How To Do Thailand (From Bangkok to Phuket)

Monday, January 18, 2016
Everybody's got their own crazy Thailand story and every one of those people would probably try to one up the other, telling them theirs is the craziest. Just google "crazy Thailand stories" and with a few clicks, you'll end up reading about the Full Moon parties, drug dealing tuk-tuk drivers, and the classic getting-hit-in-the-face-with-a-live-goldfish-shot-out-of-a-stripper's-vagina. But I'm not here to do that.

Sure, I have a few stories - like the one where I saw the best twerk show of my life, or that one time an angry Thai man shouted at me from across this field for whatever reason, or that one night my friend and I were about to enter this shady disco bar (...) - stories I would never tell my grandchildren about. [But nothing too extreme to worry my mom about.]

I'm here to tell you about my first real, independent travel.

Bangkok, Thailand

8 days. We were only there for 8 days... and it's already one of the best trips I've ever had (even though the gods of Thailand did not like me at all).

You see, I wasn't even gone that long. But when you're away from all sorts of responsibilities for a week, you start to get comfortable being amidst people who can't speak your language. You start to get comfortable living off your suitcase and running out of clean clothes to wear. You start to get comfortable being away from everything that screams "home." It's exciting, fun, and new every time. You go to sleep at night, thinking of what could possibly happen the next day. Your mind wanders but nothing prepares you for the madness that's about to happen.

And then it just hits you one night, it's your last day and home doesn't sound so appealing at all. Even though you've started longing for your bed at home, you still wouldn't mind sleeping at a couple more hotel beds. You've just gotten into the pace of traveling from one place to another and stopping feels like the worst idea ever. Because even though there were some downs, the ups were some of the best ones anyone could ever imagine. 



Leica Montano

  DAY 1 
taxi  Arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport
  We stayed at Tha Hotel by the Sukhumvit/Ekamai area. I highly
  recommend it.
  Plus, there's this really good street food stall across the road -
  good for snacking after a night out in Khao San Road.

Ayutthaya is one of Thailand's old temple ruins. Similar to this is Sukhothai, both having numerous sites of historical and cultural importance. We didn't have the time for a 7-hour bus trip to Sukhothai so we chose to go to Ayutthaya instead and explore the city ourselves.

I found this really helpful blogpost on how to get there from Bangkok for less than $15. And so we did that. But you could also go on a day tour that'll cost you around 800 Baht.

The plan was to rent a bicycle, go around town, and explore the city. But from the place where the minibus dropped us, we couldn't find a nearby bike rental. We were pressed for time so we just opted to ride a tuk-tuk to our first destination - Wat Phra Si Sanphet. [Entrance tickets to each site is 50 Baht] Some other sites you could go to: Wat Chaiwattanarm, Wat Phra Ram, Wat Rachaburana, and Wat Mahathat.


The trip to Ayutthaya was definitely worth it. I suggest going early in the morning so you can leave early as well, hoping to beat the traffic at night.

Alternatively, if you do end up getting stuck in Bangkok traffic, you could do what we did which was go directly to Chatuchak weekend market. From the drop off at Victoria Monument, ride the Skytrain (BTS) until Mo Chit station. It's only about a 5-minute walk from there.
(Quick tip: Cross the park to get to the other side quicker.)

Bangkok, Thailand
DAYS 2 & 3
THE TEMPLES : Wat Pho, Wat Arun, and Grand Palace

One thing I saw in most travel guides were the temples or the "wats". Pictures of the giant reclining buddha, normal sized buddhas, monks taking pictures of buddhas attracted me to go and take pictures of them buddhas myself. ~ (sarcasm)

Although the temples are a unique part of the city's heart and soul, one would've been enough for me. Plus, it costs 500 Baht to enter, endure the heat, and go through crowds of people at the Grand Palace. So if you plan on going, be ready to shell out that 500 Baht and keep hydrated.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is, I wish we would've gone to Erawan Waterfalls instead. Sure, it takes 3 hours to get there and we probably would've fumbled with our timing once again but that makes it all the more fun, right? Next time, though. There's always a next time.

Bangkok, ThailandKHAO SAN ROAD
Yes, the Khao San Road where Leonardo di Caprio downed a shot of snake blood in the movie The Beach.

Well, it isn't much of a snake blood drinking place in actuality, more like a haven of drunken backpackers. I've heard of this place more than anything else about Thailand - not the full moon parties, not the impeccable food, nor the ping pong shows. So, of course I had to go.

It's funny; it's exactly how I imagined it - maybe a little crazier. Every time I walked down the road, there's always something new and exciting happening. Just an hour past this road would already give you countless stories to take back with you at home. And then there are stories never to be mentioned ever again.

If you want to enjoy a night out at a proper club, this is it. But right off the bat, an entrance fee of 300 Baht is asked of you. Not too bad; you get a 200 Baht worth of drink with it. The club has 3 areas: one with the typical dj-club room, one LED room with djs playing house music, and one with a live band. One weird/cool thing about this club is the girls' bathroom has a place in it where performers could play in. It's as if the club wants you to be entertained always, even when you pee. Later in the night, the cover singers are replaced by yet another dj. I don't know if the mens' bathroom had the same gig in it. We didn't dare find out. (Please email me what is inside the mens' room. Thanks.)

muay thaiTHAI BOXING
One night after going around in temples, we came back to an amateur Muay Thai boxing event right across our hotel. What luck! It was a food bazaar of some sorts with the boxing in the middle as the main entertainment.

muay thai boxing
Initially, I wanted to maybe try and do a mauy thai training class (because, when in Thailand...) but it was hard to find one that offered drop-in classes. It was usually packaged for a week. So, if anyone knows a good place, let me know (for next time).

DAY 4(sort of)
Visit this place during day time. We went at around dusk so vendors were starting to pack up already.

Pak Khlong Thalat
Pak Khlong Thalat

Re: Food/Hunger
When you've been hustling all day, walking around town, you end up eating at the first place you see on the road because you're really hungry. You also end up just choosing a dish based on its picture alone because there aren't any english translations on the menu. So you hope it tastes good and its clean, but mostly, you hope it doesn't give you the thailand belly.
(Quick tip: avoid the chilis)


DAYS 5 & 6
Make your way to your choice of island. There's so many choices, it'll give you a headache but the good kind. You can go to the usual: Koh Pangan, Koh Samui, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Tao, or you can go to where we went, Koh Lanta~ (more about this on another post) 

Kanting bay, Koh Lanta
kanting bay, koh lanta

DAYS 7 & 8
Enjoy the crowded beach at Phuket. No really, enjoy it. (no tone of sarcasm here) Much like any crowded place, it's fun to watch the people. You'll probably end up in Patong Beach and be welcomed by orange, sunburnt tourists and eager Thai vendors selling you everything from the usual refreshments and tanning oils, to a jetski ride around the coast.

phuket, thailandIf you want to enjoy this beach with less people on it, consider going here during off-peak season (June - September). The difference is wondrous. Also, prices are a little cheaper. Like the mat and umbrella rental is priced at 200 Baht during high season but low season, it's priced at 150 Baht.

Alternatively, there are numerous beaches around the city you could go to avoid the crowds. There's Kata, Karon, and Paradise beach to name a few.

[Quick tip: drown yourself in sunblock. Well, maybe this only applies to me because I was only under the sun for a few hours and I ended up real tan, like two shades of emoji darker.]

At night, Patong transforms into a pulsating nightlife with Bangla Road as its main tourist magnet. Although, an entirely different vibe than Bangkok's Khao San Road, both a must if you want to party the night away. It's the kind of place that makes you quote Kanye saying, "this that what-we-do-don't-tell-your-mom-sh*t."

[Top Tip: The best place for cheap and fresh food in Phuket is at Banzaan Fresh Market. Our favourite was the sushi stall. Really good and really cheap!]

Make sure you get a full body Thai massage. It will be the best thing you do for yourself. But make sure you choose a place wisely though, I read somewhere that there are some which could give you a happy ending. (The massage we got cost us only 300 Baht/hour.)

Koh Lanta

And just like that, it's over - this trip and this article. 😔

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