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.
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!