Our first trip to Thailand

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Thailand is paradise on earth and it was our first glimpse into South East Asia and the perfect place to start our trip. I got to see the sheer kindness of the Thai people that I will never forget. There's one particular memory that will always stick with me. Me and Colin were trying to get to our next place and worked out we had to get a bus. We got a taxi thinking it was bringing us to a large bus station but instead we were dropped at a make shift bus stop at the side of the road basically in the middle of nowhere. We had no idea what to do next until a few Thai men seen we were obviously struggling. We told the Thai men where we needed to go (about 6 hours away from where we were) and the men sat with us at the bus stop for over an hour. Every bus that drove past didn't have any signs on it to indicate where it was going and we wouldn't have known what to do if it wasn't for the men telling us "not this one". After an hour a bus came towards us and the Thai men ran out, stopped the bus for us and watched us get on to continue with our journey.

If you are thinking of going to Thailand I can't recommend it enough and I honestly wish everyone could experience it. From cities to islands there is so much to do, which can make it difficult to plan where you want to go. I've broke this post down to each place we went and hopefully it will help!

Our first stop of the trip and I'll never forget that first day when we got there. The smells and the heat resulted in me crying by myself in the hotel reception while Colin went to the desk to check us in... To be honest I hated Bangkok on the first day and after speaking to a few others who have been I know I'm not alone. It can be such a shock if it's your very first stop in Asia. A lot of people I've spoke to have said that they hated Bangkok the whole time they were there, but after that first traumatic day I pulled myself together and ended up loving it. So if you get to Bangkok and find yourself crying after being there 10 minutes you are not the first and you'll not be the last! But just embrace it and you can end up loving it.
Where we stayed;
We stayed in the Baiyoke Sky Hotel and I would 100% recommend it. If we had of stayed in budget accommodation in Bangkok I honestly think it would have tipped me over the edge - having a nicer place to stay definitely helped for our first few nights. I would say 2-3 nights in Bangkok is plenty.
What we did;
As mental as Khao San road is I would recommend it for the experience, just make sure you're careful with drinks and don't take drinks with ice cubes! If you are looking for cheap clothes for the rest of your travels I would recommend MBK and Chatuchak. Before we left home we had heard about the Jamie Oliver restaurant in Bangkok and seen such good reviews so we decided to visit and would 100% recommend it if your in Bangkok - it was so good.

  Chiang Mai:
A lot of people skip North Thailand in favour for just the islands but Chiang Mai was Colin's favourite part of Thailand. We flew Bangkok to Chiang Mai to save time and I'm so glad we made the effort to go North. We stayed 5 nights and I thought this was a good amount of time.
Where we stayed;
We stayed in Kittawan Home & Gallery and it was perfect. The host helped us with everything we needed and took time to help us book things to do while we were there and recommend places to go.
What we did;
Chiang Mai was the first place we rented scooters and we continued to do so over the next 2 months of our trip. Some of the highlights were driving the scooter up to Doi Suthep, Wat Chedi Luang, Boy Blues Bar and the Night Markets which I absolutely loved. There is so much to do in Chiang Mai and I would 100% recommend it as a must see.
One of the most popular things to do in Thailand is visit an elephant sanctuary but it's so important to do your research and go somewhere that doesn't ride the elephants. We went to elephant jungle sanctuary in Chiang Mai and paid for the full day. It cost about £50 each for us to do the full day and included our transport there, feeding the elephants, mud baths and a traditional Thai lunch and it was just the most surreal experience.

We then flew Chiang Mai to Phuket, arrived at around 5pm and were out of there at 7am the next morning. Phuket just wasn't for us at all with loads of people describing there and Phi Phi as the Magaluf of Thailand. It's fair to say maybe we didn't give these places a fair chance but it was here that I was so glad we hadn't booked places and were going with the flow because it gave us the chance to go somewhere else instead.

Koh Samui:
Next stop was beautiful Koh Samui and I fell in love. We went by boat from Phuket and it was just a dream. We had amazing Thai food and if you're planning a trip here don't miss The Jungle Club. We got there by scooter and had food with a view I could never have imagined.

Koh Phangan:
Then it was a boat from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan for the full moon party. Koh Phangan was the only place we had pre booked our accommodation which is a must if you are going to be here over the full moon party as so many places book up. In terms of the full moon party I would say definitely do it for the experience.
Where we stayed;
We stayed in Koh Phangan for 5 days at Sarikantang Resort & Spa and this was our one 'splash out' accommodation and I'm so glad it was. It had a private beach and the most amazing pool which was perfect for chilling before and after the full moon party.

Koh Tao:
Our 6th stop of Thailand was Koh Tao. So many people avoid this island and a quick google search will have you faced with countless articles on why not to visit Thailand's dark side. Me and Colin opted to not let this put us off visiting and we are so glad. So many people are missing out on such a chilled out island and we honestly had the best few days here. There are so many chilled out bars along the beach and I loved the whole feeling of the island.

From Koh Tao we planned our next stop - Siem Reap, Cambodia which involved 26 hours of travelling on buses. By the time we go off the bus in Bangkok we were both keen to get our phones and tablets charged and get a shower, so we booked to stay another night in Bangkok. Again, another reason I was so grateful we had decided not to pre book our trip.

Thai Tips;

  • You only need a visa for Thailand if you will be staying more than 30 days
  • Everyone should know this by now but don't ride the elephants 
  • Stick to bottled water and avoid the ice cubes
  • Don't get in a tuk tuk without agreeing on a price before - you will get ripped off!
  • Get ready to haggle for everything and never accept the first tuk tuk price or taxi price
  • Don't get in a taxi that doesn't have a meter, they'll often cover them with towels
  • Don't eat western food. One of the best parts of visiting Thailand is the Thai food which they know how to cook so well. 
  • We got some Thai Baht before we left Ireland and lifted more in the airports in Thailand rather than ATMS around the country

Thailand was an absolute dream and somewhere I would definitely visit again. Especially right now instead of being sat in my XXL Target dressing gown (the only size that was left in the sale when we first got to Australia). For now, just dreaming of a Thailand beach day will have to suffice....


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