This summer, if you follow me on Instagram, you know my family and I traveled to Thailand. It is with great pleasure I am (finally!) sharing these 4 weeks of adventure in this ultimate Thailand travel guide! A few were wondering why this particular destination?! To be honest, there isn’t any real explanation. I swear it isn’t because it’s Insta-famous. My mom wanted to go, she told us about it and the next thing you know we were planning the trip of our life! Simple as that! Simple?! Not really! There were a few twists and turns. At some point, we even questioned going again. Talking of planing… it took us a whole year. It was the first time we were doing things that big. I forgot to mention; we were 6. I am very proud of ourselves. We did it alone without any travel agencies.
Guys, I have a lot say so the guide will be in two parts. Anyways! Fasten your seat belts we are about to take off…
Thailand, what you need to know
Do you need a Visa? It depends! If you are planning to stay 30 days or less, you are exempted, but if you want to stay longer, you need a visa. Also, you are allowed to do 2 times 30 days in a year. Voilà! Make sure you check if your country is entitled to the exemption.
What about the vaccinations? There aren’t any vaccinations required. Nevertheless, if you want you can take the yellow fever shot. It’s on you! We didn’t!
Money wise? There are many options. Option 1. You can exchange your dollars in a change point. Not at the airport, you’ll lose! But, your bills have to be “good looking.” It’s not a joke. They won’t accept “old,” “crumpled,” “ripped” bills! Option 2. the ATM! You’ll be charged 220THB for every transaction so take off as much as you can! That’s what we did! If I can give you another advice, chose your credit card wisely! Get you a card with good insurance in case something happens. You also want to check your limits. And most importantly, tell your bank you are going away.
If there is one thing you need to remember: GOOGLE. IS. YOUR. FRIEND! I bought a SIM card at AIS for 500THB (15.50$) with unlimited data. Lifesaver! When no-one understands; use Google Translate. However, in the big cities and the touristic areas, a lot of people speak English.
After a week in beautiful California, we left for BKK. It wouldn’t be funny if we didn’t have a little incident right?! Well, we almost missed our flight. It’s a long story; I won’t even try to explain. Believe me, it’s crazy! Anywho, after 13 hours in the air + 2 hours layover in Hong Kong+ 2 more hours in the air we made it! Completely jet lagged. Between LA and BKK there is 14 hours difference! We reached at noon local time, so we didn’t do much that day. We only had dinner and waited impatiently for bedtime. The next morning we were fresh and ready to visit!
We spent 5 days in the capital.
What did we do?
We visited the temples. A lot of temples. Wat Arun, Wat Pho (my favorite), Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen, etc.. We went to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. I taught it would have been more impressive but no. The one we visited was a tourist trap. We bargained rambutans (ngò) at the famous Maeklong Railway Market. I enjoyed this one better. We discovered Jim Thompson silk factory. A must! The garden, the caterpillars making silk and his house are worth the visit. We navigated through the Thonburi canals. A must go as well! And thanks to Poom, we had drinks on a few rooftops like342 and At-Mosphere. We also walked in Chinatown and admired tourists trying bugs. By the way, after talking to Poom, we quickly understood Thai don’t eat insects. I think it’s a tourist attraction.
Where we stayed?
We chose the Airbnb option. Bangkok is huge; there are 50 districts. We took the time to research a place living up to our expectations. It had to be authentic. No prostitution at all. No crazy nightlife. And most importantly we wanted to be close to the people. Thonburi was the perfect match. It is the old Bangkok, picturesque and full of history. In the morning, we would go to the market to buy rambutans. Yeah!! I overdosed on rambutans! Our hosts contributed a lot to our “local experience”. As a matter of fact, they became family. I can write an essay about our stay with them, but the pictures will do. One last detail, the house is traditional which means you have the bedrooms in one house and the kitchen is located outside in another area.
Things you need to know?
Tuktuks are authentic, but they’re pricey, crazy (most drivers have road rage), and you get all the tailpipe pollution in your face. Not cool. Taxis are cheaper make sure you tell them to turn on the meter. They tend to forget and what was supposed to be a 100THB ride become a 300THB ride. Really?!
The food is excellent! In the morning, you don’t OD on sugar and gluten. No toasts, no pancakes with syrup and jam!!!! You eat food, real food! They do healthy over there! The soup!!! OMG!!! I quickly got used to my soup in the morning.
I loved Bangkok and its busy streets!
2. Khao Lak
The funny thing about this trip was the itinerary was planned, the Airbnb and hotels booked but we had no clue how we were going from point A to B. and this little detail made the whole experience very interesting.
From Bangkok to Khao Lak we took the VIP bus to Phuket (≈25$/ticket). We stopped before Phuket though. I’ll be unable to tell you the bus station’s name. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t even a station it was a bus stop in the middle of NOWHERE. Picture us, the six, with 9 suitcases on the side of the road- Did I just write road?! No. Highway is the correct term! We were on the side of the highway- completely lost not knowing what to do next. What did we do? We laughed! Then we crossed the highway and laughed some more. A questionable police officer helped us get a taxi that could fit ALL OF OUR BELONGINGS. Believe me, that was the best part of the trip. I never laughed that much.
Where we stayed?
In Khao Lak, we stayed in a Moroccan inspired hotel, the Moracea.. The rooms were spacious and comfortable. In the morning there was a buffet breakfast included. It was a different scenery. The landscapes were breathtaking, and the air was pure compared to the capital.
What did we do ?
We visited Khao Sok national park. Like every national park in Thailand, the entrance fee for foreigners is 300THB (9$). Besides, you have to pay the long tail boat with the guide. I don’t remember the exact price, maybe 1200THB. Anyways, the park is vast, it isn’t possible to do everything in one day, so we chose Cheow Larn Lake. My eyes never saw a place that beautiful! It was fascinating. And the best part about it, it isn’t crowded. Next time, I’d like to spend 3 days so I can visit more. I saw bungalows!
We also spent some quality time with the elephants. We bathed them, fed them, kissed them. It was an emotional moment. I TOUCHED ELEPHANTS people!!!! Now, I need to swim with a whale, and my life will be complete.
Does eating count as an activity? Well, we ate A LOT. Pad thai, fried rice, green curry, soup, sushi, Italian, springs rolls, the list goes on.
In Khao Lak, we also tried the famous Thai massage. My body is still thanking me. I didn’t know I was so stressed.
4 days later, we were on the go again…..
3. Prachuap Khiri Khan
To get to this little Paradise on Earth, we took the train in Surat Thani! How can I explain to you guys? I don’t want to be too extra… We traveled 3rd class because there weren’t any places left on 2nd and 1st class. It was heartbreaking. How can humans travel in such bad conditions with cockroaches, the windows open (maybe broken), the noise, the smell, etc… It actually took 4 long hours to arrive in Prachuap, a fisherman village. At 3 am, the only transportation available was a Tuktuk; therefore, we made 2 trips.
Where we stayed?
We stayed in a beautiful Airbnb. Our host was great and very helpful. The icing on the cake, her dad was renting bicycles for 50THB a day. The market was very close, and there were good local restaurants nearby.
Oops… I didn’t take any pictures, unfortunately. I guess I was too relaxed. Click on the Airbnb link if you want to see more.
What did we do ?
We went to the monkey temple. These monkeys are vicious; you really need to be careful. Indeed, they almost stole my mom’s bag and my sister’s earrings. We also went to Wat Ao Noi temple. And last but not least we biked to a park with a nice viewpoint overlooking Prachuap. Oh no! I almost forgot we visited the military base as well. It is definitely worth the visit.
We stayed for 4 days in this little paradise.
Ps: Bangkok and Prachuap are both very different but close to my heart. I fell in love!
Ok, guys, I hope you like our trip down memory lane so far. Let’s have a well-deserved layover. Next week, the second part will be posted.
ps: let me know your impressions in the comments!