12 Days in Thailand
3 Nights in Bangkok
3 nights in Phuket
2 Nights in Phi Phi Island
2 Nights in Krabi
2 Nights in Flight From and To Bangkok from Johannesburg
DAY 1- 2 : Bangkok
After arriving in Bangkok late at night the day before, We grabbed breakfast at Dexter Cafe, which was so good. I ordered a smoothie and pancakes, which may have been my favorite breakfast yet. We then grabbed a Tuk Tuk to bring us to the Wat Arun. The drivers there get paid by companies to bring tourists to certain spots. This is great if you have some time because they give you a very cheap ride if you make some stops, but can be annoying if you are trying to get somewhere quickly. He ended up bringing us to the water to do a boat tour. We didn’t have time for the full tour, but we took the boat to the Wat Arun, which then brought us over to the Grand Palace.
NOTE: Again, try and bargain as much as possible. I am terrible at it, and still got them much lower than what they originally quoted.
Wat Arun was stunning, but also filled with tourists. I would try and get there as early as possible. Once we got over to the Grand Palace, it ended up being closed for the King’s funeral, which had the biggest line I’ve ever seen. Needless to say, we left to go to Chu for some lunch before heading to our flight.
Disconnecting from work is something that every single person needs in order to have a healthy life. Traveling to explore different countries and cultures helps me escape and clear my mind. It allows me to adjust my perspective and figure out the important things in my life. I’d love to hear what travel means to you, or what you do to disconnect from work!
DAY 3- 4 : Phuket
Our flight got into Phuket around 11:30am, so we went straight to our hotel Novotel Phuket Resort. This is a gorgeous 5-star hotel with incredible customer service, three nice pools, a simple walk to the beach and a bomb breakfast. It’s far enough away from the party area of Patong, so you can experience a true getaway. We lounged by the pool, then went to the beach which was just a 2 minute walk within the resort.
We got ready to head to our first Thai meal at a restaurant on the strip near the hotel. I got one of the best pineapple fried rice dishes I’ve ever had. Once we filled our bellies, we went to get what was supposed to be a relaxing foot massage. Trust me, it was much needed.
DAY 5 : Phuket Elephant Sanctuary
We had just two days in Phuket, but the main reason we even stayed that long was we heard about the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary from a friend and needed to go. This organization has an inspiring story and makes you think differently about how animals should be treated. To check out our experience with the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary, visit my blog post here.
Afterwards, we went to old town Phuket, which I highly recommend. There are several quaint streets with shops, cafes and restaurants that have a charming feel. After walking around, we took a 30 minute trek up a hill to an overlook of the city. If you type in Tunk Ka Cafe to google maps, it will lead you there. Yes, you can take a tuk tuk, but as I always say, I love to walk because you never know the views or experiences you are going to get. The view at the top is unreal, and the timing was perfect for the start of the sunset.
Day 6 -7 : PHI PHI Island
Arrive in Koh Phi Phi via ferry. Ferries can be taken from Phuket, Ao Nang, Rai Leh, Krabi Town, and Ko Lanta. It really doesn’t matter which area you arrive from, so work out what fits into your schedule beforehand and what’s easiest to get too. Keep in mind that ferries from Phuket and Krabi Town have the most frequent departures throughout the day, where as Ao Nang, Rai Leh and Ko Lanta only have one or two.
Once you arrive, it’s time to check-in to accommodations. Keep in mind that the hostels and hotels right on the main beach are party places. If you’re visiting to party, and get minimal sleep, these are for you. But since Koh Phi Phi is small, and everything is walkable (there’s no cars on the island), opt to stay up a bit from the beach so you can get some peace and quiet. We stayed at the Phi Phi Dream, which was great, quiet and fairly inexpensive. It’s important to also look at a map when booking your accommodations because some of the hotels and resorts are really far from the main centre.
Take your first day to get your bearings and relax on the beach. Along the main beach you’ll find several little restaurants and “fast food” places to grab a good bite to eat. Since the islands are known to be more expensive, we often opted for pizza, sandwiches and fruit shakes for our lunches and spent more money on getting a great Thai dinner. You’ll also find several little shops and stalls set up along the streets that are fun to go in and out of, but keep in mind that most of the stuff being sold can be bought in city centres for much cheaper than the islands.
After your beach day, head out for some dinner at a great local restaurant, my suggestion is Anna’s Restaurant, a restaurant that was recommended to us by our hostel and has great traditional dishes to try. Once you’re full from your meal, take a stroll down to the main beach to see it completely transformed into a party destination. Even if you aren’t looking to party, just walking along the beach, looking at all the bars, grabbing a bucket of alcohol to drink, and watching the competing fire shows is worth a visit! There are a few bars like Chillout Bar that are way more low-key and perfect people watching spots.
DAY 8-9 : Explore Krabi
We hired a taxi van for about 2,500 baht to bring us 2 hours to Krabi. We arrived at the Peace Laguna Resort and Spa, dropped off our stuff, and headed to the beach. Our location was perfect. Just a 10 minute walk to the beach in Au Nang, which is one of the nicer beaches in Krabi.
We found a stairway going up into the wooded area, so naturally we had to see where it led to. To our surprise, it ended at an amazing secluded beach of the hotel Centara Grand Beach Resort. We swam, took in the view then got some food at the hotel restaurant. Once we were all beached out, we walked back over to the main beach and strolled down to the opposite end. We got to a walkway near a monkey forest and walked around a corner to find a cool cave to watch the sunset. Sunsets in Thailand are quite amazing.
DAY 10 : Hike Khao Ngonnak
We had been up early every morning since we had arrived, so we decided to take our time not knowing that the boat to go to Phuket islands left early in the morning! Luckily we had a backup and it totally happened for a reason.
There was a hike we found just 30 minutes away from Au Nang (again, an off the beaten path post from a blog), called Khao Ngonnak. YOU GUYS – you have to do this if you like to hike and love nature. Yes, it is tough and you will get a good burn in your legs and glutes, but the views are literally unreal at the top. You can pretty much see a 360 view of Krabi and all of the different islands around it. There are some cool picture spots, including an EXTREMELY dangerous ledge that makes you look like you’re floating over the view. One slip, you will fall of the ledge – so please make sure you hang on to the rope!
Day 11 : Travel Back to Bangkok
Take Early flight to Bangkok to have enough time for shopping
Day 12 : Travel Back to Johannesburg