Well, it is a too- cliché tourist destination and I know I always make it a point to NOT BE CLICHÉ. To be honest, I feel like laughing my guts out while I write this sentence. Also, most of the people would totally dismiss it as the ideal tourist destination during winters, I mean, you would want to backpack to some place cold and hold the snow in your hands and make a snowman maybe! In fact, my trip was planned just a few days- probably 20- 25 days ahead of it. I backpacked to Thailand with two pairs of shoes and 4 pairs of clothes (for a span of 10 days) and covered the cities- Bangkok, Phuket, Krabi and Pattaya. But I am glad I went ahead with the trip despite being rather fickle- minded about a NOT- TOO- WELL- PLANNED international trip. Although the pictures that I have taken through my phone are nothing compared to the beauty that I have encountered, I hope you would find this post useful for your travel to Thailand.
Thailand: What You Need to Know
Thailand, officially the Kingdom of Thailand is a country at the center of Southeast Asia. It has a constitutional monarchy and its maritime boundaries India on the Andaman Sea to the southwest.
More about Thailand:
* Currency: Thai Baht, 1 Thai Baht = 2 INR and 0.031 USD (as of 16/01/2018)
* Language: Thai is the most widely spoken. Some of the people can understand and speak English. But one needs to be really good at sign language and non- verbal communication.
* Money Exchange: There are countless ATMs everywhere; one can simply withdraw cash using their VISA cards instead of exchanging currencies. I carried USD and a 2000 Thai Baht as you need 2000 Baht for your Visa- on- arrival.
* Modes of payment: Cash. Mainly.
How to Get to Thailand?
I live in Bangalore, Karnataka and as I mentioned I didn’t plan this trip well in advance. The flight tickets from Bangalore to Bangkok were too expensive and hence I booked them from Kochi, Kerala which was again not very cheap either. The two- way flight tickets cost me around 20500 INR and the bus tickets from Bangalore to Kochi( to and fro) were around 4000 INR. Now, Bangkok has two international airports- Suvarnabhumi (considered Southeast Asia’s biggest airport) and Don Mueang (considered Asia’s oldest operating airport). The latter is operational only for Asian countries and that’s where my flight was headed too. Plus, it was a little cheaper than the flights heading towards Suvarnabhumi.
Is Thailand Safe for Tourists?
YES, I would like to believe it is a very safe place for tourists. I roamed across different cities alone- rather aimlessly, confused at times with nobody to talk to and no known soul, but yeah, people are very helpful. I would also like to believe that the tuktuk drivers didn’t overcharge me! But yes, I was scolded by one of the vendors at the bus station in Krabi and till now I couldn’t figure out what wrong did I do by asking for a bottle of Green Tea!
How to get around in Thailand
For the intercity travel, I have used 12go Asia , on which I stumbled upon by chance. So basically, everything from the hostels and the intercity transport was pre- booked! DUH! Thankfully I planned this much at least!
I booked only hostels for my stay and luckily all the hostels were popular enough and the taxi drivers could easily locate them. I made a couple of friends too during my stay at the various hostels and it was interesting and at the same time surprising to know different things about their respective countries. The stay didn’t cost me much and the average rent per night was approximately 800 INR. I booked my hostels through the site HOSTELWORLD depending upon the distance from the places I wanted to visit in the respective cities plus their ratings( LINKS PROVIDED IN THE CAPTION)!
How to get around in Bangkok
Well, this question is not only for Bangkok but also for other cities like Phuket and Krabi. Tuktuk comes as a savior and then there are taxies also. There are many buses and almost all parts of the cities are well connected.
But here’s the thing, if it’s your first time in these places and you’re spending only a few days, taking public transportation might not be a good idea. It’s complicated as the local people are a little hard on English and it might eat up much of your time and derail your plans. Since I boarded taxies and tuktuk- the minimum fares being 100 Baht for closest of distances, I ended up spending most of my money on transportation. Lesson learned- plan the trips properly and buy a map before landing at the destination!
Places to Visit
You can find the best tourist attractions in any of the popular sites. I have put the images and the links to the ones I could visit. I have only traversed Google before the trip and I knew exactly where I wanted to go. I mean, I am more interested in MARKETS, you can tell. I think that was one of the smartest things to do- not depending on the taxi drivers to take you around. Rather booking a taxi to the places you wish to go. Local insight could make all the difference if you have somebody you know.
My stay in Thailand was planned as Bangkok-> Phuket-> Krabi and then back to Bangkok as my flight back home was booked from Bangkok. Although Bangkok is just another city which doesn’t have a lot to offer, I googled the below and found them quite beautiful and exciting. Don’t miss out on the Sky Train like I did!
4. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market– the first picture of this post.
I booked a ferry from Phuket to Krabi as the distance was only 162 km (around 3 hours). I was lucky enough to get into a Cruise! It was one of the best highlights of the trip. Also, I have no clue how was there internet and network in the middle of the vast sea!
- Phi Phi Islands: Scuba Diving and Snorkelling
I was in Krabi for two days but it was raining on the second day so only first day was productive. I only went to the nearby places. The Noppharathara beach is the best beach that I ever been to. It was an empty beach and also was full of forest. One could get a mat or a sheet and have a sound sleep right at the beach. If I ever go to Thailand again, Krabi is the place where I would like to spend more time.
I was there in Pattaya for the New Years and I could tell there isn’t any place better to celebrate the new years than this city. The whole city was lit and everybody was walking down the WALKING STREETS to celebrate it with each other.
- One of the pubs in Walking Streets, Pattaya
3. Tiger Park
Overall, Thailand was a great experience with great sight seeing and awesome food. I guess, I spent most on the food and a little shopping at the various markets. If you are to go to Thailand, plan it a month or two in advance for a cheaper deal. My trip was covered in around 55- 60k INR including the flight tickets, which isn’t that cheap and I could have made it way cheaper by planning well in advance. Food was one of the major attractions, I believe. As I also like to take pictures, although I am learning photography and currently managing with my phone only, I have posted an ‘On The Streets‘ of Bangkok as well. Going forward I will try to be more informative about the travel posts.
I hope the bowl of popcorn that you grabbed in the beginning of the post is over by now and you have started planning for your next travel. Believe me, I have already planned all my travels this year right after coming from this trip. Imagine the extent of impact of this trip! Travels teach us a lot. They open our minds apart from letting us know about the unknown lands and the people living on them. It also makes us have trust in those people of the unknown land. For me, it is a happy ending when I come back from a trip with a smiling face and have lots to jot down in my diary. Here’s to more backpacking trips and happy endings! Again, I hope you’ve checked out the ‘On The Streets‘ of Bangkok as well. Stay tuned for more travel posts and have a good day ahead.
** All the pictures are taken by me with my iPhone8Plus Phone
~ Stylishly Yours,