03.05.14

THAILAND TRIP PT. 1

hi everyone! we are back from thailand and finally recovered from the crazy jet lag. i thought i would share a bunch of photos and information about our trip since so many of you have asked where we stayed and questions about traveling there. (and see part 2 here!)

overall, it was a truly wonderful experience. my first post ever written on designlovest five years ago talks about hopes of going to thailand and laying in a hammock by the water. i decided this was the year to make that happen for real. it was a spontaneous trip, and i’m so happy we went through with it. it was so nice to just relax, spend quality time with arian, and not wear any makeup at all.

okay, now on to the trip details…

first stop, phuket: like i said, this was an impulse trip. i booked our tickets into the phuket airport and i would have done that differently if i had done a little more research first. when  i asked everyone their tips, i received MANY comments saying that phuket is way too touristy or not what it used to be. so we decided to travel around once we got there. we flew in and drove about an hour to our hotel, the cloud 19. we didn’t see much of phuket since we left the next day.

however, the resort was clean, simple, pretty and right on the water. we got used to the time change, got a beach massage ($10 for a one hour couples massage!), swam in the pool and were off to the ferry in the morning. that said, i don’t have a ton of opinions on phuket myself, but i trust everyone’s comments if you were planning a trip.

traveling around thailand: i was initially pretty nervous about getting around to all of these locations. airports, cabs, ferries, smaller boats… i just freaked myself out that it would be difficult to navigate without my phone having service. turns out, it was fairly simple. all the hotels were very familiar with the ferry times and we bought our tickets through them once we got there. they even arranged the cab for our hotel pickup. once you get to your destination, there are tons of cab drivers waiting who are very familiar with the area. i just showed them the name of the hotel and hoped for the best. the ferry + cab from phuket to ko lanta (with a transfer stop at phi phi island) cost us about $35 US dollars each. once we got to ko lanta, the cab was about 20 minutes to our hotel and cost about $10 total.

second stop, ko lanta: we were told that ko lanta was SUPER relaxing and not very touristy. this was true and what we wanted. we arrived at our resort, narima, and immediately felt comfortable. the staff was very friendly and spoke great english. the wifi was free and available everywhere on the grounds. we spent a little more than $100 a night and got an entire bungalow with an ocean view and hammock on our balcony (and that included complimentary breakfast every morning!) the beds weren’t luxurious or anything, but none of the beds we slept in were very soft in thailand. it was totally fine though!

they have a really great beach bar that serves dinner under these magical lights and has a terrific happy hour. we noticed there were quite a lot of families with kids at this spot, which we didn’t mind, but some people might. i saw one pretty large lizard climbing on the wall in our room, and luckily that was all! ha. the pimalai resort looked very nice but was way more expensive and i wasn’t sure it was worth it. but i’m sure it’s lovely! i was pleased with our hotel choice.

what to do in ko lanta: our favorite thing to do in ko lanta was renting a scooter. they had them available at our hotel for less than $10 for the whole day. we rented one everyday and just explored. again, i was a little nervous about the safety here but felt comfortable almost immediately. the roads are wide, people don’t go too fast, and the scenery was breathtaking! it takes about an hour to go around the whole island, so we went on different routes each day and made random stops at things that caught our attention. we saw elephants on the side of the road, ridiculous ocean views, jungle paths, and got to really see where the locals live.

we also took a cooking class! we signed up on our last day for a 4-hour thai cooking class called time for lime during the day (a great way to beat the afternoon heat.) i love to cook and asian cuisine is my favorite, so i was very excited. we made massaman curry, which tastes way better than it looks, crispyspring rolls, and a spicy seafood salad. we learned cutting techniques and about the history of thai cooking. afterwards you have cocktails and eat your creations on the beach. arian kept saying “i just can’t believe i made this!” it all tasted VERY good. i gotta say, i had a lot of fun taking the class. i wish our teacher was a little friendlier, she seemed bored and slightly rude to be honest with you, but i would still recommend the class. the class was about $40 per person and was the most expensive activity we did.

we took a day trip to bubu island. i wish we had booked the day before, because we were too late to go on the koh rok snorkeling tour, which i heard was beautiful. instead, we went to bubu island by long tail boat (you get used to these while you are there. you walk through the water and climb in and out of them. it feels like you are in a big canoe with a motor.) we kayaked, had lunch and relaxed on the beach. it was really nice. i just wish the water was a little clearer so we could have snorkeled here. try to book koh rok in advance if you go!

they also took us on a “monkey tour” on our way back in the boat. i was definitely expecting to get off the boat, see a trainer who would introduce us to a few monkeys and maybe we would get to feed them. man was i WRONG. haha. he pulled the boat over to the side of the bank and i spotted a few monkeys. he stopped the motor and handed us some watermelon. seconds later about 30 monkeys jumped into the boat very quickly. WOW. i was equally thrilled and terrified. animals in numbers can just be freaky. i didn’t know if these guys were gonna jump on my head, bite me, or what. luckily, they were only interested in food. they swarmed for a minute and when i looked out on the bank i saw at least 100 more monkeys!  (watch this video of them after the other boat came!) 5 minutes later a new boat pulled up and they were over us. it was a fast a wild sight. the monkey tour, boat ride, lunch and kayaking was $35 each. i think we could have gotten this cheaper too.

we ate a ton. i was wondering why people weren’t really recommending restaurants to us before we went. but i understood once i got there. there are SO many little hut restaurants on the side of the road, many with no names. and everyone we ate at was fresh and delicious. you just have to explore. our last night we rode our scooter just a few minutes to diamond cliff beach restaurant and saw the BEST sunset view. ko lanta was my favorite place for eating, a little more authentic than the other places we went.

some of my favorite dishes to order: panang curry with prawns, papaya salad, mango sticky rice from the carts on the road, fresh spring rolls, stir fried vegetables in oyster sauce, pad thai of course, and ANY kind of fruit. the “american” style breakfast wasn’t my favorite there but i started ordering banana pancakes and muesli with fruit and yogurt and was a happy camper. i’m currently on a chang beer and rice detox because that’s pretty much what i had everyday. *bloated*

 

other than that, we just lounged around our hotel pool and beach, had cocktails and took it easy before we headed off to our next hotel. i’m working on the next post with all of that information soon, so come back and check for that one. any questions you have, let me know in the comments and i will try to answer them in the upcoming post!

SEE PART TWO OF THE TRIP HERE!

photos by arian soheili & bri emery

 

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  • 1. Mama Leone  |  March 5th, 2014 at 6:16 am

    Oh you look so pretty and relaxed! I would love to go there too!❤️

  • 2. meg// mdrncmpr  |  March 5th, 2014 at 6:18 am

    amazing! everything from the scenery to the food looked stellar. happy you had a lovely trip!

  • 3. Vera  |  March 5th, 2014 at 6:41 am

    Seriously. I wish I looked like that with no make-up on!
    On the record, though; your trip looks totally awesome! Really looking forward to the next part (especially the wonderful pics).

  • 4. Mo  |  March 5th, 2014 at 7:23 am

    As much as I love where I live, this looks 3000 times better than northern Michigan right now. So exotic, sunny, and beautiful! Thanks for sharing :-)

  • 5. jaclyn  |  March 5th, 2014 at 7:24 am

    I never realized how easy it is to travel around Thailand! It seems totally doable. Do you think you could talk a bit about the actual journey of getting there? (Where you had layovers, how long it took, how you dealt with the long travel times?, etc.)
    Also, I think I saw you mentioned here or on Instagram that Arian is vegetarian…did you have an easy time finding vegetarian meals?
    I look forward to the next Thailand post. :)

  • 6. Paige  |  March 5th, 2014 at 7:27 am

    Beautiful! The sunset picture is insane. Did you shoot all of these pics with your iPhone or did you use a camera as well? Thanks!

  • 7. novella @ 9lla.it  |  March 5th, 2014 at 7:27 am

    Woooow!
    It’s a beautiful place! Lovely pics :)
    xx

    http://9lla.it/
    A fashion & DIY blog…

  • 8. Anna S.  |  March 5th, 2014 at 7:38 am

    This all looks so amazing! I hope to visit Thailand one day!

  • 9. Vicky  |  March 5th, 2014 at 7:46 am

    Oh my God! this place is amazing! the best: your happiness faces! :)

  • 10. Sarah  |  March 5th, 2014 at 7:51 am

    Thank you SO much for sharing Bri! It looks like a dream! I can’t wait for the other posts, we Want to do Thailand for our honeymoon and I appreciate all your tips!
    xo

  • 11. Kaylee  |  March 5th, 2014 at 8:14 am

    Wow Bri this trip looks like it was so much fun! I’m drooling over the thought of all that fresh fruit and curry… Yum!

  • 12. Sally  |  March 5th, 2014 at 8:21 am

    This looks like such a perfect holiday, your photos are completely gorgeous! I love travelling around South East Asia, it’s so easy and cheap, you’ve got me craving another visit there soon!

  • 13. Madeline  |  March 5th, 2014 at 8:41 am

    you two are gorgeous together.
    such surreal, beautiful pictures!!

  • 14. ardena  |  March 5th, 2014 at 8:43 am

    oh wow! this trip looks like it was so fun and relaxing; i don’t think i’d ever want to leave!
    i’ve only been to phuket and bangkok – so i am dying to go back and see beautiful spots like the ones you visited! (i’ve bookmarked this post for future reference :)

    ~ardena
    a wanderer’s path

  • 15. Mindy@FindingSilverLinings  |  March 5th, 2014 at 8:54 am

    Hi Bri! I follow you on Instagram and was in awe of all of your vacation pics. One was better than the next! I’ve been trying to get my husband to go to Thailand with me. I’m so happy to hear it was easy to get around and that the roads were safe. I have a young son, would this be a trip you’d recommend?

  • 16. Meeta  |  March 5th, 2014 at 9:21 am

    Thanks for sharing this post! My boyfriend and I have been wanting to go to Thailand for some time now (eventually live there for a few months & freelance), and your photos only intensify those feelings! Will definitely keep this post in mind for future plans. :)

  • 17. Ellie  |  March 5th, 2014 at 9:22 am

    What beautiful photos. Dying to know where that hat is from – I need to grab one for my upcoming trip to Mexico!

  • 18. Bee  |  March 5th, 2014 at 9:47 am

    Thanks for sharing your trip info, Bri! I’m usually doing family stuff when I’m in Thailand so it’s hard for me to make recommendations to friends when they want to be tourists outside of Bangkok. I’ll refer them to your post next time!

  • 19. Denise @ The Lovely Bohemian  |  March 5th, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Ugh. I’m so insanely jealous. I’ve always wanted to go to Thailand! I definitely lived vicariously through you as I followed your instagram posts. Great advice on where to go and what to do! Thanks!

    xo Denise
    http://lovelybohemian.blogspot.com

  • 20. Cheyenne  |  March 5th, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Beautiful beautiful photos! Looks like you had an amazing trip!
    xx

    http://www.bohemianjourneys.blogspot.com

  • 21. cheyenne  |  March 5th, 2014 at 11:03 am

    it looks absolutely stunning. thailand was already high on my go-to list, but you just bumped it up to #1!
    xo, cheyenne

  • 22. Sosyal Medya  |  March 5th, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Once i was in Phuket also and love that place. Beautiful photos! :)

  • 23. Melissa  |  March 5th, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Your Thailand trip has inspired me and my husband to go! I’m looking forward to more details on the travel, how you booked the resorts, what you’d do differently if you’d go back and the must-sees. Thanks so much for sharing! It looked like a one-in-a-lifetime adventure.

  • 24. cleshawn  |  March 5th, 2014 at 11:38 am

    OMG, now I wish we would’ve went to Thailand for our honeymmon! Glad you had a sweet time! :) :) :)

    xx/ http://www.hometohem.com

  • 25. Kailani  |  March 5th, 2014 at 11:44 am

    So pretty! I especially love the shot of the sunset with the drink in hand. Captures with a vacation should be!

  • 26. chrissy  |  March 5th, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    Bri! I’m loving your new sunnies. The lighter frame color looks soooo good on you.

  • 27. Christina @ Mr and Mrs Romance  |  March 5th, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Gorgeous photos! Really love your honest reviews of where you went. I have to say that beach bar would be perfect right about now x

  • 28. shayna  |  March 5th, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    What a lovely trip! but, wow it sounds like prices really went up in Thailand. I spent 6 weeks traveling there in 2003 and lived off $25 a DAY to cover all my hotels, food, transportation, site seeing, everything.
    — I totally agree about the motorbikes too. Best way to explore the islands, and up north if you ever go back you need to visit Pai. It was my favorite little mountain town in the north. As relaxing as the islands, just in a different setting.

  • 29. jami  |  March 5th, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    How many days were you there? I am actually thinking of going next month, but may only have 10-11 days. Wondering if you that will be enough time to enjoy since you loose about 3 days traveling from LA. Also, would you fly into Bangkok instead of Puket?

  • 30. bri  |  March 5th, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    jami, our total trip was 10 days and we lost about 2 days from travel. i would say it was enough time (more would have been nice) but that is one of the reasons we didn’t explore Bangkok as well. we kept it to beaches only. i would fly into the krabi airport if i could do it again!

  • 31. Laurel  |  March 5th, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Looks like an incredible trip! I’m going to Phuket in the end of April for work with an extra day tacked on for fun, and this has gotten me so excited!! Did you get any vaccinations before you left? I’ve heard mixed opinions about what’s necessary and what’s overly-cautious…

  • 32. ibiza 2012 amnesia  |  March 5th, 2014 at 5:14 pm

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    you happen to be a great author.I will always bookmark your blog and will eventually come
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  • 33. Molly {Dreams in HD}  |  March 5th, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    wow, these photos are just stunning. thanks so much for the amazing advice bri. we are thinking about going to thailand later this year but since we already have two beach vacations planned are thinking to maybe save it to next. can’t wait to read more about your adventures :)

  • 34. Tina  |  March 5th, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    Oh my goodness I am so unbelievably jealous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 35. Abigail Hortegas  |  March 5th, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Unreal! It all looks so magical.

  • 36. Emily  |  March 5th, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Oh my gosh!!!! Absolutely beautiful pictures (you and arian are so cute together I can’t even handle it.) And that’s it- I have to go to Thailand for sure now!!

  • 37. Ally  |  March 5th, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    I have been following your photos on instagram and everything is so beautiful! Thailand is definitely on my wishlist for next place to go!

  • 38. kristy  |  March 5th, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    looks so lovely! i have been wanting to go to thailand forever, i think i will finally go next winter! thank you so much for the info :)

  • 39. ana rosa  |  March 6th, 2014 at 7:15 am

    This post was great. Loved the pictures and descriptions. Never thought of going to thailand but now I think it would be great.

  • 40. Katie  |  March 6th, 2014 at 9:57 am

    What an amazing sounding trip! Your photos are beautiful and makes me want to travel to Thailand now!! Good for you for making your dreams come true. How awesome that your first blog post was about wanting to travel here and you made that dream a reality!

  • 41. Iquo  |  March 7th, 2014 at 5:25 am

    It looks and sounds like you guys had an awesome time! You’re pictures are absolutely stunning! Can’t wait for part II!

    Iquo

    http://www.keaishop.com
    http://www.iquoismusic.com

  • 42. joyce  |  March 7th, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    thanks so much for this post, bri! i’m excited for part 2! heading to thailand, including koh lanta, in april for my honeymoon and i’m even more excited after seeing your post and photos!!!

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  • 44. Kelly  |  March 9th, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    It seems like you had such a fun and relaxing trip! Loved to visit all these places through your beautiful photos.

  • 45. Natasha  |  March 10th, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Oh man, I really miss Thailand now. I also took a cooking class and loved it. Our teacher was really friendly and joked a lot. Papaya salad was one of my favourite things too. I make it with carrots at home because we can’t get those green unripe papayas in the store here.

  • 46. riris  |  March 10th, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    ohhh… that looks so good, what a beautiful place and nice pics too… I wish I can go to Thailand sooner,

    http://avintagecovered.blogspot.com/2014/03/hometown-were-going-to-embung-langgeran.html

  • 47. christine  |  March 11th, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    trip looks amazing! did you use a certain company for the bubu island day trip? or did you just hop on a random boat that happened to take people for tours?

  • 48. Emma  |  June 29th, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Hi, I know I’m a bit late but I have a trip booked to Thailand for next year and will also be staying at The Narima and was just wondering when you mentioned booking a trip to Koh Rok who was that through? Thanks :)

  • 49. Maribel  |  November 17th, 2014 at 5:23 am

    Like a dream!

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