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Trip Report

The Best of Thailand

Thailand is truly one of the best country's to travel to, especially if you're on a budget. From the gorgeous beaches, delicious food and incredible culture - it's a must-see.

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  • The Best of Thailand
About Me:Four Broads Abroad is a blog created by four girls from Toronto, Canada, here to share inspiration and reveal unique travelling tips. Our goal is to provide you with the best travel tips and hacks. We love cheap travel, backpacking and uni... read more

AsiaThailand20 days / May - June 2019

Highs & Lows

Cheap, yet luxurious accomodations!

Country's exploitation of elephants for entertainment/tourism purposes.

Itinerary Overview

After finishing our undergraduate degree we decided to do a 6-week trip to visit southeast Asia. Half of our time was spent in Thailand and the second half of the trip was spent in The Philippines and Bali. We personally decided to fly to each city to save time but we recommend taking a train or bus at least once if you have time to see the countryside.  

This is a three-week itinerary that covers all major cities in Thailand. It’s great on its own or as an add-on to a larger trip. The itinerary features great day trips to beaches, temples and markets!  After arriving in the capital of Bangkok, we head north to Chiang Mai before flying to southern Thailand and visiting Phuket, Koh Samui and Krabi. Remember to pack strategically for this trip. We fit all our items in our carry-on backpacks which helped keep costs down and ensured a smoother trip. Thailand has truly so much to offer so it is best to plan at least 3 weeks to really experience it.

  • 4 Nights: Bangkok
    Capital City, Nightlife & Gorgeous temples
  • 4 Nights: Chiang Mai
    Beautiful Temples, Night Markets & Elephants!
  • 4 Nights: Phuket
    Beautiful islands and beaches surrounding the main land.
  • 4 Nights: Ko Samui
    White Sand Beach and Full Moon Party
  • 4 Nights: Krabi
    Limestone Cliffs & Gorgeous Islands
Bangkok - Capital City, Nightlife & Gorgeous temples

Bangkok Capital City, Nightlife & Gorgeous temples

Bangkok - Capital City, Nightlife & Gorgeous temples - null
Bangkok - Capital City, Nightlife & Gorgeous temples - null
Bangkok - Capital City, Nightlife & Gorgeous temples - null2+

Bangkok is the metropolis of Thailand. It's known for its vibrant nightlife, famous street food and elaborate temples. Here are the top things to see & do in Bangkok. 

Visit the Grand Palace

The Grand Palace is one of the biggest attractions in Thailand featuring a complex of stunning buildings. This palace served as the royal court for over 150 years and now is a popular tourist destination with its beautiful golden and historic architecture. Make sure to visit early in the morning, as it will get busy and very hot later on in the day. 

Party on Khao San Road

There really is no party life to compare to, to the one on Khao San Road. It's a crazy experience to say the least, but definitely worth experiencing. The road is crowded, full of bars and food stands (you can even try a fried cockroach or scorpion) - so be ready for a crazy yet memorable night. 

Soi Cowboy

Looking for something more vibrant? Another interesting place to check out is Soi Cowboy, the infamous road full of bars featured in Hangover 2.

Ride a Tuktuk

A tuktuk is a 3 wheeled motorcycle taxi and it is one of the main forms of public transportation in Bangkok. Although it won’t feel like the most comfortable ride in Bangkok, it’ll definitely be the most enjoyable (especially during rush hour). Be aware as tuktuk drives may charge you very high prices, so don’t be afraid to bargain before getting in. 

Take a tour on the Canals & Khlongs in Bangkok

This is one of the more unique experiences in Bangkok. Exploring the quiet canals on a long-tailed boat is a great way to get to know the local life of the city. Here, you will get to see local life, homes built on stilts in the water and animals native to the area. Make sure to carry spare change on you, there are water vendors floating around on boats ready to sell you beverages and souvenirs. 

Street Food/ Night Markets

Some of the best food you can enjoy in Thailand is the street food. We probably ate more street food than food in restaurants. Our favourites were the Pad Thai, fresh fruit (mango), and the Thai pancake stands. 

Enjoy a Drink at a Sky Bar

Bangkok is full of rooftop bars and it was hands down one of our favourite places to go. We found a rooftop bar right by our hostel named Brewski that had decently priced drinks and an incredible view of Bangkok. Head over right before sunset to catch some spectacular views of the city. 

Chiang Mai - Beautiful Temples, Night Markets & Elephants!

Chiang Mai Beautiful Temples, Night Markets & Elephants!

Chiang Mai - Beautiful Temples, Night Markets & Elephants! - null
Chiang Mai - Beautiful Temples, Night Markets & Elephants! - null
Chiang Mai - Beautiful Temples, Night Markets & Elephants! - null5+

Chiang Mai is a province located in the northern part of Thailand. You can easily get here by flying out of one of Bangkok's airports. The flights are time-saving and usually very affordable (especially if you are flexible with the time). Chiang Mai is known to have over 300 temples located just in the province. With so much to see and do here is what made the top of the list.

Visit Temples

There are so many incredible temples to visit in Chiang Mai, our favourites were Wat Chedi Luang & Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. “Wat” in Thai means “temples”. 

Wat Chedi Luang is one of the oldest temples in Thailand that was built in the early 1400s. The temple is located within walking distance from the city centre. We’d highly recommend visiting the temple around sunset time as the changing sky and temple created a magical and peaceful ambiance. 

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is another famous temple in Chiang Mai. It’s located up the mountain at a high altitude. We’d encourage you to bring a sweater or long sleeve as it did get a little chilly. To get here, you can hire a taxi or a shuttle service to drive you up the mountain. The price typically includes a round trip fare so the driver will wait for you. 

Remember to always dress appropriately when visiting any temples in Thailand. Long pants and sleeve tops are typically enforced. We purchased our flowy pants in one of many Thai markets. We found these to be very comfortable even in the extreme Thai heat!  

Sunday Night Market

The Sunday Night Market in Chiang Mai is the largest market in Thailand. It is conveniently located in the Old Town centre of Chiang Mai and stretches 1km down the full length of Ratchadamnoen Road. The market starts at 4 pm and runs until midnight every Sunday and the entrance is free. You can find anything and everything in this market. If you love to shop we’d highly encourage you to purchase all your souvenirs here. 

FAE's Elephant Hospital

Chiang Mai is the perfect place to see some adorable elephants! The Elephant Hospital treats and cares for weak and injured elephants that have been through landmine explosions, overworked, and even stabbed by circus workers. At the hospital, they are taken care of emotionally and physically, with the goal of rehabilitating them and providing them with a home where they feel safe and happy.  

The elephant hospital is located just 1 hour outside of Chiang Mai. The best way to get here is by hiring a taxi to drive you directly. We paid around $25 roundtrip. We’d also encourage you to email the hospital prior to your arrival. The entrance is free, but donations to the hospital are highly encouraged.  

We would strongly discourage you from visiting any elephant sanctuaries as well as riding elephants. Many of these places that claim to be “sanctuaries” place elephants in unnatural settings with lots of human interaction. Although these places are better than circuses or riding facilities, we would love to encourage you to visit Friends of the Asian Elephant, (FAE's Elephant Hospital) instead.

Phuket - Beautiful islands and beaches surrounding the main land.

Phuket Beautiful islands and beaches surrounding the main land.

Phuket - Beautiful islands and beaches surrounding the main land. - null
Phuket - Beautiful islands and beaches surrounding the main land. - null
Phuket - Beautiful islands and beaches surrounding the main land. - null

Phuket is actually the name of Thailand’s most southern province and Thailand’s largest Island. You can easily catch a flight from Chiang Mai or Bangkok that’ll be no longer than 2 hours. It is one of the more touristy locations in Thailand full of a lively nightlife and attractions. However, the best part of Phuket is how close in proximity it is to so many gorgeous islands. Here are a few things we loved and would highly recommend doing in Phuket. 

Take a day trip to Koh Phi Phi

This was hands down one of our favourite excursions that we did in Thailand. Koh Phi Phi Island was absolutely breathtaking and nothing like we had ever experienced before. The area is known for its stunning limestone landscapes and aqua blue waters. The tour took us to Monkey Beach and Maya Beach (beach closed due to over-tourism).  We also got the chance to snorkel and see some beautiful corals and marine life.

We booked a ferry online from Phuket that took us to Koh Phi Phi and all the surrounding islands. Note: make sure to book a boat online and not with street vendors as prices are much higher. 

Visit the Big Buddha

The Big Buddha is one of Phuket’s largest and most famous landmarks. Situated at the top of Nakkerd Hills, and standing 45 metres tall, you will definitely not miss it. The top of the hill offers some of the most incredible panoramic and scenic views of Phuket. The Big Buddha is a sacred spot for many, the environment is quiet and peaceful, so make sure to dress accordingly and be respectful when visiting. Best to visit in the late afternoon, as temperatures can be high during the day.

The best way to visit the Big Buddha is by ordering a taxi or Grab. Make sure to ask your driver if he would be able to pick you up as ordering a Grab back can be quite challenging. 

Party on the Patong Strip

Patong is Phuket’s most popular holiday destination spot, so it is always packed with tourists. It is known for its raunchy and loud nightlife, where you’ll find a ton of bars, restaurants, clubs, massage spots and much more. Patong definitely does not care to hide its crazy side. Although it may sound like an exciting/entertaining town, we would recommend not spending too much time here, especially if you are visiting with family. 

Ko Samui - White Sand Beach and Full Moon Party

Ko Samui White Sand Beach and Full Moon Party

Ko Samui - White Sand Beach and Full Moon Party - null
Ko Samui - White Sand Beach and Full Moon Party - null

Koh Samui is Thailand’s second largest island located on the East coast, right by Ko Pha Ngan and Koh Tao. This island is known for its gorgeous white sand, palm tree beaches, luxurious resorts and spas. From Phuket, you can take a bus and then ferry to arrive to the island. The journey can be up to 6h but tickets are very affordable.  If you are looking to save time, there are direct flights available from Phuket or Bangkok. Here are the top things we would recommend doing in Koh Samui. 

Full Moon Party

Koh Samui is the gateway to the full moon party! The Full Moon Party is known to be one of the most liveliest parties in the world with about 10,000 attendees every month. It takes place on the neighbouring island of Ko Pha Ngan. You definitely don’t want to miss out, it is an amazing experience. Staying on the island can get very pricey and finding decent accommodations can be difficult, so lodging in Koh Samui is a great alternative. Koh Samui is cheaper in just about every category (food, accommodations, drinks etc.), more easily accessible than Ko Pha Ngan, affordable and comfortable transportation to and from the Full Moon Party. We stayed at Bodega Hostels located right in Koh Samui. Transportation to and from the hostel was very safe and organized, and the total journey was under one hour. 

Chaweng Beach

Chaweng is Koh Samui’s largest beach. It is known for its pristine white sand, and nightlife. Fun bars and restaurants line the shores of the beach, making it the perfect place to go out with friends at night. This beach is also accessed easily through hotels and other accommodations. 

Lamai Beach

Lamai Beach is Koh Samui’s second largest area, full of resorts, hotels, restaurants and bars. It is definitely a quieter location but the beach is gorgeous, nothing like we have ever seen in Thailand. It was clean and white and many small restaurants lined the shore. It is a great spot to grab a nice beer or meal right by the water, especially during the evening. Our hotel was actually located right off Lamai beach, this was our go-to spot. 

Wat Plai Laem

Wat Plai Laem is a modern active Buddhist temple consisting of a beautiful white structure of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion. This Chinese-Thai temple contains a multitude of beautiful Buddhist-themed art pieces and it is also surrounded by a charming lake. This temple is only open during daylight hours and please make sure to dress accordingly. 

Night Market Bophut / Fishermans Village 

Bophut Night Market is known to be one of the most popular markets in Thailand. This street is actually closed down to vehicle traffic, making it a walking only road during certain hours of the day. The road is full of stalls, vendors and food stands selling anything you can imagine - clothing, unique jewelry pieces, hand-made goodies, art, souvenirs and incredible food. One of the best parts about Thailand is their street food, and Fisherman’s Village does not disappoint. Getting to Bophut is also very easy, we just ordered a Grab to and from the Village.

Krabi - Limestone Cliffs & Gorgeous Islands

Krabi Limestone Cliffs & Gorgeous Islands

Krabi - Limestone Cliffs & Gorgeous Islands - null
Krabi - Limestone Cliffs & Gorgeous Islands - null
Krabi - Limestone Cliffs & Gorgeous Islands - null

Krabi is located on the southwestern coast of Thailand. It’s known for its beautiful limestone cliffs, dense forests and gorgeous islands. It’s the perfect place for a beach escape. From Koh Samui you can easily take a ferry & bus to get to Krabi. The journey takes around 4 hours and we’d recommend booking tickets on lomprayah.com. Here are the top things to do in Krabi.   

Explore Railay Beach

Only accessible by boat, this hideaway is a quick 15-minute boat ride from the Ao Nang boat dock. Once you arrive in Railay Beach, the boat will drop you off on the West side of Railay. Here you can explore the cafes, resorts and beaches. If you make your way to the east side of Railay you can hike to the Railay Viewpoint and Princess Lagoon. If you continue walking you’ll reach the Princess Cave & Ao Phra Nang Beach. This area was by far our favourite part of Railay Beach,  the limestone cliffs and beach are truly spectacular. 

Hike to the top of Wat Tham Suea (Tiger Cave Temple)

If you’re up for a challenge, we’d highly recommend visiting the Wat Tham Suea also known as the Tiger Cave Temple. To get to the top of the summit you must walk a whopping 1,237 steps! Once you arrive at the top there is a huge Buddha statue and a cave with tiger paw prints. The hike is totally worth it as you’ll get an awesome workout in and an incredible view of Krabi.  

Bathe in the Emerald Pool

Located an hour from Krabi, the Emerald Pool is a natural hot spring that is heated by underground volcanic chambers. It’s located right in the jungle and features naturally shaped “bathtub” like pockets in the stone. We’d highly recommend visiting early in the morning or later in the day to avoid crowds.  

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    Whenever we travel, we love cultural and unique experiences. If we were to re-do the trip again we'd personally skip Phuket. The city was very touristy, commercialized and crowded. It didn't feel like the authentic Thailand that we experienced in the other cities. There was also a huge exploitation of elephant riding here which we highly discourage.
  • Restaurant recommendations?

    TRY THE STREET FOOD! The most authentic Thai food you can get your hands on will be prepared street side. While visiting Thailand we enjoyed at least 1 meal everyday from street food vendors! Thai people pride themselves with delicious and flavourful dishes. You also shouldn't worry about cleanliness either as you're more likely to be served fresh food on the street than inside of a restaurant.
  • Packing tips?

    Thailand has 3 seasons; hot, cool & wet. When packing for your trip it's important to take these into consideration. We travelled to Thailand in May which was mid-hot season. The weather was around 35-40 degrees everyday. Light and airy clothing pieces were our best friends. We'd also encourage you to leave some extra room in your luggage as Thailand is the perfect place to purchase this type of clothing.
  • Transportation Tips?

    To get from city to city, we typically flew with Air Asia. It is the cheapest and quickest way to get from various major cities in Thailand. The only downside to flying is that you miss seeing the beautiful countryside and small towns. If you do have more time to spare on your trip, we'd highly recommend taking ground transportation to experience this side of Thailand.
  • Booking details?

    We booked all of our hostels & hotels on booking.com. What we love about this site is the free cancellation feature. When we arrived in Phuket, our hostel was absolutely disgusting. We were able to cancel our next night stays and move to a much better hotel nearby!