Below is my highlight video from Bangkok. Stay tuned for Chiang Mai video highlight. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDOh9mtiVW4[/embed]
A year ago a friend of mine visited Thailand. When she returned home she called me screaming that I must go to Thailand and that I would absolutely love it there. The following day I started looking into going and a few months later I booked my trip to Thailand. My previous big trip was solo to London and on this Thailand adventure I opened it up to my friends who wanted to come along. In total it was nine of us who made the trip. The preparation for Thailand was easy for me since I had friends who went before. After all the planning and all the anticipation the day finally arrived for us to depart. This would be the longest trip I ever took. We left out of Fort Lauderdale and headed to New York which was about 3hrs. From New York we took Emirates Airlines to Dubai which was about 13hrs. What do you do on a plane for 13hrs? You sleep, you watch all the movies they offer and you sleep some more. From Dubai we went to Bangkok which was another 5hrs away. So after about 21hours of flying not including layovers we finally made it to Bangkok. Bangkok We stayed at Park Plaza Bangkok Soi 18 which was a nice hotel. Service was great, friendly staff who spoke english, eco friendly hotel, and overall I was pleased with my stay there. Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and was the busiest city out of the three that we visited. Bangkok is home to about 10million people and Im not sure the city actually sleep. The weather there is very hot, similar to South Florida's climate. The currency used there is the Thai Baht - so 1US dollar give you $31-$33 Baht depending on where you get your exchange. Basically everything in Thailand is cheap. One of my favorite thing to do in Bangkok was get a 1hr massage which was $250 Thai Baht which coverted to ruff $7-$8 US dollars. Needless to say we got one almost everyday and they are open very late. Getting around in Bangkok is very easy. Taxi's are everywhere and you can take Tuk Tuk which I think is a fun way to get around. In Bangkok we visited the Grand Palace. The Grand Palace is a complex of buildings at the heart of Bangkok, Thailand. The palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam since 1782. It's definitely a must see. Admission is cheap but you must dress appropriately. Ladies must have their shoulders covered and men must wear pants. Incase you forget, they will provide clothing for you free of charge but you must leave a deposit. I also suggest you get a tour guide that knows the history. There are numerous temples in Bangkok so if you don't get to visit the Grand Palace there are many more you can check out. Another thing we did in Bangkok was visited the Floating Market. The Floating Market is a market that is located next to a body of water and vendors sell things directly out of their boats/stalls. The one we went to was about an hour away from our hotel. The markets offer plenty options for shopping and are just good places to walk around. On our boat tour we basically told the driver where to go and where to stop. One thing to know about the Floating market is that every price is negotiable, never accept the first price that they give you. The night life in Bangkok is alive. Make sure you visit the Banyan Tree hotel for a nice view in the late afternoon. The Sky Bar was another nice spot for great views of the city. There are numerous clubs and strips you can visit but nothing stood out like the Ping Pong Show. The Ping Pong Show was the most entertaining thing yet disturbing thing I saw in Bangkok. Women on stage do things with there vagina's that I never thought could be possible. I saw women smoke 2 cigarettes at once with it, I saw women shoot darts out of it and popped balloons in the audience. I saw women pulled razor blades out of it, I saw women use it to draw, I saw women shoot ping pong balls out of it and into a bucket. After seeing that show I must say I look at the vagina a bit differently now lol I do recommend you see the show if you can. If thats not for you then there are other nightly activities you can check out as well. When it comes to food I'm a picky eater but I found the food to be good over all. I mostly ate fish and ate what I'm use to, preventing any stomach problems. The people their are very nice. We had some great people who drove us around and in Bangkok it was Teddy. Teddy was great and a very funny guy. From Bangkok we went on to Chang Mai. Chiang Mai Chiang Mai is a city in mountainous northern Thailand that dates back to the 1200s. and our flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai was a short one, just a bit over an hour. After arriving to the airport we took a cab to our hotel. The driver was Mr. O and he was very pleasant. He told us about the things we could do in Chang Mai and that he could provide us with transportation and the tours if we needed. We took him up on his offer and basically he showed us around Chang Mai. Arriving at the Suriwongse Hotel Chiang Mai we were a bit disappointed with our rooms but after a few upgrades we made it work. One good thing about the hotel is that its in the heart of the city so we could walk to almost anything we wanted or take a tuk tuk there. The market in Chiang Mai was amazing and cheap. I suggest you get all your gifts there and not wait till Phuket like we did. Our elephant tour in Chiang Mai was amazing. Be careful of which tours you choose, do some research and make sure the animals are still in the best interest. We choose to ride the elephants bare back because the ones with the chairs on them could cause damage to the elephants. We fed the elephants, we showered them, we rode them and we bonded with them. It was an amazing experience. We also went zip lining, another wonderful experience. We visited Tiger Kingdom, stopped by the Long Neck Tribe, went white water rafting and visited another temple all in Chiang Mai. Do not expect a night life in Chiang Mai. Everywhere pretty much closes at midnight there and the only thing open are what I like to call Go Go clubs. I think Chiang Mai was my favorite out of the 3 stops in Thailand. Another thing you should try while here is the fish spa. I didn't try it but my friends did and it definitely looks like an interesting experience. From Chiang Mai we then went on to Phuket. Phuket The flight from Chiang Mai to Phuket was a short one - a little over an hour. Here we stayed at my favorite hotel of the trip The Renaissance Phuket Resort and Spa. Amazing hotel. Family friendly and lovers friendly but far from the main city of Patong which is about an hour away. Patong is where the night life happens in Phuket and where the markets are. In Phuket V. Marine Tour was in charge of our sight seeing. They picked us up from our hotel and from there we made one more stop to pick up more folks and from there we went to the Marina where we were instructed on what to expect. A short while after we boarded the speed boat and head off to see Nui Bay "Camel Rock." We swam and fed monkeys at Monkey Beach. We saw Viking Cave, and headed into Pileh Lagoon ,swimming in calm emerald water surrounded by the impressive cliffs. Snorkeled and discovered the fabulously colorful sea wildlife at Loh Sama or Bida island. Arrived at Maya Bay, for swimming in the unique lagoon and relaxed on the Beach. Buffet lunch served to us at Phi Phi Don. Snorkeling at Hin Klang. The crew does speak english, they provide you with with drinks on the boat but not alcohol, fruits, music, and snorkeling equipment. Our day was mostly overcast and we got rained on at Maya Bay and had to run for cover. Overall I was pleased with the tour. The crew were very nice and welcoming. In Phuket we ate at the Thia Express almost daily because we just loved the food their. If you are staying at the Renaissance Phuket and plan on going out late like 12:30am you may want to look about your transportation ahead of time. Most taxi's aren't running that late and if you find one the fee will be higher. We were lucky to find one who took us along with our new friends into the city of Patong and waited for us to party and took us back home. Soi Bangla is very attractive - the heart of the bar scene where girls, bright neon lights and deafening music compete for your attention. Over a hundred bars - ranging from beer bars (girlie bars), Go-Go bars, nightclubs and pubs - are condensed into the small, action-packed area fondly known as "Bangla", where the only priority is to have a great time and a great time we did have. Phuket is a nice winding down spot after visiting Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Wish it didn't rains so much in Phuket while we were there but it was also close to their rainy season. Very nice place and would definitely go back. It is said that an investment in travel is and investment in yourself. We left our footprints behind and took memories home with us. There is a vast world out there that's still waiting on me to discover it and little by little I plan on doing so. You don't have to be rich to travel well it just takes good planning. Traveling exposes us to new things, new way of seeing life, and we see how fortunate we are and that we have a lot to be thankful for. Don't reject the food, don't ignore the customs, and don't fear their religion. Be open to embracing new things because we may find out that our thought process about certain things were wrong. Thanks to all my friends who came along and made this trip one to remember and thanks to Thailand for an amazing time.
Video coming soon. Travel is the only thing that makes you richer.