Thailand - The Land of Smile: Part 1

by - Sunday, January 15, 2017

adventure, asia, backpacking, backpacks, farpoint 55, osprey, se asia, sirus 36, travel, wanderlust, thai, mayabay, wonderlust, adventure, krabi , phiphi, phiphi island

I mentioned in a previous post that we planned a 3 months backpacking trip around SE Asia.
Our trip started in April and the first stop, the lovely Thailand.
We took a direct flight from Copenhagen to Bangkok via Norwegian airlines.
In Bangkok we had to pay 1000 baht each to get a 15 days visa (again this is just for Romanian tourists, other European tourists get a 30 days free visa).
Although Phuket seems to be the main destination for most tourists, we heard so many bad things about it that we decided to skip it. Instead we flew from Bangkok to Krabi and we were very happy with our choice, but if you do like to party then you’d better stick with Phuket.

Krabi is a cute town, with nothing much to do except the night market, however it shows you the real Thailand, the one that is yet to be so commercialized.
We stayed in Krabi strictly to do all the day trips that we wanted (Thailand is all about day trips to all sort of islands by the way), so our schedule was basically trips by day, night market by night. By the pier there were a lot of places to eat street food and all the tables were full every night.

adventure, asia, backpacking, backpacks, farpoint 55, osprey, se asia, sirus 36, travel, wanderlust, thai, mayabay, wonderlust, adventure, krabi , phiphi, phiphi island
Krabi night market

adventure, asia, backpacking, backpacks, farpoint 55, osprey, se asia, sirus 36, travel, wanderlust, thai, mayabay, wonderlust, adventure, krabi , phiphi, phiphi island
Eating with the local in Krabi night market

adventure, asia, backpacking, backpacks, farpoint 55, osprey, se asia, sirus 36, travel, wanderlust, thai, mayabay, wonderlust, adventure, krabi , phiphi, phiphi island
Fried bugs, worms and crickets...omnomnom

adventure, asia, backpacking, backpacks, farpoint 55, osprey, se asia, sirus 36, travel, wanderlust, thai, mayabay, wonderlust, adventure, krabi , phiphi, phiphi island
Thai sweets

Day trips
Railay Beach

Some choose to stay a whole week here, for us one day was enough; after all it is one beach, never the less a beautiful one. There is also a viewpoint that has a fantastic view of two stretches of water separated by a beautiful and exotic palm tree jungle. You might need proper shoes to get to the top, although we did the climb in...yup you've guessed it...flip flops! Do not recommend it though!
Also, beware of the monkeys!
I will probably mention this a lot in the future, but after being attacked by one and had a scary encounter with a group of them while we were alone in the jungle (we will get to that story at one point) one gets to not like the evil, yet cute creatures.
To get to Railay we took a public boat early in the morning from the Krabi pier for 300 baht return ticket per person.

adventure, asia, backpacking, backpacks, farpoint 55, osprey, se asia, sirus 36, travel, wanderlust, thai, mayabay, wonderlust, adventure, krabi , phiphi, phiphi island
Railay East (where the boat left us)

adventure, asia, backpacking, backpacks, farpoint 55, osprey, se asia, sirus 36, travel, wanderlust, thai, mayabay, wonderlust, adventure, krabi , phiphi, phiphi island
Phra Nang Beach

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Railay West

adventure, asia, backpacking, backpacks, farpoint 55, osprey, se asia, sirus 36, travel, wanderlust, thai, mayabay, wonderlust, adventure, krabi , phiphi, phiphi island
Railay viewpoint

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Don't be fooled by their cuteness

adventure, asia, backpacking, backpacks, farpoint 55, osprey, se asia, sirus 36, travel, wanderlust, thai, mayabay, wonderlust, adventure, krabi , phiphi, phiphi island
Yet at every corner they sell you bananas to feed them

James Bond Island

Here comes one of the most over rated attractions in Thailand!
We booked a tour to get to James Bond Island and in between we were supposed to visit a fishing village and go kayaking around a mangrove forest.
The entire tour felt rushed, the majority of time was spent in the boat, besides that it was extremely crowded...and James Bond Island is a pretty rock, nothing more.
The tour was 1100 baht/person and to be honest I would not do it again.

adventure, asia, backpacking, backpacks, farpoint 55, osprey, se asia, sirus 36, travel, wanderlust, thai, mayabay, wonderlust, adventure, krabi , phiphi, phiphi island, james bond island,
James Bond Island (007 was no where to be found)

adventure, asia, backpacking, backpacks, farpoint 55, osprey, se asia, sirus 36, travel, wanderlust, thai, mayabay, wonderlust, adventure, krabi , phiphi, phiphi island
Kayaking through mangrove forests

Poda Island



Initially we were supposed to go in another tour including Poda, Tub and Chicken Island. However, after doing a little bit more research and having the whole rushed tour experience, we decided that instead of rushing from one island to another along with 100 tourists, to go and visit just one. Poda had the best reviews.
We went to Ao Nang by public bus (50 baht each) and at the pier we asked if there were any private boats that can take us there. Problem was that they needed at least 6 people on the boat to make the trip. So we waited for about half an hour until 2 other couples showed up undecided where to go. I never knew I had salesman material in me, because they agreed to join us to Poda. Here is where we made friends with the nicest couple from Singapore.
The boat left us on what seamed to be a deserted island...and boy did we love it!
We split from the other couples for a while to have even more privacy and it felt that we had the whole island to ourselves.
Time flew by so we went to get something to drink, eventually reaching the place where all the tours leave you. Here is where we realized we made the right choice not going with a tour. Hundreds of people on the same stretch of sand, all staying in the same place the boat left them, unaware that just a short walk in a different direction the beach is literally empty!
The trip to heaven was just 500 baht return/each.
Tip: Go to Poda Island early in the morning when it's high tide. In the afternoon the tide is too low, therefore the island is not that enjoyable. 

adventure, asia, backpacking, backpacks, farpoint 55, osprey, se asia, sirus 36, travel, wanderlust, thai, mayabay, wonderlust, adventure, krabi , phiphi, phiphi island

adventure, asia, backpacking, backpacks, farpoint 55, osprey, se asia, sirus 36, travel, wanderlust, thai, mayabay, wonderlust, adventure, krabi , phiphi, phiphi island

adventure, asia, backpacking, backpacks, farpoint 55, osprey, se asia, sirus 36, travel, wanderlust, thai, mayabay, wonderlust, adventure, krabi , phiphi, phiphi island

adventure, asia, backpacking, backpacks, farpoint 55, osprey, se asia, sirus 36, travel, wanderlust, thai, mayabay, wonderlust, adventure, krabi , phiphi, phiphi island

adventure, asia, backpacking, backpacks, farpoint 55, osprey, se asia, sirus 36, travel, wanderlust, thai, mayabay, wonderlust, adventure, krabi , phiphi, phiphi island

Similan Islands


Oh Similan Similan! To Similan Islands you can only go by tour...but I recommend these islands with all my heart!
I have never seen a water so turquoise...it was purely amazing!
We booked the tour with Fantastic Similan Travel and they were great. They provided food, snacks and drinks for the whole duration of the trip and the tour guides were all nice and helpful. 
This tour was the most expensive thing in Thailand, 7000 baht for both, but it was definitely worth it!
One of the best snorkel experiences ever!

adventure, asia, backpacking, backpacks, farpoint 55, osprey, se asia, sirus 36, travel, wanderlust, thai, mayabay, wonderlust, adventure, krabi , phiphi, phiphi island

adventure, asia, backpacking, backpacks, farpoint 55, osprey, se asia, sirus 36, travel, wanderlust, thai, mayabay, wonderlust, adventure, krabi , phiphi, phiphi island, similan islands, similan snorkeling

adventure, asia, backpacking, backpacks, farpoint 55, osprey, se asia, sirus 36, travel, wanderlust, thai, mayabay, wonderlust, adventure, krabi , phiphi, phiphi island, similan islands, similan snorkeling

Phi Phi Islands

adventure, asia, backpacking, backpacks, farpoint 55, osprey, se asia, sirus 36, travel, wanderlust, thai, mayabay, wonderlust, adventure, krabi , phiphi, phiphi island, similan islands, similan snorkeling

From Krabi we took the morning ferry to Koh Phi Phi (300 baht one way/person) and we made this more than a day trip, we stayed for about 4 nights.
From here we took a day trip to Maya Bay, hiked to the viewpoint, searched for secluded beaches, pretended to stay at an expensive resort that had an amazing beach where we snorkelled with a lot of pretty fishes…that kind of stuff.

Maya Bay can be very crowded as a lot will say, but try to avoid staying where the boat leaves you...wander a bit.
We were lucky enough that our boat got there pretty late, so at one point when almost all the boats left we got to enjoy a more peaceful Maya Bay...it is surely THE BEACH! (All Saints song in my head now).


1100 baht Maya bay tour for both of us + an extra 400 baht the entrance fee to Maya Bay (200 each)

The Long Beach deserves an honourable mention on where to go in Phi Phi, Loh Moo Dee beach not so much as the water was full of jellyfishes.

adventure, asia, backpacking, backpacks, farpoint 55, osprey, se asia, sirus 36, travel, wanderlust, thai, mayabay, wonderlust, adventure, krabi , phiphi, phiphi island, similan islands, similan snorkeling
Maya Bay

adventure, asia, backpacking, backpacks, farpoint 55, osprey, se asia, sirus 36, travel, wanderlust, thai, mayabay, wonderlust, adventure, krabi , phiphi, phiphi island, similan islands, similan snorkeling
Maya Bay a little to the right

adventure, asia, backpacking, backpacks, farpoint 55, osprey, se asia, sirus 36, travel, wanderlust, thai, mayabay, wonderlust, adventure, krabi , phiphi, phiphi island, similan islands, similan snorkeling

adventure, asia, backpacking, backpacks, farpoint 55, osprey, se asia, sirus 36, travel, wanderlust, thai, mayabay, wonderlust, adventure, krabi , phiphi, phiphi island, similan islands, similan snorkeling
Koh Phi Phi Viewpoint
To get to be viewpoint there is a 30 baht fee/person.

adventure, asia, backpacking, backpacks, farpoint 55, osprey, se asia, sirus 36, travel, wanderlust, thai, mayabay, wonderlust, adventure, krabi , phiphi, phiphi island, similan islands, similan snorkeling
Snorkeling in the Long beach area

From the beautiful Koh Phi Phi we took the ferry back to Krabi, from Krabi to Bangkok and from there...


Tips and tricks:
  •      Bangkok has 2 airports, Suvarnabhumi Airport, also known as Bangkok International Airport, and Don Mueang International Airport mainly known for domestic flights. Free transport is provided between them if you show proof of your ticket to a next flight.
  •       If you get to the international airport, but have a next flight from the domestic one avoid eating at Suvarnabhumi airport, as at the domestic airport there are more options and the food is a lot cheaper.
  •       Try street food! Throughout our entire trip we ate only street food or local cuisine, but choose wisely! If you see an empty place or restaurant, it might be empty for a reason. We had a rule: if there were a lot of people, especially locals, eating in one place, there we were too.
  •       Street food related: Pad Thai is a must! We had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tasty and cheap! We would eat a portion for about 50 baht. You do the math :)
  •       Another must: Mango sticky rice
  •       Thailand is the land of fruits and fresh smoothies: try them all!     
  •       Haggling is a custom in Thailand, so go wild: negotiate before buying something. 
  •       Avoid buying stuff from the touristy places, you can find everything for less than half a price at the local markets.

Well...I wanted to keep it short but I got close to writing a novel, and I would have more to say! 

One more thing, when in Thailand, keep in mind to...smile!

Vietnam will follow, until then...

  xoxo,
  O





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