When it came to choosing our honeymoon destination, Thailand came up in the talks pretty early on. We knew we wanted a place that was going to offer multiple things – a big city to explore, some hiking and a beach. Another factor to consider was that we were going in February and we needed a place that was warm around that time of year. Thailand fit every single one of those characteristics so we started our research.
What we learned in our research even before booking was that Thailand was very affordable. For well under $100/night, you could get a super luxurious hotel in a great location in every single city we looked. We also found that not only were the hotels cheap, the food, tours/attractions and pretty much everything else in Thailand, was very affordable. So, it was time to book flights.
If you’re traveling from the US or Canada, get ready for a long flight. We flew from Chicago to Tokyo to Bangkok and the entire process took us almost a full 24 hours one way. So, if you’re someone that doesn’t do well with long flights and has a lot of trouble with jetlag, beware. It’s all totally worth it in the end, so I’m going to recommend you just suck it up and endure the long flight 😊
Preparing for the Trip – Money, Vaccines, Medicine and Packing Suggestions
This is not a tip just for Thailand but for most countries – always bring cash with you. Have money converted through your bank while you’re home and have it ready to go for your trip. Most places in Thailand do not take credit card, even places in the airport, so it’s especially important for a trip like this that you have cash on you. It helps you stay within your budget and also ensures that you will never be turned away or have to go away without purchasing something you wanted.
Another thing to consider, and I talk about this also in my Honeymoon Planning post, is what vaccines and medicines you might need to travel. In Thailand’s case, the CDC recommends three vaccines : hepatitis A, flu vaccine and the typhoid vaccine. Hepatitis A is done as a series with two vaccines. You can get one before Thailand and be covered for the trip. If you choose to do the second vaccine 6 months later, you’re covered for life so a great thing to have if you’re a big traveler. Typhoid can be done as an oral capsule in the live form or as an injection as the inactivated form. As far as medicine goes – you might want to bring some OTC (or over the counter) meds with you to have on hand such as ibuprofen, Benadryl (in case of an allergic reaction) and hydrocortisone for those pesky bug bites that are just inevitable in a hot place like this that has water everywhere. If you’re someone that gets motion sickness like me, bring meclizine with you. Take it 30 minutes before going on boat rides, tuk tuk rides and a few other modes of transportation that I will talk about in future posts dedicated to each city. Also, I can’t stress this enough but bring plenty of sunscreen because it is hot AF at all times and you will get sunburned at some point. Also, as we learned the hard way, some things in Thailand can actually be expensive and those “things” are sunscreen. If you don’t feel like paying almost $20 for a small bottle, I recommend bringing plenty of your own. Aloe and bug spray are also great things to bring with you on this trip but make sure they’re in your checked bag and never your carry on or you will get them taken away due to size restrictions.
You will need to bring an adapter with you for all your electronics so I recommend in investing in one like this that has USB ports and a regular outlet as well. Thailand uses the European port in the adapter and their voltage is 220.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, the flight is going to be very long. You will most likely have a layover either in Seoul or Tokyo on your way to Bangkok. Some suggestions for the flight – if you’re going with someone else, invest in some headphone splitters, and download some movies/shows on Netflix (I recommend saving a show you’ve been meaning to binge watch for this very purpose). This will make your flight go by much faster. I also recommend being strategic about planning your sleep on the plane. If your plane lands in Bangkok early in the morning, you need to sleep as much as possible on the plane so when that plane lands, you’re ready to explore Thailand and not exhausted from travel and lack of sleep. If your plane lands late at night (ours landed at 1 am Bangkok time), don’t sleep on your last flight so that you’re nice and tired by the time you get to the hotel and are ready to crash.
Check for weight limits on your flights. If you’re flying between different cities, you need to make sure you check the checked bag limits because some Thai airlines like NOK Air, have a restriction of 15kg which is much less than most other airlines. Because we had 2 flights via NOK Air, we knew we could only have a 15 kg bag overall which actually turned out to be a good thing because it forced me to pack lightly instead of the way I usually pack.
Day Breakdown by City
This is how our 12 day trip looked:
-3 Days in Bangkok
-3 Days in Chiang Mai
-5 Days in Krabi
-1 Day in Bangkok again
Looking back, I would have maneuvered the days around to give ourselves one more day in Chiang Mai and one less day in Bangkok. There were more things we wanted to do in Chiang Mai that we didn’t get to do and we literally got everything done in Bangkok that we wanted to see and as you’ll see more in my Bangkok city guide, there is one full day I wish we would have done differently. So stay tuned for that.
I also wish we had one more day in Krabi but with how long it takes to travel to Thailand, that just wasn’t feasible for us. But, if you have more time than we did, spend more time in Krabi or on the islands.
We love going on tours in different cities but we don’t like completely over stuffing out trips with tours. The rule we usually go by is we like to do one big city tour in every city we visit and do the rest of the city by foot and explore ourselves. This time, we did one big Bangkok city tour, we did a half day at the elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai and we didn’t do tours in Krabi but we took several boat rides to different islands.
I would recommend doing exactly what we did in Bangkok and Chiang Mai but, I would recommend something different for Krabi. We did a half day on Phi Phi which is an absolutely gorgeous island that is about an hour and a half ferry ride from Krabi. For about $10 more, we could have done a 4 Island Tour which would have included Monkey Island, Maya Bay and a few other attractions and would have been a full day. We did not realize this when booking the ferry to Phi Phi because we thought the price we were quoted was for round trip and turned out to just be one way so, avoid making the same mistake as us and just do the 4 Island Tour instead. It’s a much better value and you’ll get to see much more. You can find tickets to those tours literally all around Krabi at every little Tourist Info booth which are scattered literally all over the city.
Thailand is known for its amazing street food that you can find for a great value. Literally, the streets are littered with street food vendors, café and little stands. Food is also very affordable in Thailand, like everything else. Literally, our most expensive meal in 2 weeks was maybe $14 and that meal was filled with seafood, several types of drinks and fresh fruit and vegetables. The food in Thailand overall was incredible. Make sure you buy as many smoothies as possible while you’re there. By the end of the trip, I was averaging two smoothies a day. They’re literally just made with fresh fruit and ice but because of the quality of the fruit, each smoothie was absolutely incredible. I tried every flavor imagineable – from classics like strawberry to dragon fruit, and every single one was amazing.
So those would be my main tips about traveling to Thailand. I will have individual city guides up for Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Krabi and a separate post about our elephant sanctuary experience. Let me know if you have more questions and what questions you’d want me to address during those city guides. As always, thank you for reading and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and like my Facebook page!