In March of 2016 my sister Lauren and I took a “Sister Trip” to Asia to visit a friend of mine that was working in Singapore. It was the first time that either of us had gone to Asia and we absolutely loved it! One of the 3 places we went during this trip was Thailand.
Where to stay:
The Slate Resort is located in the Northern part of Phuket about 10 minutes from the airport. It’s a beautiful boutique hotel that’s a perfect place if you want to get away and relax. It was a true 5 star resort and we loved everything about it. I highly recommend getting a massage at the Coqoon Spa (AMAZING!) and eating dinner at the black ginger restaurant.
We found this hotel on Jetsetter which I highly recommend using. You get great reviews of the hotels including things you may not know from a typical hotel website. For instance, our hotel provided complimentary pool bags and flip-flops.
There were only a few downsides to this resort. There were a lot of families, however there are two adult only pools with nice swim up bars which we hung out at everyday. The Slate hotel is also slightly more expensive than other hotels in Phuket (which it’s worth) and it was about an hour drive from Old Town Phuket which is where a lot of the tourists activities and shopping are.
What to do:
It took a little persuading to get my sister to do this, but it was well worth it. The ride itself kind of felt like you were riding an elephant at the circus, but the views were amazing and it was overall a cool experience. We did our tour through Siam Safari Nature Tours (30 minute trek) which we booked through our hotel.
I have heard that the best place to ride elephants is in Northern Thailand where there are actual elephant sanctuaries.
Speedboat Tour of Phi Phi Islands
Our first stop on our speedboat tour was Maya Bay where Leonardo DiCaprio filmed the movie “The Beach”. This place was absolutely breathtaking.
The second stop was at Viking Cave. You can’t go into the cave because there are Swiftlet birds which make their nests in the cave. Their nests are believed to have healing and health properties in Asian culture and because of this the nests can be sold for up to $200,000 on the open market.
The third stop was at Monkey Beach (Ko Phi Phi Don). It was pretty clear where it got its name from as soon as we got there.
Out last stop was at Bamboo Island where we had a full Thai lunch on the beach. The meal was actually pretty good, which surprised me because I normally hate eating hot foods while I’m sitting in the sun.
Our tour was through the Adventure World Tour Group (which we booked through our hotel)
Where to stay:
Aetas Lumpini is located in the financial district in Bangkok. It reminded me of a typical American hotel chain but a lot more high-tech. The rooms were great and had amazing views of the city (which is huge!!).
One general tip about hotels in Bangkok is that you should not go cheap. I found Bangkok to be a little sketchier than other places I have been. That being said, it’s relatively easy to find a 5 star hotel for under $100 a night (we booked out hotel on Gilt Travel).
What to do:
Skybar at Lebua Hotel 63rd Floor
We decided to get super touristy and visit Skybar which is where the Hangover 2 movie was filmed. It is worth doing to see the views from the rooftop but it was extremely windy!
They were not strict about dress code (no flip-flops, tennis shoes etc.) when we went, however we went on a week night which may have made a difference. Most reviews said they weren’t allowed in unless they were a little more dressed up.
Personal Tour Guide
I HIGHLY recommend getting a personal tour guide. It is the best way to see the entire city and it’s fun going around with someone who knows where to go and the history behind everything. Our guide paid for everything we did during the day including our tickets and transportation and we settled up the bill at the end. It ended up only being the equivalency of $30 per person for the entire day…doesn’t get much better than that!
We booked our tour through a man named Mr. Chob that I found on Trip Advisor. Our guides name was Nong – She was amazing and you should ask for her if you go!!
You have to be fully covered to go into a lot of places at the Grand palace. I recommend buying the elephant skirts that are sold right outside the Grand Palace – they are $3 and so cute. We wore them around all day and even bought some to bring home for our parents.
Longtail Boat Ride:
Tuck Tuck Ride:
A tuck tuck ride is a must do! Terrifying but a must do. It was our last Hangover 2 moment in Bangkok.
If you are in Bangkok over a weekend go to Lumpini Park on Saturday morning (we went at 6:30am). It was crazy how many locals were out running, doing Thai Chi, Zumba and lifting weights at the park. I can’t fully explain how interesting / funny / cool it was to see.. you will just have to check it out yourself.
Traditional Thai Massage:
We got a traditional Thai massage at BUA, a Thai massage place right around the corner from our hotel. The massage was amazing, but in an extremely painful kind of way. I don’t think I have ever been in that much pain and then felt so great afterwards. But seriously it really hurt, so if you are a baby when it comes to pain I recommend sticking to the relaxing massage and skipping the Thai massage.