Inexpensive Raw Beauty: Thailand

Since I’m working the holiday and missing my high school reunion, I needed something to look forward to… that’s when my friend Becca and I decided to go to Thailand for 10 days.

 

To Thailand…

Travel wise, we’re flight attendants and didn’t have to worry about the cost of the our flights. We were worried about seats being available because November is the start of Thailand’s busy season, but we ended up not having any issues with our seats. We left from Atlanta, Georgia, and it was a 12 hour flight to Narita, Japan. We then took a 6 hour flight from Narita to Bangkok. Instead of staying in Bangkok, we slept in the airport and then the next morning took the airport shuttle to the Don Muang Int Airport (DMK) which is 50 minutes from BKK. The flights out of DMK are half the price of BKK. We only paid $55 to fly to Phuket City (1.5 hr flight) instead of paying $130 from BKK.

To Phuket City (Poo-Ket City)

Becca booked us a hostel in Phuket for our first night, the charge was $15 for a private room. We took a cab from the airport which was 600 Bahts ($16) and it was a 20-30 minute cab ride. The cab driver pulled over to some excursion place and they spent 10 minutes trying to sell us excursions and transportation. We just asked for their contact information and told them we would call them when we made our decision. When we got to Phuket City, we weren’t impressed. It was dirty and nothing caught our eye. This is when we decided to do a little walk around the city, buy some elephant pants, grab breakfast, shower, and then catch a ride to Patong.

To Patong Beach

We took a bus to Patong from Phuket (300 Bahts). Patong was right on the water and the town was much more lively than Phuket. We stayed in a hostel called Oddy Hip Hotel. It was quiet, nice, and in its own little hidden corner of the town, it was $15 a person for a private room. Patong has a nice beach and also outdoor bars to hang by during the day. The area turns into a different town at night. They have a night market where a bunch of street food is served and I recommend trying it even if it looks a little sketch. Also, they have the cutest summer clothes for cheap and its very easy to bargain with the sellers.

Patong has a street called Bangla Rd. This street reminded me a lot of New Orleans Bourbon St. It was kind of dirty, but there were a ton of bars and a good crowd of people were out until 3-4am. Bars do close, which stinks. Also, watch out for creeps if you’re a girl.

The next morning, we had a hard time finding a place that was open for breakfast. This is because we were up and ready to go at 6AM. They said places didn’t open until around 9AM because of how late they close.

Elephants, Big Buddha, Temples

We decided to do a tour where we could see temples, elephants, and big buddha. Our tour was 600 bahts per person and that’s cheap for how much you do/see. We chose the trip through our hostel, all the trips are basically the same. I do recommend doing at least one tour when you’re there. When we went to Big Buddha and the temples, we had to cover our legs so if you go, maybe wear a long skirt or elephant pants. The elephants were fun to see, and the baby elephant was the best part of the entire trip. I wish we did more research on how the animals were treated. They made us go to a monkey show, and it made me depressed watching the monkey on a leash doing tricks that seemed more like slave work. The elephants were at the same place as the monkeys, so it made me question how the elephants were treated. Riding the elephant for us wasn’t too fun because you’re in a seat with some guy controlling the elephant. There are places where you can ride the elephant with no one else on it and there’s no seat. But the baby elephant made up for it because he was just super cute and gave us all kisses. If I could do it again, I would find a place where we could feed them and bathe them.

To Koh Phi Phi (Koh Pee Pee)

After our tour, we took a cab (600 baths) to Rassada Pier which was back near Phuket City. From Rassada, we took the ferry to Phi Phi Island. The ferry was around 2 hrs long, but you can sit outside, soak in the sun, and check out all the beautiful islands. The ferry can range between 600-1000 bahts. We were getting different prices from different people. If they ask if you want a round trip ticket, say no because when you’re at Phi Phi, you can get a ferry ticket for 300 bahts.

  • Side note, if you’re blonde and hanging out by the pier in Phi Phi, expect to have people asking to take a photo with you. We were just lounging on the beach and these to Japanese men came up to me, couldn’t speak english, and were pointing at their camera. I thought they wanted us to pay them to take a photo of us, so I nodded “No”. They looked confused and pointed at each other, and I assumed they wanted me to take their photo. I stood up, went to grab their camera, and one of the guys swooped next to me and started posing. I was like “With me?, um ok…” and took a photo with both the men. Becca said in Japan, blonde and pale is very rare, as if I’m on the verge of distinction. I had it happen again and felt like a celebrity for the day.

Anyways, in Phi Phi, it was BEAUTIFUL! In all those photos you see of Thailand, this is where those photos get taken. The view is breathtaking, and the locals are very helpful/nice. I noticed that the majority of tourists there seemed to be couples, there were a bunch of backpackers, but more couples than anything. There are also no cabs on the island, everything is walking distance. I recommend taking the hike up to Phi Phi’s Viewpoint. It is amazing, such a LONG walk, around 300 steps of stairs (so wear sneakers) but it is worth it. They charge you 30 bahts when you’re walking through. When you get to the top, you can take some great pictures and also get a refreshing drink or smoothie.

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Later on, we looked into Bob’s Booze Cruise but we didn’t want to pay the money. I think it was around $60 a person, not bad but we just thought it would be better to relax. We did a walk on the beach around 8am and found a resort that was serving breakfast right on the beach, they only charged us 200 bahts for the buffet. It was great food with a great view. One thing we found funny was that their morning “sausages” are our “hot dogs” that we would never consider to eat for a breakfast meal. Fun fact, the beach that we were on is supposedly the same beach that is in the movie “The Beach” with Leonardo Dicaprio. Anyways, after breakfast, we bought a volleyball, played a little on “the beach” and then a guy from Germany joined us. The weather was on and off with rain, but with the heat it was barely noticeable.

We told the German guy that we were Canadian, because we were telling everyone that. We weren’t sure how people would take us being “American” so we thought it was better to be Canadian. We later told him we were American and it was funny to hear what he had to say about us. He made a comment where he thinks American’s don’t travel because we already have everything in our country where we don’t think anything out of the country is any different. I had to disagree with him, telling him we all want to travel but the cost of travel is very expensive for us, and we are all in debt. Plus, American’s find it dangerous to travel outside the country because we believe people do not like us and would want to harm us (hence why we said we were Canadian, thanks a lot media).

That night, we went to a beach bar around 10pm and watched the fire performers. It was entertaining to say the least. They are not professional, for sure trained themselves, but its impressive! They are men from Thailand who dare to catch fire, hold fire while walking a thin rope, jump rope a flaming rope, and much more. They even get the audience in on the jump roping….and you see a few people get whacked with the rope on fire. Very entertaining! Also, while you are walking the town at night, each store will be selling buckets with alcohol. This is the thing there, where you pick your bottle and mixer, and they throw it in a bucket with ice and a straw. It’s an easy way not to measure your intake. There was also a boxing bar on the other side of town that we checked out. There are actual boxing matches you can watch for a price. Everything in town started closing around 2am and we were pushed back to the beach bars that stayed open a little later.

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Heading Back Home

We stayed in Phi Phi for a couple of nights, then Becca left a day early. I booked a Ferry to Krabi Town (300 Bahts, 2 hrs), then got a cab ride to KBV airport which I think was 600 bahts and around 30 minutes, then took a flight from Krabi to DMK (Bangkok) for $44. When I got to DMK, I took a cab to my hotel which was super close to BKK. I was taking the first flight out of BKK the next morning at 7am and wanted to be close to the airport. The cab ride cost me 1000 bahts but it was around a 50 minute cab ride. I stayed at the Grand Inn Come Hotel which was really nice and they have an airport shuttle so it was very convenient. The next morning I caught my flight to Narita then to Atlanta and then to Boston. The flights were exhausting, and it was hard to stay comfortable. By the end of the Narita to ATL flight, I was so sick of smelling the airplane food. I was able to pass out on my Boston flight and landed at 8pm to pass out for the rest of the night, and thankfully wasn’t jet lagged the next morning. I was surprised I wasn’t jet lagged since it was a 12 hour time change, but I guess getting home at night made it easier to adjust to the time change.

  • I spent around $500 in Thailand, and that includes all my transportation, food, and the shopping. They have the cutest clothes, I couldn’t resist. My recommendations are to pack very lightly, around 4 outfits, and plan to buy clothes there. Also, do your research before taking any excursion that involve animals. Try to stay longer than 10 days, all that travel is exhausting and only worth it if you get to relax when you get there.
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