Thailand, One of the most beautiful places I've experienced for $607 round trip!
Hey y’all!! Soooo if you are wanting to know if Thailand was amazing , the answer is YES and if you are wanting to know if I planned it, THE ANSWER IS YES! It actually wasn’t as hard as you think it’s just takes a lot patience, research and free-time. I am going to explain what I did from start to finish, where I stayed and any FREE advice I can give you!
First and foremost, Thailand is amazing! The people are friendly, the food is cheap and the views are breathtaking! Our original flight was from New York to China which was 15 hours and then a layover for 6 hours in China, then China to Phucket, Thailand. We took China Southern and paid $1550 total for two people. The actually flight was $607 per person but we added travel insurance ( you don’t have to, but we decided to for $128 total). We flew from Atlanta to New York Friday after work for $148 round trip on Jet blue. We actually didn’t pay for that round trip because we both had credit from previous mistakes with that airline.The next, which was Saturday morning is when we flew to Thailand and returned from the following Sunday. Despite the reviews, China Southern was actually good to us. They feed us four times huge meals, fruit, drinks, unlimited wine and the seats were comfortable. They also had TV’s , gave us blankets and were very friendly. I was worried because I have never flown that long, but I took Dramine which knocked me out, watched movies and read. After about 4 hours my nerves calmed down and I forgot we were even on a plane. Also — the plane runs on Chinese time. Although it was light outside, it was night time in Asia, so they turned the lights off and trained our minds already for the 13 hour time difference.
We had about a day of traveling each way, so we spent about 5 full days in Thailand total. We did a lot in those 5 days. I mean a lot! My suggestion would be to stay longer if your time permits. For me, I go on vacation a lot and I only have 15 paid vacations days this year, so I decided to do less time to save for other trips.
Each one of our USD traded to around $31 baht. In Thailand they use baht and don’t really accept USD at all. They take credit cards but most US credit cards charge a 3% international fee on top of the transaction cost. My opinion is to wait until you get to the Thailand airport to exchange the money. There are no commission fees there and you get a better deal on the dollar. With our layover in China, we decided not to exchange our money to Chinese dollars and to use our credit card to pay for food. We told ourselves we wanted to stay on a budget and we almost did, but not quite!! We went over by maybe $175 and I can’t honestly tell you on what. Maybe taxis? Souvenirs ? We don’t know! Our spending budget which included activities, food, souvenirs and transportation was $600 total for the entire trip for the both of us. We spent about $705 that week total. I would say we spent about $1300 per person for the flight, food, taxis and transportation , hotels etc for (7) days worth of travel. SERIOUSLY IT WAS NOT EXPENSIVE FOR AN INTERNATIONAL TRIP!
We had saved and set aside money for the hotels prior to the trip. This is the best thing to do so it wont seem like you are spending a lot of money. We stayed at a different hotel every night and paid $685 total for 6 different hotels which includes our New York stay for Friday night. Yes you might be thinking that’s a lot, but for us, it averaged around $100 a night for top of the line hotels. When I say beautiful views and awesome accommodations? I mean it! Yes you can stay at cheaper hotels or even Airbnb’s for nothing, but we moved around a lot and wanted to treat ourselves this trip. We deserved it!! Again this is just my itinerary, I promise you can find hotels for cheaper around $50 a night! I can even help you plan it. I am discovering a new passion for travel and event planning and I would love for you to be my new client!
Mistake #1 —We made was exchanging about $300 of our dollars to Baht. I guess because they go my exact stock prices and fees, in New York we only got $25 baht for every dollar. Booooooo!! So we ended up loosing some money. After that we learned our lesson and ended up exchanging the rest of the money right when we landed in Phuket. Our first stop was Patong. Patong is a great area with a lot of tourist, shopping, clubs etc. We arranged for a shuttle to come and take us to our hotel. We used Phucket Airport Transfer and it came to 699 baht ($22 USD). The ride was about 45 mins away, so that was a steal. Do not get the taxis because it will range about $50 USD to get to Patong. We booked our Sunday night and Monday night hotel at Oakwood Hotel/Journey Hub. It was $164 for two nights, beautiful pool and view and great breakfast. Use my code on booking.com to get $20 off your next stay! Click here —> Niqua Referral ** We arrived really late Sunday, so we slept until the next morning.
Monday- We visited the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Phucket. It was definitely an experience. We didn’t really get to interact with the elephants too much, but we did get to fed them, take photos and learn about their experiences. The history behind these gentle creatures is so inspiring and I love that this sanctuary is treating them right and taking care of them. The tour was about 4 hours long and included transportation and lunch and snacks. We paid about $75 USD per person for this. See the photos below!!
Tuesday - We wanted to visit to Phi Phi Island. Phi Phi is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen! To get to the island you have to take a ferry. We did not book this prior to arriving, but our hotel concierge had a taxi and ferry deal to get us there. We paid $1000 baht for the taxi and two hour ferry ride for two, which is about $31 USD. Not bad at all! Once you get to the ferry dock be prepared to pay $30 baht per person as a fee. Honestly I forgot what the fee was, there was a lot of them. The ferry ride was beautiful. While on the boat you could go on the top and see the views and they gave you free drinks and muffins. Once you get off to the island you have to pay a $20 baht per person to get on the island. They stated it was a cleaning fee for the island and it mandatory to enter. After that we settled in our hotel, which was directly on the beach. Our hotel was called PP Charley Beach Resort—Amazing views, service, OMG AMAZING BREAKFAST, and steps from the beach. Warning- Phi phi is extremely HOT!! SO PREPARE YOURSELF. Phi phi is a world on its own. It has places to eat, vendors everywhere and bars all on this little island. We knew we wanted to go on the long boats so we went to the pier and negotiated prices. All of the people there was charging $1500 baht, but we found someone who agreed on $1300 baht ($40 USD) for 3 hours around the islands. The views were amazing and we had the best time!! SO RECOMMENDED!!! Later that night we ate on the beach, enjoyed our hotel and even found beach party with hundreds of people! Who knew this island had so many people on it!!
Wednesday morning we headed back to Patong and paid $500 baht for the ferry ride back and $300 baht to get from the ferry dock to out Wednesday hotel. That day we planned to just hang out and chill all day. We wanted to treat ourselves so we booked a beautiful suite at the Wyndam Grand Phucket Kalim Bay Resort, which had our own private pool and Jacuzzi tub in the room. AMAZINGGGGG!!! We paid about $200 USD for the night which is really not bad considering what we had. The pool directly faced the ocean and had the best infinity pools. We didn’t leave the hotel at all that day. We even sat through a 2hour sales presentation and in exhange for our time they gave us a gift. We wanted to do the spa gift but we didn’t have time at all so they gave us food vouchers. I highly suggest doing this if you are on a budget. They gave us over $3000 in baht which is A LOT of money and we balled out on dinner and alcohol drinks for dinner. See photos below!
Thursday started our new adventure to Bangkok. We purchased flights before hand which was bout $125 USD per person round trip to and from Phuket. Mistake #2 was not paying for our bags before hand. We paid for our bags at the airport and it was about $90 USD total for both carry on’s round trip. If we would have purchase 3 hours prior at the airport it would have saved us $30 USD. Anyway, Bangkok is like New York x10. This city doesn’t sleep, has 10 million people, bars, night markets. etc. We stayed at a Airbnb which had a bell man and was simple, clean, 20 mins from the attractions, and had a great view. Here’s the link—>Airbnb Bangkok . We paid a whooping $6 for the night because I had a $35 credit in my Airbnb account.. Even if I didn’t have the credit, the room was still $41 for the night! CRAZY!! If you have never used AIrbnb before here’s a coupon for up to $55 off your stay—> Airbnb Coupon . After we checked in we got into a taxi to head to the Grand Palace. The taxi driver for some reason kept suggesting to take the boat there instead of just driving us there. We were convinced he didn’t want to be in the traffic. He ended up dropping us off at the pier and we got bombarded by another guy who was waiting for tourist as well. The guy somehow convinced us to get into this tuk tuk because he said he would take us directly to the Grand Palace which was close. That man ended up taking us all over the world it seemed like. After about 20 mins of driving to different temples and back to the pier, we got out and was very frustrated. In a panic, we downloaded the GRAB app which is like Uber there and we finally headed to the Grand Palace. When we got there it was extremely hot! We both wore long sleeve pants and mid sleeve shirts because you could not enter without it. It was about $500 baht per person to enter and you got to walk around and go into the different temples. So worth but bring water, an umbrella for the sun and wear flowy pants. We stayed there for about an hour and then tried to head to get food. We got stopped by taxis again and none of the taxi wanted to use their meters although the top of their cars had it. The taxis were pretty much scammers for tourists. One driver ended up convincing us to get inside of his car, we did and that was a mistake. We told him to take us to the mall/ near restaurants and he ended up taking us to an alley to some restaurants he obviously knew. That as MISTAKE #3. WE GOT PLAYED! It was never like I was scared in that alley, all I knew was to get out and remember where we turned off of and keep walking. We got out of the taxi and pretty much ran out of the alley. It was like survivor mode for sure. Those taxis almost ruined our trip. It seems as if they try to get over on tourist in a lot of these tourist areas. DO NOT TAKE THEM! Take GRAB! its safer and more reliable. At night we went to the night market which made up for the trip. It was called Koh S Road. It had hip hop bars, street food, Thai massage places and a lot of shopping!! SO MUCH FUN!!
FRIDAY- We headed back to Phuket and stayed at this amazing villa called Himaphan Boutique Resort! The villa was only $85 this night and it was about 5-min drive from the airport. We didn’t do much this day because we arrived around 3 pm. I wanted to squeeze in a cooking class but time permitted. We chilled the villa and headed to the beach and watched the sunset. The beach was located near the airport runway so it had the most amazing opportunity for great photos with the airplanes in your rear view. The beach was called Nai Yang Beach and the sunset was so beautiful. We ended up walking at night for dinner and closed the trip off.
Here are my suggestions
Stay at Airbnb’s or find cheap hotels. Look for hotels with a view, beach access or nice pool. So relaxing!!
Definitely visit Bangkok & Phi Phi islands. Lifetime experiences for sure!!
Download Grab App. It’s like uber you can pay in baht and it’s safe! Also, only get until a Taxi when its metered. Don’t get into a taxi if the driver just throws out a price. The taxi drivers in Bangkok will scam you if you aren’t stern.
Dress comfortable and bring a lot of sunscreen! It is so hot there!!
Try the Thai tea and sticky rice - AMAZING!!!
Only drink bottle water. I heard people get sick by drinking their faucet water so please be cautious.
Go to a night market ! Shop, eat the street food and get a Thai massage! We went to Koh San in Bangkok and it was so much fun!
Visit the floating market and do a cooking class — these are two things we didn’t have time to do. If we had one more day for sure we would have experienced this!
Have a budget and stick with it! You save headaches this way!
The food there was so refreshing!! I never felt full or bloated after any of the meals and there was never any salt or pepper on any of our tables. The spices wherever fresh and the customer service was on point everywhere we went. Thailand had a lot of American sodas and snacks with the same packaging but it did taste a little different. In the airports they had KFC, Krispy Kreme and Starbucks, which I was surprised by that. Also, in China the security is soooo strict. We even had to get a temporary visa for our 4 hour layover there, which was crazy!! Warning - There are so many security points in China, so don’t be alarmed by this. Also there is only ladies working at the airport in Bangkok and you can’t record the security/baggage areas. I tried to and one of the ladies chased me down to delete the videos out of my phone.
There are so many things that we did in so little time. The entire time I felt so relaxed and stress free. I am happy and blessed I got to experience this country. Most people will never go to Asia in their life and I am definitely blessed to have went with my boo aka my best friend. All of the hotels listed are not sponsored in any way. I wish it was =( hahaha! But seriously that is my goal one day!! We planned all of this ourselves by just researching and going with the flow. I hope you loved this detailed blog, I know it was a lot to read but I really wanted to tell you everything we experienced. I took a lot of of video on my phone and I am editing my Thailand VLOG and I hope I will post when it is available! If you are wanting to plan a trip to Thailand or anywhere, I would love to help you out!! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can connect from there Be sure to use my booking coupon as well! Save some coinssssss!!
Please share this with your friends and family and stay tuned for the next adventure!!
Until Next Time,