Thailand has a special place in our hearts because it is where we first met. I had been backpacking solo for about two months before I crossed paths with George. When I met George he was on his 13th month of traveling! We instantly hit it off and continued to travel together for about another month and a half. Nonetheless, my adventures began in the south of Thailand-hitting the famous islands such as Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi. Then venturing off to Railay Bay, and later up north to Chang Mai, Pai, and Bangkok where George and I finally met.
Koh Tao is famous for its diving. So many travelers go there to get certified and experience swimming with Whale Sharks, the biggest fish in the sea. Out of all the islands, Koh Tao is definitely the most laid back. The island has some amazing hikes with sweeping views and delicious food as well. If you are in the mood for a fancy dinner definitely stop by Barracuda. They have two locations on the island and it fills up quickly, so make sure you get there early. They have the freshest fish dishes and incredible calamari. Blue Water Cafe was my go to breakfast spot. It had incredible granola and fruit bowls I had pretty much every morning! I stayed at Goodtime hostel which had the best staff and a great breakfast sandwich in the morning.
KOH PHI PHI
The first time I went to Koh Phi Phi I was alone and stayed in a hostel called Blanco hostel. However, the second time I was there I was with George and his parents and we stayed in the most beautiful hotel right on the water. We spent our days swimming in the clear ocean, fishing, and exploring the nearby Bamboo Island. There is a famous bar on Phi Phi that has a boxing ring in the middle. It is really fun to watch with a group of people over a few beers. The live music bar is another great place to spend a night out if you like great live music and cover songs! If you are in the mood for some Italian food head to Caio Bella right on the beach. They have the best bruschetta and gnocchi around. While Phi Phi has a ton of parties every night with amazing fire shows, its also a great place to just relax. You really get the best of both worlds!
Railay Bay is such a gem of a place! We were lucky enough to be there for Songkran, the Thai water festival and it was by far some of the best weeks of my life. During Songkran everyone in Thailand spends the day soaking each other with buckets of water and water guns. It is such a blast! There is a great Irish pub on the main road which is a great place to grab a pint and play some pool. If you are looking for some good food, the night market at the end of the main road is a fantastic option. There is a massive selection of classic local Thai dishes all under $2! When we were here with George’s parents we also went to Gillhams Fishery, which was great fun! We popped up shop at the fishery for the day and watched George and his dad fish all day. We had some amazing memories in Railay bay and enjoyed the countless beach days and warm weather.
PHUKET & PATONG
Sometimes Phuket gets a bad reputation in the traveling world and is known as the party city, however Patong is still a great place to stop off for a few nights. Although it is a bit more touristy, it is a really vibrant fun place. If you find yourself walking down Bangla Road (The famous party street filled with hundreds of bars/clubs/crowds) make sure to stop by the Smiley Bar. George spent a fair share of nights there and his Thai mother works there (our picture is hung up on the wall). Patong has some of the best seafood restaurants around as well. If you stroll around enough there is a little back alley which takes you to a row of restaurants all numbed. Red Chair #4 was our go to and we went nearly every night for dinner! If you are looking for a hostel stay at Wire hostel!
George and I met in Chaing Mai at Deejai Backpackers hostel. It was there at the pool that we instantly hit it off and were inseparable for the next few months. If you are going to Thailand to see the culture and history you can’t skip Chaing Mai. Chaing Mai is home to so many beautiful historic temples and the elephant sanctuaries. This is where I got to spend the day feeding and bathing the elephants and it was amazing. PSA: do not go to the riding camps!!! There are sanctuaries that just allow you you feed and bathe the elephants, but do not help fund the camps that let you ride them! If you are looking for a fun night out go to Zoe in Yellow bar and for food right down the street is Fat Elvis. Now I have had my fair share of great Amerian BBQ, but this place by far had some of the greatest ribs I have ever eaten. George can vouch he showed me this place and solely came back to Chaing Mai with his friend Jordan just to have those ribs one more time.
After Chiang Mai George and I decided to explore the beautiful hills of Pai, a small town about four hours from Chaing Mai. George had already been to Pai before and he knew the road to Pai was extremely curvy with many turns. He made a bet with me that if I made it to Pai in the bus without getting car sick he would take me out to dinner, if I lost I would have to treat him to dinner…a fancy way of getting a date out of me, but being the competitive person I am I was in… and of course, I didn’t get sick haha! If you have never been to Pai, I highly recommend it.
Out of every place in Thailand Pai was by far my favorite. It’s a quaint hippy village in the hills of Northern Thailand. Each night the main street is lined with an amazing farmers market filled with fresh food and desserts. Tip: Visit the Lasagna lady if you go, her spinach ricotta lasagna is to die for! In Pai George and I had our first date at a local restaurant where we sat and played a game of dominos. It was very cute. The next day we decided to ride some motorbikes up to the hills where there was a hidden hot spring. There we played with the natural mud and swam in the beautiful hot spring pools. It was an incredible day!
Bangkok is such a crazy city! George and I were tired of staying hostels when we got there so we decided to get a nicer hotel room right on Khao San Road..the middle of all the parties. Every night the clothing vendors on Khao San road close up shop and the bars open up to all the tourists. It’s the first place most backpackers begin their journey so it’s really funny to people watch. George and I explored a lot in Bangkok and went to the first mall I had been to in months. By far the best highlight was our romantic date night on top of the Red Sky rooftop bar atop one of the tallest buildings in the city. With sweeping views we ordered some really fancy fun drinks and just relaxed looking over the city lights of Bangkok.