My love for street food, Thai massages, including unlimited foot massages, and tropical fruits all started on our 1 week trip to Thailand. We visited Bangkok, Chaing Mai, and Phuket and took a day trip to the Phi Phi Islands. We got a little bit of everything from city life to village life to beach life. I think it’s safe for me to say that we cannot wait to visit Thailand with our kids! We kept saying that on our trip, and counting the days until it becomes a reality!

Bangkok

We were traveling from Tokyo to Bangkok, and arrived in the early evening, and took a taxi from the airport to the Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok (on Sukhumvit 15) where we were staying. It was about a 20 minute drive. We had a drink at our hotel bar as we arrived and talked with the concierge for a bit and he recommended where to get shirts and pants tailored, we went to DE tailor right by Peninsula Tailors on SOI 11. Shane got like 6 shirts and 3 pants custom made for like $200USD (good quality place that we would recommend but just not sure if it’s still around).

We then went to grab dinner at Soi 11 restaurant; it also had a little street food type set up, so we ate there. It was right by Sukhumvit 11. Sukhumvit 11 area is a great area for nightlife and dining.

After dinner, we took a train to MBK Center to check out the mall. Then took a train to Lebua Tower to have a drink at the Sirocco Sky Bar. Now the view from there was just spectacular. Overpriced drinks and food, especially for Thailand but the experience made it all worth it. If you have watched the movie, Hangover, this is the bar that they filmed at. This is a must while in Bangkok.

Following that, we went to the Patpong Night Market where you can get souvenirs for CHEAP, but must bargain! It’s a very interesting area.
Finally, we took a “tuk tuk” (like an indian rickshaw) back to the hotel (must bargain the price before getting into the tuk tuk as they will try to rip you off).
The next day we woke up and had breakfast at our hotel and walked around the hotel.

We then took the closest train from our hotel to the stop closest to Chao Phraya Express Boat which takes you to the Grand Palace and Buddha’s. The Boat is cheap, and they tell you where to get off. You walk through a market and out to where the Grand Palace is. To go see the Buddha’s you have to take a tuk tuk and only pay 50 bahts for this (bargain), where they take you to the main tourist sights. At the end of this, they will take you to like 2-3 stores, more high end tailor spots to get us to purchase things, but later realized that the driver gets a kick back for doing this. It only took a total of 30 minutes and we enjoyed the ride, so didn’t really bother us.

We asked the guy instead of taking us back to the Boat docking area to drive us to Khao San Rd (where the backpackers stay). We loved this area, cheap leg massages, amazing nutella/banana crepes, lots of tropical fruits stands, and street food! We had lunch here at an Indian restaurant just to change things up, can’t remember the name, but it was so good.

We took a tuk tuk from there back to get a fitting for Shane’s tailored shirts and pants at DE TAILOR and ate some more street food, ate fresh fruits, did some shopping and went back to the hotel.

The next day, we had breakfast at the hotel and went to the Airport to go to Chiang Mai.


Tips & Tricks – BANGKOK:

  • Take the SkyTrain and buy the 1 day pass for 130 bahts (4USD) to avoid lines (price may have changed)
  • Tuk tuks are fun, but make sure to bargain
  • Street food is extremely good and cheap! Must try the amazing fruits as well!
  • Tailoring is the best in Bangkok, compared to the rest of Thailand
  • 2nd place place to get massages (Chiang Mai was best in our opinion)

Chiang Mai, Thailand

We flew from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and took a 15 minute taxi to our hotel, the Le Meridien Chiang Mai (highly recommended). Shane is a platinum Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) member so we enjoyed some of the perks such as a private lounge, upgraded suite and free breakfast every morning and tea & cocktails every evening! We talked to the concierge for a bit, but booking everything through the hotel is more expensive. For example, he told us transportation to Tiger Kingdom would be 800 bahts, where the taxi driver from airport to hotel told us said she can do it for 400 bahts roundtrip! We left the hotel and walked over to Bamboo Massage and booked our 2.5 hour massage for Friday at 10am. Got a foot massage somewhere else on the way back for 30 minutes for 80 bahts/per person (less than $3!) Then walked over to Zabai Massage and scheduled a 3 hour massage for Thursday.

Went to dinner at Lemongrass, which had good reviews but I thought the street Thai food was better. Went to Kalahari Night Bazaar to end the evening, which is something that Chiang Mai is known for and definitely worth checking out.

The next morning, we had breakfast at the hotel. Had our taxi driver from the airport come pick us up and take us to Tiger Kingdom (about a 40 minute drive) – This was a pretty awesome experience visiting 200kg tigers (looking back it was pretty scary as well!). Stayed there all morning and headed back to the hotel.

Had lunch at a restaurant that hotel recommended close by (Whole Earth was the name I believe). After lunch, we rented a scooter and rode it around town and went to visit some temples in the old city.

Relaxed at the hotel for a bit and went to get the best massage we ever had at Zabai Massage. Came back to hotel for cocktail hour to enjoy the hotel for a bit. Ended the night at the Night Bazaar again and grabbed dinner there as well.

The next day, we again had breakfast at the hotel. Went to get another massage that we booked in advance at Bamboo Massage (we would recommend Zabai over this one, but def was worth it as well). Got the opportunity to relax by hotel pool, which was beautiful.

A must do on your visit in Chiang Mai is a Thai cooking class. We picked the Thai Cooking Class at Siam Rice Cooking School, picked the dinner class where they pick you up at 3pm and drop you off around 9pm. We cooked a total of 4 dishes. 900 Baht per/person includes transportation and a recipe cookbook that I still have today! We made friends with the people who were in our cooking class so we experienced the night life with them that night in the main tourist nightlife area.

Tips & Tricks – CHIANG MAI:

  • Must get a massage(s) every day, and book them in advance!
  • We felt very relaxed here and thought 3 days was just the right amount of time there
  • Tiger Kingdom and cooking class are must dos!

Phuket/Phi Phi Island

The last part of our Thailand visit was to Phuket. We took another domestic flight to travel from Chiang Mai to Phuket. Took a shuttle from the airport to our hotel, Le Meridien Phuket in Karon. Received another warm welcome from the hotel.

The next morning, we had a hearty breakfast at the hotel. We decided to enjoy our private hotel beach (Karon Beach—much cleaner than Patong Beach). It was kind of cool because we had a private elephant come on the beach so we were able to play with it for a bit. Utilized hotel pools and amenities.

We left the hotel for a bit, to book our day trip to Phi Phi Islands with a travel agent right outside our hotel. This was much cheaper than what the hotel was charging us; nearly half the price! We went to visit Patong Beach but it was overcrowded and not really relaxing.

We took at Tuk Tuk to Patong Beach area and walked around the streets of Patong town. Lots of places for massages but def more expensive than Chiang Mai but we still got foot massages.

We went to a Restaurant called No.6 Restaurant for dinner—we went to the one right in Patong by Bangla street, but they provided us a free shuttle to their same restaurant on the hills (much better setting and a view of the entire city—make sure you do this). It’s a restaurant with a view, good food, and cheap and best is that they will pick you up at the old restaurant in Patong city and drop you back for free!

After getting dropped off in Patong city, we walked up and down Bangla Walking Street. A great place to checkout nightlife (very commercial).

Our last day in Phuket was spent on a day trip to Phi Phi Islands (one of my favorites of the entire trip). Got picked up by the tour’s shuttle from the hotel, took 1 hour to get to port where we took a high speed ferry with about 30 people for a full day tour.
We were looking forward to disconnecting and unwinding from the rush of Phuket.

We stopped at Monkey Island on the way to Maya Beach, which is a small cove on a peninsula on Koh Phi Phi Don. There is no entrance for cars and there are no roads leading to this. the only way to get to this is by boat. We were not able to feed them, as they were fully fed.

Snorkeling in Ko Phi Phi Don was quite the beautiful experience. I was so shocked at how clear the water was. We stopped by the island to get off and enjoy lunch on the island. Had delicious seafood. We met so many people here, a lot of them were from Australia.

Swimming in Maya Bay. I will never forget this unforgettable experience swimming the crystal waters and the sitting on the beautiful white sand. I have been to so many beautiful beaches in my lifetime, but this was just simply breathtaking.
Fun Fact– the filming of Leonardo DiCaprio’s hit movie from 2000, “The Beach” was filmed here.

Took shuttle back, and got back to hotel around 6pm in time for us to get ready for our 10:30pm overnight flight to Bali!

Tips & Tricks – PHUKET:

  • Definitely try to do a 1 day trip to any of the islands
  • Patong seemed a bit commercial and the beach wasn’t as nice as we were expecting it to be, so we were glad we went to Phi Phi Island!