When our bestie Sara and her hubby headed off to Thailand over Christmas and New Year, we were coveting the tell-all story of their travels before their plane even took to the sky…
And here it is, a Thailand trip in all its glory, an adventure in paradise.
Our trip to Thailand incorporated 4 different destinations. We started and finished in Bangkok, both times for two nights. Second up was Koh Samui, followed by Krabi and then Chang Mai.
Neither of us had ever been to Thailand and for some reason it hadn’t really crossed our minds. But I am so very glad that it did as it was the best holiday I have ever been on and I would go back again in a heartbeat.
I think one of the main things I loved about Thailand is that you can incorporate all different types of holiday into one break. Bangkok was definitely a city break. It was crowded, intense, warm but filled with so many amazing things – it was a true attack on the senses. The train system was so easy to use that you could easily navigate your way around the city without feeling nervous. We went into the centre of Bangkok and did a small boat trip, visited some temples and did a bit of shopping. We didn’t go to the main street in Bangkok where you can see some things that will truly open your eyes. The stories we heard about this in the next few weeks corrupted my innocent mind.
Koh Samui was a beach break and I really loved the laid back vibe as soon as we got there. We visited three different resorts when we were there. I would thoroughly recommend getting a moped and going to the South West part of the island. It was really remote and an experience going through the palm trees to the beautiful deserted beaches filled with fisherman and stray dogs.
Krabi was a beach break too, I loved it so much. We did 2 nights in a Bungalow with no power which was an experience, especially when my husband Dan accidently kicked the sink off the wall. We also had a private tailboat who did a great island tour with us.
Chang Mai was more of a city break again. It was incredible and I really loved it here. It was busy but nothing compared to Bangkok, I loved the vibe of the place. We did a huge walk to a temple which was worth every second of the horrendous walk up.
Generally our days in Thailand would always start with breakfast at the hotel and then explore. We hired 6 mopeds during our time there and it was the best thing. We felt safe at all times and it allowed us to see the different places so easily. We took a few days to chill out and didn’t really do much apart from drink coffee and read books after a slow mooch around.
We got a tail boat over to a beach called Railey twice which was amazing. It was a beautiful beach, with great food off a beaten path and a whole island to explore. Our days would always finish with an early dinner and watching the sunset. Heaven on earth.
We actually stayed in 9 places during our 20 day holiday. We moved every few days and I really enjoyed this. At the time, when my husband told me, I wasn’t massively thrilled if I’m honest but I’m really glad when we did.
My favourite place we stayed was Ad Lib in Bangkok. When we were going there in the taxi I was worried as it’s not the nicest area, however the hotel is gorgeous. The staff made you feel like royalty, the breakfast was delicious, the pool area was tranquil and the rooms really nice. It was a really reasonable price for the standard of the hotel. It was also a 5 minute walk to the train station which gets you wherever you need around the area.
My second favourite was Green Tiger Vegetarian Guest House in Chaing Mai. It has a very relaxed atmosphere there. The breakfast was delicious (and yes it is vegetarian). I just really liked the whole ethos of the place there. It was very reasonable as well given the standard of the place. We hired bikes from the reception and we really enjoyed going round the city on them.
The food was incredible. We tried street food in Bangkok and a few other places. You can eat for 40p if you really want to, or you can go and sit down in a restaurant for an average of £10 for a meal with drinks.
We become connoisseurs of Phad Thai, Tom Yum Goong soup and Pananag curry. I will admit that near the end of the three weeks we were a little bit fed up of Thai food but it didn’t last long as we have already eaten home cooked Thai twice since we’ve been home.
We ate at restaurants nearly every day. It was really cheap, the food was delicious and I adore having a meal. It is my favourite thing to do, some good food with good company and a bit of people-watching thrown in is heaven. We also used it as time in the shade as I’m not good in the heat. We had fresh coconuts or mango shakes (mango, ice and water) every day from the stalls on the streets for less than a pound each time.
I had two particular favourites amongst the places that we ate – Fern Forest Café in Chang Mai, it was a little sanctuary from the city hustle and bustle. The drinks were incredible, the setting was beautiful and the food was delicious. Portions are big so be wary of that. I liked this place so much that I did my first ever TripAdvisor review on it.
I also loved the Cuckoo Nest in Ao Nang. This place was incredible!!! I loved it so much we went back for dinner after our drink in the morning. It was just so chilled out, the chef who ran it was so lovely and the food was delicious.
top 3 EXPERIENCES from the trip
1) An elephant session with a jungle trek, overnight stay in a village and then bamboo rafting. This was was the best experience of my life. The elephants were incredible but the real highlight for me was the overnight stay in the village. The trek was hard work but it was a completely different side of Thailand. The village where we stayed was incredible, the people were so welcoming, the food was delicious and it was just such a different experience and insight into their way of life.
2) Exploring old Thailand on Koh Samui. Armed with directions and a map we headed off to the South West part of Koh Samui. Driving through the forests we really explored untouched Thailand. Seeing a monkey chilling on the back of a moped as it whizzed past was a definite highlight.
3) A Thai cooking course with Asian Scenic. It was amazing, such a good experience. You got to pick a curry paste to make which you then turned into a curry, a stir fry, spring rolls and a soup. It was so much fun, the instructor was incredible and so friendly. The people we did it with were on the whole lovely and around our age so we had a real laugh with them. We have made a dish from the recipe book already and have another planned for the weekend.
Go out of your way to experience the real Thailand. Do your research and spend some money on trips outside of the usual ones. We hired a private guided long tail boat and it was incredible and allowed us to see the islands at our own pace. I would also totally recommend moving around hotels too. It allowed us to see so much more of the places we were staying and wasn’t as much of a pain as I thought it might be.
thailand in a nutshell
My favourite thing about Thailand was the scenery. Everywhere you went was just breathtaking. I just adored it. The waters were crystal clear and so warm. The sunsets were filled with pinks, oranges and red. Everything just felt like it was in high definition wherever you looked.