After walking 50 miles in Bangkok, we decided it was time for some beach days. We flew from Bangkok to Phuket which is an hour plane ride. (P.S. once you are in Asia, it is REALLY cheap to fly everywhere else in Asia. We spent 5 and a half days in Phuket, and it definitely felt like more of a vacation, Although seeing Bangkok was an amazing cultural experience, I was ready for the beach. When we got to Phuket, we checked into our Airbnb (airbnb is awesome for traveling cheap!) We had a closet, dining table, fridge, and a kitchen, which was awesome! The first day, we explored Patong which is the city we stayed in while in Phuket. The beach was a 5 minute walk from our house, so of course, we had to watch the sunset over the water. In Phuket we also went on tours to Phi Phi island, Khao Lak, Phuket city, and James Bond Island. (more about these places below.
Also, I would love to hear from everyone reading! Comments, suggestions, stories of your own, go crazy!
Phi PHI ISLAND
Phi Phi island is absolutely breathtaking. We took a speedboat out to the middle of nowhere, and suddenly huge rock formations with tons of green vegetation started popping up (these rocks are Phi Phi Ley and Phi Phi Don). Not only was the scenery and water beautiful, but our tour guide was awesome! If you are ever in Phuket, I definitely recommend going to Phi Phi island. The water is clear, blue, and perfect swimming temperature, and you can sit in the ocean and look at the wonderful vegetation surrounding you.
Also, we got to eat a lot of pineapple this day..... it is DELICIOUS!!!!
Khao Lak Adventure
After our day in Phi Phi island, we went to Khao Lak National Park and did some adventuring. Our first stop was at a sea life conservation center. They had a ton of animals, but mostly turtles. They had all ages of turtles from 3 days to 30 years. Next stop was the waterfall. Unfortunately, it was pouring when we got to the waterfall. We got out of the van, got soaked, and got back in the car. After the waterfall, we went bamboo rafting. Bamboo rafting was way cool. The rafts are huge and you sit on the back of them while a rafter pushes you down the river using a giant stick. After bamboo rafting, we went to ride the elephants... AKA the moment we had been waiting for since we booked the trip. Elephants are amazing animals and it was so cool to have the experience to ride one. After our elephant ride, we watched a baby elephant perform. She played the harmonica, hula hooped, and danced. After her performance, I got a elephant massage.... and by elephant massage I mean a baby elephant slapped by butt with her trunk lol! After we left the elephants we went to monkey temple. There are tons of monkeys running around, and they try to steal your food. Of course, we had to try feeding them, so we bought a basket that had corn, bananas, and peanuts in it. When the monkeys grab food out of your hands, it is crazy how close their hands resemble ours. It was nice to see the monkeys roaming free and doing as they please. This was a really fun day, we got to see a lot and do a lot.
bABY TURTLE AT THE SEA LIFE CONSERVATION
tHIS IS US TRYING TO STAY DRY AT THE WATERFALL, BUT WE GOT DRENCHED ANYWAYS.
Riding the elephant. The trainer let us sit on the elephant instead of the seat! way cool!
GETTING AN ELEPHANT MASSAGE
Monkey mama and her baby
FOREST FEEDING THE MONKEY PEANUTS
The city tour was only a half day tour which was nice because we had time to do our own thing in the evening. This tour had a lot of beautiful view points, but it was raining so it was hard to see the city from the view point. During this tour we got to go to the cashew factory, Big Buddha, and a temple that blows up firecrackers after a prayer. The cashew factory was interesting, we had no idea that cashews come from a fruit, so it was cool to see the process. Big Buddha is a really amazing statue. The marble and height of Buddha is amazing. The temple we went to had a big ceramic vase that they put firecrackers in, every time someone would pray, boom firework!! The fireworks are crazy loud because the vase traps the sound in.
After the tour was over, the rain had finally stopped, so we went to the beach for a relaxing swim!
me standing next to big Buddha! this guy is huge!!!
viewpoint of the city
james bond island tour
Our James Bond Island tour included, of course James Bond Island, Canoeing through caves, and swimming.
James Bond island has a giant rock coming out of the middle of the ocean. James Bond: The man with the golden gun was filmed here, therefore this place was pretty touristy, but cool to see.
The canoeing was the best part of this tour. We went through caves and then came out in the middle of the caves where their were mango trees and water. I get a little claustrophobic, so going through the cave was a little nerve wrecking, but definitely worth it.
MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN
thE GUY THAT CANOED US AROUND CUT A HEART IN A LEAF AND TOOK THIS CUTE PICTURE.
LAST DAY :(
Our last day in Phuket was exactly what we needed. We were able to spend the entire day at beach. It was a great way to end our trip, we relaxed, and swam, and ate delicious food.
I never posted any pictures of food, so here they are!
The food is delicious and way cheap!!!
this was the best meal by far! cashew chicken
mango fruit shake. They crush up mango and ice in a blender! super healthy and delicious.
We got this drink in Bangkok at the skybar. It is called the "hangover" which is named after the drink they make in the hangover part 2. it was crazy expensive... $20!
thanks for reading!
Let me start by saying, if you can survive a self-guided bike tour in a foreign country together, you can get through anything life throws at you. When we started planning out our trip to Bangkok, we realized that our hotel was within walking distance to everything besides the main temples. Of course, seeing the Wat Pho and the Grand Palace was a must, so we looked for ways that we could get over there for little money. We came across a company that does bike rentals, tours, and self-guided tours. We considered going on a tour, but we weren't crazy about the idea of being on someone else's schedule, so we decided to do one of their self-guided tours. The self-guided tour was perfect, we could go at our own pace and it went everywhere we wanted to go. Keep in mind, Forest and I aren't bikers at all, so the 17 mile bike ride was not easy.
The first obstacle we ran into was finding the rental shop. It turns out, the shop is a small building in the center of a food market. The owner set up the GPS on Forest's bike, because I had learned that Forest is apparently amazing at navigating (you learn something new everyday), then we started out journey.
30 seconds after we left the rental shop, we realized that this bike ride was going to be pure chaos. For starters, in Thailand, they drive on what us Americans would call the "wrong side of the road". Trying to adjust your brain from right side to left side was extremely difficulty. When you turn right you have to wait for the light to turn green and yield to traffic, which seems odd because that's the protocol for a left turn in America. Also, there are no laws for bikes in Thailand, and they don't have many bike lanes. If there were bike lanes, they were filled with motor scooters and tuk tuks. The thing with Bangkok is the roads are completely insane, but somehow there are never any accidents. Drivers are extremely aware of themselves and the things around them, so the streets somehow flow with ease.
Of course, I was terrified for my life, there was scooters weaving in and out of traffic and we had no idea where we were going. All of the sudden, Forest makes a sharp turn down a small alley way. The alley way was extremely small and was packed with people and junk. As we continued on the path, we kept going through alley ways that helped us get a pretty good idea what life in Thailand is like. We rode our bikes straight through alley ways that have houses, children sleeping on blankets, and people cooking food in their houses. It was a great experience to see the culture and see what living outside of the city looks like.
Next, we went through markets. We started with a clothes and trinket market. This section of the tour was extremely difficult to get through. The markets were filled with shoppers, scooters, trucks, and hand carts, so trying to push our way through with bikes was tough. The next market we went to was a spice market. Thailand has so many different spices. It's crazy!! They have huge bags of spices everywhere. Right after the spice market was a fruit market. The fruit market was fun to see because there were big baskets of whole fruit and tons of sliced fruit. They always slice the fruit in really interesting ways. For example, the pineapple (which is amazing!!!) was always cut in a star shape. It was so fun to see all the food and markets and it was nice to be on a bike since it would have been a lot of walking otherwise.
After the markets, we finally made it to the temples! We had biked 7 miles in the heat and we were extremely hot and getting tired, so taking a break to see the temples was really nice. The temples in Thailand are absolutely beautiful! The architecture of the buildings is unreal and the Buddha statues are a sight to see. The best statue by far was the reclining Buddha located in Wat Pho. This statue is massive. From the front side you can hear what sounds like rain drops hitting a tin roof. When you go to the back side, there is a line of boxes meant for donations. The sound we were hearing was a constant flow of coins being dropped in the donation boxes. Outside of the buildings are beautiful waterfalls and scenery. It was really fun to see the temples, they are so different from any religious building I had ever been in, so it was quite the adventure. Also, you can't show your shoulders or your knees, but it was also 90 degrees, humid, and we were bike riding, so I had to put a jacket on when we went in the temples, which was horrible because it was so incredibly hot.
After the temples, the GPS was telling us to go around a park and then across the river. Now this is where the real adventure starts. The king of Thailand passed away in October of 2016, and the Thai people have a one year mourning period. The funeral happened to fall on the same day that we were doing our bike trip. As soon as we pulled out of the Grand Palace, we saw swarms of people wearing black. We assumed it was for the funeral, but didn't think it would cause too many problems. Obviously we were wrong, because every road was blocked off, there were hundreds of cars, and thousands of people. Things got crazy and Forest and I were getting frustrated. The temperature got hotter and we kept going in circles trying to get out of the barricades for the funeral. After about 20 extremely stressful minutes of trying, I started feeling really sick. I hadn't eaten much, it was really hot, and we had biked 8 miles. I didn't think I would make it and we couldn't find our way to the river so we ended up turning back and going home the same route that we came. As we started going, dark clouds came over the city and I was secretly praying it would rain. All of the sudden I felt a large drop of water hit my head, and finally it was raining. The rain cooled things down and helped me get through the bike ride. We were both absolutely drenched. When it rains, it rains really hard. After 15 minutes the rain stopped and we finished our bike ride.
The bike ride through Bangkok was a crazy adventure. I am glad that we found this tour because we got to see a lot of really cool parts of Bangkok, but I also wouldn't mind if I didn't go on a bike ride for a long time. 17 miles through Bangkok in the heat was a success.
P.S. we have GoPro videos from the bike ride, but I haven't put them all together. I'll post the video when I finish editing it!
thanks for reading!
When you step foot in a foreign country on the first day, you are overcome with excitement. As you start walking down the street you feel thankful that the long plane rides are over and you are finally here. The streets are crowded and you bump into someone, as usual you apologize for running into them and the person gives you a blank stare. Then you realize that they don't speak English and they have no idea what you just said. No one can give you directions, you are constantly converting Thai Bahts to Dollars to get a feel for how much you are spending, and absolutely everything is foreign.
Forest and I booked this trip in Novemeber, and by the time May came around, we were more than ready to go! We woke up and 3am and started our journey to Bangkok. After flying for what seemed like a lifetime, we finally made it. This trip was much anticipated, so the fact that we were actually in Thailand seemed unreal. We woke up and headed on our way to discover Bangkok. The first mission: convert our USA dollars to Thai Bahts. When we got to the bank to exchange our cash, they denied some of the money because it was either torn or had some sort of a marking on it. We exchanged what we could and went on to figure out how to use the BTS sky train. Before our trip we had done our research on the BTS sky train; the problem was the website wouldn't convert from Thai to English, so all we really knew is that it was cheap to use. Lucky for us, the train was not only really cheap, but it was easy to use and was our primary transportation method for our entire Bangkok trip. This saved us a lot of money that would have gone to taxi drivers.
Our plan for day 1 was to go to Lumphini Park. We had heard that the park was crawling with giant lizards and figured we should check it out. We got to the park and we were approached by a Thai man who spoke English. It was a pleasant surprise because this is the first Thai person we were able to converse with. He talked with us for quite sometime, telling us about the king and his funeral that was being held while we were there, he told us he was a fan of the Utah Jazz, and then he pulled out a badge that said Thai Police. He told us that the park we were about to enter was not a good place to be because of the drug abusers and homeless, he told us that it was fashion week in Thailand and asked if we were interested in going to the shopping center. We said sure and he talked to a tuk-tuk driver who gave us a great deal. When we pulled up to the shooing center, we knew this was a scam. He brought us to a custom suit tailor company. A man approached us sat us down, handed us cans of beer and asked what kind of suit we wanted. Since Forest and I are getting married, he needs a suit, so while we were here we decided to test the water. The man told us originally that a custom fit suit would cost $350. Of course, Forest and I said no and he kept lowering his price until we were happy. It may have been a scam to get us there, but Forest walked away with a custom fit suit jacket, pants, shirt, and tie, that we got for a great deal!
After being measured for the suit, we went back to the park. As expected, there were tons of giant lizards! (See picture below) The lizards are roaming wild and have blue tongues that split into two at the end.... crazy!
After the park we roamed around for a bit. It was insanely hot and humid and we were both exhausted and sweaty, so we stopped for lunch in an air conditioned restaurant.
Night time came and we wanted to take the boat to see Wat Arun (A.K.A the temple of dawn). The boat signs were all in Thai and the ones that weren't were crazy expensive, so we hopped on a boat that we thought was going down the river, turns out, we were on a free boat, heading to Asiatique. Since we weren't in a tight schedule, we stayed at Asiatique. They had food, shops, live music, and a Ferris wheel. Although it wasn't planned, it ended up being a fun night.
The first day in Bangkok was not what we expected, it was a crazy adventure, but was extremely rewarding to see the culture, architecture, and lifestyle of those in Thailand.
Thanks for reading! Bangkok bike ride post coming soon!