Hi everyone! Some of you might know, myself and a crew of my mates went travelling around Asia for five weeks. We started off in the Philippines for ten days and we went to Palawan Island where I was last year (link to read about Palawan: https://minimintnd.com/2017/09/17/palawan-the-philippines/ ) and we then met up with a couple more of our friends in Thailand which is where we spent the majority of our trip.
Below I’m just going to give a quick breakdown of where we went and for how many days and then I will go into more detail on what we did in each part of Thailand. I can honestly say it was one of the most fun and cultured holidays I was ever on. Everything from the food to the activities we did were just incredible and definitely a once in a lifetime experience.
- Phuket – 2 nights (flew from Manila straight to Phuket via Singapore)
- Phi Phi Island – 3 nights (2 hour ferry from Phuket to Phi Phi)
- Koh Lanta – 3 nights (2 hour ferry from Phi Phi to Koh Lanta)
- Koh Phangan -3 nights (drove across Thailand in a mini bus)
- Chiang Mai -4 nights (flew from Koh Samui to Chiang Mai)
- Bangkok- 2 nights (flew Chiang Mai to Bangkok)
We landed in Phuket at around 8pm and met up with our friends who had already been there one night. There was 11 of us altogether so we booked a Villa on Air B&B which was ideal for a big group. The first night we landed we were so tired from travelling all day from the Philippines, we just threw on some clothes and headed out for the night. We headed towards the strip in Phuket located on Bangla Road just off of Patong Beach and let me tell you, it was an experience.. First of all it’s so packed with tourists and second of all I did not feel safe there. It was basically just pimps and strippers promoting sex shows and ping pong shows, it was kind of uncomfortable walking around so we went straight to a few bars for some buckets which is what we mostly drank while on holidays because they were such good value for money.
We went to the New Moon Party located on paradise beach, tuk-tuks are super cheap over there and they brought us directly there for a couple of euro. The following day there was such bad weather we split up between just chilling at the house and watching movies or going shopping down at the markets. We all met up that night then for dinner at the Hard Rock cafe. One of the great things about Thailand is when eating out with a group we didn’t have any issues with paying separately and the servers are all very accommodating.
The following morning we got a two hour ferry over to Phi Phi Island which we booked online at phuketferry.com the night before.
Phi Phi Island
When we landed in Phi Phi we could not get over how small it was. Everything is within walking distance so we got off the ferry and walked down the road to our resort which was called Phi Phi Charlie. We stayed here for three nights and had such a great time. The rooms are standard but very clean and the pool is located just in front of the beach. We ate in a cafe called Chorn Kham around the corner from the hotel two days in a row because it was so delicious. They do everything from breakfast, lunch and dinner. The hotel had a superb buffet breakfast included with everything from fruit to freshly made omelettes to pancakes.
We went out two nights there and we went to a couple of different bars such as one called Stockholm Syndrome, The Dubliner, Banana Bar and a few more down at the beach. The banana bar has a lovely rooftop bar and they show a film up there every night. They also do an unreal breakfast, Thai and Mexican menu. We did a day trip which is a must-do when on phi phi because you get to visit Monkey Island and Maya Beach. A morning hike to the phi phi lookout point is also a must do. (Pro tip: don’t attempt while hungover because it’s a pure workout lol)
I loved Phi Phi because it had a good mix of fun things to do, a great beach and pool to relax but also a fantastic nightlife. We then got a two hour ferry to Koh Lanta and organised the transportation to Koh Phangan while on the boat for the 11 of us.
When we arrived in Koh Lanta we quickly realised there were very few tourists around the place because it was off-season so we went straight to Lanta Resort where we stayed for three nights. We spent the days relaxing by the pool or the beach because we were pretty wrecked from the hectic going we had been doing all along so it was a nice break before we hit the madness of Koh Phangan. We went to the funky monkey bar for dinner one night and a couple of us stayed on because they whipped out a karaoke machine and we stayed on an extra few hours to sing and drink with a couple of fellow travellers.
The following day we hired a mini bus which took us all around the island. We hiked through the jungle to Khlong Chak waterfall which was actually pretty scary walking into a massive jungle without a guide surrounded by scorpions and pythons, definitely get a guide because if we got lost, we were pretty screwed lol. We then visited the Lanta Animal Welfare centre because it was the most highly recommended thing to do on trip adviser. You can volunteer to walk a few of their dogs and play with their cats for a small donation. We also went to a restaurant called the Salad House @ Lanta which was down the road from our hotel and got a lovely meal there. (it has a sign on the outside saying Happiness is in the food we serve)
We then travelled across Mainland Thailand to Koh Phangan which is where we did most of our partying.
We got a ferry across to Koh Phangan and once we arrived it was crazy, the whole place was filled with backpackers all ready to go to the Full Moon Party. We stayed at Baan Kew Chaw which is across from the Space Cats hostel. We then went to the Jungle Party which is literally smack bang in the middle of a jungle and one of the craziest parties I have ever been to. The following day we just chilled at the pool and went for dinner in SOHO Bar which had a gorgeous mexican menu, it’s located across from the Pantip market. It was one of the nicest meals we had on holiday so definitely check it out if you’re paying a visit to Koh Phangan.
That night was the Full Moon Party and it was very intense. Make sure not to get too drunk because there are so many dangers there between the ocean, skipping ropes lit on fire and people spiking drinks you really do need to have your wits about you and make sure not to separate from your group because there are tens of thousands of people attending.
It was still one of the best nights of my life, we watched the sunrise on the beach and had a full dinner at 6am lol. We spent the following day eating and relaxing before packing up our stuff and making the journey to Chiang Mai.
Koh Phangan doesn’t have its own airport so we had to get a boat over to Koh Samui airport which is actually ranked as one of the most beautiful airports in the world! We flew from Koh Samui to Chiang Mai. We had organised to stay in an elephant sanctuary for two nights and they kindly organised transport to collect us from the airport and took us to the sanctuary which is about 2 hours outside Chiang Mai. The Chai Lai Orchid was definitely the highlight of my trip. We spent three days and two nights staying the jungle playing with elephants and going on jungle treks and bamboo rafting.
Check out https://www.chailaiorchid.com/ for more info on their mission and how to book your own tour. I honestly cannot recommend this place enough.
We then drove back into Chiang Mai city and stayed in an Air B&B for two nights which was so stunning. We spent those days doing our shopping in the markets which are so so good and cheap if you’re looking for fake designer bits and pieces. While we were in the city we came across a booking company promoting a cooking class so we said we would try it and it was so much fun! We cooked a five course dinner and had the best laugh while doing it and it only cost about 700 baht each.
Check out http://www.pranangcookeryschool.com/ for more info on Thai recipes and making a reservation.
We also hired a tuk tuk for 140 baht each to take us around to a couple of the gorgeous temples located around Chiang Mai city. Chiang Mai is deffo one of the most cultured cities I have ever been to and hands down one of the most beautiful. Check below to see for yourself.
We then flew from Chiang Mai to Bangkok to finish off our trip. In Bangkok we stayed two nights in Cloud on Saladaeng Hostel which was fab. It was one of the nicer hostels I’ve stayed in, it was very clean and the staff were so helpful. We went to the famous Kohsann road for a few drinks and dinner in the Macaroni Club. We then went to a late bar place called The One and it was all on a massive set of stairs, it kind of resembled a church and I genuinely did not want to leave the music was so good lol.
The following day it was torrential rain so we decided to go to the massive BMK shopping centre which is SEVEN stories high with a range of shops and market stalls. There was even a cinema inside there which we went to and it was deffo a completely different experience to going to an irish cinema. Firstly, you order your snacks and drinks and then they drop them into you in the screen so we felt like VIPs. Secondly, once you get inside you receive a glass of juice and a fleece blanket to get all cosied up and you have to stand for the National anthem before the movie plays.
We didn’t do too much touristy things in Bangkok because we were pretty wrecked by this stage and we still had another week in Dubai to go so we wanted to save our money for that. Overall, I loved Thailand a lot more than I expected to. Chiang Mai became one of my favourite places I’ve ever travelled to because of the mix of culture there is so diverse, and the elephants were the highlight of my entire trip.
If you’re thinking of travelling to Thailand, I hope you found this little itinerary some bit helpful and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to send on a message to me via Facebook or Instagram and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
Mini Mint x