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A Guide to Thailand

I'm back from my trip to Thailand and it's taken me a few weeks to get back into gear and feel back to normal again, but now i feel ready to share my adventure including tips and advice. If you are planning to go to Thailand then this is for you but if not, it may get a little boring as there's loads to cover!
So this time I went from May 29th - June 14th, I also went in June 2015 for 13 days but didn't feel this was enough time to see and do everything I wanted to. This time round I planned a bit more travelling round to make sure I could fit in as much as possible in the short space of time. 

For each destination I spent no more than 3 days - other than arrival in Bangkok which was only for the night. I stayed in Centara Watergate Pavillion Hotel and I've got to say it was an amazing hotel. It was in a great location right by all the shopping centres such as Central World and Siam Center, had a good quality breakfast and a roof top restaurant and bar! It was a great way to start the holiday.

The first stop, Phuket was the longest as the weather wasn't great to be travelling round on ferries.
My boyfriend and I stayed in Patong, Sawadee Resort to be specific. If you are looking to stay in the main area, the busiest road in Patong is called Bangla Road which is full of bars, clubs and lady boys galore. There are many hostels and hotels scattered around the road but be warey it can get very loud from around 6pm till early hours.

The nearest beach is just a few minutes walk - Patong Beach. This isn't the most picturesque of beaches but it is quite big and has numerous activities you can do including paragliding and jet skiing. There are a wide variety of restaurants, bars and massage parlours in this area and is the most popular amongst tourists. You can find bike shops everywhere and rent one for approximately 200 baht (£4) per day and explore nearby towns and beaches such as Karon, as well as visit the Big Buddah.

 The second stop was Phi Phi Island via a 40 minute minivan transfer to Phuket Rassada pier and a 2 hour ferry. The best way to travel around from island to island or island to mainland is by ferry - depending on the length of the journey this can cost as little as 400 baht one way (£8). The beauty of this is that it isn't necessary to book in advance - you can buy your ticket the day before from the many tourist shops scattered about and it won't affect the price. Do make sure you aren't being ripped off and check a few places first to find the best price. For reference I paid 400 baht one way from Phuket to Phi Phi.

This is an island you hear a lot about from people who have traveled around Thailand and a place which I definitely didn't want to miss. I stayed about a 10 minute walk from the pier at a hotel called Papaya Phi Phi Resort which was up a lot of stairs - if I could advise anyone I would say stay as low down as you can! Although the view was beautiful, (and there were even monkeys on the balcony) it wasn't worth the sweating everyday going to and from the room plus cockroaches scurrying around your feet - ergh!

Phi phi is a very small, fun-filled, picturesque island which has more than enough bars, restaurants and markets as well as beautiful beaches. This island was affected by the 2004 Tsunami but has built up to look better now that it did before. You will find Tsunami Evacuation point signs dotted around which direct you to higher ground.
In the day time you can visit the Phi Phi View Point which is approximately 3,000 km up hill and a small fee of around 20 baht (40p) - but is really worth it, especially if you go to watch the sunset. You can also go on day trips via taxi boats to Maya Bay and other near by islands, go kayaking and explore caves!
In the evenings, mainly on weekends, fire shows will be held right on the beach and the atmosphere is at its best. I loved this little island and would definitely recommend it for peaceful days and lively nights.

The next stop was Koh Lanta which was about an hour and a half ferry ride from Phi Phi. As it was the low season, it was very quiet, and barely anyone around - especially tourists. I booked a hotel with the most amazing pool to relax around; Nakara  Long Beach Resort. In the peak months this is a popular area to stay in, with quiet bars and restaurants on the beach, but many were closed down as it was a quiet month. This is not the place to go if you're after nightlife anyway.

Long beach was almost empty every day, with only a few Chinese tourists around. So my boyfriend and I took advantage of having such a beautiful beach to ourselves to watch the sunset each night we were there. It was in the perfect position for it and it was truly mesmerising. The beach and the island as a whole was really clean and well kept - it felt like a real getaway island. We could even hear the sound of the waves at night while we were in bed.

The fourth stop of the journey was Ao NangKrabi. A popular tourist destination that would be a bit more upbeat and lively compared to chilled out Koh Lanta. You can either travel by a 2 hour ferry or a similarly timed minivan journey for around 400 baht (£8).
The first thing you'll notice on arrival is the huge strip of bars, restaurants, shops and stalls as well as many people around with a good atmosphere. I stayed just off Ao Nang Beach and it was the perfect area for easy access to everything without having to pay for taxis and tuk tuks everywhere - which by the way will cost around 60 baht (£1.20) from one end of the beach to the other, although some drivers charge per person.
In Ao Nang you can browse many shopping stalls and markets and will find street food scattered about, as well as my favourite - fruit shake and pancake stalls.

There are a few options for day trips here including elephant trekking, adventure parks and cooking classes. Of course I went to a cooking class and it cost 1,000 baht (£20) per person which includes pick up and drop off, a choice of 5 things to learn how to make and you get to eat it all too! I really enjoyed this although it was just the two of us as there weren't many people wanting cooking classes this time of year, but it was definitely an experience!
In the evenings the main place you will find lively nightlife is around Center Point, where you will find bars and clubs with loud music, cabaret shows and night time shopping.

For the last stop I really wanted to visit Khao Lak as I knew it was the most affected area in Thailand from the Tsunami and was curious to see what it looked like. It proved a little difficult to get here as it was low season, but none the less we got a minivan there which took approximately 3 hours with a stop in Krabi TownAs we were driving around the cliffs approaching, you could see the long stretch of beach out of the left window which looked beautiful. The hotel of choice was The Leaf Oceanside Beach Resort, which I couldn't recommend enough - a luxury 4* resort which only cost £18 per night for a standard balcony room including breakfast for two.

Just a minutes walk away was Nang Thong Beach which was quiet but not eerie quiet like Koh Lanta was. Just on the main road there are shops and restaurants all the way down, not a great deal but it's no problem finding somewhere to go. We went to an Italian place (on both nights actually as we really liked it) called Peter Pan which was obviously popular as it was the most full place on the road. The food was nice and it was a really nice, chilled out beach area to be in.

In the day time you can hire a bike and explore the other beaches, my favourite being Coconut Beach. This was probably the nicest beach I saw on my journey, with soft white sand and the clearest sea I've probably ever seen. Only small but just like a postcard. We also visited the small Tsunami memorial which includes a police boat which was washed up and never moved. There's another larger memorial called Ban Nam Khem but it's quite a drive away from the main area.

The next evening we had a flight from Phuket back to Bangkok so got a minivan to the airport which was a little expensive at 900 baht, but we had quite a bit of money still left so didn't mind. In Bangkok I booked one night at a hotel in China Town and the second next to Suvarnabhumi Airport, which makes things easier so there's no extra travelling before the long journey home.

We re-visited Khao San Road via a taxi boat after enjoying it last year and did some last minute souvenir shopping. This is a very popular road particularly at night as its full of bars and nightlife, so it's a good area to stay in for your first night or two in Bangkok.
On the very last day it's best to have some relaxation time, get a Thai full body massage and make sure you are prepped and ready to go.

Hopefully my guide has been somewhat useful to you if you are planning a trip to Thailand! It's a beautiful country which stole my heart and I'll always dream of those sunsets and beaches.