My sister, Brie, & I graduated with our bachelors degree in December of 2017. I have been itching to visit a country in Asia for quite some time now so we decided to go to Thailand to see what the hype is about!
I have been to many, many beautiful beaches but nothing compares to Thailand! This place is seriously gorgeous! From rooftop bars in Bangkok to monkey filled beaches in Phi Phi, this country is a must-see.
Day 1 & 2: Looong flight
We spent a full 24 hours traveling there from Las Vegas & because of the time change, you lose an extra day. My two main hobbies include making perfect itineraries & looking for flight deals! I have many flight tips, but the best one I can give you is make Google Flights your best friend! I found round trip flights from Los Angeles to Bangkok for only $430, YES you heard me!
We flew Xaimen airlines (still do not know how to pronounce it correctly). We went into this flight extremely scared we were going to have a travel nightmare with flights that cheap, but this was the best airline I have ever flew on! They came around with FREE wine every 30 minutes, fed us 4+ times (not kidding), and had an amazing selection of movies! I would highly recommend this airline!
Day 3: Arrive in Bangkok
It happened to be St. Patrick’s day when we arrived. Let me tell ya.. Bangkok is NOT the place to be for St. Patrick’s day. Only the tourists know that it is even a holiday! We lucky found a tiny, hole-in-the-wall Irish pub that was packed with Irish travelers. Why they would pick Bangkok for St. Patrick’s day when they live in Ireland is just bonkers, but whose asking me? If we are being completely honest… we picked this pub because of the very inviting name…. The Drunken Leprechaun!
We were beyond jet lagged from our 24+ hour flight so we went home after the live music ended so we would be fully rested for our first full day in Thailand.
Day 4: Floating Markets
I always like to plan a free day the first day of a vacation, especially with that big of a time change, but most floating markets are only open on the weekends. There are so many good floating markets close to Bangkok – the ones we went to were just 30 minutes from our hotel!
If you are looking into going to a floating market in Bangkok, I am sure you have heard of the Damneon Floating Market. It is the biggest and most popular market in the area. We did not go there because when something usually reads “most popular” or “book one of the hundreds of tours,” we tend to steer clear! I wanted to go to a floating market to get a feel for the authentic Thailand culture, not a big tourist trap of overly priced souvenirs. We checked out two smaller markets: Khlong Lat Mayom & Taling Chan. These markets are completely different from each other and only 5 minutes apart!
We started at Khlong Lat Mayom, which we found was more of a food market – definitely go to this place hungry! We asked a local where we can go on a long-tail boat tour and he took us around to a back alley to get on our “private tour.” Our “excited to be in a new country” selves were sold easily and we hopped in. As he started to pull away from the market into the neighborhood canals,
we I began panicking realizing we were heading to our voluntary kidnapping! Luckily we had a trusty guide that brought us back to the market in one piece, with flowers he picked from a garden too!
We next went to Taling Chan. This was not so much a floating market, but more of a market next to a river. Still beautiful, but no one selling goodies on boats!
**TIP: Uber, Grab and Taxis are all very easy to grab at these markets. We always had phone service and transportation without a rental car was never an issue.
Day 5: Finally, our free day!
We explored the city a bit, got a fish pedicure, and hung out by the rooftop pool. We stayed at The Column Hotel and it was luxurious! Very cheap and the rooms were huge! They served free breakfast and had a dreamy rooftop pool that was hard to leave!
Day 6: Temples, Temples Temples!
The thing I looked forward to the most out of this whole trip was going to the Grand Palace. I get mad all over again while typing this, but the King comes at unexpected times and will shut down the whole joint! I stood in front of those giant gold gates for 10 minutes before reality hit me that I was never going to be let in. My tip is to plan your temple day one of the first days just in case it is closed, that way you at least have the opportunity to go another day!
I want to mention before writing anything else: BEWARE of scammers! I have never in my life seen so many people trying to scam you. And boy, are they tricky! We were approached by many English-speaking men dressed in suites that tell you that all the temples are closed for another 2 hours! Then they show you to a tour that lasts two hours that you can do in the mean time. This is all a scam, the temples are not closed (except the rare times the king is there, like our unfortunate time).
TRUST NO ONE IN THE OLD CITY, SERIOUSLY!
We took an Uber down to the old city and started with the Wat Arun temple that is across the river – The ferry to get across is only $0.04! This temple is gorgeous – all white with hand-painted ceramic detail.
We also saw the reclining Budah, which was.. eh. If you’re already down there it’s kind of a “why not just stop in,” kind of site. We also stopped at the Pak Klong Talat Flower Market on the way back to the hotel for a $0.10 bouquet!
Day 7: Off to Phi Phi Island!
We flew from Bangkok to Phuket and then took a ferry over to Phi Phi Island. If you have ever seen the movie “The Beach” with Leonardo DiCaprio, you will understand why this place is so popular! It is a picturesque island that is narrow in the middle with two different colored waters on each side.
Once we checked into our hotel, we hiked up to Phi Phi viewpoint for sunset. This must be the thing to do at sunset because the whole island was up there! It didn’t feel like a typical overcrowded tourist spot but rather a social event! Everyone was blasting music, drinking beer, and meeting other travelers from across the world. The sunset was truly breathtaking, I have never seen something so beautiful! TIP: Bring money!! They charge about $2 USD to enter the viewpoint. There were a lot of angry travelers who hiked up the mountain only to find that they had to pay and were turned away.
Once thing that really surprised me was the nightlife in Phi Phi. I am from Las Vegas and boy does this island know how to party! Every daytime restaurant turns into a nightclub that merges with the restaurant next to them. There are no cars on the island so just walking the streets is like a big party! I highly recommend checking out Slinky’s beach club and fire show, this place was nuts.
Day 8: Island Hopping
I have a lot of details and tips on this day so I decided to make a separate blog post. If you want to know the details of our private long tail boat tour, click here!
Day 9: Phuket here we come!
Before heading to our next stop we started our morning with $7 USD Thai massages right on the beach!
We did the same ferry back and arrived at my favorite hotel/hostel to date: LubD Patong Beach. This place is adorable with the best vibe! When we checked into the hotel they were doing lobby karaoke and announcing their 25th sign up for the bar crawl that night! All the staff closed up the bar and restaurant and joined us on our night out on Bangla Road.
This place is seriously crazy – the only way to describe it is Las Vegas without any rules, ha!
Day 10: Last Day in Phuket
We started the day going to the oh-so-famous Patong Beach…. we were not there long, ha! After laying down for only a short 10 minutes we were bombarded with locals trying to sell umbrellas, sunglasses, aloe – you name it, they were selling it! We went back to our hostel to join the pool party – drank “Thailand Buckets” with new friends from around the world!
Day 11: Fly Home
We packed our bags and sadly left the sparkling ocean behind! There is so much to see in this beautiful country that I would love to go back and see all the things I missed.
- I would highly recommend cutting out some time in Bangkok and spend an extra day (or five) on Phi Phi Island.
- We went in March and the weather was perfect with no rain.
- If you can stay longer, do it! The travel time in between destinations are long and brutal. Enjoy each stop as long as possible!