Thailand was probably by far my favorite country throughout the trip… It has everything you’re looking for… Crazy city life in Bangkok offset by culture and history at the Grand Palace. Amazing, cheap food everywhere, night markets, shopping malls, nightlife, and if you venture out to Phuket, the most amazing beaches you’ve ever seen. Thailand definitely had the best food… I was going crazy with the curries, the soups, Thai tea, Thai coffee, exotic fruits, the noodles… Just thinking about it makes me salivate.
Too bad it was over 100 degrees and 100% humidity and the sun was beating down so strong, my entire body broke out in sun rash, because otherwise, I loved Thailand. I was super bummed out that we didn’t get to go to Chiang Mai, but it’s okay. Next time. And there will be a next time, because I am in LOVE with Thailand.
Bangkok has decent public transportation and an abundance of taxi cabs who can take you around the city. Just make sure you tell the driver, “Meter please” so you aren’t surprised at the end. You can easily take the train from the airport to the city center and from there either cab it or take the metro to the nearest subway stop. We found a great guy with a souped up taxi to take us to the Kachanaburi province to see the Tiger Temple. He was really nice, took photos for us, had Jason Mraz playing non-stop (A+, my friend), and even bought us fruit. We tipped him pretty well and it only cost us about $20 per person for 4 people.
In Phuket, we just stayed in one area and I think you need to cab it if you wanna get around the island so consider your options carefully in terms of whether you want nightlife, serene beaches, touristy vs. non-touristy.
Bangkok is a great city – a dirty Asian city but I love those! Great street food, perfectly safe as long as you keep your bag close to your body and make sure everything is zipped up at all times. The Grand Palace is a boat ride away but totally worth it, and I highly recommend making trips out to go to the night markets to get some cheap souvenirs and $1 pad thai.
Phuket is amazing – I have never seen such beautiful beaches in my entire life. Really, your mind will be blown that water could be so cerulean.
HOT HOT HOT HOT. Hot and humid, oh me, oh my. Bangkok was definitely the hottest city we went to, and I ended up getting sun rash everywhere. Bring loads of sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat. Airy, loose clothing is a must. Bring a couple cute bikinis and live out of them if you’re going to Phuket or any of the neighboring islands.
For the most part, you can walk around in a tank top and shorts, but if you plan on going into the temples (which you definitely should), bring a cardigan as bare shoulders are not allowed inside. You can either rent a wrap to tie around your waist to cover your legs or wear a skirt that goes down to your knees. A maxi dress would probably be the best option for traipsing around the old city. For shoes, I spent the whole trip in Rainbow flip flops and was fine.
Food & Beverage:
Thai food is incredible. Flavorful, spicy, diverse, and utterly complex. You’ll find so many great things to eat off the streets – everything from fresh pad thai, fried scorpions, these sweet potato balls, and my favorite, mango sticky rice. You’ll be constantly disappointed by your neighborhood Thai place. I didn’t realize Thai food was so wonderfully spicy and lemongrass-y and sour. I highly recommend getting out of your pad see ew comfort zone – explore all the weird curries, the spicy BBQ, Tom Yum Goong, and my personal favorite, som tum or green papaya salad. And eat a lot of fruit while you’re there – it’s cheap and fresh and lychee and durian and mango and jackfruit are everywhere!
Tourism is a major factor for Thailand’s GDP – about 10 million to Bangkok and 3 million to Phuket annually so almost every sign will have an English translation. Lucky you! People might not speak the best English but they are so, so friendly and very willing to help if you just ask.
You can live off of $10 a day for food. I am not kidding. Get ready to gorge on boat noodles and satay.
Traveling alone? You are perfectly safe here. No worries. Just don’t go to shady alleyways by yourself, but Bangkok and Phuket are perfectly safe for all tourists.
Sex trade – yes it’s prevalent, yes it’s there. I don’t personally believe in supporting pong shows and ladyboy shows because most of them are victims, but they are popular and easy to find in Patpong and Pattaya. And as a girl, being near a ladyboy bar, let’s just say I’ve never felt so undesirable in my entire life! Except unless I was hanging out in WeHo.
This was one thing I was NOT willing to try.
mango sticky rice
the grand palace
fried sweet potato balls – delicious!
som tum salad <3 (aka green papaya)
tom yum goong
And then on to Phuket!
maya bay – where leo dicaprio filmed the beach.
beautiful loh samah bay
our hilarious guide bringing us mai tais
chicken pad see euw
goodbye Koh Phi Phi…. I miss you. Almost more than I miss Bali.