Tuesday 2 October 2018

Travel Diaries - Thailand

Hello there!
I'm here and back and ready to get back into it and what better way to kick off this comeback post than with a natter about the biggest part of my summer! Yes, this is another one of my Travel Diaries posts and this one is the best one yet I think personally. As I went travelling round Thailand with a little detour to Singapore, because you know, why not?! So I am excited to share with you whatever I can squeeze into this little blog post about my trip - pop in a few things I learnt and hopefully it could help those of you interested in venturing to this part of the world or you may just be interested in a chatter about holidays. Because I am ALWAYS down for that! I'll try and keep it short and sweet and I'm sure the pictures will speak a thousand words, as I could write about our trip for pages and pages!

So, this was my first time going to Thailand, I have been to Singapore many times before as my dad lives over there but never ventured to Thailand until now. I went with my other half Oliver, and we decided to just book flights and wing it. So what this means is we only had our flights booked and nothing else, and we booked our hotels and transport in Thailand as we went. I know. Daunting and could be the worst thing imaginable to some people, haha! But it was fun, and exciting, but not going to lie there were stressful times, but I'll get to that later! So we got our flights through Sky Scanner and flew with Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines, and we got them for around £450 each return, so we got them pretty cheap to be honest, with long haul flights, especially to South Asia, you can be looking at around £1000+. So with flights, my best advice is to get them as early as possible and research through a few airlines as there is a good deal out there somewhere! Don't just jump at the first one you find. So with ours we flew in the August and we booked ours in the January, so I'd look to book flights around 6-7 months prior. With our flights we flew from Manchester to Frankfurt and the caught our connecting flight to Singapore, we stayed in Singapore for a few days and then flew from Singapore to Bangkok. Now you don't have to stop in Singapore, we just decided to, you can just head straight to Bangkok, however if your flying that way, I would really recommend popping into Singapore, even if it's just for a few days, it's probably my favourite place in the world. I do have a Travel Diary for Singapore which I will link below!

So after a lovely few days in Singapore we land in Bangkok, and it is a very built up and busy city, I didn't know what to expect from this place. However, we stayed in a small hotel on Koh San Road, which if you haven't heard of it, is one of the central party spots in all of Bangkok, so as you can imagine it was mental, but so much fun! On Koh San Road you have everything from food stalls, to bars and clubs, to people offering fried scorpion on a stick. Oh you can't forget the bucket stalls, selling really strong buckets of alcohol for a few quid! I would describe it as a Magaluf strip but on acid, haha! Was so much fun though. While we was in Bangkok, we did a day trip going to see all of the sights we could squeeze in, as we was only in Bangkok for a couple of days. SO! We got tup tups around and they was incredibly cheap, and we first went to see a couple of local temples, which was lovely and seeing the local culture is always amazing, and the temples are visually stunning. We then went on to hop on a boat and travel to the floating markets, the boat journey itself was lovely, as we saw so much of Bangkok along the way. However, the current was choppy, so the boat was very bouncy and it was hilarious, as me and Oliver couldn't stop laughing while bouncing around on the boat from the current. So we went to the floating markets, and it wasn't really floating, there was a couple of boats floating selling food and fresh fruit, however most of the markets was stalls. Nevertheless, it was lovely and we grabbed some yummy food and had a good wander round. We then hopped back on the boat and headed back to where we set off from. But we stopped off and had a look round a temple called "Wat Arun" and we was allowed access and to climb it and see the views of Bangkok which was un-real. That day we generally spent sightseeing and cramming in as much as we could, seeing as we wasn't there for that long. We stayed in Bangkok for 2 days and then hopped on a long 15 hour coach journey to Krabi. Now, there is many ways to travel around any place not just Thailand, but you have planes, coaches, boats, tup tups, and we used them all! Haha, but to head down to Krabi we took the overnight coach, so was a long long journey. But before I get to talking about Krabi (one of my favourite places) I'll share my thoughts about Bangkok. So, I loved the experience of Bangkok, it wasn't my favourite place but enjoyed the time we had there. It's very built up and can sometimes feel quite claustrophobic, but I enjoyed the time we had but I wouldn't go back there in a hurry.

So next on our trip was Krabi! Krabi was by far one of my favourite spots and we didn't really do much. We literally just relaxed. And it was great. Because after all the travelling you do on a trip like this, relaxing is magical. So we stayed in a gorgeous hotel not far from the amazing beaches, and it was called the Alisea Boutique Hotel I think. It was cheap, the rooms were fabulous, the staff were so lovely and the pool was unreal, because I love a good pool. Relaxing by the pool has to be one of the best things ever. So the hotel was lovely, and we stayed in Krabi for 4 nights in total, as we extended our stay because we loved Krabi so much. So in Krabi like I said we didn't really do that much, but on one of the days we was there we took a boat over to Railay Beach. So it didn't cost that much, generally in Thailand travel, whether it be a boat or a bus, isn't that expensive! So we went over to Railay to explore and it was lovely, we walked all around the island, saw all the beaches, got the most delicious smoothie ever, and met some cute little monkeys. We also come across the famous willy cave, hehe! And it literally is a cave full of wooden willy carvings and theres tonnes! Its crazy! But besides the wooden willy carvings, we come across a viewpoint. However, to get to this viewpoint you had to climb. But literally up the side of a cliff, there was not safety equipment, just a flimsy piece of rope. I am not even joking. However, being the cocky brits that we are, thought "yeah it'll be a piece of piss this". I can tell you now it was not. It was so so high, I'd say at least 200ft, and it was just continuous cliff and we thought "why on earth have we done this". It was so hot and tiring and as someone who gets tired walking up the bloody stairs I should've expected this. But nevertheless we made it. We was both big sweaty messes but we made it. And throughout the trauma of getting to it, it was so worth it. The views were insane! Like Instagram goals, that I would be putting on my Instagram! There is also a lagoon up there, but it was closed while we was up there which was gutting but the views made up for it all. But then there was the trauma of getting back down. I can tell you know I have never been so happy to feel ground before in my life. But all moaning aside, the experience was incredible! But overall a day in Railay is a definite must! But overall our Krabi stay was incredible, we drank lots of Chang beer, strawberry daquris and ate our body weight in every kind of food. But our time in Krabi was up and it was off to our next stop. Koh Phangan! But overall, Krabi was one of my favourite places, not a lot going on, but a lovely place to stop off for some relaxation and amazing views. I would definitely go back in a heart beat!

So our Koh Phangan stay was short but sweet. We got a coach from Krabi, which took us to the other side of Thailand, and we then got a ferry to Koh Phangan. Again travel days are long and tiring, so we arrived and then went to our hotel. We thought with little time we have we will have a wander out. So we grabbed some food at this amazing Australian steak house, I can't quite remember what it was called but it was insane! And just what we needed after all that travelling! So after that we headed to a bar just down the way from our hotel and they did the best Strawberry Daquris I had ever tried! So of course we stayed and I had about 12 and got absolutely sloshed. And in most bars we had seen in Thailand, they have a bell, and for around £10 you can get everyone a shot in the bar. So they did this in this bar, and it was rung many of times, and obviously after a lot to drink we really wanted to ring it and we did. So you can imagine the head I woke up with the next day! So worth it. One thing as well I had seen throughout my time in Thailand is that all the locals are the most lovely people and so helpful and I loved every person we met out there! But one of the main reasons we went to Koh Phangan is to do the Half Moon Party, which was basically a festival in the jungle, and it was insane. We met the greatest group of people at our hotel and we went together, I got absolutely sloshed again and had an amazing time with amazing people. Half Moon or Full Moon party is a definite must if your ever in Thailand! So lots of drinking and partying on this island, but next stop was Koh Tao. Koh Phangan was insane and I wish we had more time to spend there! But next time I will definitely stay for a little while longer!

So Koh Tao was an experience. We stayed in two different parts of the island, and first we stayed more towards the south, away from majority of the more touristy areas in Koh Phablets Ngan. So we booked a cliff side log cabin, which we thought sounded amazing! But it was in the middle of the jungle, up a huge mountain. So was very remote to say the least. However, we took it as an experience and we enjoyed the place we stayed as it was very relaxed, and very picturesque. We travelled down to the nearest town and explored around there, and we found some lovely beaches and amazing viewpoints, we climbed one viewpoint which actually was very easy to climb this time, thank goodness! It was called John Susan viewpoint and is a definite must if your around there! Thailand is a beautiful place and to see it from these view points is incredible. So we spend our last couple of nights on Sairee Beach, which is where most of the tourism is. And I'll be real with you I spent these two nights so so drunk haha! But before drunk Amy. We did travel over to Koh Nang Yuan, which is one of the most beautiful islands I have ever seen. We got a little boat over and spent a couple of hours there. The sand was white, the sea was clear and it was just stunning. We spent our time here doing a little bit of snorkelling and seeing the beautiful sea-life and guess what? We climbed another viewpoint! Haha! Honestly, if your in Thailand, going up the viewpoints are the best things to do, as its an adventure and the views are stunning. But the remainder of our Koh Tao trip was spent getting very drunk on buckets and going to lots of beach parties, and I loved it! However, I wasn't such a happy bunny when I was hungover! Haha! But Koh Tao was probably my favourite island, and I loved our time here. But one thing I would do here next time is get my diving license, as Thailand is I think the cheapest place to get your diving license. So I would definitely do that next time. But, the time came and we packed up and our next stop was Phuket!

So from Koh Tao we got a ferry back to the mainland and a coach to Phuket. We stayed in Phuket for 3 nights and again we just did a lot of sightseeing and exploring. The main sort of activity we did, is we did a day trip, hopped on a boat and went island hopping. We went to so many islands including Monkey Island, Phi Phi Islands and Koh Khai Nok. The boat trip was so funny, we were on a speedboat and the current was quite choppy, so we was literally bouncing about everywhere, and we was sat at the front of the boat, it was hilarious. But after the trauma of the speedboat, we spent the day visiting lots of different islands, we left at 8am and got back around 6pm, so it was a full day and was amazing! We met some monkeys, ate some yummy food, went snorkelling and soaked up the sun we got between the cloudiness. But other than that we mainly just wandered and explored. We stayed near Patong Beach so we had the beach and then there was lots of places to shop and eat, so was a nice mix. One thing I have also learnt in Thailand is that they love connect four and they're very good at it! Haha. In every bar we saw a connect four, and in one bar Oliver was challenged to many games, and ended up losing £10 and getting tipsy off jagerbombs as they was the forfeit. Was so funny, Oliver was very competitive. One evening we had a walk around after having some yummy Pad Thai and stumbled upon Patong Beach walkway and oh my giddy aunt it was mental. This is where you would come for a mental night out and I'd even argue it was more mental than Koh San Road in Bangkok. There was so many bars, so many ping-pong shows (don't ask) haha, people selling random crap, it was a lot! Haha! So if your looking for a crazy night, go there. But after a cruise around the islands and lots of Chang beer, it was time to get our plane to Chang Mai! But for now, enjoy lush images of the Phi Phi islands..

So our last stop was Chang Mai, we hopped on a flight from Phuket to Chang Mai, and it only took a couple of hours. So we stayed just outside the old town, and we decided to spend our time in Chang Mai relaxing, winding down after a long trip and lots of travelling before we headed back to Singapore and finish our Thailand adventure. But one of the main things we did and the one thing we did which I had been excited about was going to an Elephant Sanctuary! So we researched a lot before we went to Thailand and it was so important to us that we went to an amazing sanctuary. One where the elephants are well looked after and happy. So we went to the Chang Mai Super Elephant sanctuary, and it was incredible. The whole day started from us being picked up and we drove to a destination before the sanctuary, and this was a place called "The Elephant Poo-Poo Park" and it was a short stop but it is a place in Chang Mai where they recycle elephant poo and make paper, t-shirts, general merchandise which they sell and then a portion of the money they make is contributed to the local elephant sanctuaries. Also, the Poo-Poo park ask the local sanctuaries for elephant poo, and in return they give them bananas for the elephants. As I learnt during my time with the elephants is that they eat ALOT! So this was a lovely organisation to learn about, and besides the cafe and shop at the Poo-Poo park, they showed us around their organisation, and showed us how they recycle the elephant poo, and we was even able to make our own paper! It was so so good and I really recommend going there if your in Chang Mai, as they're an amazing organisation supporting such beautiful animals. So we then went on to the sanctuary, the sanctuary we visited was around an hour and a half drive from where we was staying, but we was picked up and dropped off by the sanctuary. So we arrived and got changed into clothes they provided and listened to them tell us about the sanctuary and the elephants. So normally, there would be small groups who would get to meet and learn about the elephants, but luckily it was only me and Oliver that booked for that day so we got some one on one time with the elephants and it was incredible. We met our elephant called Lila and she had been rescued from a trekking park, and is now living happily with the sanctuary. The place where the sanctuary is based is so beautiful and open and the elephants are free to roam and explore like they naturally should. But we met our elephant and she was lovely, and so gentle and we got some time to learn about her, feed her lots of bananas and give her lots of love! We then went on to make the elephants medicine, which was very interesting, this is what the sanctuary does everyday to make sure the elephants are gaining the right nutrients and keeping them all nice and healthy. We was then given some amazing lunch cooked by the locals and we then went on to jungle trek with the elephants, and it was incredible. Trekking through this amazing jungle, taking in the nature and having one of the most beautiful animals walking beside you, free and happy was just unreal. We was able to take a mud bath with the elephants, the locals were constantly giving us information about the elephants they whole journey. We finished off the day by washing the elephants in the river and having a last few moments with them before we left. It was then time to say goodbye and we zip-lined back to the sanctuary base which was so much fun, got showered and headed back to our hotel. All in all, the Elephant Sanctuary was an amazing experience, and it was so lovely to see the elephants being looked after and being so happy and free after being rescued from awful organisations. The sanctuary workers were amazing, helpful and so passionate about the elephants and I couldn't recommend this place enough. But one piece of advice would be if your looking to visit an elephant sanctuary anywhere not just Thailand, do research and look into various organisations. But this was one of my favourite parts of our trip and memories I will treasure forever, but for you reading, the pictures will be a lot better than listening to me ramble, haha! But besides this, we generally explored Chang Mai, we had a drunk night which ended in us scoffing lots of 7-11 ham and cheese toasties. Oh - if your in Thailand the 7-11 ham and cheese toasties are the best thing in life and they're like 50p! You'll thank me later. But back to what I was saying, we had lots of fun exploring the old town and found lots of little gems in there, we went to one of the biggest evening markets I had ever seen! And we bought lots of crap and gifts for home. And after a lovely 4 nights in Chang Mai we hopped on the overnight train back to Bangkok where we flew back to Singapore! But overall, I loved Chang Mai, it's completely different to the south, but its a nice change and an amazing place. The locals are so lovely and I loved the culture, there is so much to see, and I will definitely be going back! 

So after Chang Mai we got the overnight train back to Bangkok and then flew back to Singapore, where we spent the last 4 days of our entire trip. 
This trip was one of the best experiences of my life and I am so glad I did it. There is still lots of things I want to do that we didn't get chance to but I will of course be going back and I think we did so much in the time we was there. And doing this with Oliver was just amazing, he's my best friend and getting to share memories like this with him are just the best. But an overall of our trip, we booked our flights and then "winged it" regarding hotels and travel within Thailand. We used Booking.com to book our hotels and we always had a place to sleep and that was not something to worry about and we found some right little treasures on there. With spending money, Thailand isn't as cheap as I thought and what I was told, but it was still cheap if that makes sense? Majority of hotels and hostels are really cheap, food is relatively cheap and so is drink. Day trips and activities vary in price but you simply have to shop around or bargain to a reasonable price, and most people we spoke to in sorting activities were lovely and so so helpful. And regarding travel, we got royally ripped off with our coach trip from Bangkok to Krabi, but we learnt and the rest of our travel was really cheap! That's one thing I want to stress, on trips like this there will be hiccups and the odd strop but you learn and you have to look at it as an experience you can use in the future, and don't let it get you down. We learned so much on this trip and we laugh about the hiccups now! 

I know this blog post has been very short but sweet, as trust me I could write about our trip for pages and pages! And I don't want to keep everyone for a week reading this haha, so a few funny memories and lots of gorgeous pictures! But I hope you enjoyed this post and I'm sure most will just enjoy the pictures and thats fine haha! Pictures speak a thousand words! But I am so so down for writing a proper tips and tricks post for Thailand from a first timer and share things I learnt in detail! So let me know if you want to see that. But I am happy to be back blogging and to kick it off with sharing amazing memories is fab.
So until next time thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this holiday ramble!

Amy x
Amy Shipley


Nikki said...

I love your photos. Thailand is such an incredible place isn't it, it literally has a bit of everything - beaches, nature, animals, partying. Glad you had great time! x

Nikki| www.thoselittlemoments.net

Taylor said...

This is a wonderful post . Thailand is such a beautiful place. I'm so jealous, glad you had a lovely time ❤️

HaileyJadeRyan said...

Thailand has forever been pretty high on my travel list and I'm sure it is super gorgeous. It definitely looks like it in your pictures. I find it pretty brave though to book nothing but the flights. I could never do it. I love planning in advance and just really want to know, what's going to happen. I loved reading about places in your post, I've never heard of before. Glad it all worked out for you and you seemed to have an amazing trip.

xx Hailey - www.haileyjaderyan.com

Kirstin Dalton said...

Great post! A lot of people said they hated Bangkok the first time they went there and i’m glad to see someone else like me, who loved it!!
Loved your photos & the elephants are gorgeous 🐘

| http://wwe.LetsGoSomewhereElse.co.uk |

Make Me Up Inside said...

I'm so jealous, I've always wanted to go to Thailand!!

Amy Shipley said...

Aww thankyou so much! And it really has - it was so nice to go somewhere completely different but so beautiful!

Amy Shipley said...

Thankyou chick! 🐥 x

Amy Shipley said...

Yeah I completely get what you mean! But it wasn’t too bad at all! But was an experience - hahaha! But you should definitely go if you ever get the chance! Thankyou for reading 😊 xx

Amy Shipley said...

Aww thanks chick! 😊 and oh yeah I got that too from people I met out there but it was alright for me 🙌🏼 And oh the elephants were beaut! Loved them! Thanks for reading sweet! Xx

Amy Shipley said...

Should definitely go if you ever get the chance! Gorgeous place! Thanks for reading sweet 😊 xx

Vada Green said...

It looks so beautiful!

Anonymous said...

So many lovely photos from your time in Thailand!

Alys / withlovealys.com

Aaliyah - Beauty Obsessed said...

I’ve always wanted to go to Thailand it just looks so gorgeous and this post has definitely made me want to go more! All your photos are amazing looks like you had an amazing time x

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Moshe Strugano said...

Israeli Lawyer Moshe Strugano agree Thailand just looks absolutely stunning, and your post has only increased my want to visit!
It appears from all of your beautiful images that you had an incredible time.