Thailand was everything we hoped it would be and more! This was our second trip east (the first being to India last year). This trip was a lot smoother and enjoyable 100 times over. While we had a good time in India, it was a bit overwhelming and felt more like a test of endurance than a vacation. Both countries have their unique qualities that make them memorable but our Thailand experience wins hands down.
We planned Thailand, from lodgings to excursions, to maximize fun, relaxation, cultural exposure and leaving room for spontaneity. One thing we learned the hard way in India was not to underestimate the amount of down time you’ll need to actually do nothing and acclimate to our new surroundings. So whether it was a day trip to see ruins, a night at an EDM club, or a day at an elephant sanctuary, almost every detail of this trip was well thought out to make it amazing. This was, after all, not just a vacation but a celebration trip for our 10 year wedding anniversary. Time flies when you’re in love! 😀
We chose to split our two-weeks in three different locations: Bangkok, Koh Yao Yai (20 minute speedboat ride from the more popular Phuket) and Chiang Mai. We used Bangkok to bookend the trip–only spending two days there in the beginning (one of which was a day trip to the historic city Ayutthaya the former capital of Thailand) and the last couple of days at the end of the trip (for shopping and partying). Bangkok is intense and doing it this way worked out perfectly for us.
Thailand is nicknamed “The Land of Smiles” and that seems about right to us. Everyone was friendly and willing to help. There weren’t any uncomfortable moments of gawking from men (or anyone really) like we felt in India and some of the places we visited. The people we met in Thailand all left a great impression on us.
The picture above was with one of many friendly tuk tuk drivers we had. He was actually the best! lol
We met people from Australia, China, Canada, Indonesia, UK and many more countries while in Thailand. At any given moment we could hear at least three different languages around us.
From the bustling city streets to the crowded night markets, the historic temples to the blue-water beaches, Thailand was really just a perfect vacation for us. We used our first day just to rest and recover at the Banyan Tree Hotel.
Vertigo rooftop bar at the Banyan Tree Hotel in Bangkok
After that, we officially started our vacation at with a day trip to Ayutthaya. Ayutthaya is large historical site full of remnants of what it used to be before its destruction by the Burmese in the 1700s. Unfortunately, many of the heads from the buddhas were removed and it’s standing in a crumbling condition of its glory days. It reminded us of Qutub Minar in India but slightly less impressive or the Chichen Itza ruins in Mexico .
It was still definitely worth the day trip. We booked in advance using Viator. You could also book this upon arrival as its a common tour. After this we packed up and headed south to enjoy a blissful four days at the most beautiful resort we’ve ever stayed so far: Santhiya Koh Yao Yai. This place really deserves a blog entry of its own but for now we’ll just drop these two videos that really capture the sheer amazingness of it.
WE. LOVE. THIS. RESORT! And we WILL be back in the future.
That’s it for now. Stay tuned for part two of this blog entry for this trip.
Until then, thanks for reading!
Monica and Cheril
PS: Here’s the room we had at the Banyan Tree Hotel in Bangkok for the first couple of nights. It’s nice and has a gorgeous view. The rooftop bar, while a feast for the eyes, is definitely overpriced so beware! Dinner for two ended up being equivalent to roughly $250 that night. While in the US, that’s not a horrible show stopper, but being that we were in Thailand, that price was absurd. The food was excellent and the view was spectacular, but we probably wouldn’t do the rooftop bar again. 🙂
Feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comment section.