. 2,500 Baht ($75) included boat transportation to and from the floating bungalows, food, and the bungalow itself. There is a bar with beer and mixed drinks and most people didn’t bring their entire bags, but just an overnight bag and the hotel kept everything else in a luggage room.
While we were there we could do two boat safaris, and two cave treks. You will have to pay an extra 300 Baht for the fee to enter the national park. This was the most scenic place on our trip. The lake was created by a dam so the water is extremely deep, 25 meters deep where our bungalows floated. They had kayaks you could take whenever you wanted and people would jump and swim right off the bungalows.
When we left the national park, we had let the guide know that we needed to go to Surat Thani right afterward and he was able to arrange for us to get a ride to Surat Thani. We stayed the night there because we had an early flight from Surat Thani to Chiang Mai. We stayed at the Surat Thani Airport Hostel
, nothing special but it was right next to the airport.
Chiang Mai – This was my favorite stop I think. There is so much to do in Chiang Mai. The markets are HUGE here so I would recommend buying souvenirs here because the market has the biggest variety in things as well as being a bit cheaper than the islands. Bodega was in a great location and newly renovated.
The day we got there we did a cooking class, which was so much fun! We got to go to the market and see what the ingredients looked like and cooked 4 different dishes. There is an all-day options and a half day, and we did the half day which was more than enough.
We went to Chiang Mai Elephant Sanctuary
which was amazing. Another popular company was Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
. Where ever you go, ask about hooking, prodding, and riding. You don’t want to go to a place that does any of that because it is not good for the elephants. Also, I would avoid Tiger Kingdom. It looks cool but it’s basically a big zoo filled with drugged tigers, which isn’t great for the animals. The elephant sanctuary was so fun though, we did a half day which included feeding the elephants, letting them meet you and get used to you, and walking down to the river to bath and swim with them. The place we went had a 4 and 6-year-old elephant so they were super cute!
We also did a day trip to Inthanon National Park. We thought it would be more hiking but it wasn’t really any hiking at all. We drove around in a van, and got out and explored at each stop. We stopped to see two waterfalls, the royal projects (huge agricultural and floral gardens), a small mountain village, and the King and Queen Pagodas. It was cool, just rainy and foggy the day we went, so check the weather if you do go.
Pai- Fun place to end our trip. It is a little hippie town. We rented scooters here as well and explored some waterfalls, hot springs, and Pai Canyon (watch the sunset there). The night markets here were really great. It rained every day here, summer is rainy season though.
Processed with VSCO with t1 preset
From Chiang Mai to Pai you can rent scooters through the company Aya. They take your bags and meet you in Pai while you ride the scooters. There are 762 curves between Chiang Mai and Pai so with the constant rain we were hesitant to do this, but it might be something worth looking into. Yellow Sun Bar
was fun and had really good live music.
Accommodation: We mostly stayed in hostels, because they’re cheaper and a great way to meet other travelers, but I would also suggest doing a couple nice resorts. You can stay at a nice beach-side resort for only a little bit more a night. It’s really nice to just have your own space for a couple days.
Where We Stayed
Ko Phi Phi
– Hangover Hostel
(recommend – Phi Phi would be a great place to stay at a resort though)
(the one we stayed in was far so I wouldn’t recommend unless you want an off-the-grid experience)
– Smile Hostel
(Recommend – great for if you’re going to the Full Moon party and the owner, Boy, is super nice!)
Koh Tao – Resort through Airbnb (This was nice, just far from everything, so would recommend a resort, just closer to the pier)
Khoa Sok National Park
– Floating Bungalows
(Totally recommend) a little pricey($75) but so worth it. We did not book in advance, we just showed up and some guys walked up asking if we had a place to stay. We stayed one night at a place called jungle hut resort
, and then one night in the national park on the floating bungalows. We booked the floating bungalows through the resort.
* (Totally recommend, just built in June so very updated)
First two nights were in a resort with bungalows, about a 20-minute walk from town. We originally booked for 4, but canceled the last two nights and switch to Common Grounds
, which had a great location, close to the markets and bus station, as well as nice hang out vibes.
*Bodega also has a hostel in Phuket, which we did not go to but we heard the Bodega there was very nice!
- 33 Baht = $1.00 (2017)
- I took out 10,000 Baht in the US, but I would take out 20,000 if I could do it again. All hostels/hotels have lockers or safes. I heard stories about the Thai government asking western travelers to prove they had a certain amount of cash on them, and it’s easier to budget with cash and you can avoid ATM fees if you take out more to start.
- I got my nails done and had massages numerous times during this trip. SO CHEAP.
- Pad Thai, Fried Rice, and Pad See Ew are the only thing on the menus of small, local restaurants. So I hope you like that, lol. And Khao Soi in the north.
- You can’t drink the tap water so I bought a life straw but never used it because bottle water at 7-11 is so cheap.
- Wine is super expensive, but buckets will be your friends.
- Most places don’t take card so I used more cash than I had anticipated.
- I got a small fanny pack to go out with at the Jungle and Full Moon Party. I never had anything stolen and none of my friends did, but you hear stories about it happening at these places.
- I never felt unsafe at any point.
- I bought a lot of nice clothes and shoes for myself in Thailand, I wish I would have known that beforehand so I would have packed less. Amanda bought a really nice (fake) Micheal Kors bag, and I bought knock-off Birkenstocks for $9, so if that is something you would be interested keep an eye out(they had all name brands). We saw lots in Koh Samui and Chiang Mai.
- I had a Thai sim card while I was there, it was 799 Baht($25) for 30 days of unlimited data, but they had 7 and 14-day plans as well. The kiosk was right next to the baggage carousels and took them ten minutes to register and install (your phone must be unlocked).
- Bring lots of bug spray!
- I never wore makeup. If you don’t think you’ll wear it, leave it at home
Congrats if you made it to the end of this post! I know it was a bit long, but I hope this can help you plan your own Thailand adventure! Please feel free to comment if you think I forgot anything or wanted to share any tips of your own 🙂