Thailand is the perfect destination for first time travelers. Its’ diverse landscapes and AMAZING food make it truly unforgettable.
Although we first arrived in Bangkok, we immediately flew to the northern city of Chang Mai. We stayed at the Hollanda Montri Guesthouse. Unfortunately, per Hostelworld, it looks like this hostel is no longer in business. We really enjoyed this hostel as it was away from the city and along the river, however, I think being closer to town would have been nice.
We did a lot of amazing things in Chiang Mai. We didn’t have anything booked previously, but the woman at our hostel helped us.
The highlight of our time in northern Thailand was probably our day spent with the elephants. I plan on doing a separate post addressing ethical tourism, but in Thailand this is something very important to keep in mind, especially when it comes to animals. We wanted a to find an ethical elephant experience and we ended up going with Hug Elephants Sanctuary. Our day consisted of hanging out with two elephants, feeding them, swimming with them, and visiting a water fall.
Another day we spent taking a Thai cooking class. There are multiple choices for this, but I would highly recommend The Chiang Mai Thai Farm Cooking School. Our day started with an early pick up at our hostel. We first drove to one of the local markets. This was very interesting as this is where the locals buy their food, not tourists. We were shown how to pick out spices and our other ingredients.
We then drove to a small farm outside the city. Here, we got fitted in our aprons and after an introduction go to work on our dishes! It was fun that we got to pick which kind of dishes we wanted to make and everything turned out amazing.
Golden Triangle Tour
The Golden Triangle is where Thailand, Laos, and Myanamar all meet. This day trip consisted of a bus ride to multiple major attractions on our way to the Laos/Thailand border. We stopped at the White Temple, took boat tour of the Golden Triangle, and went over into Laos for some shopping.
After a few days in Chiang Mai, we flew down to the lively coastal town of Phuket. While here, we stayed at the Forest Patong Hotel. Overall, we liked this hotel, but we were first placed in a room that smelled of smoke and had no windows… We decided to upgrade to the next level room and were happy with what we got.
We didn’t stay too long in Phuket, but during our time we did a day tour of James Bond Island. This was a wonderful day spent on the ocean.
Koh Phi Phi
We took a ferry to Koh Phi Phi, which is known as one of the party islands. We were there during the off season, so honestly there was not too much partying going on, but there were a lot of bars and great restaurants. We stayed at the Phi Phi Sea Sky Resort which was a little bit of a hike but it was away from some of the noise of the main town and had amazing views.
Our favorite restaurant on the island was Pirates House, which was also a guesthouse. This actually might have been one of our favorite restaurants in all of Thailand. They had AMAZING Indian food.
Although the Island was pretty small, we found there was lots to do. We hiked up to one of the best viewpoints on the island, went on a shark snorkeling expedition, and went scuba diving.
Another ferry ride away was Koh Lanta. This island is bigger than Koh Phi Phi but is not as touristy. We stayed at the Lemonade Boutique Inn. This hostel was very nice which we enjoyed because it rained a lot of the time we were in Koh Lanta. Transportation was kind of difficult on this island, so we rented a moped to get around.
The highlight of Koh Lanta was the sunset we witnessed one evening. I think this photo speaks for itself.
Back on the mainland, we stayed at the Cliff Ao Nang Resort in Krabi. We really enjoyed this small hotel as it had a pool with a view of the cliffs. In Krabi, we found a cab driver who drove us to a bunch of different attractions including the emerald pools and Tiger Temple.
We ended our trip back in Bangkok. Honestly, I am glad we didn’t stay here more than a few days as the city is very overwhelming and prices are a lot more expensive. We stayed at the Baiyoke Sky Hotel. This hotel was awesome. It had amazing views and a rooftop golf range.
We didn’t do much in Bangkok, but we did visit the floating market, which I honestly thought was a bit of a tourist trap. However, we did find some great restaurants and were able to find some last minute souvenirs.
Overall, Thailand is a beautiful, vibrant country with probably the best food in the world. It is a bit touristy, so it is ideal for first time backpackers/travelers but might be a bit disappointing to seasoned travelers looking for a challenge.