Journey through Bangkok and south part of Thailand’s ups and downsReading Time: 7 minutes
Landing in the massive Don Mueang International Airport in Bangkok was pretty face-slapping especially after spending weeks surrounded by nature. Having to go through taxi mafia to get to the city centre, dealing with the driver who used Google translator speaker to communicate with us left us very exhausted and frustrated – Bangkok greeted us with it’s first traffic jam and hours drive to the city centre. The humid outside was just unbearable and we couldn’t imagine how we will explore the city when there are no pavements and distances are so huge. Make sure you download the asian version of Uber called GRAB app cause it literally saved our asses!
After quick check in into our Airbnb we decided to have a look at everything from the top – Bangkok is full of skyscrapers! It was the best idea to have a cocktail in one of the rooftop bars – Cloud 47 remains casual and there are no fees at the entry. We marked a few vegan places but it got to the point that we spent 45 minutes with an Uber driver (at least taxis are cheap!) who was completely lost with his GPS and couldn’t speak English. We ended our evening with pizza and wine in one of the Italian restaurants next to our Airbnb.
Next day, before leaving the capital we had a lunch at Lee Jae Veg, a small eatery located in the middle of Chinatown with the walking distance from Hua Lamphong railway station. They have extensive menu with tasty broths filled with noodles and lots of rice dishes. There were two ladies making pastries filled with coconut or veggies which we also took as snacks for our trip. Go there and you will eat like a local! After one night in this chaotic city we couldn’t wait to get out and took a train towards south – Hua Hin was the first interesting destination on the way.
Hua Hin itself has nothing much to offer apart from a few night markets and pretty impressive national parks around. Trying to keep the budget tight, we chose Laila Food and Drink Guesthouse – very basic hostel – with a short distance to the train station and night market. Scooter rental was right next to our homestay and next day we were ready to explore the surroundings. Khao Sam Roi Yot has several caves including Phraya Nakhon cave with a mystical Buddhist Temple inside.
Before reaching it you will have a walk through tranquil Laem Sala Beach. It might be a perfect place to bring your own snacks and have a picnic under the palm trees. Skipping other caves and Khao Daeng view point we simply got lost in local villages trying to spot Thai people working outside their houses. Enjoying the ride back to Hua Hin we stopped by a huge pineapple plantation where friendly locals gave us smiles and free pineapples! If you will get sleepy there is lovely coffee shop on the way – Health Me café – good snacks, SOY MILK(!!!) and amazing outdoor sits.
After few days in Hua Hin, at Chumphon we jumped in a boat going to Koh Tao Island and stayed there for one night. Lomprayah company operates between multiple locations, you can also visit Koh Pha-Ngan and Koh Samui. If you are suffering from sea/motion sickness we don’t recommend sitting in the upper deck! All of the islands are populated by backpackers and party-goers wanting to partake in the Full Moon celebrations on the beach. Almost each hostel has motorcycle rental but beware of steep and rutted roads! We discovered a secluded beach on the south-western tip of the island – Sai Nuan is definitely a less crowded perfect place to watch the sunset. On the way back we stopped by La Carotte Qui Rit, for the best Phanaeng Curry we’ve ever had.
One of the few places we managed to review, Living Juices is a great option for breakfast, offering light treats before the boat journey back. Lots of fresh juices and smoothie bowls!
The itinerary from Koh Tao to Phuket was quite long and exhausting, however we were rewarded by an amazing hostel to rest our heads – Beds Patong. The main highlight of our visit in Phukhet was the One Day Wellness Package we indulged at Santosa Detox & Wellness Center. You can either visit the restaurant for their fancy vegan food or choose to spend a day in their centre using the package just like we did.
Overwhelmed by Christmas vibes and high prices in Koh Tao and Phuket, we made the decision to cut off from the touristy places and escape to remote Koh Lanta. Time for beach life! Relatively quiet atmosphere of the island gave us some energy and perfect dosage of vitamin sea before moving on.
On Christmas day we did a day trip to a famous Phi Phi Islands, treated ourselves with a private boat tour to Maya Bay with beautiful cliffs and beaches.
In the night we discovered little present in our room – bed bugs! One does not simply experience South East Asia without the bed bugs. It was probably the worst dilemma after having food poisoning in Cambodia. You really have to put an effort to get rid of these little insects but it’s not that hard in the end.The most important thing is to change your mattress and wash all clothes! Bless our Airbnb hosts who gave us another room and helped with the situation.
After all the drama we were peacefully enjoying sunsets and eating delicious food at:
- Sanctuary Yoga bungalows by the beach, morning yoga sessions, massage, everyone speaks well English, friendly and welcoming staff! We were chilling here most of the time!
- Patty’s Secret Garden -restaurant and Airbnb where we stayed, English owner, lovely family and cheap accommodation.
- Pangea Beach bar – beach parties on Sundays and Tuesdays,
- Irie Bar – vegan and vegetarian options, good atmosphere to chill before sunrise
- Kunda Vegeterian Café – homemade food, beautiful setting and decor, a bit pricey but definitely worth a visit! Owners motto is “you get what you deserve” so be nice!
There are so many beaches in the Gulf of Thailand yet only a few remind like a tropical perfection. Railay Beach could be one of them if not full of tourists. If you are staying in Krabi Town like us, you will have to take long tailed boat from the pier – cost around 200THB (~£4.50) for return ticket but make sure that they do not depart until the boat is full. Perhaps would be a great idea to rent a bungalow nearby Phra Nang beach and enjoy spectacular limestone cliffs during the sunset. We only saw the coast during the day but still managed to avoid the crowds.
For our two last nights in Thailand we chose to stay in a very stylish and modern SleepClub Hostel. Just a walking distance from Krabi’s Night Market where we could enjoy our very last Pad Thais, right before we took off to Cambodia.