Remember that time we spent a month in Asia? We got home like 12 weeks ago and although I actively worked on this blog post throughout the month, actually finishing and publishing it when we got home totally got away from me. Having 4 weeks of work to catch up on amid the already busy holiday season + all the crazy of the election meant that the couple months since we got home from Japan and Thailand totally flew by and the next thing I knew we were boarding a plane for our ski trip to Germany and Austria. Well, I promised myself that I wouldn’t publish a trip post about Europe until I finally took the time to finish this post. So, without further ado here are our travel tips for Northern and Southern Thailand!
This past fall we spent a month traveling in Asia. We started our trip with 4 days in Tokyo, Japan, but quickly made our way over to Thailand. Although we had originally planned to mix one or maybe even two more countries into our trip, we really enjoyed Thailand and ended up spending the duration of our trip traveling the country.
Our flight itinerary had us going through Tokyo, so we decided to cut the 20 hour flight up into 14 and 6 hour legs by spending a few days in Tokyo. This was a great way to see another country and also break up a long international flight, and it didn’t really change our ticket prices. I talked more about this in my post about Tokyo, so pop over there if you want to hear more.
Below is our itinerary for Thailand, along with tips, lodging and activity suggestions for each city. I hope it will help you plan your dream escape!
Day 1-4 – Tokyo, Japan
Day 5 – Bangkok, Thailand
Day 6 – Bangkok and overnight train to Chiang Mai, Thailand
Day 7-9 Chiang Mai, Thailand
Day 10-21 – Two weeks in Pai, Thailand
Day 22 – Bus from Pai to Chiang Mai, flight to Krabi, Thailand
Day 23-24 Boat to Tonsai Beach, Thailand
Day 25-26 – Northern Phi Phi Island
Day 27-28 – Longboat to Phi Phi, Thailand
Day 29 – Ferry to Phuket Thailand
Day 30 – Flight home
Days 1-4 – Tokyo, Japan
Day 1-4 – We landed in Tokyo, Japan and spent 3 nights at an Airbnb in Shinjuku. We of course spent a lot of time hunting down great Ramen and Sushi, but also enjoyed walking around town, visiting the beautiful parks and gardens, and going to the Golden Gai District at night. You can read more about our time in Tokyo in this post.
Day 5 – We flew from Tokyo, Japan to Bangkok, Thailand (6 hours)
Lodging: Bangkok Bed and Bike ($15-70 USD per night depending on room type)
This is a hip hostel, where you can choose from communal or private rooms. The location is great, the vibe is awesome, and the lobby is a great place to meet fellow travelers.
Activities: Bangkok at Night—by Bike! ($50 USD per person)
We were only in Bangkok for one night, so although we were tired from a day of travel we wanted to make the most of it. We signed up for the Bangkok by Bike Night Tour through our hotel. A private English-speaking guide met us in the hotel lobby around sunset, and the 3 of us set out on bikes to tour Bangkok. From what I could tell, they’d let you go on this tour no matter what your skill level, and had we not been pretty avid cyclists perhaps our guide would have babied us a bit more, but I would recommend that you not only be comfortable on a bike, but that you be pretty acquainted with urban biking. We’ve biked all over the US (NYC, Boston, Chicago), and in cities across Europe (Brugges, Denmark, Antwerp, Amsterdam), and nothing quite compared to biking in Bangkok, at night.
There are no bike lanes, not a lot of street lights, and the tuk tuks and taxis zoom around. Our guide was pretty fearless with his riding, and he expected us to keep up. We thought it was a riot and had a great time! We were also pretty surprised when we made it through the night without a single incident. I have a vivid memory of flying down a dark street in Bangkok late at night and feeling 100% alive, it was a rush. It also gives you the opportunity to see areas of town that you wouldn’t see on your own. We ended up biking over 10 miles and it was a great way to see a lot of the city quickly and with a guide. He took us out for dinner to his favorite pad thai restaurant, and took photos for us at some of the popular stops. This activity is probably not for everyone, but if you’re up for a real adventure this is a great way to spend a night in Bangkok.
Pro tips: If you do the bike tour you’ll want to make sure you have on comfortable shoes. There were times where we were biking through about a foot of water (in the dark). Fortunately we didn’t have to put our feet down, but having Keens or Teva sandals might be a good footwear choice over sneakers, depending on the time of year.
Day 6-7 – Day in Bangkok and the overnight train from Bangkok north to Chiang Mai, Thailand (14 hours)
Lodging: Overnight Train