I have been having a mild case of post vacation blues since getting back from South East Asia. Every day was a new experience; I got to go on a new adventure, visit a new place and try new foods. Now that I am back the reality regular life, although a relief at first, is now feeling rather mundane.
I can’t think of a better way to keep my memories alive than by trying to relive them. The best thing about Thailand is the beautiful beaches. After a few weeks of island hopping I came to expect the clear blue water and white sand. When I left the life of oceanfront bungalows it felt like a nasty break up. I know that there is still so much exploring I would like to do, but I did learn what I would do differently a second time around. To see more pictures of our trip check out our #SEAwithBae hashtag on Instagram.
We only had a limted amount of time so we wanted to make sure that we used our time effectively. Nokair, a discount airline in Thailand, was a huge time saver for us. The flights are very reasonably priced, the staff are very nice and it made it easy for us to travel long distances. I would compare this airline to Westjet in Canada. We always felt very safe. We tried to book as many fights with them as possible. A lot of places in Thailand don’t have airports but Nokair also has flight – ferry and flight – bus combos.
Nokair is a little bit tricky, the flights are cheaper online than they are at the booking desk. If you do have set dates try to book these flights ahead of time to get the best price. I also used Skype credits and called and booked some of the flights because my credit card did not work. There is a $5 additional charge but it is still cheaper than buying the inflated fare at the Nokair desk in the airport. Our flights were between $30 – $100.
For some reason every time we went to book a ferry they would try to put us on Seatac. It only took one ferry ride to discover that we were better off going on Lomprayah. The price difference is very minimal but Lomprayah‘s ferries are faster and nicer than Seatacs. Be sure to carry gravel or something to settle your stomach just in case there are rough waves and you get sea sick. It never happened to us but we did witness others become ill. We found the best place to be is on the top deck or the middle deck. The wind was nice and that way we got fresh air.
Taxis were the worst in Thailand. After our first week in Thailand my boyfriend and I had this joke where we would say to each other “Oh, a taxi, thanks I have been looking for one.” Literally everyone in the street asks if you need a taxi, don’t worry if we need a taxi we will ask you. Majority of them aren’t even be taxi drivers but they are still willing to take you. We found the buses in Thailand so easy and so cheap so it is rare that you actually need a taxi. The buses are basically the same as most taxis, they just have more stops. The one things I learnt, every time I need to go somewhere, plug the location into Google maps and see how far away it actually is. A lot of the time a five minute taxi ride would cost us $15 CAD. They will try and get you to pay top dollar, so always negotiate.
Where to Go
I did a lot of research trying to figure out which places I wanted to go in Thailand. It is hard to know when you get so many different opinions. We started off in Bangkok, which is the place that most people fly in to, so you might as well see it. Khao Sok Road has hands down the best deals on everything. If you are going to go on a spending spree at a night market this is the one to beat. All the Islands have the same stuff but the prices are much higher.
We were happy to leave the bustle of Bangkok and end up in Ao Nang right outside of Krabi Town close to Railey Beach. Ao Nang is a pretty touristy spot but it really is beautiful. We went for a walk along the beach and fell in love with the landscape, the lime stone rocks, the blue water and the wild monkeys. Ao Nang was our first inclination that we had landed in paradise.
I was a little bit mad at myself for not doing more research on the dry season. We got to Thailand in March and some placed had gone without rain for over five months. This meant that all the waterfalls were more or less dried up. I wish I had planned our trip better so we could of at least caught a couple of them.
My favorite island of all the ones we visited was Koh Tao. The sunsets were amazing. I didn’t get to dive because I injured my foot but I heard the diving is good. It is a very walk able island, the people are friendly and it has good restaurants and nightlife. Don’t get me wrong all the islands we went to are nice but they all have their own distinct personality.
Koh Phi Phi
Very nice beaches, there are not cars at all on this island, instead they use water taxis. It is also the home of the beach that is from the movie ‘The Beach’. It is similar to Mexico’s Cancun, a total party island. We also went to the lookout point here, try to go early so you don’t overheat but the view is worth it.
This island is not walk-able at all, motorbike rental required for sure. Again the beaches are nice but they do seem a bit dirty. This is the home of the Full Moon Party, we skipped out on the Full Moon because we heard the Half Moon is more age appropriate. The only downfall to this is that it wasn’t on the beach, it is in the juggle. We still had an amazing time and the demographic seemed to suit us. If I were to go again I would only stop on this island if I was going to one of the moon parties.
To me Koh Samui is like the Hawaii of Thailand, a little more overpriced with all the luxuries of western society. The beaches are still beautiful and the nightlife is unreal. We were unsure if we were even going to go to Ko Samui because when we got to Koh Tao everyone said we would hate it there. I didn’t hate it there but Koh Tao did steal my heart.
Once we finished our island hopping we made our way to the mainland and flew out to Laos. There are still so many placed I need to visit. We went on a tour in Laos and a Thai girl raved about an Island close to Phuket, she showed us all her pictures from her vacation there.
A good friend of mine also raved about Koh Lipe, she said the beaches are nice and clean and the island is not too touristy. I was a little disappointed I didn’t get the opportunity to head out the way.
The whole north of Thailand was left off of our itinerary, so I pretty much have to go back. Chiang Mai is supposed to have the warmest people, good food and an elephant sanctuary where you can take care of the animals. Pai is apparently the Thai equivalent of San Francisco and not to be missed. Kanchanaburi has a tiger temple with real tigers which is run by monks. Apparently the tigers are friendly because they are domesticated…but I think I would have to see this for myself…this may be a tourist trap. Nevertheless they also have waterfalls and Hot Springs.
I am already planning my next trip in my head, whenever that will be. There is no doubt in my mind that I need to go back.
Travelling to South East Asia, check out my post for Vietnam for more travel tips.