How to plan a trip to Thailand? Best tips blah blah! Clichéd huh 🙂 There are thousands of articles floating around the internet on this. So what make ours different. For starters, I am fortunate to work for a corporate (apart from the work though) that is truly multinational. I am privileged to work amongst a crowd of diverse nationalities, which means whenever we plan a trip there is always someone local to that destination who can guide and help us with the best tips. Thailand was no exception and we followed the tips from our Thai comrade. The first tip was to leave Bangkok and Pattaya from our 1-week itinerary. I know you are cursing me now – why the heck did you do that? The answer lies in the post heading. This is supposed to be an itinerary meant for the Love Smitten Couple. When I say love-smitten, I mean romance is in the air. So much so that there is no place in this itinerary for the hustle bustle of a city, the pollution, the traffic, the crowd and so on. If you have been following our blog you would have noticed by now that our itineraries touch all the cultural and aesthetic elements that a particular destination has to offer, yet aligned to our fixed time schedule and goals. We sacrifice some hyped places so that we spend more time somewhere else. Almost all our itineraries are either 1-week or 2-week long. Yes, you guessed it. Working full time has its own disadvantages when it comes to long itineraries. Over the years we’ve mastered the art of planning short itineraries. We know what to leave and what to take. Our South Africa itinerary describes this very well and so our Caribbean itinerary. Back to the point, in this post we share our 7 day Thailand itinerary, where a couple in wanderlust dives into a destination that has so much to offer, with only 7 days in hand and an ambition to absorb the warmness of Thai culture in the most efficient way.
How to plan a trip to Thailand – not a cliché anymore
How to plan a Thailand trip, if not a cliché anymore then let’s move forward. We had two goals set in our planning stage. We wanted to experience the wild side of Thailand, the relentless festive atmosphere followed by a bout of solitude and warmth in each other’s company. We didn’t want to pack more than 2 places in 7 days as that would mean unnecessary stress. Moreover, as I said in my previous posts, there is always a next time. So after our extensive trip advisor research (as usual) and help from our Thai comrade we zeroed in Phuket and Krabi. We chose Phuket because Phuket has to offer everything on the wild side of the scale. Does Bangla road ring a bell there! Yet if you research properly you will find that Phuket has a different side to it too, specially reserved for couples on a love-hunt. Krabi was our destination for solitude. We had Krabi in our mind for a long time, courtesy the Bollywood movies. Krabi has been depicted in a number of Bollywood movies as the go-to destination for couples. But we had another prime reason to choose it. It’s because Krabi is a mere 3-4 hours drive from Phuket. In a 7-day itinerary, one of our main focus is to reduce travel time. And this was perfect from every angle. Although our Phuket to Krabi drive was a disaster but with the right guidance, you might avoid it. That’s a whole new story altogether, to be shared in a separate post.
First, we booked a return Mumbai-Bangkok flight. We did this a month before our departure to save some cost. For our domestic leg, we decided to go cheap and booked one-way flights out of Bangkok. Our international arrival was at Suvarnabhumi airport. For our Bangkok to Phuket leg, we booked through domestic carrier Nok Air.
We decided to make independent one-way flights as it was much cheaper and in line with our tour plan. The overall plan looked like this:
1. Arrival to Suvarnabhumi -morning
2. Fly from Bangkok to Phuket – afternoon (we recommend a minimum connection time of 6 hours as you will be changing airports + time required to get the visa on arrival).
3. Phuket Stay – 3 days
4. Taxi from Phuket to Krabi – morning
5. Krabi Stay (3 days)
4. Fly from Krabi to Bangkok – morning (minimum 4-5 hours connection time for airport transfer).
5. Return flight to Mumbai – late evening
Most of the cheap domestic flights operate from Don Muang airport which is an hour drive from Suvarnabhumi depending on traffic. Not a concern, since there’s direct airport shuttle service between these two airports. Just make sure that you have enough time between your connection. We kept it 6 hours which was bit more than required. From Dong Muang, we flew Nok air to Phuket. Nok air was a fantastic experience. We were impressed with the professional service and no hidden charges. I will advise you to think twice if you’re inclined to Air Asia. Air Asia tickets look cheap at the front end but once you initiate the booking process your fair will increase substantially because you have to pay for every step. Nok Air was simple. They allowed us 20kg luggage per head on tickets for a price much cheaper than Air Asia. For Air Asia, I had to buy the luggage allowance separately. I hope they have changed it now and you are welcome to update us on any changes. A disclaimer here; we do not solicit anyone of the two airlines mentioned above. Whatever we say are purely based out of our experience.
After waiting three hours at Dong Muang, we finally boarded our flight to Phuket. The flight time is about an hour. We pre-booked a taxi at Phuket airport for our airport transfer and everything went hassle free this time, unlike our Caribbean experience. The drive from the airport to our hotel reminded us of our own home state Assam. The lush green tropical environment with its signature heat and humidity is so familiar to us that we actually felt like driving down a highway in Assam. I took so many photos but unfortunately my laptop hard drive crashed right after this trip and I lost most of them. Needless to say, all my Thailand articles will be scantily clad in photos. Most of the photos I would be using are from our personal facebook profile because those are the only ones that survived the hard drive apocalypse. About an hour later, winding through the hilly terrain, we arrived at our hotel. We arrived just at sunset and decided to crash for some time before jumping out again for a couple massage. Phuket can be noisy at night and you might find yourself digging under your pillow in the middle of the night if you do not choose the right place to stay. I did a lot of research on the best area to stay in Phuket and glad I did that. You will find the details in my next post. We spent an incredible 3 nights in Phuket. Our days were spent riding along the alleys on our rented bike and exploring all the beaches. Our nights were loaded with cocktails mostly at Bangla road.
On our fourth day, we left for Krabi early morning. We decided to take a minibus, which I will advise not to if you have other options available. Seriously, if you plan a trip to Thailand following this itinerary I would highly recommend doing a thorough research before booking a local taxi or minibus. Usually, it’s a 3-hour drive from Phuket to Krabi but took us almost 5 hours amidst all the chaos and confusion. In spite of all the chaos, one positive thing I felt about driving between Phuket and Krabi is that you will get a very nice first-hand impression of the unique Krabi landscape, undulating and dotted with limestone hills and mountains. Once we saw the steep limestone cliffs jutting out of Andaman sea, all our frustrations vapored. We could hear Bollywood songs buzzing in our ears. We checked into a nice resort right at Ao Nang beach and spent our next three days shooting Love in Thailand
We hope this post will answer a lot of queries on how to plan a trip to Thailand. Do let us know your thoughts and comments on the same. We would be happy to help anyone in our own small way 🙂