So we’ve been in Phuket for a week already. Time flies fast :). But we really really enjoy it and although we will be here for 4 more weeks approximately I can already say that we will definitely want to come back! Our usual day here looks like something like this. We will wake up around 9, have a light breakfast, then do about 20 minutes of stretching/pilates and after that about an hour at the pool swimming, reading a book or just relaxing. Then it’s either going for a lunch (we already have a a few of our favorite places, I will talk about them in one of the later posts) or getting on a scooter to discover some new part of this beautiful island. Driving a scooter has by now become a norm and a part of everyday life :). During our stay we have visited The Big Buddha (which is really big also in real life, height about 34m), Chalong temple, Phuket town and the night market, Rawai and many other great places.
We haven’t yet went to Kata, Karon and Patong – the 3 main tourist areas but we will do that soon. No hurry :).
At about 3-4 in the afternoon we usually go to the beach since by then the sun is lower, it’s not so hot anymore and you can really enjoy the seaside. If you plan to go during the midday for example then without a shade you can last max only about an hour or you just have to be in the water constantly. Otherwise you’ll just get a sunstroke. Our favorite beaches here are Yanui and Nai Harn, both about 10 minutes drive from here. And in the evenings we will go and have a dinner (naturally), on some days go to enjoy a steam sauna (located nearby, a great place to end a day) and then back home either we will watch a movie, invest time in the world wide web or read a book. Nearing the nighttime I’ll usually spend a few hours behind my laptop working with pictures, videos, gaining knowledge in Youtube or dealing with on one of my different projects.
Quite often we are spending time with our friends who are currently also living here in Phuket. We have already had a card playing + rum and coke night :), traveled around the island together and tomorrow we plan to go kayaking for example.
And actually we’ve seen quite many Estonians around here, basically you meet some new people every day. It’s a small world 🙂
Here are some additional thoughts:
- In Thailand there are small reddish ants everywhere where there’s food lying around. If you forget something edible to the balcony for example it wont take long before these little guys are there to have a lunch on your behalf 🙂
- Sometimes when swimming in the sea you will feel a small burn on your skin. It will go away quickly and it’s nothing bad but still an interesting sensation. No-one knows exactly by whom these are caused but I’ve read that it’s either very small jellyfish or sea lice. Don’t worry, nothing harmful. Just don’t be surprised getting that feeling if you end up swimming around here 🙂
All the best and sunshine,
Here’s the second volume of our ideas and thoughts about Thailand:
- Thai people love to smile 🙂
- When you are driving a scooter and NOT zig-zaging between the cars in a traffic jam or behind a traffic light you will be looked at weirdly. It’s totally normal to go through even the narrowest places between cars 🙂
- During the day all the garbage will be left at the roadside in big bags and every night garbage trucks (where people are sitting on the roof sometimes) will pick them up. There are quite few trash bins around (except in tourist areas)
- It’s totally normal to drive in the back of an opened pick-up truck. I counted 16 people today, a record so far 🙂
- Most of the cars have really tinted windows (even the windshield) so you really can’t see into them. I don’t know is it because of the sun and the temperatures or is there some other reason behind it…
- You can get a decent and very tasty lunch/dinner for 50-60 baht (1,3-1,55€) in a lot of places. And water is mostly free.
- Beer costs about the same as back home (about 50 baht bigger can or a bottle) and it’s pretty good. Only thing is although there are several brands to choose from they taste rather the same
- There are natural coconut, banana etc. trees growing everywhere in here
- Fuel prices are considerably cheaper compared to Estonia. 91 (that is used in case of scooters) costs about 27 baht (0,7€) per litre.
- Thailand is (understandably considering the weather around here) very tourism oriented. There are hundreds of massage salons, guesthouses, hotels, tour offices and other similar facilities everywhere!
- As the weather, water is also warm all year round. No need to be afraid to get the chills
- Thai people hold family very dear. Very often you can see the whole family sitting around in a circle having a meal, laughing and talking to each other. I would say we have a lot to learn from them in that sense 🙂
- After the sun sets hundreds of small lizards come out, find the nearest light source and start to catch mosquitoes and other small bugs. They’re really cute 🙂
- Soy milk based drinks are extremely tasty here. You can find a lot of different flavors to try
- A small bag of buckwheat around here costs 18€!
- Thailand is blessed with one of the most beautiful nature I’ve ever seen 🙂
To be continued… 🙂
Yesterday beautiful Loi Krathong festival was held all over Thailand (and also some other countries). You can read more about it from here. We went to see and enjoy it at nearby Nai Harn lake. Unfortunately our experience was not as picturesque as seen above but it was still beautiful. Hundreds and thousands of people bought different krathongs (little baskets from banana tree trunk and banana leaves decorated with different flowers, ornaments, a candle and 3 incense sticks), lit them up and placed on the lake surface. Unfortunately it was a bit windy so most of the candles blew out quite fast (as did ours 🙂 ) but it was still pretty. Sadly (but with a good reason, potential hazard to the nature) flying lanterns were forbidden but there were still some (supposedly) official sellers from who you could buy one and send it towards the stars. I also went for a swim at the beach in the darkness with lanterns flying above my head, it was quite a sight :). Only maybe a bit negative part of whole this was that the main festival area where all the market stalls were located got properly crowded and the place was really touristy. I read that there are also other areas near Phuket city where locals gather to celebrate. Nevertheless it’s a must visit when you’re visiting Thailand in November :).
I’ve also finished the first video of Phuket where you can see views of Rawai and other southern parts of the island. Have a look for yourself :)!
A few days back I wrote about our budget and what to see in Chiang Mai. As promised here’s also a brief overview about Bangkok. First I have to say that if you plan to stay in Chiang Mai, Phuket or other similar areas for a longer time it’s totally ok but for Bangkok 5-6 days is maximum, at least in my opinion. Yes, it’s a huge crazy city with a lot to offer but you get tired of it quite fast. Of course it is totally depending on a person but at least most of the people I’ve met and who have been there are agreeing on this one.
But to the subject. Here are the things we recommend you should see and do in Bangkok:
- The Golden Mountain – from there you can see a great view over the city and the temple with its green lush hillside is also definitely worth a visit
- Khaosan road – the main backpackers and tourist street in Bangkok. As written in one of the older posts – go and have a bucket 🙂 + enjoy everything the street has to offer
- Wat Pho, the reclining Buddha
- Lumpini park – a beautiful greenness in the middle of surrounding skyscrapers
- Visit at least one of the skybars to enjoy the view. Yes, the drinks are expensive but to be honest how often do you end up in Bangkok 🙂
- Chatuchak market – one of the biggest markets in the world. You don’t have to buy anything but the market itself is worth seeing
- Bangkok National museum – although it’s a bit tired it’s a great place to get an overview of Thai and Buddhism history
- The Grand Palace – unfortunately it was closed while we visited Bangkok but as I’ve heard and read it’s a must go place
As in case of Chiang Mai all expenses are daily averages for 2 people. We stayed in Bangkok for a period of 6 days.
- Groceries – 56 baht
- Transport – 129 baht (mostly we used public transport – MRT and Metro lines + a few times taxis)
- Eating out – 495 baht (including the 800 baht cocktails in skybar)
- Entrance fees – 106 baht
- Shopping – 26 baht
- Other (Buying a local SIM-card, unlocking the phone) – 136 baht
Our hostel was 4100 baht so in total our living cost for 6 days was 10700 baht (277€). So in case of our trip our daily costs were roughly the same as in case of Chiang Mai but the latter is definitely a cheaper place to live.
Sending positive vibes from Phuket… 🙂
Phuket is Thailands biggest island and there’s always a lot going on in here. We are staying in the quieter and calmer southern part of the island near Rawai. Phuket is divided into different kind of areas and towns. Everyone who wants to party and see a “circus” on the streets every night should could to Patong, the main tourist place here. Slightly calmer are nearby Kata and Karong. And then there are still relatively relaxed areas like Rawai. Plus of course the old town where there are mainly locals living – Phuket city.
First of all it’s great to be by the sea again! We definitely missed this! And it’s really really beautiful – so many gorgeous beaches, mountains, cliffs, nearby islands and much more. I’m gonna take a lot of photos here 🙂
We have within 2 days only looked around in the southern part of the island and already we have gazed our eyes to so many beautiful places
Thanks to my friends who are living here we got a great accommodation for a very reasonable price! The place is spot on with very good condition rooms, even wider bed (over 2meters! I don’t know why they have so large beds in here), private pool, parking and so on. Couldn’t want for anything else!
Thanks to these same friends we also got ourselves a companion for the next 5 weeks.
I would say that owning a scooter is rather necessary in Phuket since there is basically no public transport and taxis around here are really expensive. Since my scooter driving experience was close to zero it will take some time to get used to this but we will take it slowly and carefully :). And of course the second day driving around we got fined by the police :). Since legally you should have A-category license to drive a scooter (since in here they are much more powerful compared to Estonia for example) they sometimes fine you if you don’t have them. The fine was 500 baht but we hope that this won’t happen again soon or we will just go and make ourselves Thai scooter licenses :). And just to add a comment it usually doesn’t happen very often. My friends have been living here alltogether for 2 years and they had been fined only once or twice before. There are certain areas (mostly near Patong) where they usually do their checks. At least that I’ve been told :).
Today when the sun was setting we went for a swim in nearby Yanui beach and that is definitely the most beautiful beach we have ever swimmed on. The beach is slightly seen in the first picture in this post. In there it really seemed like a paradise… 🙂
At the time of writing this post we are already at Rawai, Phuket but don’t worry. There will be a lot of posts about this wonderful place since we will be staying here or 5 weeks :).
But I wanted to write about (for everyone who perhaps plans to visit Chiang Mai in near future) what were our everyday costs in Chiang Mai and what you definitely shouldn’t miss (based on our opinion) if you get there! Most if not all of them have already been mentioned in the posts before but here’s a quick summary:
- Visiting at least one of the many elephant sanctuaries near the city, If you don’t have time for anything else at least do this.
- Grand Canyon water park – you will have fun there :)!
- Doi Suthep temple and Doi Pui viewpoint
- The zoo
- Huay Kaew waterfall
- Saturday and Sunday night markets
- Beautiful temples in the old city and around
- Definitely go and have a massage. They are very affordable and just really really good!
- Nong Buak park and feeding the fishes
Of course there are many other things to do but these are the ones we did ourselves and can highly recommend!
Now, the budget. As said in some posts back we are keeping a track of our everyday expenses in order to get a better overview ourselves and also share it with you. Of course there are many ways to travel. Basically you could live with 300€ per month in Thailand and if you want also with 30,000€. It’s all up to you. Either way, here’s the overview of how much money we invested in our memories in Chiang Mai :). All the expenses are for 2 people and daily average. Naturally we didn’t visit a museum every day but in order to get a better overview I have divided everything to the 14 days we spent there.
- Groceries (everything bought from 7/11 and other similar stores – food, drink, shampoo etc.) – daily average 128 baht
- Transport (buses, tuk-tuks, songthaews, taxis etc.) – daily average 109 baht (as said before we like to walk quite a lot, so consider a bit higher costs in this area if you plan to use motorized transport more often; you can also get a scooter for 150-200 THB per day)
- Eating out (including lunches, dinners, different snacks etc. ; breakfast was included in our Hostel price) – daily average 278 baht
- Entrance fees (museums, temples, water park etc.) – daily average 316 baht (this number is rather high because of the Elephant Family Care visit fee)
- Shopping (clothes, accessories etc.) – daily average 36 baht (this is a slippery slope, if you plan to shop then there will be at least one zero behind this number 🙂 )
- Other (massages, cash withdrawal fees etc.) – 105 baht (If you take cash out of the ATM there’s a 220 baht fee + some percentage that your local bank will happily take away)
Our accommodation for the 2 week period was 7000 baht. So all in all our living cost for 2 weeks in Chiang Mai was about 20,000 baht (517€) and roughly we spent whenever we wanted to spend :). Of course Chiang Mai is one the cheapest places to live in Thailand but for such amount of money you can definitely do very well for 2 people :).
I hope you find this post useful and I will also do the same for Bangkok, Phuket and other places we’ll stay.
All the best!
Yesterday we went to see Chiang Dao caves. To get there we took the local county bus which was an experience in its own. The bus was probably from the 70’s but after a fun 1,5h ride we arrived at small Chiang Dao town (one way ticket was 40 baht per person). From there it was supposed to be 1h walk to the caves but we managed to walk only for about 1,5km when a very lovely couple picked us up and took us the the cave entrance. Big thanks to them! Although walking in this beautiful countryside was a great experience. There you could see the true country life of Thailand. Rice fields and farmers everywhere, majestic views of the nearby mountains and much more. At the cave once again our friend fast floods greeted us. The nearby river at the entrance was flooding and water was covering the park benches and pathways. Luckily though we could still get into the caves. Entrance fee is 40 baht which allows you to see the lit part of the area with small shrines and walkways. This was definitely worth the money! But there’s also an option to hire a guide for 100 baht per person (+ a tip at the end, usually 50 baht) and then you can go and discover the darker areas of the cave system. The pros of this was that you could see a lot of different bigger halls, beautiful stone figures that water has formed through thousands of years and also get a small adrenaline rush climbing through the small passages (rather I would say crawling, and there was quite much of it so be prepared to get dirty) joining the different parts. The cons are that the guide has a rather small gas light and it’s difficult to see much (since there were hundreds of bats in the cave, maybe small light is so that they wouldn’t be disturbed) and our guide seemed to be in a rather hurry. It would have been better to discover this place on our own but sadly that’s not allowed. Some areas were closed once again because of the high water but either way it’s definitely worth a visit! Sadly we lost Anna’s sunglasses somewhere in the darkness of the cave.. but we will buy new ones :). By the way the first picture in the beginning of this post is when you try to take a picture in the dark caves with a flash but at the same time you are sweating and there’s a huge amount of vapor coming from your body. In the end it turned out to be quite an artistic capture :).
To get back it was supposedly a 5km walk but once again we could manage to walk only for about 1 km when we were picked up by another great couple. People in the countryside seem to be very very nice :)! So we got the experience riding in the back of a open pickup truck and it was fun :)!
Today we went to see a local Nong Buak park in old city Chiang Mai. It was really nice and most of the time we spent feeding the fishes. There were several ponds filled with them and also some very big and beautiful Koi fish. We had never seen so huge and magnificent Koi before! It was truly relaxing spending time there. In addition I could through some hoops after a long time. There was a basket and a basketball in the middle of the park and a couple from Sweden were playing 21. They were also travelling through SE Asia planning to visit Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. So I joined in and it was fun :)!
I also made a video of our adventure in Chiang Dao and some clips of our pool visit in nearby Eco resort (you pay 150 baht per person and you get access to the poolside for the whole day) plus of course I had to include our Hostel hamsters :). Go and have a look!