We did it. We NEEDED a vacation, but we also didn’t want to spend a ton of money. I started looking into flights to Cabo, Cancun, Jamaica, and all the other standard vacation spots. $250 -$500 each way didn’t really seem like a great deal, I thought it was cheap to go to Mexico? Then, I started calling resorts. We were dreaming of an all-inclusive venue so we would know up-front what we were spending- it was 3k for a week. Granted, after that I stopped calling around.
Then, out of nowhere we had a flood of friends go to Thailand. A handful of our friends quit their jobs to live in Thailand for a few months, one learned Muay Thai over there, and many more just planned a vacation there. If everyone else can afford this, what were we missing? For those just looking for our itinerary, click HERE.
At the suggestion of a friend, we checked out a site called Momondo and started seeing some impressive flight deals. I even found one flight from Denver to Phuket in the $400’s. We were flexible on dates, but were hoping to go 6-8 months from booking. We ended up having some things come up that made us less flexible on dates and settled for a flight to Bangkok for $681 (roundtrip).
There wasn’t much I wanted to explore in Bangkok, so I started asking for suggestions. I heard Chiang Mai a lot, so that was easily added to the list. Chiang Mai is in Northern Thailand where its mountainous. I also heard Pai (also up North), Pattaya, Krabi, Koh Tao, Koh Phi Phi (or Phi Phi islands). A lot of people go to Phuket, but we decided on Krabi & Railay Beach instead for a more chill experience.
I made the mistake of filling absolutely every day with an activity, and we ended up not doing about ½ the things I wanted to do. We only stuck with the things we had pre-booked, and basically laid by the pool or explored on our own the other days.
We could have done our trip much, much cheaper but we decided to treat it as our honeymoon and try to live like kings. We opted for upgraded rooms, nicer dinners, and daily coffee.
A few notes:
Taxis: I’m pretty sure we got ripped off by some taxis. They always asked if we wanted to use the meter, and we always said yes because I had read about the taxi’s scamming people. Our last taxi ride, the meter said 250 baht, but he also charged us 100 baht for a toll that was 25 baht, and he charged us an extra 100 baht for an airport fee. I don’t know if any of that was legit.
Thai massages: whatever that makes you think of, you’re probably right. They varied in price but could be found everywhere, and most places were extremely cheap (200 baht for an hour, which depending on the exchange rate is usually about $6 USD). We only got massages at upscale places so my husband wasn’t offered any happy endings, but I received a very weird chest massage.
Food: I got food poisoning. I don’t know what from so I know that doesn’t help. My husband was fine, but I was somewhat out of commission for about a day and a half.
Toilet Paper: bring a pack of tissues with you. There were a few places we went were there was no toilet paper. Also, there’s a lot of places (including Railay Bay Resort) where you cannot flush toilet paper. You have to throw it in a waste bin.
Shoes: Temples- remove your shoes. Massage Places- remove your shoes. Residences- remove your shoes. It’s polite and feet are considered dirty in Thai culture.
Wildlife: don’t feed the monkeys, don’t ride the elephants, and wear a strong bug repellent.
AC: It never gets as cool as you’d like for it to.
|$680||Flight from Denver to Bangkok, United Airlines|
|$45||Flight from Krabi to Bangkok with insurance|
|$132||Flight from Chiang Mai to Krabi plus baggage|
|$34||Flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai|
|$113||4 Nights in Chiang Mai Airbnb|
|$143||2 Nights at Railay Bay Resort & Spa|
|$150||2 Nights at Aonang Cliff Beach Resort|
A few things to take into consideration:
● I used Marriott Points to cover our hotel in Bangkok.
● The hotel/Airbnb charges are split with my husband
● We stayed in upgraded rooms at Railay and Aonang. Standard rooms would be much cheaper.
● We spent about $500 each once in Thailand. I bought a lot of souvenirs, my husband had a lot of drinks, we splurged on dinners, massages, tours and transportation.