I fought myself for days trying to find the perfect title for this blog, looking for the perfect storyline to tell, trying to perfectly capture the two beautiful weeks I spent in Thailand. But I soon realised that when something is so organically good, you just leave it be and keep the fluff away.
Thailand was indeed the best vacation I’ve had so far. It was chock full of amazing days spent by some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, nights filled with dancing and soaking in the culture, authentic Thai food in abundance, meeting the kindest, friendliest people, the non-stop parties, the tailor made suits…and to think…
I went to Thailand for $500!
That’s one secret I’ve saved until now, but it’s real, I booked my Thailand ticket for just $511! For some reason I was on Expedia late one night and randomly plugged in flights to the exotic destination. It’s a place that’s been on the bucket list for a few years now, so when I saw the price, I quickly shared the info with my boyfriend and travel buddy! It was the best birthday present ever!
After 25 hours of flying, we finally landed in Phuket, Thailand, it was about 1 a.m. and I craned my neck, trying to get a peek of anything I could as our cab whizzed by buildings and street signs and temples. It was so dark, my tired efforts to sightsee were fruitless.
We soon arrived at the B-Lay Tong Hotel, this chill, laid back and artsy hotel, our home for the majority of our stay and got our first dose of why they called Thailand The Land of Smiles. Everyone is just so friendly and helpful and always willing to be your tour guide.
Countless hours of amazing fun
Phuket stole my heart! The bustling island with beaches blanketed on the coast reminded me so much of home. The vibrant colors that made the eyes dance, the weather (though somedays frustrating), the chill, laid back, relaxed vibe were a welcomed familiarity. Each day we woke up to fresh air, birds chirping and the waves crashing against themselves, just outside our hotel. We stayed on Patong Beach, which is tourist central! That location put us smack dab in the center of all the activity and fun and very close to Bangla Street; the busy, market like arena, filled with souvenirs, bars, artwork, restaurants, nightclubs…and of course a million tailors trying to sell you a custom made suit (I got two suits made! lol) We spent much of our time on Bangla Street and the adjacent area and got our fair share of tuk tuk rides.
Being a real island girl, I was excited to head into the big city to get a dose of that life. Bangkok is definitely a city to see! It’s so modern and fresh with its huge highways, non-stop traffic, fashion forward styles, elaborate and beautiful temples and a buzz that constantly blankets the city. We hopped a plane to the city famous for its insanely large shopping malls and spent about five days there. We were quickly jolted out of our laid back mood and tossed into the city life! Bangkok is super busy! You could literally sit in traffic for hours any time of the day! The partying is insane and we found an area similar to Bangla Street, this is where Mr. Macho ate himself a scorpion! I opted out! We “partied it up” at a nightclub, until I realised I can’t party anymore and wandered over to a lounge for spring rolls, drinks and live music. My kinda thing! The floating market was absolutely amazing to see; wading on the water in your own canoe as you shop and sail by other tourists and vendors, made for an amazingly beautiful day! I loved that I got to experience one of the most popular cities in the world! You cannot go to Thailand and not see Bangkok!
Chaing Mai/Chiang Rai
In researching my trip to Thailand, I knew I had to see the Wat Rong Khun (White Temple)! The photos were absolutely breathtaking and I HAD TO BE THERE! I found that it was located in a city not so far from Bangkok so we booked flights…AGAIN! Clearly I didn’t research enough because we flew into the Chaing Mai airport…when the White Temple is located in Chiang Rai…a three-hour drive away! We were lucky enough to find a kind taxi driver willing to make the run with us. The mix up was actually a blessing in disguise as we got to ride through the city, seeing things we otherwise would’ve missed out on like the billowing hillsides, the hot springs, the rice fields and the real country version of Thailand. The one day getaway also allowed us to meet the beautiful woman of the Karen Longneck Village. Totally worth the trip!
The Touristy Stuff: Phi Phi Islands, James Bond Island, Tiger Kingdom, Elephant Trekking
There are just a few things you HAVE TO DO when in Thailand! Before we even got there, the list was already set, so when we ran into the cutest tour operator we made her our best friend and used her to book all of our tours. It was totally helpful trading numbers with a few tuk tuk and taxi drivers who we also used for driving tours around the city. The day tours to the Phi Phi Islands and James Bond Island were so relaxing and beautiful; from being picked up in a tour bus full of other eager tourists, to boarding speed boats and sailboats, passing breathtaking views along the way. We sailed between some of Thailand’s most beautiful islands, on some of the most beautiful bodies of water. We canoed, fed monkeys, mounted the famous long tail boats and just relaxed!
Phuket Tiger Kingdom was exhilarating! I didn’t know I was that brave until I found myself in a cage with six tigers! The trainers were real helpful at showing us the ropes for handling the tigers and keeping us calm. And then there was elephant trekking! If you know me then you know I LOVE ELEPHANTS!!!!!!!! My boyfriend said the first sighting I had of an elephant I squealed and screamed! And he’s probably right! LOL! We went elephant trekking one day and I got my entire life. It was such a great time meeting my spirit animal, getting up close and personal with the gentle giants, riding one around the jungle and ticking another bucket list item off the list!
Malin Plaza (Night Food Market)
OMG! THE THAI FOOD! Thailand is known for its amazing food and culinary landscape and boy did we eat! WE ATE OUR FACES OFF! The food in Thailand is so good and so cheap, it has to be a sin! From the roadside vendors pushing their carts down the street, to open face restaurants enticing you to come in and, my fave…MALIN PLAZA! We ate from just about everywhere that caught our attention! On one of our group tours I was telling this guy that I was looking for one of the popular night food markets and he recommended Malin Plaza. We went there that night, fell in love and went back three times! If you’re ever in Phuket please, please find your way to this food market and submerge yourself in the Thai food culture. Vendors are set up side by side preparing your food to order, you get to pick your items, watch them make it and enjoy it hot! We literally had dinner for two and only spent $9 most nights, everything is so cheap! I had crocodile (3 times), squid, chicken, fish, ribs, the best pad thai, amazing combination rice, banana cakes, fresh squeezed pomegrante juice, spring rolls and some of the best squid ink pasta ever!! OMG! I ATE LIKE A PIG FOR SO CHEAP! The fresh fruit stalls set up throughout add so much color and sweet aromas! Food markets are one of my fave parts of travelling and this one is on the list of faves!
What you asked about!
The money – The Thai currency is a beautiful thing! Not only visually but making the conversion from US, could take you from a few hundred dollars to rolling in Thai Baht in no time! The exchange rate is 33:1, so one US (or Bahamian) dollar is worth 33 Baht! For just $1,000 you could literally live like a king or queen in Thailand getting back $34,360 Baht! When I tell you my money stretched…it was elastic baby! At first it took a little getting used to hearing someone charge me $400Baht for a t-shirt but with my handy dandy conversion app I learned that’s only $11!
The language barrier – I must admit I did absolutely no preparation to speak Thai! That language is too hard to read and even harder to speak. Thankfully the people we came into contact with were super patient and spoke some English. We managed to learn two Thai words that got us through the entire trip. There’s one phrase that they use for hello, goodbye and and as a general greeting สวัสดี (S̄wạs̄dī) that’s pronounced “sa-wa-dee-ka” for women and “sa-wa-dee-kap” for men. This literally saved our lives! LOL! We also learned thank you ขอขอบคุณ (K̄hx k̄hxbkhuṇ) that’s pronounced “ka-poom-ka” for women and “ka-poom-kap” for men! ANOTHER LIFE SAVER!
The weather – IT IS HOT AND HUMID IN THAILAND! Please beware if you’re ever travelling there, give yourself a few days to get adjusted to the extreme weather. For ladies, wear braids, weaves and other protective styles because your hair will be abused! I wish I’d known sooner because two days into the trip, my hair literally flatlined and never came back to life! Ironically the weather did wonders for my skin! It was like walking into a misty, humidifying facial everyday, opening pores and cleansing them! My skin was so glowy and fresh! I loved it! Drink tons of water, take lightweight clothes, lots of bikinis and tank tops and comfy walking shoes!
Ahhhhhh! I’m still dreaming of my Thailand vacation with so many good memories and thoughts. I constantly scroll through the
hundreds thousands of photos in my phone, camera and GoPro daily just reminiscing on the great time I had! Thailand is definitely a place I have to redo…and if I’m lucky enough to snag more $500 tickets, it might happen sooner than later!
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