We landed in Bangkok at 11am after 18 + hours of traveling and we were so ready to go explore. Our first stop was the Grande Palace, our cab drive dropped us off out front on this huge complex covered in gold. We checked out some more modest clothing since shorts and a tank wont cut it and walked around the grounds. This place was amazing, lovely Thai architecture, combined with western elements and intricate detail on the walls, murals, and flooring were beautiful. Next to the Grand Palace is Wat Pho, where we first checked out the laying Buddha, roamed the grounds, and went inside the temple for a monk prayer before we were off to cool down with smoothies from a street vendor. After exploring all the gold, we were off in a Tuk Tuk to find authentic pad Thai for dinner.
We had one night in Bangkok at the beginning and end of our trip so our last night to wrap up our Thailand adventures, we went out! We went to as many rooftop bars as we could, Soi Cowboy, and ended this adventure with Hangovertini’s on Lebua at State Tower roof.
To stay: The Ivory (We stayed in a hotel close by the airport since our we were flying out early the next morning.) On our last night we stayed at The Berkley and would also recommend Lebua at State Tower
To do: Explore temples, night life, street food, Red Sky Bar, Lebua at State Tower Sky Bar (where the hangover was filmed) Soi Cowboy bars
Transportation: Cab, Tuk Tuk around Bangkok (traffic is pretty bad from 5pm-10pm in Bangkok so take Tuk Tuks or walk)
We flew to Koh Samui and then ferried over to Koh Phangan. Our hotel was located on Haad Yao Bay, so our resort was steps from the beach in a relaxing beach surrounded by ocean front oceans. Kyle and I dined at the Hidden Cover and sipped on beers until Erinn and Duke arrived. There were many restaurants on the beach to choose from as well as bars and nightlife.
We also loved Long Bay View for fresh fish BBQ (the boys picked an assortment of crab, snapper fish, shrimp and shark to be grilled) while Erinn and I ordered drinks sitting at our dining table in the sand. We spent our days in the ocean with beverages in hand, walking the beach front and nights along the bars in Haad Yao Bay.
Koh Tao ( or Ko Tao) was named after its turtle like shape and its a breading ground for turtles! This place had some of the best street food right off the ferry terminal. Our hotel was within walking distance so this made it easy to get nutella, peanut butter, banana pancakes whenever we wanted (which were addicting). Kyle was obsessed with the pancakes so we walked into town twice before dinner for a little treat. We got masks from our hotel and went out snorkeling during the day and explored town at night, stopping at random bar parties and came home with blow up pool toys .
Hotel: We didnt like our hotel, so other recommendations, Ban’s diving resort
To do: Get certified for scuba diving here, Enjoy the street food by the ferry, snorkel
Transportation: Ferry from Koh Phangan (the ferry stops at Nang Yuan, so take it in and decide if you want to make a day trip here, highly recommended! Ferry back to Koh Samui to catch flights out.
We made this a day trip but I would recommend staying for a night! They had the best snorkeling and beautiful clear water.
To do: Snorkel (this stop had the best snorkeling of the entire trip) beach life, eat and drink at one of 2 restaurants.
Transportation: Long boat from Koh Tao
To stay: Saree Samui, Escape Beach Resort
To do: same as all the other islands.. lounge. Saree Samui had the best Thai food from the entire trip (in my opinion) Try the Pad see ew
Transportation: You can fly from Phuket, Bangkok, or ferry from Koh Tao
We stayed in Phuket town at a hotel right next to the market. There were tons of fun restaurants close by, art galleries, orchid farms, beach’s and animal sightings activities. The first next we explored town, went to dinner at The House, which had great food and drinks.
We looked up many reviews on trip advisor for activities and food recommendations. We heard most elephants were mistreated, so in searching we actually found a good review for elephant trekking. We found Koh Chang elephant trek and decided to give it a try, and it turned out awesome! We showed up and got bananas to feed our elephant (Pancake) before the ride and he was loving it. In our 30 minute trek, the guide got off and let us get out of the bench and sit on pancake while we continued the ride.
We also wanted to play with Tigers so we went to Tiger kingdom. Once you get there you can choose which size of tiger you would like to get in the cage with. There are many signs that say they do not drug the animals and that they sleep 18 hours a day. The 10 minutes in the cage with the tiger was enough for us.. they were huge! On the way back we stopped at Kata beach to check it out and to get fresh fruit and coconuts. That afternoon it started raining so we decided to hop around bars starting with happy hour at Rendez-Cous and dinner at Suay Thai.
To stay: Chinotel (great hotel for price, location and two night stay)
To do: Pet tigers at Tiger Kingdom, Ride elephants at Koh Chang, restaurant hop, markets, beach
Places to eat: Gallery Cafe for breakfast- smoothies and poached eggs
Rendez-Vous cafe (#4 on trip advisor)
Suay Thai for dinner (#1 on trip advisor)
House for dinner and drinks
Transportation: Cab to hotel, walk around town.
Phi Phi is the topic of conversation for Thailand travelers, its been in the movies, and the cliffs and clear blue water are beautiful, it was our favorite island, for sure! We decided to reserve private huts on the beach at this stop, and after we got there we found out that only two boats come and go each day from the resort. We took a long tail boat to the wrong island and had to wait for another boat to come and get us, so take the resort boat when its at the dock! Arriving to our hut, seeing our deck with two chair and a hammock, we couldn’t be more content. This place was from a dream.
We spent a morning touring Phi Phi islands on a private long tail boat. We stopped at the famous Maya Bay (where The Beach was filmed), where hundreds of other tourist were already there. We swam in the caves here before leaving to our next stop.
To Stay: Tohko Beach Resort
To do: Rent a long boat and go around Phi Phi to see Maya Beach (where The Beach was filmed) feed monkeys on Monkey Island, and snorkel. If you stay at Tohko Beach Resort, the only way to get here is by long tail boat. On the days you decided to stay at the resort, check out the viewpoint hike, its about 40 minutes to the top. Remember to bring cash because there is a fee to get in.
Places to eat: The resort has great food, Phi Phi Bakery in town has great breakfast, an amazing coffee shake and the local stands in town serve up pancakes and smoothies, which we enjoyed.
Transportation: Long tail boat
Hot springs, a wildlife sanctuary, sea caves, flourishing coral reefs and exotic marine life, limestone cliffs that draw rock climbing enthusiasts from around the world, and amazing food choices, we wanted to stay longer. This was one place that had plenty of wine options too! There are tons of great restaurant choices here, we loved the food at the hotel and Bombay Indian which was right next door. If you go, get the Garlic Naan.
We went on a sunset tour which took us to Railay Beach, and a few others stops with dinner and then at dark we stopped to see the luminescent plankton.
We got breakfast on the street, fresh donuts dipped in condensed milk, smoothies and then massage on the beach for $7. This might be the thing i miss the most, and the sun.
To Stay: Aongang Paradise Resort
To do: Book a private boat tour, there is the pirate boat or Andaman Camp and Day Cruise
Places to eat: Bombay Indian Food
Transportation: Walk through town, cab to airport
- Best time to go is December- March to miss the rainy/ storm season
- If you are traveling during the hot season, pack extra sun screen. It ranges from $18-30 usd per small bottle.
- Pre book flights before you go so they don’t fill up- our favorite airline was Bangkok Airways, they check bags at no cost and have lounges areas to hang out in before flights. Other airlines, like Air Asia charge per checked bag.
- Once you check into your hotel, pre book your ferry tickets for your next destination (in peak season they fill up quick)
- You will mainly be using cash everywhere, most places do not take credit cards.
- Wine is harder to come by or its $50 a bottle, enjoy your beer!
…and this was a trip of a lifetime!