Needless to say, there is a lot of information buried within all of these blog posts about our trip to Thailand. This final post serves as a one-stop-shop for the nitty gritty details of our hotels and excursions that we did. Our long-haul flights were with Emirates and domestic flights were with Bangkok Airways in and out of Samui. No issues with either!
Bangkok: Casa Nithra, 2100 THB per night (Superior Room), highly recommended
Ayutthaya: Baan Kong Homestay, 900 THB per night (Standard Bungalow), highly recommended (no website, but available on booking sites)
Sukhothai: Thai Thai Sukhothai, 1600 THB per night (Superior Bungalow), highly recommended
Chiang Mai: Sakorn Residence, 1200 THB per night (Superior Room), recommended (misses being “highly” due to distance from the Old Town, but the river location has its merits as well.)
Koh Samui: Hotel Pelegrin, 800 THB per night (fan) or 1400 THB per night (A/C), recommended
Koh Tao: Ko Tao Resort, 1800 THB per night (Deluxe Room), I would look for another hotel before staying here, but if it was the only option, I would stay again. We really struggled to find a hotel on Koh Tao since the majority of the review scores were average at best. Luckily we didn’t have to choose a beach since we had found IHASIA dive school first so that narrowed down the hotel search.
Elephant Nature Park: Pamper a Pachyderm program, 6000 THB per person, highly recommended
Cooking Course in Chiang Mai: Thai Farm Cooking School, 1300 THB per person, highly recommended – make sure you’re hungry!
Ang Thong Marine Park: 100 Degrees East, 4500 THB per person, highly recommended
Scuba Diving: IHASIA, 7000 THB per person, highly recommended for Spanish speakers. There were also groups learning in English but our group’s experience was with Spanish tuition. IHASIA is run by Spaniards and the vast majority of the students were Spanish.
Flying Trapeze: Goodtime Adventures, 950 THB per person, highly recommended. Just be aware that you will use muscles you never knew existed and will likely be sore the next day (and in my case sore for almost 2 weeks!! I couldn’t stretch my arms back entirely until 2 weeks later….but so worth it!)
- In general everyone was really friendly – except on the islands. The majority of the Thai people we encountered on Samui and Tao were not very nice at all, which left us with a bit of a sour taste. This was particularly evident at Ko Tao Resort…the housekeeping staff were all quite pleasant but the people working reception were indifferent to the guests (at best). All of the expats though were super-friendly.
- The food was all good, but we felt that it got a bit repetitive by the end. Non-spicy options were quite limited for Virginia (pad thai, fried rice, pad see ew, and chicken with cashew nuts were the staples!) Oddly enough, we also missed eating with chopsticks!
- Transportation worked well….our buses, trains, and ferries left on time but were 40 minutes late arriving (coincidence?) while our 2 flights were bang on time.
- Temple are everywhere!! Easy on-off shoes make life easier! Capri pants for women were long enough in most cases with exceptions being the Royal Palace in Bangkok and Bhubing Palace in Chiang Mai.
- Generally we found everywhere to be organised and safe. We were in Bangkok at a holiday time so it was quite empty. It wasn’t until we had our final night there at the end of the trip that we experienced the dreaded traffic jams that it is famous for.
- While in Bangkok, always use the taxi meter. However, if it proves impossible, just remember that even though you are getting ripped off, it is still infinitely less than what you would pay at home! Another thing to watch out for is the meter that runs way too quickly. This happened to us going to the airport for our flight home. When the meter was already at 50 baht after 10 meters, I just pointed out that there must be something wrong and the driver reset it.
- And finally, if your elephant guide offers you rubber boots, TAKE THEM!!! 🙂