During my time in South East Asia I ended up travelling in Thailand twice, once from Bangkok down to the Cambodian border, and then from Phuket around the Andaman Coast. Here is how I did it.
Bangkok – 2 days
It’s chaotic, colourful and constant – we saw the craziness of Khao San and the luxury of the Sky Bar. A great place to start Thailand touring but two days was plenty.
Accommodation – Lub D Silom (2 nights) – does the job perfectly in the gateway city to SE Asia; we got a free whisky shot on arrival which was gross but hey, it was free! The breakfast was good too. 3*
Koh Chang – 2 days
After I was dumb enough to leave my phone in our Bangkok hostel, we missed our bus to Koh Samet and ended up skipping it in favour of Koh Chang. This was a perfect respite from Bangkok and although it lacks limestone karsts and longtail boats, the perfect beaches and laid-back island lifestyle are a joy.
From here we entered Cambodia and didn’t return to Thailand for four weeks until we flew from Hanoi to give ourselves maximum time on the Andaman Coast and the islands…
Accommodation – Seaview Resort (2 nights) – gorgeous beachside guest house, stunning location. 4*
Phuket Town – 2 days
I really didn’t have any reason to stay in Phuket for two days other than to decide my next steps. There’s very little to do, but it does act as the gateway to my next destination…
Accommodation – Ekkamon Mansion (2 nights) – Decent enough hotel but it sure ain’t a mansion! I found Phuket Town pretty dull, though. 3*
Koh Phi Phi – 4 days
Oh, Phi Phi. I had heard that it may be a bit tourist-y and too much of a party scene and whilst that does go on, it really doesn’t affect your enjoyment if that’s not what you’re there for. I fell in love with the place, particularly the separate island of Phi Phi Le where Danny Boyle’s the Beach was filmed. What this place has achieved since the 2004 tsunami is breathtaking. We snorkelled, explored pristine beaches and crystal clear waters, drank some lethal buckets and hiked up to the famous viewpoint.
Accommodation – Tara Inn (4 nights) – Phi Phi is awesome and this is the perfect place to stay, whether you just want to chill out or party hard. This is where I famously watched Jurassic Park in Thai whilst hungover and got confused. 4*
Ao Nang, Krabi – 3 days
Krabi is a great place but the best bit is Railay Beach, which you have to get a boat to. It is the iconic shot of Thailand and every bit as special in real life. Turns out Thailand’s most beautiful island ain’t even an island. Our accommodation was in Ao Nang which was full of cool shops and eateries.
Accommodation – Ao Nang Cozy Place (3 nights) – We had to haul our bags up a long hill in sweltering heat to get there but it was pretty luxurious and comfortable. 4*
Patong Beach, Phuket – 2 days
Everything South East Asia should not be. You can’t walk down the street without being accosted every ten seconds by vendors and the place just feels tacky and completely spoilt. A real shame.
Accommodation – Square One (2 nights) – It had a pool and an adequate room but with no natural light. Still, we tended to hang here a fair bit as Patong Beach was dreadful. 3*
Currency – Baht
Capital – Bangkok
Fave place – Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi Le
Best beers – Tiger and Chang
Best food – yellow noodles with seafood and sweet & sour sauce
Travel – take government buses – the time we didn’t we really regretted being herded like cattle and made to wait over an hour without explanation. Tuk-tuks are ubiquitous and will hassle you all the time but they are useful; remember to barter. Boats to islands are usually fine but seas can be choppy in the wet season.