My Travel Itinerary & Tips: Thailand
Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, seems to be the most coveted travel spot of 2018. While Bangkok is the location tagged on most of the beautiful Instagram pictures on your timeline, the real fun lies outside of Bangkok. Bangkok is Thailand's most metropolitan area, making it the perfect place to host tourists during their stay. I traveled to Thailand with a close friend and we were only in Thailand three days before heading off to our next destination, Cambodia. Below are the details surrounding the first leg of our trip over in Thailand.
L O D G I N G
We stayed at the Millennium Hilton Bangkok. I would rate the hotel 5 out of 5 stars based on our personal experience. Bangkok offers a variety of lodging options to accommodate the budget explorer to the most luxurious traveler. Our stay at the Millennium Hilton Bangkok would fit right in the middle of those two descriptions. It is a beautiful hotel accompanied with amazing staff. The hotel itself sits upon the Chao Phraya River, a major river in Thailand, which is a beautiful view to the foreign eye. The hotel even has a complimentary shuttle boat that takes you across the river from 6:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Although the hotel rooms are pretty standard, we were more than pleased with our stay here. Our favorite part of our stay was the breakfast. Breakfast was never initially a part of the plan. After a delayed flight to Tokyo, we ended up missing our connecting flight to Bangkok. We missed out on an entire night at the hotel and an early morning excursion planned for the next day. Because we booked a non-refundable rate, the hotel offered us complimentary breakfast during our entire stay for the inconvenience. The breakfast buffet ranged from American favorites to native foods. We raved about it our entire time in Southeast Asia. Depending on your budget I would suggest adding breakfast onto whatever hotel package you purchase since a lot of the excursions will call for early mornings. Most excursion sites are about 1-2 hours outside of Bangkok. Running out to grab breakfast each morning would cause for an even earlier rising and that just wasn't feasible for us.
D A Y 1
We missed out on all the adventures of Day 1 due to missing our connecting flight to Bangkok. We were scheduled to complete Amita's Cooking Class and visit the Grand Palace. Amita's Cooking Class is also located along the Chao Phraya River. The owners of the cooking school come and pick you up from your hotel and you travel by boat along a scenic route to the cooking school. Afterwards, we planned to stop by the Grand Palace, which is also along the Chao Phraya River. The Grand Palace was formerly the home of Thai Kings, the Royal Court, and administrative government officials. Nowadays it is used for different Thai ceremonies. Viewing the Grand Palace will require a strict dress code, no skin from the neck down can be shown. Ticket prices vary depending on which vendor you choose to go through, but shouldn't exceed $20
D A Y 2
You cannot go to Thailand and miss out on the ultimate elephant and tiger experience. However, I do recommend that you do thorough research on elephant camps vs. elephant sanctuaries. Typically, elephant sanctuaries provide better treatment of the elephants and usually prohibit the riding of elephants. We wished we had known this prior to booking our excursion at an elephant camp in Kanchanaburi. Our tour was booked through Bangkok Day Tours and included a trip to the Death Railway Bridge on the River Kwai, an elephant ride, along with feeding and bathing of the elephants, followed by lunch, and a trip to the safari park to hold and feed baby tigers and/or leopards. The elephant ride was bareback, meaning no saddle or harness, so for those with a fear of heights this may not be the best activity for you. We did notice during our excursion that the elephants were controlled with a sharp hook in which they were constantly stabbed to help them stay in line and do as they were ordered. The stabbings even caused some of the elephants to bleed. It actually made us uncomfortable to see this, so we cut our excursion short and stuck to just feeding the elephants. Our tour guide explained that elephants are hunted and killed in Thailand, so people take them in to protect them. She continued to explain that caring for the elephants is expensive and putting the elephants to work in this manner helps them to afford their upkeep. She says the hook is a way of protecting the tourist, as the elephant has to be trained because it is a wild animal. It still made us uncomfortable and we decided to cut this part of the excursion short and proceeded to lunch and the safari park, which was great fun. These tours can be booked as a group or privately. Ours was private, which allowed us to customize our excursion with ease. When done right, a day spent with elephants can be tons of fun, literally.
D A Y 3
Our last day in Thailand we headed to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Thailand's original floating market. This was our favorite day in Thailand by far. We had an amazing tour guide, Cheena, who we actually booked through our hotel. I would say this is an experience unique to Thailand that you don't want to miss. Here you find great deals on souvenirs, local art, clothing, and food all while basking in the Thai culture. There are several floating markets in Thailand, however you will find that Damnoen Saduak is the busiest and most popular one because it is the original, which personally I enjoyed.
G O O D T O K N O W
After a long day of excursions we typically came back to our room and took a breather until it was time to explore the nightlife of Bangkok. There are tons of places to eat in Bangkok. Nothing in particular stood out. After eating at one Thai restaurant it is almost like you had them all. One evening we chose to indulge in the infamous Thai Massage and it was amazing. After walking in a building with signs exclaiming "Massage only, no sex" we were creeped out, but proceeded anyways to one of the best massages of our lives. We got around mostly via Tuk Tuk, which is cool to experience and fairly cheap depending on where you're going. We explored the Chao Phraya river by boat and even indulged in a little nightlife at a local club near our hotel. Another club by the name of 'Sugar' is a hip hop club in Thailand that was recommended to me that we didn't get the chance to explore. Thailand was a great time and with jam packed days we didn't get to explore everything on our list, but we definitely put a good dent in Thailand. Comment below letting me know some of your favorite things to do in Thailand if you've ever been, and if not ask me questions below on my experience, I'd be glad to offer even more insight!