BANG FOR YOUR BUCK IN BANGKOK
Published By, KAYDEN PHAN
If you're on a budget then Bangkok, Thailand is a great option. This is one of the most inexpensive cities I've ever explored. We used Trip Adviser to find a place to stay. It's a great app with lots of filters so you can find the perfect place to stay that suits all your needs. We chose a bed and breakfast and in the morning we were served an assortment of exotic fruits from mangosteen, lychee, papaya, dragon fruit and guava. Our breakfast also came with some of the best rice porridge I've ever had. That was a perfect way to start off our trip. Bangkok is one of my favorite cities to visit when it comes to food! Street food is my favorite and there was no shortage of street vendors. My meals were about $1.50 USD!
This city always has a happening vibe. The night bazaar was a bit chaotic and very much alive! I could't believe how cheap everything was. I wanted to buy so much but reminded myself to travel light as I had a long journey ahead of me. However if you are going to buy stuff, take your time and walk around because a lot of the booths sell the same things. I felt like the locals were all hustlers, I didn't know who to trust. I was solicited many times and pointed into directions of where I felt like that local was getting a kick back to push business so stay on your toes and don't be afraid to say no and bargain back at the bazaar. It also keeps it fun to know you didn't pay full price. There were so many cool things to see, I could walk the streets for hours! Fortunately if you get tired walking you'll most likely stumble upon unique fish pedicure boutiques where you can soak your feet and let the fish nibble at the dirt and dead skin cells you've been collecting from the unsanitary streets! Sounds crazy huh?!? So of course I had to try it and couldn't stop laughing because it tickled so much. I must say I left with my feet feeling smooth and clean. I would defiantly do this again.
I've always wanted to experience a floating market. There are 5 floating markets around Bangkok. I recommend looking them up to decide which is best for you. I should of taken my own advice but at the time thought they would all be good. We rented a tiny boat where the boat driver took us along the river. I would can hardly call that a floating market. There weren't many floating boats and it seemed like the ones that were there were only for the tourist. We were hoping for something busier, more authentic and filled with more locals.
Thailand is also known for their amazing temples which I wasn't going to pass up either. As I arrived, I had to rent a skirt because I wasn't dressed appropriately. The basic rule is to cover your shoulders and knees, ideally you'd cover your ankles as well. You should wear longer shorts, capris, pants, knee-length trousers or a longer skirt on your bottom half. On top you need to wear a shirt that fully covers your shoulders. T-shirts, blouses or polos are fine but tank tops are not and this goes for both sexes. If you don't want to spend money renting clothing to cover you up, plan ahead. Make sure you pack something you can throw over yourself. If you're exposed it's considered disrespectful and you won't be allowed in.
I had never taken a train before so we thought it would be a great way to get from Bangkok to Chaing Mai. The first class cabins were sold out so we booked a 2nd class cabin which was air conditioned with 4 sleepers. I didn't imagine the train to be so slow and it wasn't the most cleanly! I made sure to not touch the walls and got really good a squatting over toilets! Our train also had a delay midway so it took us over 15hrs to arrive. Taking the train was a cheaper way to travel but if you're limited on time I suggest flying.
A CHANGE TO CHAING MAI
CHAING MAI, THAILAND
Published By, KAYDEN PHAN
Thailand's northern capital and nestled up to forested foothills, it's a great city to visit and recharge your batteries as you escape busy Bangkok. This city was super affordable for us so we opted to splurge and get a private villa. Our little hide away was propped up along the Ping River and had such a romantic vibe. String lights adorned old trees that had been fixtures of the landscape for decades. Our window overlooked the gentle flowing river which put off a relaxing sound. Who wouldn't want to stay forever but beautiful as this place was, we didn't travel all that way to stay in our room.
Being in a city where motor bikes are the most popular form of transportation, I couldn't miss out this experience. We rented a motor bike and drove up the Suthep Mountain. We encountered some crazy fog and it felt like we were in the clouds almost. At times it felt a bit dangerous riding through the mountain switch backs and fighting to see through the fog. I'm not sure if that's common but I enjoyed the ride! The fog slowly cleared up and we motor biked it to the 200+acre zoo at the base of the mountain. I would say this is one of the best zoos I've been to especially because when it first opened it was here for the purpose of taking in injured animals.
Chaing Mai offers so many things to do from cruising in morning hot air balloons to, jungle kayaking, cooking classes, temple tours that it can be hard to decide! We ended up booking an excursion hiking through a tiny village where we saw locals sewing rugs and crafting trinkets to sell. Wooden huts were propped on stilts as farm animals lay beneath to seek shelter from the sun. All you could see was rice patty fields for as far as the eye could see. We made our way to the river where we bamboo rafted for a couple miles before pulled off to the side where some elephants awaited us. It was feeding time and we were given lots of leaves to feed them. We then road the elephants till we reached our destination for lunch. We were fed a traditional thai meal and then shuttled back to our hotels. What an incredible adventure but to top it off the entire excursion cost $30 USD!!
We also took a visit to the orchid farm but I suggest saving yourself the time. It was really far and we kept getting lost. Every time we pulled over to ask someone for directions we would get sent to a wrong direction! We back tracked for ever and I almost gave up! However we did make it and I don't recommend going because there weren't as many orchid blooms as we imagined.
PHU KET, I'M GOING TO PHUKET
Published By, KAYDEN PHAN
White sand beaches and beautiful scenes out of James Bond movies who wouldn't wanna come here and relax under the shade of a palm tree with their favorite cocktail? Between cheap food and low cost accommodations it's easy to see why Phuket receives troves of tourists. Phuket also boasts a reputation for their jaw dropping ladyboy performances. Stereotypes have been around forever and it's great to get a closer look at how much hard work they've put into their craft. It's pure dedication and I truly admire them all.
I like to explore natures side of every city so we booked an excursion to kayak through Phang Nga Bay where there are parts of total darkness in limestone caves before you end up in the center surrounded by amazing rock formations where it sounds like you're in the jungle. There's only one way in and one way out and the scary part was we could only get there during low tide and even then we had to lay flat on our back so we could shimmy our way through! If you're luck you'll be able to splash the water and see the bioluminescent plankton glitter in absolute darkness. I was lucky enough to see them and it was a pretty magical moment! Then, after dark we set our own candlelit flower boat off into the water during a Loi Krathong ceremony complete with fireflies and the bio-luminescent plankton.
For those of you that are craving nightlife, Phuket surely wont disappoint. It's reputation as a partying hotspot is well-deserved. With go-go bars, discos and clubs, ladyboy cabaret shows, live bands and international DJs, this city has everything that makes Thailand's party scene famous the world over. If you're looking for the street with the bright neon lights and loud music then head to Bangla Road in Patong. It's where you'll run into crowds of young party enthusiasts.