If you follow me on social media then you will know that I recently went on an adventure to Thailand. Instead of going into loads and loads of detail about each and every single thing I done I’ve decided to write a fact file of the whole trip for you, letting you know what I liked, disliked and any information I think would be useful to anyone thinking of travelling there.
When? August 2016, which is Thailand’s winter
Where? Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Koh Saumi, Koh Phangan, Koh Toa, Krabi and Phuket
Flight time: Approx. 11 Hours
Both my flights to and from Thailand were connecting flights. On my way out I flew from London Heathrow airport (where most long haul flights from London fly from) to Doha which is really close to Dubai, I then got another flight an hour later from Doha to Bangkok. Both flights were almost the same time with the first stretch of the journey being the longest.
For anyone who has never done a connecting flight (this was my first one) if you are flying with the same airline then you do not have to collect your luggage and check in again etc. your luggage is automatically put onto the next plane and when you first check your bag in you are given two different boarding passes (one for each flight) which makes the connection much less of a hassle.
Favourite places I visited: Chiang Mai, Koh Phangan and Koh Toa
Chiang Mai is situated in the North of Thailand, which is known for being it’s jungle area. The reason I booked to visit Chiang Mai was to see the Elephants (which I did and it was amazing!) I really enjoyed visiting, because it is unlike anywhere I have ever visited before, I really did feel like I was in another world (Jurassic park) the mountains were so high they were in the clouds! The people were all really friendly there too and no one tried to mug you off and overcharge you for things just because you are a tourist.
Koh Phangan is one of Thailand’s well known islands, as it is known for the infamous Full Moon Party – which was the main reason I visited. I didn’t stay long enough to have a huge opinion on the island but it was absolutely beautiful there, the locals were lovely and really helpful and the Full Moon Party was one of the best parties I have EVER been too – if you visit Thailand and there’s one on while you are out there you NEED to go.
Koh Toa is another of Thailand’s islands and is close to Koh Phangan. The reason I loved this place so much was because it is home to probably the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. I am one of those idiots who refuse to get in the sea without a drama because of what might be in there (WHALES! and yes even in the shallow bit) In Koh Toa the water was so clear, you could actually see all the little fishes and the the sand was the whitest I’ve ever seen! It was like paradise I loved it. I found Koh Toa to be a really chilled and I would definitely want to go again.
Least favourite place visited: Bangkok
Bangkok was really busy, when I think of Bangkok I just think TRAFFIC! Koh San Road is also a great place to go to have a good time and is where most travellers stay. However, I came into contact with a lot of locals who were out to rip you off while I was there which actually ruined my time here. Cab drivers who would refuse to give you your change and start shouting and being aggressive when they didn’t get more money than they were expecting, which was a bit confusing!
The thing that really put me off Bangkok was there “Buddah Day” scam. We wanted to get a tuk tuk to take us around all the temples, like we had done very easily in Chiang Mai. Me and my friend decided we would pay the driver maximum 400 baht to visit the nearby temples. However, when discussing with a tuk tuk driver what is was we wanted to do another man approached us who English was really good, telling us about it being Buddah Day and that all the tuk tukls and cabs got free petrol from the government on that day so we were not to pay anymore than 40 baht which is 50p in GBP. This sounded a bit too cheap for us but we accepted the offer. First of all we were taken to two temples we hadn’t asked to see which wasn’t a problem, followed by being taken to a tourist shop to buy flights, boats, accommodation and trips (which we didn’t need) and then onto a suit shop where the driver begged us to go inside so he could get a free petrol token. We told him we didn’t want to go but would go in to get the token but would not buy anything, which he said was fine – but it wasn’t fine. We went inside the suit shop where we were told to buy a pashmina and kind of guilt tripped. We still left the shop empty handed which obviously really pissed the driver off because he then drove us to the middle of no where, forced us to get out and pay him. This man had acted all sweet and innocent at the beginning and then turned into a little evil prick. I mean who does that to two young girls because they didn’t buy a pashmina! Anyway we found out in the end that it was all a scam and they were all just trying to make some extra money buy selling extra things (which I always witnessed on bus journeys between places). I just think the whole thing was stupid, he would have made much more money letting us pay him what we wanted to to take us round rather than expecting us to buy a fuckin pashmina and get a cut of it.
I’m not trying to say every single person in Bangkok is like this because there are people like this everywhere, but it really did ruin my time there and definitely made me think differently of it. I will definitely not be returning.
Peak of the trip: Spending the day with the elephants in Chiang Mai
I thought I was gonna be too scared to move but they were really chilled, although if there’s a baby please don’t get excited and actually if you really want my advice pretend you don’t even see it, don’t even speak about it haha, because they are really protective and do become a herd that wants to do some damage so yeah just stick with the big ones!
Pit of the trip: The travelling around (it was so tiring) and the mosquito bites – I don’t think I need to say anymore!
Travelling around Thailand can be really easy, before I went I booked all my flights. Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui and Phuket all have airports. To get to the other islands you need to go by ferry – which can vary in length depending on your next destination. Ferry’s are really easy to book though and can be done through your hotel or travel agents, buying a ticket usually includes transfer from where you are staying to the ferry port too. Sometimes you may also need to get a coach too but the hotels and travel agents out there are really helpful with all the information you need so you shouldn’t worry! One thing I will say though is the services are quite disorganised so when you are ready to move be prepared for a long day.
- I wouldn’t recommend booking all of your accommodation and flights beforehand. You never know what part you’re going to want to stay in and travel agents can get it wrong! Also, until you’re there you are not going to know how long you will want to stay in some places so in my opinion winging it is the best option.
- Thailand is really cheap – you don’t need loads of spending money when you’re there.
- Tuk Tuks are fun and cheaper than cabs, they always do temple tour deals.
- Before getting in a tuk tuk/cab make sure you and the driver have agreed on a price, don’t just say yeah because you can’t understand. Be clear on what you’re paying before you go anywhere because they will try and mug you off.
- Be careful of what you eat, I was extra careful (being a bit of a fussy eater anyway) and ended up coming home with a tropical bug and being ill for a good month on my return – which is not pleasant!
- Be aware of scams – I came in contact with a few of these while I was out there, where locals will try and rip tourists off – so just be wary.
- If you’re backpacking, pack light! You don’t and you won’t need half of the stuff you think you do (I learnt this the hard way!)
I hope you have found this helpful. If there’s anything you want anymore information on please let me know and I will help as much as I can!
Happy planning and even happier travelling 🙂