Travel Diary: Thailand



After receiving several DMs and messages regarding our itinerary for our most recent trip to Thailand, I decided to spend part of my return flight composing this blog as a resource to share all the deets! 

The flight: 

We flew ANA/United. We booked our tickets about 2 months out, early January for a late Feb/early March trip. We tracked the flights regularly for at least 6 months, and the prices were overall pretty stable at $400-$500. We ended up spending about ~$550 per flight as we wanted to fly ANA/United. After doing a lot of research on the different carriers I chose them because they had a proven safety record, good reviews on the in-flight food, comfy seats with a decent amount of leg room, and complimentary wine/beer in all classes including economy. They also have a US associated carrier in United Airlines, making contacting someone and altering flights (during global Covid-19 pandemics) relatively easy compared to trying to contact other foreign airlines. 

My thoughts: 

After having flown with them I would 100% recommend. The customer service is EXCELLENT, and they give a large quantity of food, which was delicious. They also have a complimentary beverage service that circulates frequently, and wine/beer is available free of charge. I found the seats comfy with adequate leg room, as well as a good selection of inflight movies. My only complaint is on our initial flight to Tokyo the internet did not work, but it did work on our connecting flight as well as all return flights. 

THE ITINERARY: 
We booked our trip for 2/27-3/7 (it’s a leap year) 
2-27 at 2300 – Arrive in Bangkok (BKK)
2/27-2/29 – Bangkok
2/29 – Bangkok àChiang Mai (Thai Airways)
2/29-3/2 Chiang Mai
3/2 – Chiang Mai àPhuket 
3/2- 3/6 Phuket 
3/6 – Phuket àBangkok (BKK)
3/7 – BKK to SFO àlanded in SFO on 3/7 local time 

THE HOTELS: 

Bangkok: 
Lebua State Tower – booked via Booking.com; stayed in a standard suite. The hotel was very nice and spacious with an amazing view of the city from the balcony. This hotel is known for being one of the tallest building in Bangkok at an astounding 65 floors, every room has a balcony! It boasts 6 bars and numerous restaurants, a pool and spa. Even if you choose not to stay here I would put visiting for dinner or drinks at the rooftop bar on your bucket list, nothing like sipping an overpriced cocktail from the most breathtaking view in the city. Video tour here!

Chiang Mai: 
The Inside House – truly one of the most BEAUTIFUL hotels I have ever stayed in, it was extremely clean with so many small personal details and touches in each room. We stayed in a standard room which included a balcony with a large, gorgeous claw foot bathtub. This hotel is also known for its glass-pool suites, these are rooms that have a completely see through private pool on the balcony. They are absolutely gorgeous! This hotel is smaller, so it definitely had more of a personal feel but still had all of the amenities of a large chain hotel including a pool and restaurant. As a BONUS if you book directly, it includes a free airport transfer, complimentary afternoon tea, complimentary thai dinner, and a 20% discount on food and beverage. Video tour here!

Phuket: 
Wyndham Grand Phuket, Kalim Bay – my FAVORITE hotel of the trip. We splurged a little and got a Private Pool Villa with Seaview. It was comparatively very reasonably priced compared to what we would spend in other destinations. The Villa was gorgeous and spacious, with a nice tub overlooking the pool. The pool itself was very large and clean and had a nice view of the Andaman Sea. This resort can be intimidating because it is so large, however the customer service is unbeatable and everything you need is literally at your fingertips. No but seriously, theres an app! This resort uses the Handigo app, from this app you can request room service, room cleaning, order a pool floaties, make spa reservations, direct message the front desk, and just about anything else you can think of. There is also a shuttle service to Patong (500 Baht pp). In regards to resort amenities, there is a gym, a restaurant that overlooks the Andaman sea, two bars, and two pools. Video tour here!




ACTIVITIES: 


Bangkok: 
2/27 – landed, sleep!!
2/28 – Wat Arun, The Grand Palace, Wat Pho; Dinner at Suppanigna Tasting Room a Michellin Start Restaurant with a beaultiful view of Wat Arun (there are several locations, we visited the location in ***)

Chiang Mai: 
2/29 – Chai Lai Orchid
3/1 Thai Farm Cooking School, pm by the pool with afternoon tea and drinks; went to the market at night for dinner and shopping 

Phuket: 
3/2 – dinner at resort restaurant overlooking the sunset, enjoyed our private pool
3/3 – Rented a unicorn pool floatie and had a floating breakfast. We went to Patong for lunch and ventured out that night to Bangla Road and bar hopped. 
3/4 – Had a late start given our previous night’s activities; Went to get a 1 hour thai massage at Jucyleon, and hung out on Patong Beach until sunset; Dinner at Balinese inspired bbq spot ***
3/5 – Phi Phi Island tour with Deep Diver Tours; had dinner at resort and romantic evening pool float with champagne and fruit 
3/6 – flew back to Bangkok; Chao Phraya Princess Dinner Cruise; Drinks at 3 different bars at Lebua State Tower 
3/7 – Flew back to US 

ACTIVTIES IN DETAIL: 

Bangkok 


-      Wat Arun 
We started here! Entr
y fee of 100 Baht must have shoulders and knees covered.
-      Wat Pho
We caught one of the water taxis across the pier to the side where Wat Pho was located for about 3 baht per person. Entry fee of 100 Baht
-      Grand Palace 
We walked to the Grand Palace from Wat Pho. BEWARE: some ppl may attempt to tell you the Temple is closed for a national holiday and offer to take you to see other temples via taxi or tuk tuk for a fee, DO NOT LISTEN. We were told this several times, and kept walking towards the temple with plans to order a ride back from there only realize it was OPEN. 
This one had the most HEFTY entry fee at 500 Baht. 

-      Chao Phraya Princess Dinner Cruise (1500 THB/pp)

I was a little apprehensive about this dinner cruise and it realy won me over. We requested a nice view and had a table on the upper deck, towards the front of the ship with an unobstructed view of everything. They served a buffet which was international with a range of international cuisine including a steak station and vast amount of prawns on ice. Liquor is not included in the initial price of this cruise and must be purchased separately. The cruise in total was about 2 hours with a great live cover band and breathtaking, dreamy views of the river and beau over candlelight. 



- Lebua State Tower (~1200 THB per drink)
Be warned: The drinks are overpriced ($30-40 per drink). We visited 4 of the 6 bars the hotel has on property, each with a breathtaking view of the city. Flute Bar on the 64th floor serves more champagne and champnage based drinks, it is on the 64th floor across from a live band. Sirocco is one floor down on the 63rd floor next to the restaurant, both are more for drinks and small talk. While Lebua No. 3 is on 52nd floor with equally great views, slightly cheaper drinks and an amazing DJ + Dance Floor. We also briefly visited the Pink Bar, 61st floor, they primarily serve (overpriced) champagne so we looked around and left. 

Chiang Mai: 

-      Chai Lai Orchid (2000 baht/pp)

Caught an early flight to Chiang Mai, landed at 9. We dropped our bags at The Inside House and then caught a Grab (similar to uber in Thailand) for one hour ride north to Chai Lai Orchid. Here we did the Intro to Elephant Caretaker package, it was 2000 baht per person.
This package included meeting, feeding, walking through the jungle with, and bathing the elephants. It also included a lunch!! There are several packages available, we chose this one because we were not interesting a full day experience. From start to finish it took about 1.5 hours. They arranged a taxi back for us to Chiang Mai afterwards. I cannot say enough good things about this experience. The elephants are friendly and approachable, the guides are extremely knowledgeable and took a ton of fabulous photos. During this experience we got to interact with 4-5 different elephants and left with 4853483 photos. This organization rents elephants from their owners to prevent them from having to do harmful work (elephant rides, etc.) and the proceeds go to Daughters Rising an anti-trafficking organization that supports at risk women through education, empowerment, and dignified employment. 


-      Thai Farm Cooking School (1200 Baht/pp)
They highly discourage booking this activity the same day you land, as airlines can be unpredictable, so we did it the next day.  This adventure started with hotel pick up at 0820-0850. We then went to a local market to learn more about which ingredients to purchase for authentic thai food. We then went to the farm and cooking school where we learneda great deal about various veggies, herbs, and spices used in the food. After this portion we started cooking! Each person has their own ingredients. The menu varies, but on the day we went, we made our  soup, Curry, Pad Thai, and dessert. The instructor also made Papaya salad for us all to enjou as well. This class was not only highly informative but a lot of fun. Everyone leaves with a sourvenir cookbook! 

-      Sunday Market 
We ventured out to the Sunday Market where we were able to purchase souvenirs, including my custom passport case, but also indulge in some delicious street food! There is lots of live entertainment, and the location is a few temples. This is definitely worth experiencing if you can handle large crowds. Don’t forget to bargain for the prices of goods!! 

Phuket: 

-      Patong Beach 
A beautiful beach, with lots of water activities (parasailing, water skiing, long boat tours, etc),  and lots of people. We rented beach chairs, a set was ~ 200 thai baht and there are ladies walking around taking orders for everything from food/drink to henna tattoos, clothes, and massages. Prepare to be approached several times by various people trying to sell a good or service, a polite “no thank you” will be a common phrase. 


-      Bangla Road
Wow this place is  A LOT. It is basically a road lined with several bars and shops (picture Bourbon, but in Thailand). We basically tried to stay away from anything related to Ping Pong shows or massages “with something extra.” At night you will be aggressively approached by women and men alike trying to sell you on a Ping Pong show or get you to come into their bar to purchase drinks. 


-      Phi Phi Island Sunrise Tour (2500 Baht/pp)


We booked this excursion through Deep Dive Tours. We decided to do a sunrise to beat the crowds. I was a little grumpy about the 0500 am pick up time, but once we were on the boat watching the sunrise, it quickly melted away. This tour included 2 different snorkeling opportunities, a glimpse at the monkeys ( this particular tour did not let us ashore as the monkeys could be aggressive and previous guests had been injured and required rabies  lunch at Phi Phi Don, and some beach time on Bamboo Island. I highly recommend this tour and team, our guide Pim was a please and the crew took so many amazing photos of us. If you go on this tour I highly suggest trying to grab a few of the seats at the very very front of the boat as you’ll get first dibs on all the photos opportunities and have more space to spread out. 
shots),

And that wraps up this post, it was truly one of our most memorable ones to date and I planned it all myself. 

Check out my IG highlight titled 'Thailand' for more video footage/photos of what we did day to day.





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