Similar to the fact that each one of us knows someone that has emigrated to Australia, we also know someone who has gone or is thinking of going to Thailand on holidays. It seems that the generic Times Square profile picture has been replaced with one of a sedated tiger and someone sprawled across it. So what is all the hype about and is it worth the 14 hour flight?
Speaking from my own experience and that of the 9 others in the group with me, Thailand is the holiday of a lifetime. So here is a summary of everything we done in our two weeks in this amazing Country.
Day 1: Myself and my friend touched down in Bangkok at 7am (the rest of the group flew out two days previous). Post 14hrs of flying our holiday enthusiasm was dwindling fast but we were finally there – or were we? We had to go straight and board another flight up to Chiang Mai! This 2hr flight was a walk in the park in comparison to what we had just travelled. Once we arrived in Chiang Mai we went to the nearest taxi desk (all the rage there) and ordered a taxi to take us to the So Hostel. This hostel was modern,clean and in a good location. There we met the rest of the crew and after hearing all about their antics from the night previous we made plans for the day.
TIP: Thai sim cards free at the airport.
TIP: Book accommodation when you get there.
Myself and my friend headed off to Tiger Kingdom while the rest of the group went quad biking through the forest (they had visited Tiger Kingdom the day previous). It was a great experience and certainly something to tick off the list. You don’t feel in danger when in the cage with the tigers, well I didn’t anyway. This is partially due to the fact they are the sleepiest tigers I have ever seen (on TV), sedation much?
Also, if you have time, try fit in the quad biking through the Jungle. Feedback from the guys was that they were very lucky to make to back in one piece but that it was completely worth it. And don’t worry, if you are returning your quad in an unrecognisable state, with smashed fenders and missing lights seemly it is completely acceptable and you will suffer no extra charge – Happy Days!
That night we headed to Zoe in Yellow, this is a great spot and well worth a visit. The night before the guys went to the ‘Roof Top Bar’ which they said was a really good also. There was a Military Coup and curfew on when we were over there which we ended up getting ‘caught up’ in (putting it v.mildly) but that’s another story :)
Day 2: After all that happened the night previous we were not the most enthusiastic bunch at 9am going on a Jungle Adventure, which was to involve two days of trekking and a night spent with a tribe. It actually turned out that these two days in the Jungle were the highlight of the whole holiday. We went on an elephant trek, zip lined over a river, drove up a mountain, picked up a hitch-hiker with a pet squirrel, got massages off tribe women, stopped at a waterfall in the middle of the jungle, went white water rafting and had the most amazing tour guide called ‘What’. So much happened in those two days but it wasn’t the activities that made it the highlight of the holiday it was the fact we were away from everything up on this beautiful mountain with no distractions just good craic with friends.
Day 3: We arrived back in Chiang Mai that evening and just had time to get some food and freshen up before heading to the airport to board our flight to Phuket. We didn’t plan on staying in Phuket but because our flight landed there at 1.30am we decided to stay there a night and head out to Phi Phi in the morning. We stayed at The Bangkok Residence which is on the main strip on Patong Beach. I wasn’t a huge fan of Phuket, one night was enough because we still managed to see a lot of crazy stuff walking down the strip in those few short hours!!
Day 4: Everything you heard about Phi Phi is true, it is even more amazing than you expect. When we arrived on the ferry, like typical Irish we went over to the nearest place advertising rooms and sorted ourselves out. Because we were a group of 10 it limited us a bit but we ended up booking a guest house called Sabai House. This was my least favourite accommodation of the whole trip but it was 2min walk to the beach, cheap and for the amount of time we stayed in the room (3-4hrs sleep max), it was perfect!
Our evenings were spent taking dips in the sea, drinking cocktails out of coconuts, jumping through fire hoops – over skipping ropes and piecing together the night before. Sabai was particularly handy given that it was a short stumble home from the main spots like ‘Slinkys’ and ‘Stones’. TIP: Watch your belongings at these beach parties, my bag containing phone and wallet was taken/lost, mostly my own fault :(
Day 5: When you first arrive in Phi Phi you think you will never remember your way around the scattered pedestrian streets but one day in and you will be wandering freely. Still sore from trekking down the mountain and from our acrobatic efforts the night before we went for a thai massage. Whilst we were wreathing in agony as these two Thai women worked their magic, I would thoroughly recommend at least one. You leave like a new man/woman. Do however go to the ‘upper-class’ ones where the women outside look like they ONLY offer massage services.
Day 6: Maya Bay is a must see! The day we decided to venture out it was overcast and a lot of boats were not travelling. Luckily in Thailand money talks and after offering to pay an extra 100 baht we got a willing party to take us out.TIP: Bring money with you to Maya Bay as the minute you step off the boat you have to pay a tax, which we were told goes to the maintenance of the beach. The tax was 200 baht! Here we took the cheesy ‘jumping in the air photograph’. Of course at the time we all slagged the person who suggested taking it but if truth be told we all secretly love the photograph and are delighted we took it. Later that night we went to the popular Banana Bar which is an open air bar on the roof of a building which was good fun.
Day 7: This day involved a lot of travelling. Ferry from Phi Phi to the mainland and then VIP Taxi across to the east coast of Thailand – Gulf of Thailand. The taxi only ended up being 200 baht dearer than getting the public bus so it was an easy decision. It takes approximately 5hrs to drive across but we had music with us so it flew. Once we got to the other side we boarded a ferry to Koh Phangan. We got the slow car ferry, Not advised, it took approx. 3hrs to get to Koh Phangan.
TIP: If you are planning on going to Koh Phangan at the time of the Full Moon Party book your accommodation way in advance as nice places on Haad Rin book up quick.
Myself and my housemate stayed at The Coast Resort. I can not sing this place enough praise. It is a gorgeous hotel in a brilliant location just a short distance from full moon and a 2min walk on the beach to Coral Bungalows Pool party. Its modern, stylish and chilled out with friendly staff, brilliant food and great cocktails.
The rest of the group stayed at the C Villas as they booked it a bit later. This accommodation was literally two doors down from our Hotel and was perfect also.
Day 8: If you are up to it, rent mopeds! We were lucky enough that we could get on the back of the lads bikes and take in the sights. Driving across the island was really enjoyable. We managed to venture over to the other side which meant getting to see some of the less built up areas. Stopping for a refreshing glass of bulmers along the way was essential.
That night we hit the Coral Bungalows (we ventured here the night previous also). This spot prides itself on being the ‘original pool party’. It can be madness, no need for clothes – bikini only! Bucket drinking is the drink du jour and after that its dancing, music and jumping into the pool.
TIP: Glass can be found on the ground, so don’t walk around in your bare feet.
Day 9: Being v.hungover from the nights activities we took it easy the next day getting in some Thai massage’s and going for a drive on the mopeds. That night we went to The Jungle Experience which is a massive party in the jungle, lots of buckets, UV paint, dancing and boxing rings. TIP: Bring old runners to wear to this party which are also needed in jungle – Chiang Mai.
Day 10: After two nights at the Coral Bungalows and a night at the Jungle Party before the Full Moon Party we were wrecked. But the buzz around the place on that day would put anybody in the mood to party. The Full Moon Party is literally all night partying on a beach with thousands of people followed by a trip up Mushroom Mountain.
Day 11: TIP: Book tickets to get off the Island the day you arrive. Otherwise you will be stuck there after The Full Moon.
We ended up getting the guys at the C Villas to arrange our transport. Ferry back to mainland Thailand and then a 9 Hour bus journey up to Bangkok. Other modes of transport are available like FLYING but we hadn’t anything booked so it was buses for us. Besides from the bus driver driving like a lunatic, and the food at the place where we stopped being of an acquired taste, the bus journey was just OK!
Day 12: We stayed in the D&D Inn on Khao San Road which is the main tourist district. Hotel was fine, location was the best part about it.
We went shopping in MBK, the 5th Floor is where you want to go, if you want to get the best deals ;)
We attended a ping-pong show but honestly, neither the girls nor the lads really enjoyed it and it was very pricey (for Thailand). I wouldn’t really recommend it, even if you are just going for the laugh.
Day 13: Went back to MBK for some last minute bargains before heading home!
What to bring:
- Waterproof Mascara
- Dry Shampoo
- Tweezers – to remove glass, thorns etc.
- Insect repellent
- Cross-body bag
- Antiseptic wipes
- Hair straightener = waste of time
- High standards
- Excess Baggage you have to haul it everywhere. Backpack or small suitcase on wheels is fine!
- Expensive jewellery, clothes etc. it will get lost or destroyed
- Toilet paper is a luxury
- There is wifi everywhere
- Thai people are the friendliest and most laid back people I have ever met
In Summary, I had the holiday of a lifetime with an amazing group of friends. I would thoroughly recommend a trip to Thailand and if possible try go for longer than 2 weeks :)