I traveled to Thailand with two of my best friends in January 2014 and had the time of my life. I had always heard amazing things about Thailand, but it was my first time traveling to Asia so it was definitely a step outside of my comfort zone. Forget all that nonsense though because I never wanted to leave! The country itself is unbelievably gorgeous, the people are so incredibly kind, and the food is to die for. Here are some of the highlights of our trip:
We started our trip on Phuket, which turned out to be my favorite part because the island is insanely beautiful and there are so many fun things to see and do. After a loooong day of traveling we arrived at our fabulous hotel, Kalima Resort & Spa. At check in they were hilariously apologetic about having to upgrade us to a private villa because the room we originally booked was no longer available. Let me just say, there was NOTHING to apologize about. The grounds of the resort are stunning and the views are even better. 100/100 would recommend.
Sightseeing: We hired a driver to drive us around to the main sights in Phuket one day and it was the best decision we could have made. He was super hospitable and genuinely enjoyed showing us around. The spots we hit were: Big Buddha, Wat Chalong, and Tiger Kingdom. The next day the concierge at our hotel set up an elephant trek for us and we had a blast. I know this topic is controversial among some circles, but at the time it wasn’t really spoken about.
Phi Phi Island – We took a catamaran tour that took us to a few different islands around Phuket, including Phi Phi Island and Maya Beach (where The Beach was filmed). There were probably 20ish other people on the boat and we all had an incredible time. The boat would stop every once in a while for snorkeling and we had more than enough time to explore every island we stopped at. This was one of the highlights of our trip so if you go to Phuket you HAVE to do it.
Bangla Road/Patong Beach – The infamous Bangla Road! This place comes alive once the sun goes down and you better make damn sure you have your party pants on. Just walking down the street is entertaining enough, but if you want to partake in any of the festivities you have plenty of options. Open air bars with dancers flying around on stripper poles line the streets, lady boys strut around in full on character mode, and little Thai men work their asses off convincing tourists to check out the ping pong shows. If you’re feeling like a near death experience to cap off your night, I would suggest taking a tuk tuk ride back to your hotel. Just make sure to pick the right one!
Food – I am kicking myself in the ass as I write this because I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the restaurant I had the best meal of the trip at. My only wish is that you stumble upon it just like we did because the food is unreal. Just in case, here are a few I actually do remember:
–Baan Rim Pa Kalim: This restaurant is within walking distance from our hotel and both the food and atmosphere are fantastic. The views are amazing and the Pad Thai is even better. I hope you’re not on a diet while on your trip because I’m also going to recommend that you order the fried rice because it will ROCK YOUR WORLD. It’s not just at this one spot though, something about the fried rice in Thailand is just plain unbelievable. Please do me a favor and order it everywhere you go. Thank you.
–Savoey: We came here the night we went to Patong Beach after it was recommended by a local. This restaurant is a Patong staple and the food is super freaking good. You can literally pick out your seafood, that’s how fresh it is. Make sure to order the coconut ice cream!
We flew into Koh Samui from Phuket and stayed at Nora Beach Resort & Spa. The grounds of the resort are nicer than the actual rooms, but we were almost never in the room anyway so it wasn’t a huge deal. What we loved most about this hotel was the crack in a glass watermelon juice they greeted us with upon our arrival. I honestly think we ordered it like three times a day after that. IT’S THAT GOOD. Another highlight was the Thai massages we got almost immediately after checking in. Make sure to get at least one wherever you stay because you’ll be in Heaven. Unfortunately for us the weather wasn’t that great while we were in Koh Samui so we weren’t able to take advantage of the beautiful beaches as much as we would have liked, but we still had a good time.
Spirit House – The ambience of this restaurant is so amazing and the food is on the same level. If you don’t eat anywhere else in Koh Samui you have to go here.
Ladyboy Show – The ultimate Thai nightlife experience. These women are so fierce they burn the house down. This was our favorite night in Koh Samui and is a total must. I’m pretty sure this is the birthplace of AsiaSF. You betta werk, bitch!
We saved our last day and half for Bangkok and I kid you not the city announced an official state of emergency an hour after we got there. We were literally in the middle of the 2014 Thai coup d’etat and were freaked the F out. Luckily tourists were safe so we were free to *cautiously* carry on with our touristy agendas. For some reason a lot of people don’t recommend going to Bangkok, but we really loved it. The city atmosphere is definitely a drastic change from the island life we had been living for the past week, but there is so much going on and the culture is so rich that it would honestly be stupid to miss.
Banyan Tree Hotel – We splurged for the last leg of our trip and got a suite at the fabulous Banyan Tree in the heart of the city. Splurging is a bit of an exaggeration because that same hotel anywhere else would be wayyyy more expensive. The rooftop bar/restaurant is the highest in the city and the views are incredible. The food and drinks are equally as incredible, however the proper definition of splurge is suitable in this situation because $$$$$$.
Wat Po – The temple is gorgeous and the Reclining Buddha is enormously impressive. The Palace is within walking distance to the temple, but make sure you don’t go on a Sunday like we did because it it will be closed.
Chatuchak Market – This is the world’s largest weekend market and has everything from jewelry to puppies (literally). You can spend an entire day weaving in and out of the different stalls. Have fun and make sure to put your best bargaining hat on!
Thailand still is and will most likely always be one of my favorite countries. The country is so naturally beautiful and you really get the chance to immerse yourself into the culture. I never realized I loved Thai food (and Thai Tea, omg) as much as I did, but my obsession still continues to this day. If you’re on a budget this is the perfect place to travel to as your money will stretch further than you’d expect and you’ll realize you don’t have to break the bank to have an amazing vacation!
Khawp khun, kha!