A few weeks ago I made the very abrupt decision to cut my time abroad this year short. I had multiple reasons that I’ll disclose at a later time, but for now let’s just talk about the epic Thailand trip that I went on on my way back home to the good ol’ USA!
When I left home at the end of last year, I told myself that before I even thought about going back home I at least had to see New Zealand, Australia and a bit of Southeast Asia, Thailand preferably. I ended up deciding while in Port Douglas, Australia that I wanted to take a quick trip around Thailand and then head home. I was very low on money at this point, so my dad actually helped pay for this since he way wanting me to be back home early for his wedding. Lucky me, right? 🙂 I’m oh so grateful that I had help funding this portion of the trip because Thailand is one of the coolest places I’ve ever been!
I flew into Bangkok from Cairns, Australia on June 29th. I spent my first two days in Bangkok and went to a few big landmark places like the Grand Palace and Big Buddha. I was so excited to get my first taste of Asian culture by seeing these awesome Buddhist temples. The Big Buddha was free to see, but the Grand Palace cost 500 Thai Baht to get into, which is only around 15 US dollars, but is still quite pricey for Thailand -usually temples that did charge for entry were only around 40-50 Baht. The Palace in Bangkok was still well worth it in my opinion. So cool to see!
The Grand Palace
The Big Buddha
In Bangkok I also tried quite a bit of street food (I’d been warned about eating street food, especially meat, but typically as long as something is cooked in front of you it is safe to eat). It was a great way to eat cheap! I typically spent under a dollar if I ate at one of these street vendors. Other than street food, Bangkok and the rest of southern Thailand was a bit more expensive as far as food goes, but overall Thailand and the rest of Asia are still very cheap compared to what we’re used to. At a restaurant I typically spent around 4-5 US dollars on a meal when I ate out in either Bangok, Krabi, or the Phi Phi islands. Up north in Chiang Mai was much cheaper -typically around $2 a meal.
Not only was Chiang Mai cheaper as far as food, accommodation was even cheaper as well. I got a hostel in Chiang Mai for $3.83 per night! I took an overnight train to get here, which is convenient as it’s one less night that I needed to pay for accommodation.
While in Chiang Mai I visited some more temples -Wat Chedi Luang was the largest one I went to, costing 40 Baht to enter. My favorite part of this city was the big street market that went on certain nights of the week, just weekends I believe. It was one of the largest street markets I’ve seen anywhere so far. There were hundreds of stands covering several blocks of the city center with everything from handcrafted items to food stands. I had some cheap sushi and noodles while I was browsing around. There was also live music to liven up the atmosphere.
Wat Chedi Luang
Chiang Mai Street Market
The highlight of Northern Thailand for me was the bus tour I took to see the White Temple in Chiang Rai (actually called Wat Rong Khun) the tour also took us to two other temples as well. I got an excellent deal for the tour! For 850 Baht (25 US dollars) I got the tour, free breakfast and lunch, and a night of free accommodation at my hostel. I loved Thailand’s cheap deals for tourists!
The White Temple
The detailing on this temple was amazing! Seeing it up close is so different!
The Blue Temple (these names are so creative right?)
The northern part of Thailand was definitely more cultured and more authentic, whereas the southern part of Thailand where I spent the remainder of my trip was very touristy and beachy, but nothing wrong with that right?
After a couple days in Chiang Mai, I flew from here down to Krabi, which is in the far southern region of the country. In Krabi I took a 20-30 minute boat ride over to Railay Beach, which is very popular, and for good reason. I’d very much recommend it to anyone who goes to Thailand. It’s a great beach. My only regret is that I only spent an hour or two here :(. I only spent a day or so in Krabi itself, so I didn’t do much else, but the town itself was charming and had a nice riverwalk where you can see some of the landscapes common in Thailand (lots of cliff- like mountains and hills covered in thick green vegetation). Very scenic!
After spending a day in Krabi, I took the ferry over to Phi Phi Island -it is actually pronounced like “pee pee” but I can’t say that without laughing, so I just say “fee fee” instead :p. The ferry was only 300 Baht, which is only around 9 US dollars. Not bad for a 1.5 hour ferry ride right?!
While on Phi Phi, I did a bit of kayaking around the island (kayak rentals were pretty cheap also, I think it was 200 baht per hour, which is around 6 US dollars). I also made a few new friends on the island, so I got to see some of the bars and nightlife here.
A few highlights:
-many bars and stands sold drinks by the bucket, and yes, they were very cheap, as is everything here
-there was this really cool bar or club (whatever it was called) that had a boxing ring. Watching drunk people beat each other up was great!
Phi Phi Island
After a couple days on the island, I took the ferry back over to a different part of Krabi, called Ao Nang Beach. It was great place to end my Thailand trip! It had a nice wide open beach and the street full of restaurants and shops ran right along the beach. The hostel I stayed at here also had really nice rooms and beds, so it was a great place to relax for a few days to prepare for the long flight back home.
Ao Nang Beach
I took another overnight train up to Bangkok the day before I flew back home. This train wasn’t quite as nice as the one I took up to Chiang Mai -the toilets were literally holes in the ground and you can see the tracks below, haha- but it still served it’s purpose I suppose! My last day in Bangkok was mostly spent relaxing around the hostel -and trying a bit more street food, of course! I had already seen most of what I’d wanted to in Bangkok the first time around, so I didn’t see anything new the second time.
I will definitely be coming back to Asia in a few years -or sooner- to see more of it besides Thailand. I’m wanting to also see Cambodia, Vietnam, Bali, Myanmar and possibly India, but didn’t have the money for it this time around. Not to worry, though, because I’ll be headed back! The summer season also wasn’t the best time for SE Asia since it’s the rainy and humid season, so next time around will be during the winter season. Really looking forward to it! Asia felt like being on a different planet! Everything from the culture to the people is so different. Until I head back, I’ve got other places to see and more big travel plans coming up, so stay tuned!