Thailand also known as ‘The Land of the Free’ is one of my *favourite* destinations in the world. I’ve been there twice already and I know I’ll probably be going again, multiple times 😛
Why do I love this place so much? Because much like India, Thailand is an extremely diverse country. You want to enjoy the city, you can do so in Bangkok; wanna get some r&r by the beach, Phuket and Koh samui are the places to be; The hills and and waterfalls are more your thing, Chiang Mai is what you’re looking for!
Me personally, I’m a tropical child and beach baby! I love warm weather and beaches and absolutely dread the cold, that’s another reason I love Thailand, always so warm and sunny (except in the rainy months when it can get awfully humid and gloomy for hours at end)
So here’s my 7 day Thailand itinerary:
Day 1: Explore Phuket by foot
Day 2: Island Hopping + Exploring Bangla Street
Day 3: Chalong Bay Rum distillery + Big Buddha
Day 4: Fly to Bangkok + Asiatique Riverfront
Day 5: Safari World Bangkok
Day 6: Shopping
Day 7: Leave for home
Day 1: We took a direct flight from Bangalore to Phuket. We flew with Indigo airlines, it was nothing to great, very basic amenities, no frills. But it was the most convenient flight we could get because it flies directly to Phuket from Bangalore
We reached Phuket early in the morning, stood in line to get our Visas on arrival, best part was we didn’t have to pay anything because the visa fare had been waived off for a certain period!
We were then picked up from the airport and transferred to our Hotel. We checked into the Holiday Inn express in Phuket, great location btw! Just a 2 minute walk from Patong beach, lovely restaurants and cafes all around and super convenient grocery and convenience stores just opposite the property.
Since we were tired from traveling, we had a quick breakfast at a nearby cafe and slept for a bit, then went out exploring in the evening. We hit the beach first, watched the sunset and then got foot massages at a local massage place closeby. For dinner, we walked to a nearby night market and filled ourselves with seafood, pork and even crocodile meat!
We retired early that night because we had a early start the next morning.
Day 2: For our second day in Phuket, we had pre-booked an Island hopping experience, so our ride picked us up at 7:00 am, since we were quite a big family (12 of us), a few of us were still struggling to finish our breakfast butttt we made it to the pier in time.
We had hired a private boat with a driver from Woody tours. The weather was perfect that day! Blue skies and turquoise waters. We went to a couple of islands including Monkey island, Maya bay and Phi Phi island. We even did a bit of snorkeling. There were so many pretty fish in the sea, most of them neon yellow! I didn’t take any pictures because I really wanted to enjoy the entire experience.
We stopped for lunch at phi phi island and found a restaurant with a buffet system so we decided to eat there since we were famished from swimming. We also had the most delicious coconut ice cream on the island.
After an amazing day of hanging out at the Islands, snorkelling and swimming, we headed back to the hotel and decided to do a bit more swimming, but this time in the pool! It was honestly the most relaxing part of my trip. The Holiday Inn Express pool is nothing too fancy, but it is really serene.
In the evening, we took a walk through Bangla street, definitely NOT something you wanna do with family unless they’re the chill type. Bangla street is pretty much the party street of Bangkok, brimming with bars and clubs, it is known for it’s go-go bars, cheap beer and not so family friendly atmosphere 😛 But i’d most definitely recommend it if you’re looking to party!
Day 3: Day 3 was a pretty relaxing day, we woke up late, had a late breakfast at the hotel, and then headed to the Chalong bay Rum distillery which was quite a long drive from our hotel but totally worth it. The Rum distillery is home to Phuket’s sugarcane rum. It’s a beautiful experience if the process of alcohol making interests you, however my family were rather restless during the distillery tour. I pretty much enjoyed myself, especially while sampling the different types of rum 😉
The Chalong Bay distillery is definitely an underrated experience, and if slow travel experiences excite you, you should make a trip there!
After the rum distillery, we headed to the Big Buddha temple, which was a completely unplanned activity. Our driver suggested it and we had some extra time on our hands so we went with the flow. You know how people say unplanned experiences are the best ones? Yup, that’s definitely what happened here! The Big Buddha temple was quite a drive uphill, but the view was breathtaking! As dramatic as it sounds, the pure white statue of the Big Buddha invokes a sense of calmness and although the place was filled with tourists, it was one of the most beautiful in Phuket. I would urge you to go have a look at it if you’ve got the time.
After returning from the Big Buddha, we headed to a local spa for a body massage, the ‘Lets Relax’ spa was very hygienic and economical as well so we decided to get aromatherapy massages. I’m not gonna lie, my body was pretty sore after the massage, but it definitely helped my body loosen up. Don’t miss out on massages when you’re in thailand.
As the night time came, we roamed the streets of Patong, taking in the sights, sounds and smells one last time before we headed off to bed.
Day 4: We checked out of our lovely hotel and headed to airport, our flight to Bangkok was in the afternoon and we flew Bangkok Airways, which btw is a lovely airline! We reached Bangkok just in time for lunch and checked into our super cool Airbnb apartment.
I was so excited about Bangkok, and most of my excitement was due to the apartment I’d booked us on Airbnb. Here are some pictures of the place.
After checking in, we enjoyed the apartment a little (It had a pool table, can you blame us?) and we headed out to Asiatique Riverfront in the evening.
Asiatique is a pretty much the perfect combination of a night bazaar and a mall. They’ve got all sorts of shopping, cafes, restaurants and entertainment to keep you busy for an entire day. It’s a bit of a commute from the city, but it’s well worth the travel. There’s even a free ferry ride you take you there. I’d recommend going there if you’re traveling to Bangkok with family because there’s so much to do and you’re bound to find something for everyone.
Day 5: The day had finally arrived! I don’t know how most of you feel about Zoos, but I’m a zoo fanatic! Anything to do with animals, I’m all ears! So when I read about Safari world in Bangkok, I decided to do some research. I don’t like visiting zoos that don’t treat the animals the way they’re supposed to be treated. Safari world had some pretty good reviews so I knew I had to reserve an entire day for it!
If you’re travelling with kids or if you’re a fan of animals, go ahead and book your tickets to Safari World IMMEDIATELY! This was no doubt one of the best zoos I’ve visited. They have a whole Safari area for all the wild animals so none of them are caged up. The Tigers, Lions, Giraffes, Zebras, all of them live in their own designated areas in the Safari zone and Safari World provides bus transport to go through those areas, so you can literally see how the animals live in their own habitats. Aside from the Safari ride, they also have a marine park that houses the smaller species such as birds, dolphins, orangutans, flamingos, etc. So buy yourself a ticket to both, Safari world and Marine Park, you will not regret it!
Day 6: Our last full day in Thailand! We planned to spend it shopping because of course, that’s one thing Bangkok is super famous for. Although there are a million markets and streets that are must-shop places in Bangkok, I decided to just stick to one area because I had only one day there. Also, since this trip was definitely not a shopping one, I didn’t wanna buy too many things. And another reason is that everything is pretty much available online now (Thank you Shein, for bringing us cheap shopping options!).
So the main areas that I shopped at were Platinum Mall, that’s where the small local shops sell their clothes. Most of these clothes however, won’t go past size M, so if you’re a curvy girl, you might not get the most hospitable response from the vendors there. I bought a few things from Platinum Mall, made sure to have my regular Charcoal Ice cream from the Demi concept which is an ice cream truck parked right outside the mall, and then walked over to Central World Mall which houses pretty much most international brands. Bershka, H&M, Forever 21, Zara, Uniqlo, etc. I did a bit of shopping there, had a bite at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (They’ve got amazing cheesecake, ya’ll!) and then headed back to the apartment.
Day 7: We checked out, drove to the airport (Almost missed our flight too, Thanks Bangkok traffic) and flew from Bangkok to Bangalore, chilled at the Bangalore Airport for a couple of hours (They’ve turned the Bangalore airport into a lovely live entertainment, shopping and dining area) and then took a flight back to Goa. Andddd that was the end of a lovely trip to Thailand with the fam!
Here are some more details that might help you out if you’re planning a trip to this beautiful country:
1. 7 Eleven and Family Mart are your best friends: There are convenience stores located literally every 30 meters. Seven Eleven and Family Mart are among the most common ones. They sell pretty much everything, from cartons of water to extra spicy noodles (that you can make in the store itself, they provide hot water and everything) to batteries, chargers, and even a full blown breakfast that you can sit and enjoy there itself. Since we didn’t have complimentary breakfast in Bangkok, I’d frequent a Family Mart that was just opposite the apartment every morning and grab myself an Iced Latte, a croissant and some bacon wrapped sausages. All this for a few couple of Thai Bahts and my breakfast was sorted.
2. Invest in sim cards: I purchased a Sim Card from the Phuket airport as soon as I landed there, it cost me about Rs 350 for free calls and data for 7 days. It was super convenient especially for navigation, booking a cab and just to communicate with the rest of the group since we were 12 of us traveling together.
3.The visa process: Since Thailand has Visa on arrival for Indians, the visa process was pretty simple. You just have to carry along your Passport and a couple of Passport size photos. Once you land there, you have to walk until the immigration counter, before which you will find the Visa on arrival kiosk, they will provide you with a form which you have to fill, stick your passport photos on and submit it to the concerned person. You will of course have to queue up for this so it may take about 15-30 minutes of your time, but it’s a pretty straightforward and simple process. The visa cost had been waived off for a certain period while we were visiting so i’m not sure of the exact price but it’s somewhere along the Rs 2500 – Rs 5000 range.
4. Exchange your currency in India: 1 Thai Baht = Rs 2.18 which means it’s pretty easy to convert. I exchanged most of my currency in India from a local Money exchange company. I would advise you to do the same because exchanging it in Thailand might get a little expensive. Try to avoid exchanging currency at the Airports because they charge a much higher rate than normal.
5. Public Transport: All throughout Phuket we traveled by foot or by tuk-tuk because most places were located close by to our hotel (Yessss, I chose a very conveniently located hotel). On the day that we had to go to the Chalong Bay distillery, we hired a local Taxi driver that was parked just outside our hotel. Taxis are a little bit expensive in Phuket and most drivers over charge, however, if you’ve got good bargaining skills, you can get yourself a fair deal.
In Bangkok, we travelled via foot, metro and cabs. Metro was the most convenient, however it can get pretty crowded so it’s fine if you’re travelling shorter distances. It’s also pretty cheap and the most economical mode of transport if you’re travelling alone. If you’re traveling in a group of 4, make sure you download the Grab Taxi app. It’s kinda like the Uber of Bangkok and makes life much easier, Grab Taxi has really good vehicles, all air conditioned and the drivers that drove us were pretty friendly as well. They do not try to cheat or overcharge you and the fares are decent. When we travelled to the zoo and other far off places, we booked Grab Taxis. For shopping, dining, etc, we either took the metro or walked.
6. Where we stayed: In Phuket, we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on Patong Beach, lovely property if you’re staying with family. I’d highly recommend it because of it’s rooms, breakfast, proximity to the beach and other great spots.
In Bangkok, we booked an airbnb apartment. Since we were 12 of us, it was a lot of fun to stay together, the apartment had 4 bedrooms with an occupancy of 3 pax per room. It had amazing aesthetics, a pool table, a TV and lovely private bathrooms. The hosts were great as well! If you’re new to Airbnb, sign up using my link and you’ll get Rs 3,300 off on your first booking.
7. Total cost of the trip: The total cost of the trip came up to Rs 50,000 per head approximately, this includes flights, accommodation and sightseeing.
8. Why Phuket and Bangkok?
Yes, I’m aware that Phuket and Bangkok are by far the most commercial and touristy spots in Thailand, however those were the ones that were most convenient for us (Connectivity wise). Also, since we were a big group and I had planned the itinerary, I really wanted us to have fun on the beaches of Phuket and bond as a family and since I’d already been to Phuket once before and had a fairly good idea of the place it made things easier. Bangkok was purely for shopping reasons!
So that’s a pretty detailed account of my 7 day trip to the land of the free, but in case you have a few more questions, feel free to DM me on Instagram 🙂