A Quick Guide to Thailand for Budget Travellers

A Quick Guide to Thailand for Budget Travellers

Guide to Thailand

Oh Thailand, the most backpacker friendly/sunburn mandatory/party til you can’t stay up anymore country I have ever been to. It’s also incredibly cheap if you do a bit of thinking and saving dollars makes me gitty so I have gifted you this perfect itinerary for island hopping in Thailand, including how to get there, what to do and extra tips.

My Quick Guide to Thailand

Main airport locations: Krabi, Bangkok, Phuket and Surat Thani

Bangkok

Quick Guide to Thailand

Where to stay: Any hostel on Khao San road. I recommend Khao San Immjai hostel which is a 5 min walk from Khao San Road. Stay 2-3 nights.

What to do: Explore the city! Walk around Khao San road and meet other backpackers. Temples are beautiful but require you to cover up for a lot of them so be prepared. Take the water taxis/buses to get around and go see a drag show! Thailand is famous for ladyboys and they put on a great performance. The Hangover 2 was filmed at the Sky Bar in Bangkok. It definitely lives up to its name.

Other Tips: In April Khao San Road turns into a water gun fight for three days in celebration of the Thai New Year. You will not be able to get to your hostel without getting soaked but it is hilarious and awesome and was the highlight of our trip. The portions of alcohol in Thailand are different than what you’re probably used to so have less than usual.

Koh Tao (MY FAVOURITE ISLAND EVER)

Quick Guide to Thailand

 

Getting there: Train from Bangkok (overnight) to Chumphon and ferry to Koh Tao.

Where to stay: Good Dream Hostel, stay for 3-5 nights.

What to do: Rent a scooter and drive up to the lookout on the quiet side of the island with hammoks! Take a fast boat over to the smaller island, Nangyuan, and hike up to the top. Koh Tao is famous for scuba diving so you can become certified here. See a drag show or a Muay Thai fight. Relax on the gorgeous beaches.

Other Tips: The island is small enough that you only have to stay at one hostel. Beware of pickpockets on the trains.

Koh Pha Ngan 

Quick Guide to Thailand

 

Getting there: Fly to Surat Thani and then take a boat to Koh Pha Ngan. You can also ferry from here to Koh Tao or Koh Samui. Stay for 3 nights.

Where to stay:  There are so many options for under 30 bucks a night. Book very far in advance for full moon party dates. We stayed in Sarana Bungalows farther away from the full moon beach and they were way more peaceful than I expected on this island.

What to do: Full moon, half moon, and jungle parties. Lounge in the shallow sandbars far away from the full moon beach. I suggest getting a waterproof case for your phone that you can put around your neck if you are going to a full moon party (you can buy these all over the island) because you will want to take photos of this.

Krabi

Getting there: You can ferry to the mainland and bus to Krabi if you are already on Koh Tao, Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Samui or you can fly here.

Where to stay: Pak Up Hostel. Stay for 1-2 nights.

What to Do: Head to Railay Beach for the day, the water is beautiful and clear and have a snack at one of the cute food stands! Krabi was a stop over when I did it so we didn’t spend much time here, however, there is great hiking here, try Tab Kak Hang Nak.

Koh Phi Phi

Getting there: Take a ferry to Koh Phi Phi from Krabi. 

Where to stay: Blanco Beach Bar or Stones hostel. Stay for 3 nights.

What to do: Every night there’s a beach party with fire dancers and blaring music,  walk through the streets and get authentic hand rolled ice cream. Watch a muay thai fight here. Take a day trip to Maya Bay where the Beach was filmed. Disclaimer: you have to pay 200 baht to get off the boat in Maya Bay.

Other tips: The men with fire are there every single night and prey on women as the night goes on so be very careful when you are drinking and hanging around them on the beach.

Finally, General Things You Should Know

  1. Cash is easy to exchange in Thailand
  2. Wifi is easy to come by (I never once used data)
  3. Don’t get drunk with people you don’t know
  4. Sunscreen is very expensive
  5. Pickpocketers are everywhere so keep your belongings close to you all the time
  6. Sometimes ATMs will eat your cards so when you exchange do it with a teller, there are western union stands all over.
  7. Get used to the term toasties. These are packaged sandwiches you can find at 7/11 and they grill them for you. This processed goodness will be the cheapest meal you can buy and they’re everywhere.
  8. Barter Barter Barter.

I hope you enjoyed this quick guide to Thailand. Hostels not for you? Get a discount on Airbnb with My 4 Favourite Airbnb Stays in Thailand post.

 

The Cheapest Way To Get To Hawaii

The Cheapest Way To Get To Hawaii

the cheapest way to get to hawaii

There are a couple of ideas floating around that you need to be mindful of before starting your search for the cheapest way to get to Hawaii or anywhere else.

1. Those friends who tell you that you have to keep checking 10 different flight search engines, making sure that your web browser is set to incognito are using the least efficient way of searching.

2. Blogs that tell you to wake up at 3 am because that’s when prices mysteriously drop, makes no sense. What happens in other time zones? Do we all wake up at 3 am in sequential order? Of course not!

3. Forget the travel agents and the budget airlines, cheap flights come around more often than you think and finding them is as easy as the app Hopper!

 

Here’s my experience using Hopper to find the cheapest way to get to Hawaii!

 

When my friends all started booking their reading week trips to Cuba and Punta Cana I decided that I wanted to go somewhere different. Instead of throwing $1400 into a classic grad trip of binge drinking and sunburns I was going to throw that money at a crazy adventure. On the hunt for the cheapest travel costs for the greatest travel reward, I cruised the app store for some help. I passed on Tripadvisor and Expedia, only because my gut told me I needed to look for an alternative to the big companies. Hopper had the most user-friendly interface and kept things simple. I plugged in my dates and the price came out to around $650. The app told me to book now because prices wouldn’t drop anymore. Hopper recommended I change my dates to two weeks earlier which knocked $200 off! I frantically emailed my professors about assignments during those dates and received the all clear. I called up a friend and we booked it that night.

But get this, my friend booked his ticket seconds before me and got his round-trip ticket from Toronto, Ontario to Honolulu, HI for only $423 taxes in! Not only was it cheap but it was a direct flight with Air Canada. A double win. I had the unfortunate luck of getting my trip for $523 because the price went up in the few seconds my ticket was being processed. Nonetheless, still a steal.

Using Hopper

hopper logo

  1. Get your phone and download the app. Hopper calculates optimal times to book flights at their cheapest and it’s pretty spot on. If you use it well, it will change your life.
  2. Choose the Cheapest Airport. Think about a place you want to go in the next 4-6 months and choose your start and end airports.
  3. Choose the Cheapest Date. Hopper will show you exactly what dates are the cheapest which is why flexibility is important.

  4. Click start watching your trip. Now you can forget about the trip because Hopper does the work for you. You will be notified when the price of your flight drops to the lowest possible amount for the criteria you chose.

  5. Book at the optimal time! I call it literal magic.

Did you find a good deal on a flight through Hopper? Let me know!

 

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