Thailand has been on my list for a long time, although I think South East Asia is on everyone’s list right? I especially wanted to go after watching The Beach, of course and seeing those stunning photos of the turquoise shores lined with traditional Thai fishing boats. They’re just so damn pretty!
I decided on Thailand as it’s on my way home to New Zealand from Ireland/London. Lots of Aussies and Kiwis to do this after finishing their OE, (might as well squeeze in another trip if we can right!) I didn’t when leaving the UK the first time as I thought I’d be too distraught after leaving my boyfriend David and London to enjoy anywhere so I just went straight home. So I definitely wanted to this time! I’ll still be distraught but I’ll use it as time to ‘debrief’ between leaving David in London and the life I built in Ireland, and answering everyone’s questions back home about what’s next.
Also it was cheap! My mates from NZ & I were meant to celebrate our 30ths this year in Bali, so that was going to be the trip on the way home instead. But unfortunately Bali was just so much more expensive. Flights alone were going to be 300 more, and my accommodation for 18 nights is costing less than the 1 week in Bali would have. So I had to make a choice of what was right for me. I knew I wouldn’t be working for a few months so I had to be smarter with my money.
My first and most stressful part of planning. Me being silly and in denial about having to leave Ireland, left it till within 2 ½ months from my fly out date to buy the flights. This was stupid. I definitely saw it go up at least €100 from when I looked 4 months beforehand.
I always look on the usual Skyscanner and several airline websites but the cheapest I found was on a website called e-dreams, which was the company on the other side of Skyscanner. It was a bit dodge because the flights were way higher than what was on first shown on Skyscanner, even though it said it was ‘live’. It would show €750 on Skyscanner, but once through to the website it would say ‘sorry not available’ and jump up to €1150! So dodgy.
So after searching many combos on many days I went with the cheapest flight with the the best arrival time in Bangkok. I didn’t want to arrive late at night by myself with all my luggage needing to get a taxi. I’m sure taxi drivers anywhere in the world would love to jack up the price for a weary, solo traveller. So the flight cost me €845 one from London to Auckland via Bangkok for 18 days. Not toooo bad I thought.
Deciding where to go –
The next challenge was deciding where to go! I’ve want to try the street food, see the floating markets and see some beautiful golden Buddhas. But this wasn’t going to be a typical sightseeing trip to Thailand. I wanted time to myself, to ponder my next move in life and focus on my blog. I’m also on a limited budget due to the above mentioned no job. So I decided it’d “just” be Bangkok and an island.
After reading a few blogs and asking a few friends I decided on Ko Chang. It’s travel blogger Adventurous Kate’s favourite and the cheapest by far that she’s found. Another factor was that Ko Chang is in the more protected Gulf of Thailand, not the Andaman Sea with Phuket and Ko Phi Phi which for that time of year (September) would be rainy and stormy. Also it’s only a 6 hr bus and ferry ride away whereas the other usual places like Krabi and Phuket are like a 12hr train ride away. Ain’t nobody got time for dat.
This was tough! Many many hours were spent searching for cheap yet not seedy as hell accommodation in Bangkok and Ko Chang. Yes I could get somewhere for 9 quid a night but I didn’t want to share with rats or be in a noisy party hostel this time around. I looked on Booking and Agoda.com which were exactly the same price and Airbnb. I went with booking.com for the studio apartment I found in Bangkok. It was €150 for 8 nights, quite central, close to transport, had Wi-Fi, aircon and it looked really cute!
I also found the place in Ko Chang on Booking.com. After reading many reviews on TripAdvisor I went with Baobang Beach Hotel. I get my own room/cabin thing with private bathroom, really close to the water for €117 for 7 nights. A week to relax and swim in the beautiful blue waters. Bliss!
For my last 2 nights in Bangkok before flying out I found an Airbnb apartment in the Sukhumvit area for €62. A bit pricey compared to the others due to the area but it’s nice, close to transport and some of the best street food right outside apparently. Is it possible to get sick of Pad Thai? I’m gonna try!
You don’t need any vaccinations for Thailand as far as I could read. I’m just gonna go to a pharmacy when I get here and get some bug repellent and itchy cream.
I ALWAYS have travel insurance wherever I go. I’ve read too many horror stories of costs in the hundreds of thousands to not have it. You just can’t take the risk.
Sadly there have been some recent attacks on Thailand’s southern coast, fortunately for me it’s nowhere near where I’m going.
I’m gonna be living on street food, and only seeing a few of the main sights. So I’m hoping that apart from my accommodation, I’ll only need a couple hundred euros worth of baht which is 7500/NZ$300 for 18days.
Getting around –
I’ll be getting the train from the airport into the city – 45baht = €1.12/NZ$1.80. Then it’s (hopefully) a short walk to my apartment.
I’ll get the bus from Ekkamai station in Bangkok to near Ko Chang – 545baht return = €14/NZ$21.70
Ferry over to the island = 80baht one way = €2/NZ$3.20
Taxi to hotel = 150baht = €3.90/NZ$6
I will get a few taxis around Bangkok as some place I want to go, like KhaoSan Road aren’t near transport and too far to walk in the heat. They should be pretty cheap, like 100 baht for a 20 minute trip maybe. Will just have to see when I get there!
So wish me luck and I’ll report back what I find! 😀