Last year, one of my girlfriends had mentioned in the summer that she wanted to spend her next birthday in Thailand. Now if you know me well enough, you know that mentioning a trip around me is almost like extending an invite, and in some cases that just means that you are putting me in charge of putting an amazing experience together, and I did just that.
After doing some research on when to go, and finalizing everyone that was coming we had a group of 4 and were ready to start planning our trip. I like to consider myself a very resourceful person, so when I saw round trip tickets to Bangkok for about $450, I hopped on that deal. We ended up booking a flight that had a layover in Beijing both going and coming, which we did intentionally so that we could stop and see the Great Wall of China. (Because our layover was so short we were able to pay about $25 and get a day visa to go out of the airport and explore).
The three of us that traveled from California arrived in Bangkok first and there was instantly so much hustle and bustle in the city. Cars, people and tuktuks everywhere. We stayed at the W in Bangkok which I definitely recommend visiting. The staff, food as well as the swimming pool were awesome. Since Sascha was traveling from London, her flight arrived a little later, and once she arrived we sat by the pool to catch up and then headed out for a night on the town to bring in the birthday.
Now i've heard people refer to New York as the city that never sleeps, but for some reason I find that whenever I go out of town, especially to Asian cities, I find a true city that Doesn't Sleep. People were up at all hours. We went to Khao San Road, the backpacking district, 'traveler hub of South East Asia. Jam-packed with raucous bars and restaurants as well as budget hostels, it’s a favorite for late-night revelers.' Although we passed up a bunch, we did not go see a Ladyboy or pingpong show (I've gotten asked that question quite a few times). After partying and trying to push through our jetlag, we all hopped into the back of a tuktuk and headed back to our hotel.
The following morning we woke up and went on a floating market tour which was literally just that, a floating market. There were merchants selling everything from clothing and art, to Rolexes for under $50. The floating market also coincidentally had some of the best food that I had while I was in Thailand. There was one section of a bunch of vendors cooking on little stoves on their small boats, it was crazy... the good kind. We also got to visit a few BEAUTIFUL temples. After exploring the city for a few hours we headed back to the hotel before going to Breeze Restaurant Labua at State Tower, 'named one of the world’s “top 10 most cutting-edge restaurants” by USA Today,' and dined on the 52nd floor overlooking the beautiful city of Bangkok.
The following morning we woke up and headed to Phuket to get more of the vacation vibes and less of the city vibes because we wanted to get a good amount of both. It was hot as hell out there, so the first thing we did was hop into one of the pools at our lovely hotel, The Westin Siray Bay Phuket Thailand. We relaxed for the first day, and when we woke up the following morning we were out for some adventure and bucketlisting. Our first stop was to Tiger Kingdom Phuket, where we were able to play with some tigers and although we were scared out of our mind at first, after a while we felt like we made some new friends. From there, we headed over to do some elephant trekking, and stopped and played with some monkeys.. Well, to be honest I was a little scared, but my girlfriend Jericha is an animal whisperer, so they were best friends.
We spent the next day visiting the Big Buddha, and doing some light sight seeing before going to Phi Phi Islands for a day. We purchased tickets for the Full-Day Phi Phi Island Sunrise by Speedboat from Phuket, which took us on a tour of the Viking Cave, Loh Samah Bay, and Monkey Beach. We were able to jump off of the boat at Pileh Lagoon, which was also an ideal snorkeling spot. The tour also came with a traditional Thai lunch with different options. (During this trip I was practicing a Vegan lifestyle, so my options were limited however everything I ate was delicious. After lunch, we moved on to Bamboo Island, where we relaxed for a few hours before heading back by speedboat and watching the sunset.
Phi Phi Island was ALMOST our last stop for our trip; the next morning we flew back to Bangkok (round trip was under $100) and from there hopped on our flights to head back home. We conveniently booked our layover to stop in Beijing to visit the Great Wall of China. We landed around 6:30AM and once we got our day visa and hired a taxi for roughly $40, it took us about an hour and a half to drive over to the Mutianyu side of the wall, which is sometimes known as the less crowded side. We were some of the first people there, we purchased our tickets for around $6 and indeed it did not take us long to get up to the top. We walked the wall for a half hour roughly and then took the slide back down. Our taxi driver was really nice, he stopped us at this tea house where we were able to see the rituals that they practice in China, and after that we headed back to the airport and headed home.
I will DEFINITELY be making another trip to Thailand and visiting during the Full Moon festival next time.
Video Recap of our trip..