14 Days Of Island Hopping In Thailand Is Exactly What Jennifer Needed To Be Inspired
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12th Jun | 11 min read

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    Jennifer Kleveland lives with her boyfriend and dog in a town in Norway called Tønsberg that is claimed to be the country's oldest viking city. She works as a restaurant manager at a Thai restaurant called Sawatdee. Since she’s from a smaller city which is really cold during wintertime, she likes spending her time off traveling and exploring new places, especially the warm ones. Traveling makes Jennifer happy and taking photos is also a hobby of hers. You can check out some of her photos by following her on Instagram @jenniklev.

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    Our Inspiration For Traveling To Thailand 

    First of all, my boyfriend and I wanted to travel around Thailand to get inspiration for our restaurant at home and experience all the amazing places and islands and of course not to mention all the delicious food. 

    How We Planned For Our Trip

    We booked our Thailand trips about six months earlier to avoid the most expensive hotels and high prices. I booked all our accommodations through booking.com so I had a full overview of all the nights. A good tip is to book flight and accommodations as early as possible to get the best prices. 

    The best time to travel to Thailand is between December and March. It's high season as well and therefore it's extra important to book your trip well in advance. In high season there is a pleasant temperature and few rainy days and you can easily go island hopping, which is not easily accessible in low season. We didn’t have to rent a car or anything since there are a lot of «tuk tuks» everywhere which are funny and cheap, or you can always download Grab which is like an Uber cab and very easy to use.

    What We Packed

    Trolley bag is probably the best perhaps. We packed light clothes etc and mosquito spray which you can buy at the pharmacy. You can also easily get mosquito spray down there which is much cheaper and better to use than those sold at the pharmacy here at home, which is also not as toxic for the fishes in the sea and it actually smells good! We also learned that we needed to use it during daytime as well as in the evenings.

    Itinerary For Our First Trip To Thailand

    On our first trip to Thailand we flew to Bangkok and stayed there for 2 nights at Baiyoke Sky Hotel. We booked a big suite for 160 USD which was amazing! You can also get a room for 2 nights for half this price or less. Because the hotel had cheap and affordable rooms, it was crowded at all times which was a bit stressful.

    It's worth seeing this city! Large food markets, great restaurants and cool rooftop bars. We also went to Khao San Road which is known as the center of dancing and partying as well as the New Year festival. Bangkok also has a very nice temple called Wat Pho, but remember to wear long pants or a skirt inside!

    We flew down to Phuket and stayed there for 3 nights. You can get cheap flight tickets around Asia on Kiwi.com. We paid around 25 USD per person. We stayed both times we were in Phuket at Diamond Cliff Resort and Spa. It was low priced and we booked it to treat ourselves with some luxury on our trip. The hotel was also very centrally located at Patong and close to Bangla Road. It was an amazing resort with two pool areas and a stunning view with everything you need and more. I felt that Phuket was a bit overrated, but the city was big and it had many nice islands such as Similan islands and a beautiful beach called Paradise Beach among others. Everything is a bit more overpriced in Phuket then the other islands of course.

    After Phuket we took the boat to an island called Koh Lanta from Rassada pier. The island is located in Krabi province. We stopped at Phi Phi island and could choose to stay there for a few hours if we wanted before the next boat left. I recommend to take a long-tail boat over to Monkey Beach and meet all the monkeys and see the fantastic beaches and the high limestone cliffs.

    Koh Lanta is a very relaxing island with super cozy restaurants along the mile long beaches and cheap bungalows! You can also enjoy wild jungle scenery. The west coast of Koh Lanta is one long beachfront that really gives you the feeling of being isolated from civilization without the inconveniences associated with being miles away from human habitation. Even during the peak season (December to February) it is easy to find a quiet beach.

    We stayed at Sri Lanta Resort which was a relaxing and beautiful resort close to the jungle and located at the beach. Affordable prices as well. They also have an animal welfare center which we visited where we walked two of the dogs that had been rescued. They really appreciate donations for the future and the important work they do for the animals.

    After 3 nights in Koh Lanta we went to Railay Beach, also in Krabi. This was our favorite island on this trip! It's small, but still has so much to offer! There are no cars on the island and its walking distance to everything. It's popular due to its beautiful beaches and quiet relaxing atmosphere.

    Accommodation ranges from bungalows and medium-priced resorts in East Railay to a collection of luxury resorts focused on West Railay. We choose to stay at Railay Bay Resort and Spa which is located at the west beach, 5 meters from where you get dropped off. There are some spectacular sunsets here!

    Phra Nang cave beach is known for one of the world's beautiful beaches with incredibly amazing limestone cliffs. On your way there you can also climb up to a fantastic lagoon. The walking street between the two beaches is a very cozy walk and offers a lot of good food and drinks as well as clothes etc. There are some really cool and romantic treetop restaurants and bars that must be visited along the street with low prices! We had dinner for two and two beers for 14 USD.

    You have to try one of the Thai roties (crunchy pancakes) from one of the food trucks among the street. You should also go to the end of the walking street where the Tew Lay Bar has an absolutely amazing atmosphere and is a chill place with beds above the ocean and hammocks! Right before Tew Lay Bar you get to The Last Bar as it's called, where they have Thai boxing some evenings. What a cool and fun experience! 

    There are many monkeys around at Railay, so watch your bags as they try to steal them! And don't leave your window open at night, haha. Otherwise they are very cute. From Railay you can rent a kayak for a couple of hours for cheap money or rent a private long-tail on a small tour and experience the beautiful islands around Koh Poda and Tup Island, which were really beautiful with a sandbank in between. Railay was the last stop on our first trip. We flew home from Krabi international airport.

    Itinerary For Our Second Trip To Thailand

    On our second trip to Thailand we went to almost the same places except Bangkok and Koh Lanta. We flew to Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. What a wonderful city! And so clean and safe. We visited the coolest and nicest rooftop bars. I recommend Vertigo and Fuego, both have a magical panoramic view. You should also visit the park downtown where the twin towers are located. In the evenings there is a fountain show here.

    After 3 nights in this city we flew to Langkawi to take the ferry over to an island in Thailand called Koh Lipe. This island is called the Maldives of Thailand. An indescribably wonderful island! Our favorite island of all. I felt like I was living in a dream the whole time.

    If you are looking for crystal clear water and white sandy beaches, this is the place for you. There are four different beaches on this island. One where everyone is transported to is Pattaya Beach which also has nice restaurants etc. We stayed at Bundhaya Villas and booked a cheap bungalow near the beach.

    It's the cutest bungalow I've stayed in so far! Paid 150 USD for 3 nights. We had an outdoor shower which I loved as well as plenty of space and everything was very clean and nice.

    Bulow Beach is the most beautiful beach I have ever seen in the north of the island. There is a really cool bar in the middle of the beach with great photo opportunities. There is also a white sandbank when there is low tide. If you take a walk along sunrise beach up to Bulow you will find many cozy and cool restaurants among the beach with a fire show in the evenings. Sunset Beach is very small and has a very chill atmosphere as well as a very cool restaurant and bar at the end! One of the coolest I've seen with sun loungers at the water's edge and dining area in the height overlooking the sea.

    You get all the boat tickets cheaply at the harbor where the ferry leaves. Cheaper to buy at the port instead of online. You can also buy tickets at the reception at your hotel or other hotels around if you want to buy them in advance.

    Our first trip was ten days long, a bit too short with flight time so our second trip was 14 days and that was perfect for us. 

    Food That You Can’t Miss Out While In Thailand

    The food in Thailand is my favorite. In Thailand, food is the central focus of people’s lives. In every social occasion from simple get-togethers to important ceremonies, food is at the heart of it all. In Thai cooking, specific herbs are used, such as lemongrass, coriander, kaffir lime, galangal, Thai basil and mint along with pastes.

    Thai Roties must be tried! A type of crispy pancake with Nutella and banana, cheese and ham or whatever you prefer!

    Pad thai must be tried! Preferably from markets, as the dish is very typical street food in Thailand.

    Steamed fish with lime and chili is one of my favorite dishes, served with garlic bread, rice and salad. Otherwise, they have tasty soups like Tom Yam or Tom Kha gai.

    Most Thai food is full of flavors. You will love it! Incredibly cheap also especially in markets where you can get a pad thai for 3 USD. They are also known for their huge barbecues with all the food you can imagine! It's insane.. All from whole grilled chicken to fried fishes and crayfish. It's delicious!

    Hikes And Sights Not To Be Missed In Thailand

    *The hike to the Princess lagoon at Railay 

    *The walk to Phra Nang Cave Beach at Railay 

    *The long-tail tour from Railay Beach to Chicken Island and further to Koh Poda and Tup island. Koh Poda is known for its combination of scenery, beach and excellent snorkeling opportunities and it's a perfect island if you want to spend a lazy day

    Chicken Island and Tup Island are two true paradise islands. Chicken Island is famous for its rock formation and the white sandbanks that connect with Tup Island eat low tide. As soon as the water is low enough, you can easily walk from one island to the other. It's really worth a visit! The two islands are part of the Hat Noppharatthara – Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park. Therefore, you have to pay a fee for the national park when visiting the islands.

    *Long-tail to Monkey beach at Phi Phi Island is another cant miss.

    Favourite Memory From The Trip

    My favorite memory must be from when we were at Koh Lipe. Ahhh the Maldives feeling!

    How We Budgeted For The Trip

    We had no special daily budget as we wanted to enjoy ourselves a bit extra on our vacation. But some of the days we ate at markets and spent maybe 20 USD when breakfast was included in the stay. You can buy a Chang beer for less than 2 USD. Wine was a bit more expensive as they had to import it. A wineglass was around 5 USD. 

    Our Advice For Anyone Visiting Thailand For The First Time

    Thailand has so much to offer and hundreds of islands which makes it impossible to experience everything on one trip. Therefore, we preferred Bangkok and island hopping in the Andaman sea.

    The first time you travel to Thailand you should first fly to Bangkok and stay there for a couple of nights, then fly down to Phuket via kiwi.com and stay there for a couple of nights as well. You can go island hopping around Phuket while you stay there or travel on to Phi Phi and Railay and stay there for a couple of nights. Koh Lipe is further down the map near Malaysia, so it takes around 4 hours by ferry from Phuket, but definitely worth it! The ferries drive past Railay and Phi Phi so you can combine this trip, just ask the ticket office. The boat trip to Phi Phi and Railay is an amazing tour with breathtaking views. You should take a seat outside on the deck so you get a really nice view during the whole trip. Just remember sunscreen and a hat!

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