Having visited this wonderful country earlier in the year again (straight after my Australia trip to Melbourne and Perth) it was definitely time for me to share the unforgettable experiences with you. Quite frankly I cannot recommend this destination highly enough whether you are after sun, fresh & healthy food, friendly locals, party or beautiful beaches and sea life.
I first visited Thailand whilst still at university back in 2008, this was a proper backpackers holiday so please don’t judge my tourist choices. And yes that is me jumping off the Phi Phi Don in 2008 on the right!
Back then we first flew to Bangkok and then straight to Koh Samui (this airport has some serious chill vibes), and then took a boat to stay at Koh Phangan for 3 nights where we partied at Full Moon party drinking Sansom and Red Bull in a bucket (they sold those on the streets) during the night and rented a scooter exploring the island’s beautiful beaches during the day like true Westerners. We then took a boat to Koh Tao where we stayed for 2 nights. Whilst on Koh Tao we did a snorkelling trip to Nang Yuan island and were lucky enough to see a Whale Shark without having to do a PADI course. BOOM!
Then we spent a whole day travelling across to Phuket and stayed in Pattaya taking various trips to the islands around including visiting Koh Phi Phi Don and Maya Bay. My personal highlight was feeding the fish with my hands in the turquoise blue water whilst snorkelling. Weird sensation being surrounded by pretty neon fish.
Next we took a flight to Bangkok where we visited couple of palaces and took a boat out to the snake farm. It was there I got to hold the cutest baby monkey and got photographed with the biggest (scary) python. We went out on Kos Sao road, took photos in a tuk tuk whilst staying at what we then thought was a decent hotel with a pool.
During the trip I didn’t meet too many Thai people, but did manage to hang out with really friendly local kids ( and even some dogs). I am embarrassed to admit that I only learnt one word during this trip – Kob Khun Ka.
Still, it was an amazing holiday.
This time I was flying from Singapore and therefore flew directly to Phuket. Whilst I had great time in Pattaya during my last visit, I wouldn’t recommend anyone spending more than a day on this island now overflowing with package holidaymakers and Western men dating much younger Thai women. Trust me Thailand has so many better places to visit.
So I took a taxi straight from the airport to the port and took a boat to Yao Yai Island located in Andaman sea between Krabi and Phuket. This island was surprisingly empty during a busy tourist season of March. We stayed at a small BnB for couple of nights (paying only 1000 Baht per night equating to around 20 pounds) and got to explore the island by scooter. One day we rented a private long tail boat to Koh Hong Island which was pricey at 4500 baht for the day, but worth every penny given that the food was provided and we could take the boat anywhere the driver took us. It was then that we saw a man living in a cave.
We next took a boat to Ko Phi Phi Don where we stayed the night enjoying the colour of that sea.
We stayed at the Phi Phil Villa, which was ok for an overnight stay.
From there you can easily rent a boat to Maya Bay for 1500 baht for couple of hours. I especially would recommend going there for the sunrise. There are still no words to describe Maya bay lagoon, even though it is now full of tourists with selfie sticks. The colour of that water. Simply no words.
Our next destination was the island of Koh Ngai, which is located South of Koh Phi Phi. It is one of the three islands below a rather busy Koh Lanta, so our boat went via there and took around 3 hours in total to get there. Really easy hassle free trip that was.
At Koh Ngai we stayed at Coco Cottages(pictures left), a small eco friendly hotel with the friendliest staff and no children allowed. It was amazing to spoil ourselves so my better half booked the sea front bungalow for us to enjoy for the next 4 nights. Needless to say we decided on staying for longer there as it was simply the closest thing to paradise. Every day we were waking up to the view of the Andaman sea enjoying a simple 400m swim to snorkel by the small coral reef and its habitants (plenty of fish) when we wanted something different to do (opposite to just sunbathing).
On the last night of our stay on Koh Ngai something amazing happened, my life partner Dan proposed in the most romantic way and of course I said ‘yes’! This really was turning into the best holiday ever.
My last leg of the journey took me to Railay, a small peninsula (as it turned out it is not connected by land) with limestone formations near Krabi airport. I booked to stay at the Avatar hotel and this time was travelling solo, which I must say I am not very used to doing. Nevertheless, I feel so safe in Thailand I really didn’t mind this part.
I arrived in the noon by boat via a short stop in Koh Lanta, the weird thing was that we had to be transported from a large 2 level boat to a small long tail boat to get dropped of at Railay. I am not a captain of safety here, but it was a rather close call to the boat slightly overflowing with suitcases. Let’s just say I was happy to have got to the beach all dry and in one piece. However arriving at Railay from West side was quite a spectacle. The rock formations are really something else, so once I dropped off my stuff at the hotel, which was located on the not such pretty East side of Railay, I was eager to get exploring around. Railay is quite small with most hotels facing the ‘uglier’ East side of the beach where all the trees are growing right in the water. I really didn’t mind that however, bear in mind if you are coming from Krabi airport/Krabi, don’t expect to be vowed by the beauty. The beauty is really on the other side of the beach.
I then found the secret path to Tonzai beach where many people go rock climbing (or so I hear). Following that I was able to meet some random friendly travellers whilst on the beach watching a really beautiful sunset (above).
What was great to see on this trip was that Thailand is taking much greater pride at sustaining it’s beauty, recycling and looking after the marine life than it’s Asian neigbours.
I cannot wait to go back there again, perhaps next time I will visit Trang and more Southern parts (maybe even for our honeymoon!).