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Thai'me to Travel to Thailand

If you know me, you know I have a passion for travel!

Especially solo, international travel.


In October, I spent 2.5 weeks in Thailand with long layovers in Abu Dhabi I left the airport for.


From beaches to hiking to camel riding - it was a great experience!


Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirites

I flew Etihad Airlines to Thailand. I found my flight through Going - I have been using them since 2019 to book cheap flight deals! A flight from the US to Thailand averages $1,400, but with Going, I was able to find a $900 round trip flight. I'll take the $500 discount!


I had a long layover in Abu Dhabi.

Etihad Airlines has a program for tourism in Abu Dhabi where they pay for a night in a hotel if your layover is a certain length. Why not have a free night in Abu Dhabi?


Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, girl with red head wrap and glasses in front
Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

While in Abu Dhabi, I saw the Grand Mosque and went on a Desert Tour through Viator.

I liked booking through Viator because they vet out the companies and have reviews from customers who took the same tours.


The desert tour had dune bugging, sand boarding, traditional dance, atv rides, hookah smoking, camel rides and more!


As a female, I felt very safe in Abu Dhabi, but I was obviously smart as well and aimed to respect the culture.


Desert Tour from Viator, picture of girl riding a camel
Desert Tour from Viator


Abu Dhabi is a primarily Muslim country so covering your hair, avoiding alcohol consumption, and dressing modestly will help ensure safety while traveling there.


Covering your hair is mandatory at the Mosque, but you can borrow garments there.


Local ATM's will dispense local currency but be aware most taxis, especially from the airport, are cash only and cash exchange at the airport has a high rate. I made sure to obtain local currency from my bank before hand - Wells Fargo will mail you foreign currency for free!


Phuket, Thailand

Phuket is a big town with a tourist, party strip - Bangla Road.

Depending on the type of traveler you are, I'd recommend avoiding Bangla Road.


To do this, I stayed in Old Town.

Old Town is a little further from some of the tourist attractions - The Big Buddha, beaches, elephant sanctuaries - but Old Town gives you less noise and more of a local feel. There is also a great night market in Old Town on Sunday nights where you can enjoy food, souvenirs, and live music and entertainment.


I typically stay in hostels when I solo travel.

I've been using HostelWorld to book hostels since 2019.

In Phuket, I stayed at "Book a Bed Poshtel".


I enjoyed this hostel due to clean rooms, curtains in dorm rooms, location to Old Town, and of course, a pool!

Big Buddha in Phuket, statue, shrine, temple with girl standing in front
Big Buddha in Phuket

The staff was helpful and had recommendations on excursions and transport.

I took a city bus from the airport to Old Town - this is the biggest downfall of Phuket, the airport is about an hour drive from the actual city.


I visited The Big Buddha while in Phuket, and took a Grab Bike to get there!

Grab is Thailand's version of Uber, and their are motorcycle options that are very affordable. When in Thailand!




Green Elephant Sanctuary in Phuket, elephant sanctuary that is ethical. Girl touching an elephants trunk
Green Elephant Sanctuary in Phuket


I also visited The Green Elephant Sanctuary while here.

This elephant sanctuary was recommended to me by a friend who had been a few years prior.

Unethical treatment of elephants is unfortunately a problem in Thailand - so I wanted to make sure if I went to a sanctuary, it was ethical.

The Green Elephant gave us tours of their property and told us about the caretakers and the parameters for the caretakers. I felt very comfortable supporting this sanctuary.



Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Koh Phi Phi is a must visit when in Thailand!

Be prepared, it's a little more touristy than I was expecting, though.


Maya Bay, shooting scene from The Beach movie with Leonardo DiCaprio, girl in bikini on beach, ocean
Maya Bay

Phi Phi is a picturesque island about an hour and a half boat ride from Phuket.

It features dramatic cliffs and beautiful beaches.


Take a day tour on a boat that will take you to Maya Bay, Monkey Island, Pirate Cove, & more! Maya Bay is where Leonardo DiCaprio's Movie "The Beach" had a famous scene. It is currently closed for swimming due to coral restoration, but can still be accessed for viewing.


Koh Phi Phi has unique walking streets throughout the main city. The area features great Thai food, massage parlors, and many, many bars.


"Reggae Bar" is an... interesting spot.

The bar features free bucket cocktails for tourists who volunteer to box other tourists. Yes, you read that correctly.

No waivers signed, no health checks - because, well, this is Thailand.

You are given an outfit to wear and gloves, though.

I did not volunteer myself, sorry to let you down, friends. 😉


I stayed at two different hostels while I was here - Sweed Dee and The Pier 159. I originally booked at Sweed Dee and then decided last minute to stay another night and they didn't have availability for a 3rd night - which is why I switched to The Pier 159 my final night. Be aware - hostels book out often here, especially during peak season!

Sweed Dee's location was prime, but the accommodations were very bare.

The Pier 159 was still close to night life, but about a 10 min walk. The beds and common area were nicer at The Pier 159, but I would stay at both hostels again!


Krabi, Thailand

Krabi is another island in the south of Thailand, about an hour speed boat ride from Koh Phi Phi.

Krabi is big - there are many places to stay!

Rock Climbing at Railay Beach through Real Rocks Krabi company, lead climbing, rope climbing, Thailand
Rock Climbing at Railay Beach

I stayed in Ao Nang - close to beaches, the night market, and night life.


I took a day trip to the infamous Railay Beach and rock climbed - this was one of the highlights of my trip!

Even if you are a new climber, I would check it out.

Real Rocks Krabi is the company I went with - I would highly recommend!

They provided all of the gear, including water, and sent you with a knowledgable guide.

They have half day and full day tours.

I booked last minute and they had availability, however, I visited in "low" season - so I wouldn't bank on that.

Blue Pool in Krabi, Thailand, travel, tour
Blue Pool in Krabi

While in Krabi, I also took a tour through Viator to see Buddha's Footprint - a temple at the top of 1,700 steps! Be prepared for a 45 minute hike that is steep!


The tour also took us to some beautiful thermal pools - The Emerald and Blue pools.


We also went to a natural hot springs, which I am a sucker for!


I stayed at Nomads Hostel while here. A lot of fun, but a lot of 20's year olds partying!



They had a pool and bar/restaraunt on site, and young employees who would take guests out on bar crawls. It was a lot of fun, but be prepared! There are quiet hours after 11, though.


Khao Sok National Park, Thailand

This was a highlight of my trip, and I wasn't even planning on coming!

Normally I book my travels front to back before I even set foot on the plane.

But this trip, I didn't book anything until I got to Thailand.

This was a step out of my comfort zone, but I'm so glad I did it!


Raft House in Khao Sok, thailand, picturesque,
Raft House in Khao Sok

I had a handful of places I wanted to visit while in Thailand, but kind of just let the wind blow where it wanted - and that led me to Khao Sok!

I met people at my hostels that all recommended Khao Sok, so I thought it was a sign to go!


To get from Krabi to Khao Sok it was a 4 hour bus ride. The bus had a stop half way for bathrooms and food.


Khao Sok is one of the oldest national forests in the world, with Jurassic Park like views.

I booked the Rafthouse & Rainforest with Lake Overnight tour through Coco Hostel.


Khao Sok National Park, long tail boat, thailand, jurassic park, girl in bikini
Khao Sok National Park

To book this tour, you have to do it through Coco Hostel's website and not on HostelWorld.


The tour included a nights stay and jungle hike at the main hostel and then transport, food, accommodations at a picturesque raft house, a waterfall hike, canoeing, a cave tour, and a safari in the park!


Beautiful views, adventurous excursions, and great company!


I would not miss this tour if you visit Thailand.


Bangkok, Thailand

The big city!


I took an overnight bus from Khao Sok to Bangkok.

This bus was almost 12 hours, and not the most comfortable.


There were sleeper buses with actual beds - but I booked mine last minute and was stuck with the cheap option - conventional chairs and sore back.


Once I arrived in Bangkok, I treated myself to a hotel for two nights.

This hotel was a 4 star hotel with a pool, concierge, bath tub, & more for only $40/ night!

Again, keep in mind, this was during "low" season.


Floating Market outside of Bangkok, thailand
Floating Market outside of Bangkok

I visited the floating market and the train market, both about an hour outside of Bangkok, but again, there are tours that take you with ease.


I also visited another temple - there are so many temples in Thailand!


After rejuvenating in the hotel, and treating myself to a bath, I stayed my final night at Bed Station Hostel. A multiple story hostel close to Khaoson Road - the big party street in Bangkok.


I went out with a few people my age, and had a great time experiencing the city at night in Bangkok!





Chiang Mai, Thailand

Be happy you read this far because Chiang Mai was my favorite place in Thailand.


A big city with quaint, local vibes,

Great food, great people, a hippie yet contemporary vibe.


I took another overnight bus from Bangkok, again about a 12 hour ride.

These buses did have bathrooms and did stop halfway at a rest stop with a restaurant.

Temple in Chiang Mai, buddhist, thailand
Temple in Chiang Mai

One of my favorite nights in Thailand was spent sitting on the patio of Give Me 5 Hostel, talking with another fellow traveler and watching the city.

We observed a local family across the street teaching their son how to head butt a soccer ball, watched hundreds of motorcycles drive by, and listened to the city go about.


I visited night markets and temples while here, and got a tattoo! Zeroo tattoo shop was very professional, clean, and of great quality!

Besides that, I mainly just hung out and took in the city with a chill vibe. No crazy tours or agenda.


Pai, Thailand

My final stop!


This little town was very hyped up for it's hippie vibes.


Bamboo Bridge in Pai, thailand, thai man walking on bridge, rice field
Bamboo Bridge in Pai

A 3 hour bus from Chiang Mai, be prepared to take some dramamine - the roads are windy!


Pai had many yoga studios, musicians, and plant medicine shops.

I attended yoga at Boddhi Tree, and really enjoyed their wide range of classes and workshops.


There were also a few tourist attractions - a bamboo bridge, a hot spring, a waterfall, and more. I booked a tour for this, this time through my hostel. The town is small so there aren't many options/ companies.



Hot Spring in Pai, girl, woman, hot springs, hot springs, national park
Hot Spring in Pai

I stayed at Pai in the Sky Hostel. This hostel was calm and quiet! It was right in town and right by the bus station. One thing to note about this hostel is that it is technically on the property of a temple - so alcohol is prohibited.


While I enjoyed this town, it seemed touristy to me.

From my understanding, it was a hidden gem a few years back and then the word got out and it has blown up.

I tend to gravitate more towards to local, authentic spots when I traveled - and Pai just didn't give me that vibe. I would go back if my intention was to relax, practice yoga, and rejuvenate.

But with my intentions of travel, adventure and exploring - Pai didn't align.


Overall

All in all, I had a great time on this trip!

I ate some great food (shrimp fried rice and mango sticky rice please), met some wonderful people (it is way more acceptable to quit your job to travel for months on end in other cultures), spent many hours on a bus & came back with some ink.


For immunity and jet lag support while traveling - check out these supplements.


Only regret?

Not spending more time in Asia and hopping to Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia and other surrounding countries while I was there.


But, I had a doggo at home waiting for me🥰


Feel free to drop any comments or questions below, I love to spark the travel bug in others. Life is short, the world is wide!


Much love,

Jordan


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