I went to Thailand with a group of friends from South Africa. We decided to be lazy and let Contiki plan the whole trip for us. We went on the Thai Island Hopper West. It was one of my most memorable trips thus far. Not only was I in undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful places on earth, I had great company and many lasting lifelong memories were created.
We arrived in Phuket on a humid hot afternoon, the airport was quite amusing and smacked of one of those small city airports with none of the glossy shiny pretentiousness.
We started off the tour a day earlier than everyone else so we had the benefit of getting familiar with our surrounds.
The streets are relatively calm in the day compared to the night mayhem. If you’re looking for cheap shopping, quick nibbles, pharmacies, massage parlours, or if you’re feeling adventurous ,tattoo shops-these are found at every corner. There are plenty shops to cater for all your needs so don’t fret about not finding any necessities. Just as a side note, the massage parlors are really cheap and they do a fantastic job.
There’s no better way to get immersed in Thai lifestyle than experiencing delicious Thai cuisine. From Pad Thai, to mouthwatering yellow, green & red curries, there’s so much to keep your taste buds excited. The air hot filled with heat from barbeque satay stands in every corner.This would come in very handy after a long night out. Thai food is simply delicious. If you aren’t one for ethic food don’t worry, there is plenty continental food on offer everywhere. You have to try the street food you will not regret.
I loved the chicken gizzard satay and chicken satay in peanut butter sauce. Simply scrumptious street food delight.
If you have a sweet tooth you absolutely have to try the Thai pancakes. My favourite was the banana pancake which was layered with banana slices and topped with a generous layer of divine Nutella 🙂
I had my first taste of Singha beer in Thailand and I always say it’s the best thing I have tasted when it comes to beer. So refreshing and crisp.
One cant help but be revived from the energy in the air. Its contagious, its so vibrant so alive. You will inevitably find yourself on the infamous Bangla Road in Patong.
This long stretch of road is known for its bars, restaurants, ladies lounges and crazy nightlife. The streets of Bangla road are littered with tourists. I remember seeing someone adorning a t-shirts which read “Good girls go to Heaven and bad girls go to Phuket”. We were in for a good time and I was ready to let loose and have a great time.
We stayed in Phuket about three days, this leg of the trip was mainly one where we would wake up, feast at breakfast, tour in the day, have dinner, drinks, dance and maybe sleep an hour or three. This cycle would repeat itself daily. If you are ready to see your jaw drop go watch a Ping Pong show. I won’t say anymore on that!
We also shopped quite a bit in our free time. You can find almost everything on the streets, from shoes to scarfs, bags, watches, sunglasses and souvenirs.
If you’ve ever heard of duplicate originals, this is the place to find them. They sell “first copy” replicas of original brands for a nominal amount. Some of these shops especially those selling watches and expensive name brand bags are hidden as they are kinda illegal.
One helpful tip is to haggle as much as possible with the merchants, they enjoy negotiating and bargaining with customers.
We explored the natural beauty of the coast and fjords by sea canoe. This was absolutely breathtaking. We toured through the water caves and saw unusual limestone karst and we were lucky enough to see the legendary “James Bond Island” made famous by a James Bond film.
From Phuket we travelled on a Ferry to Koh Phi Phi
This Island is made famous by the film ‘The Beach’ starring the hunky Leonardo Di Caprio. The most gorgeous turquoise crystal waters I have ever seen. We took a speed boat to the “Beach” and stopped to snorkel at the Bamboo Islands reefs.. I have never seen such a variety of marine life. We could see all sorts of colorful species and I think I may have found Nemo too.
Ko Phi Phi was paradise. We had a room that over looked the ocean. I couldn’t help but feel so blessed and thankful to wake up to sucha view. The island is pretty small and you could potentially cover most of it in a day or less. We had an awesome all white and bright paint party on our last night. This was so much fun. We basically dressed in white and had dinner and drinks, after that we went to a bar where we splashed all sorts of neon paint on each other. We all came out a beautiful array of rainbow colours. Getting the paint out the following day was no fun though J we stayed in Koh Phi Phi for 3 days. What an epic time in a pleasantly chilled out little island.
From Ko Phi Phi we made our way to Krabi. I found Krabi like a surfer’s paradise. It reminded me a lot of Cape Town. It was also very tranquil and mountainous. Krabi offers some amazing scenery, friendly locals & that homely small town feel.
The night life here is not as vibrant as Phuket but I enjoyed it none the less. I think of all the three places, I am biased to say I could actually live in Krabi. We stayed for 3 days. We took a ferry back to Phuket and the tour ended to my poor hearts discontent.
I loved Thailand. I had the best time of my life here and I would definitely go again in a heartbeat. This was a fun lazy holiday for me. Not much cultural and history, which is ok because of the crazy fun I had.
- Cheap country so you can feel rich and say “Keep the change”
- Tastiest food freshest I have ever had
- Lovely welcoming people
Lesson Learned: In Thailand I learnt to take life easy let loose and just have fun. I think I learnt the importance of enjoying and living in the moment. The people here are so carefree and jovial. It’s a good way to be in life.