We have calibrated, as a family, some tips over this trip and we will be sharing these tips by country over the weeks to come.
-Check online websites for good deals (such as Agoda.com)
-This can save you money, even if you don’t book online.
-A Little Bird Guesthouse in Chiang Mai
-Went for about 100 Baht per person which is a little more than $3 AUD
-Its clean, safe, and central. The staff are helpful and accommodating. And the it had a great backpackers atmosphere (not to mention free unlimited wifi).
-Be mindful that photos are sometimes deceiving and places may look different than advertised.
-Also its a good idea to keep a copy of your online booking and the price you agreed to pay, since in some cases we were told we needed to pay more.
-In some cases, places charge cancelation fees so read the fine print when booking.
-Taking trains in Thailand is a must.
- Book online at: http://www.railway.co.th/home/default.asp?lenguage=Eng
- The overnight second class sleeps are comfortable and roomy.
- Lower berth, on the bottom, is more spacious than the top yet the upper berth is still comfortable.
- The upper berth does get cold during the night due to the AC, so a jacket or extra blanket is recommended.
- Also eat before getting on the train and bring some snacks if you need them. The train does offer food but its more than you might want to pay.
- On day trains, they might serve you food in your seat for free. Remember though, that they aren’t large meals so you might want those snacks.
-All in all, taking a train in Thailand is a pleasant experience and is a great way to see the sights while traveling.
- Buses are easy to catch.
-Usually you can find the schedule from your hotel or hostel.
There are several ways to find out but another way is to head to a bus station and check out the schedule. You just rock up at that time, pay your way and off you go. Generally you use buses for transportation further than an hour or outside the area your staying in.
Taxis and Yellow Buses:
- In some places, such as Chiang Mai, I never saw any buses. Instead the yellow bus is used. Its not really a bus but more of a covered truck (or ute).
- Its best to negotiate price before hand. Ask locals or your hotel/hostel staff for a reasonable price to get to your destination. Often times drivers will take it but if they refuse you can bargain or hale another yellow taxi. It helps to have a map that you can point to for the driver as well. Also locals catching the same taxi might even try to help. The Thai people are really sweet and eager to help.
- Toktoks (three wheelers) are also an easy way to travel but we, being 4 did not manage to experience them while in Thailand.
- If you find a good Taxi driver, sometimes it worth keeping in contact with them and using them for your day trips as we did and saved not just money wise but also the hassle of finding someone you trust. Not to mention, they can be great guides.
- Ko San Road has various restaurants, bars, and street food, markets as well as entertainment. We found that street venders selling vegetarian Padthai were simple, cheap and delicious. 25 Baht for a plate which is less than $1 AUD. Mmmm…
- In Phuket Town there are some large markets. These markets have a wide variety of food to sample, so put your bib on and get trying.
- In Patong, there is a surplus of seafood restaurants serving fresh fish. As long as its cooked well its safe to enjoy.
- On the road leading to the KoSak national park, there are many restaurants. At one place in particular, marked by heavy cement round tables and run by two young woman, this small place serves delicious banana pancakes.
- Where to begin. In our top 4 we have:
1. Tip’s fresh fruit smoothies:
Located in Sompet market (just across from A Little Bird Guesthouse) Tip serves fresh, delicious fruit smoothies and, our favorite,fruit, muesli and yogurt bowls. Delicious and filling for breakfast…lunch…or dinner. And although its not cook, its safe to enjoy. Tip, who was trained in a hotel, was knowledgable about our sensitive foreign tummies.
2. Next is Dukes Burgers across the road from the burrito place, just down the road from Tapae Gate is Duke’s which has some yummy burgers for an international meal.
3. Just down the road from Dukes around 7 or 8 street venders open up shop, (close to Sompet market). They have all sorts of dishes to try. We’d recommend having some Padthai, tom yum soup, green, red or yellow curry. And for desert don’t miss out on a stick rice with mango.
4. Over at Warroot Market more street venders come out in the evening. There are lots of things to try especially the friend chicken, sweet potato balls and 6 baht turnovers.
The Thai language is simple but easy to miscommunicate. We were told that the reason, many times people looked at us with confusion, was due to us simple saying the word but in the wrong tone. This could change the whole meaning of the word or make it unrecognizable. But when we did get it right we were met with appreciation from whomever we spoke to. We said, hello, thank you, how much and numbers in thai and this helped us communicate as well as allowed us to better connect to the locals. In the cases were we got things wrong, if they knew what we were talking about they were quick to help us pronounce words and tell us how to say what we were after.
-Try a massage. You can get a massage almost anywhere in Thailand and its a great way to relax.
-Take walks around, this is a great way to see people, things, and experience life in Thailand. From a car you miss out on too many things.
-Always carry toilet paper with you.
-Be aware of cultural difference and attire when traveling in Thailand or anywhere for that matter.
Love Alexandria and Family.