This has been my most AMAZING trip I've been on so far in my life. From the crystal clear turquoise waters of the islands to the beautiful temples, a picture only shows a glimpse of the beauty of Thailand. Being there in person was just incredible. Each of the 13 days I was in Thailand, I saw something that just absolutely blew my mind. It's like being in a different world! It is difficult to even pick favorites... each place we went was so unique and amazing in its own way. I want to encourage all of you reading this to not just dream of this place but to GO! Thailand is extremely affordable, and I can only guess as it becomes more of a tourist destination that the prices will go up! I am going to map out exactly what we did and how much it cost... however if you are planning your trip and have more questions please leave a comment on any of my Thailand blog posts (Krabi, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Bangkok).
PACK LIGHT. If you are going to the islands you will have to trek your luggage through the water and onto a long tail boat. Even traveling in the mainland is complicated. You will have to go through multiple security points at the airport and if you have to check a bag, you have to wait in line first to check it, and then find the airline kiosk on a different floor to pay for it. For Tips read my post How I Pack for Weeks at a Time with Just A Carry On BEWARE OF SCAMS. Tuk Tuk drivers make commission if you purchase items/excursions through them. They will try to divert you from your original destination and take you to different places. They will also lie about Buddhist Holiday to convince you to take a "city tour." Only let them take you to the places you want to go! Make sure you read my blog posts for each city before you go.
BUY FROM THE STREET. The prices of food, spa services, and excursions are much more costly than if you buy them on the street!
NEGOTIATE. For excursions, taxi/tuk tuk, and shopping, always negotiate the price! They will know if you are a tourist and will try to charge you more. They will virtually take any kind of sale here.
BRING BUG SPRAY. Mosquitos don't play here and the bites are massive. This $5 travel size bug spray worked really well for me, and it isn't sticky or smelly like normal bug spray. I even sprayed it around our hotel rooms. Click Here
A LITTLE BIT SPICY MEANS EXTREMELY BURN YOUR TOUNGE OFF SPICY. The spice is no joke here. You can't say I didn't warn you.
TIPPING. Tipping is not expected in Thailand. However, it isn't unusual to leave a few coins at the table of a restaurant. Tipping of any kind of service is greatly appreciated here. Typically I would tip 20-50 baht ($0.61 - $1.53).
SMILE! Thailand is known as "The Land of Smiles." People here are very friendly and the expect the same from you!
SAY THANK YOU ALOT. "Thank You" = Khob Khun Kha (if you are female) or Khon Khun Krap (if you are male) Always give a slight bow with your hands held up like a prayer.
TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF. Take off shoes before entering someone's store or home, and especially the temple. Just use common sense when wandering around Thailand... at some places you will see shoes left outside of the door. That is your cue to leave your shoes outside!
DON'T POINT YOUR FEET. In Thailand the feet are acknowledged as the dirtiest part of the body. It is extremely disrespectful to point your feet towards the Buddha or pointing to any sign/object with your foot.
FOR THE TEMPLES. Ankles and shoulders must be covered. I found it was best (and less hot than pants) to wear a maxi dress with a scarf or kimono over my shoulders. They do provide shoulder cover ups at the more popular temples, but they will charge you to rent them. I linked below some beautiful lightweight kimonos & maxi dresses!
Food: Pineapple Fried Rice, Pad Woon Sen, Pad Thai
Thai Massage: Walk-in on street... They're amazing and cost only $7-$10 USD!
Banana Nutella Roti
Pad Woon Sen
Pineapple Fried Rice
Mango Sticky Rice
Coconut Ice Cream
For Next Time:
Schedule another day or two in Chiang Mai Plan a day trip to Chiang Rai to see Wat Rong Khun (White Temple) and Wat Rong Suea Ten
Wat Rong Khun
Wat Rong Suea Ten
Flights: I got an amazing deal on our roundtrip flight to Thailand for $880 on Qatar Airways. I always check the flight calendar on airline websites such as Qatar to find the cheapest days to travel! Also, you can find cheaper flights if you fly out of a big international airport such a New York, Miami, LA, Chicago. We stayed in Miami for the weekend before departing from MIA to Thailand. We left on a Tuesday and returned on a Tuesday as well. Typically Tuesday and Wednesday are the cheapest days to fly. Once you are in Thailand, domestic flights are INSANELY cheap. Our one-way domestic flights were $33 each. We flew Air Asia and Bangkok Airways. The planes are super nice, great service, and you even get a meal. I booked all of our domestic flights through Google Flights. Hotels: Hotels in Thailand are extremely inexpensive. Since we traveled all the way to the other side of the world, we decided that we wanted to stay in some of the nicest resorts and 5 star hotels. I was honestly blown away by the amazing service and luxury of these hotels. If you want to go for an even less expensive vacation, there are numerous hotels & hostels you can book that cost $15 a night USD. Not my personal first choice of stay, but I had friends that chose that option and said that it wasn't bad at all! Ferry Transfers: I recommend booking online before hand or buying the ticket off the street. They will try to scam you. We paid 900 Baht ( $27.48) total for both ferry transfers from Krabi to Phi Phi and Phi Phi to Phuket. Its really not much at all, but just know you can negotiate for less on the street! A good online company is Phuket Harbour. They travel to Krabi, Phi Phi, Phuket, Koh Lipe, Koh Tatutao & more. You can book the ferry starting at only $10 per person online or speedboat starting at $30 per person. Click Here to Book. Taxi/Tuk Tuk: Tuk Tuks are the fastest (and most fun) way to get around, but Taxis are cheaper! Tuk Tuks can weave around cars and sidewalks very quickly so they are very convenient when there is traffic! We only used a taxi 4-5 times the entire trip, because the Tuk Tuks were so much fun! You can negotiate with Tuk Tuk drivers to take you wherever you need for 100-300 baht ( $3.05- $9.16) but even driving 40 minutes to an hour in a taxi will be 100-120 baht ($3.05- $3.66). Food: STREET FOOD IS THE BEST FOOD. Buying food on the street ranges anywhere from 60 baht - 300 baht per meal ($1.83- $9.16). On average, my meals cost around 120 - 250 baht ($3.66 - $7.63) no matter what. Even at a really nice restaurant, my meal would always cost less than 400 baht ( $12.21). Eating in Thailand is approximately $20 a day. Excursions: Beware of scammers!! The best place to buy excursions is on the street. You can always negotiate a much cheaper price than the initial price that they offer you. I go into detail about the pricing of each excursion in my individual blog posts for each place in Thailand. Shopping: Street Shopping is where its at! You can get so many neat souvenirs, clothes, bags, luggage, shoes, etc. for unreal prices. People here will do anything for a sale (including showing you every single item in their store, lol). For example, if I am looking at something at someone's shop they might offer me a product for 500 baht. If I walk away they will say... "I give to you for 400. Okay 300. What about 150 baht?" And thats how you get a dress for $4.58! The deals are incredible here. Overall I spent approximately $2,813.27 USD on this trip but its possible to spend way less! I did a lot of shopping and chose some of the nicest hotels to stay in. When you arrive in Thailand, make sure you take out at least $500 at the airport (16,335 baht). After going back to the ATM twice in Thailand, I ended up spending about $800 cash (26,134.40 baht).
Two Weeks in Thailand Itinerary: After nearly 30 hours of traveling, we thought that spending time in the islands first would be the best idea before going to the mainland. Let me tell you, this was a GREAT IDEA. We were able to fully relax and adjust to the 13 hour time difference. By the time we got to the main land, we were ready to go-go-go and explore everything that we could.
Here is the shortened version of our itinerary to give you an idea of how long we spent in each place and how much travel is involved! For the long version email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, Dec 6 Arrive in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. 7:00 AM. Bangkok Airways flight to KBV Krabi. Thursday, Dec 6 - Saturday, December 8 Railay Beach, Krabi
FERRY to Phi Phi Island (90 min)
Saturday, December 8 - Tuesday, December 11 Ko Phi Phi Island
FERRY to Phuket (2 hours)
Tuesday, December 11 - Thursday, December 13 Patong Beach, Phuket
FLIGHT from HKT Phuket to CNX Chiang Mai
Thursday, December 13 - Saturday, December 15 Chiang Mai
FLIGHT from CNX Chaing Mai to BKK Bangkok
Saturday, December 15 - Monday December 17 Bangkok
FLIGHT Tuesday, December 18 @ 1:20 AM BKK to MIA, Miami FL