i have always felt an unexplainable draw to thailand - the culture, landscape, clothing, people, and of course, the food.
at the last minute, ravi and i decided to go on an adventure for the holidays, and it was a dream come true. from eating $3 pad thai on wild, secluded beaches to lighting off lanterns in the city on new year’s eve, here is a glimpse into some of the magic we experienced all over this amazing country:
we landed in phuket at night, after a 35-hour journey through china. thankful and exhausted we stayed at a small hotel near the airport. in the morning, we made our way down to patong beach – a seriously wild place with people rushing through the narrow streets at all hours of the day and night. in order to escape the crowds, we took a taxi to karon beach where we swam and watched the sunset. we spent the evening wandering, staying on the outskirts of the tourism traps and insanity that is patong. the highlight of this stop was hands down puluang 1 thai massage, a true hidden gem if you’re into out-of-this-world massage for $9. any takers?
phi phi islands
from phuket, we took a ferry to the phi phi islands. a tiny gem surrounded by some of the bluest water i’ve ever seen. the first night, we stayed in a small jungle hotel surrounded by wild plants and geckos everywhere you looked. with no cars on the island, we walked from our hotel through the tiled streets until we found an incredible vegetarian restaurant called dow, where we ended up eating many times throughout our stay. we also got pedicures at doctor fish, where a bunch of tiny fish nibbled the dead skin off of our feet. i don’t think i have ever laughed so hard in my life.
the second day we took a private long tail boat around the island to explore the amazing formations in the surrounding water; including maya beach and monkey beach. we got to spend time with monkeys in the wild, playing next to bright teal water on white sand beaches. dreams, irl. just in time for sunset, we made the trek up an extremely steep trail that ended at a perfect viewpoint overlooking the sparkling lights of the island below. that same we evening we met up with my dear friend who happened to be living on the island for a month, performing fire spinning and acro at slinky’s, a popular beach bar. and as if the day wasn’t packed enough, we also stumbled into a local muay thai bar where both tourists and locals were volunteering to fight each other in a professional ring. only in thailand.
from phi phi we took a boat to koh lanta, and might i add, this entire trip was planned one day after the next, nothing set in stone. i had never known about koh lanta before we came to thailand, but man am i glad we found it - and ended up staying for the majority of our trip. we spent the first three glorious nights at pimalai, a truly incredible resort and spa. our “room” was actually two outdoor bungalows, separated by a deck and private infinity pool that overlooked the beautiful bay below. while we were there, we left our (insanely cozy) bed and perfect view only to eat at their restaurant, get massages at their spa, check out why not bar - the local reggae bar and fire show on the beach, and go on a snorkeling excursion at a nearby reef. during our dinner on christmas day we happened to meet the wonderful, french general manager of the resort, who chatted with us over some celebratory glasses of wine.
the next two nights were spent at a small hotel on the beach, where the owner helped us out with absolutely everything - she even cooked our complimentary breakfast each morning. the beach surrounding her estate was straight out of my wildest dreams. there were eccentric bars and restaurants as far as the eye could see, all with string lights, thai food, music, and more fresh fruit smoothies than your heart could desire. as if everything here wasn’t magical enough, the sunsets were incredible as well. it was while biking around ko lanta that we also discovered (in my opinion) the best restaurant in thailand: happy veggie. a vegan restaurant so delicious and healthy, i am seriously considering my move to this little island. well, maybe not, but it is that good.
after our incredible time on koh lanta, we made our way to khao sok national park via bus. the draw of the park was an insanely large lake that sits in the center of an ancient rainforest, with yosemite-like formations shooting up from the water for miles. wild, right? we had to see it for ourselves. we stayed for two nights in a small hotel on a stretch of road lined with restaurants, tour services, and massage parlors?! amazing. we took a boat tour of the lake, which included a lunch stop at one of the many rows of floating bamboo cabanas. we also got to kayak through the crystal clear waters while basking in the beauty of this place.
we ended up in chiang mai after a split decision to make our way north. we flew on new year’s eve just in time to light lanterns off with thousands of others at pae gate. we bought lanterns off of street vendors, borrowed lighters from fellow travelers, and tried to not catch fire ourselves as lanterns floated and fireworks blasted across the sky. such an exhilarating and memorable way to ring in 2018. also – as we kissed at midnight, a flaming lantern landed on us. i don’t know what kind of omen that is, but it made us laugh either way.
during our three days in this little city, we went to night markets, watched the sunset (during a full moon) from wat phra that doi suthep, did aerial yoga at satva yoga with a tiny dog named happy, and explored the trendy area - nimmanhaemin road. it was there that we discovered the baristro, an insta-worthy coffee shop with the most hospitable owner. he ended up taking us around town to the best coffee shops and photo spots with another photographer friend. he also gave us a tasting of his shop’s most imaginative drinks, including my new favorite: coconut water and espresso. i'm still thinking about it.
although there are endless stories to tell, this has been a taste of our adventure. if you have any specific questions, please feel free to reach out via instagram or firstname.lastname@example.org.
and now i will leave you with this, a few things you should know before booking your ticket:
bring your own wet wipes and tissues, and get your squatting muscles ready.
don’t eat anywhere that isn’t busy, and stay away from any street food that has the potential to be unsafe.
always opt for bottled water and stay away from ice – unless you have to have a fresh papaya smoothie, then go nuts.
wear sunscreen, even in the shade. the sun is really strong.
massages are $9, pad thai is $3 – take advantage.
avoid long layovers in china, because, unless you are down with mystery meat, you’re going to get hungry.
unless you have to, don't go during the holidays like we did. everything, including plane tickets, are more expensive.
xoxo, safe travels!
what i wore:
hattie dress: revolve x tularosa label
didion dress: revolve x tularosa label
july dress: revolve x lovers + friends