Meet Tatiana (@fitwithcurves), a Houston, Texas based personal trainer who decided to take her workouts across the Indian Ocean to Thailand. Thailand has been one of my favorite travel destinations so far on my life journey. Tatiana and I have been friends for years so you know I had to get the details of her trip. Also, as a bonus, I've included her workout videos from the trip. Enjoy!
Houston --> Dubai --> Phuket Thailand --> Chiang Mai, Thailand --> Bangkok
Why did you go?:
One of my clients told me about this all-girls travel group and like most, since I love to travel I had to join. One of the first trips we chose was to Phuket, Thailand. I’ve heard great things about this country, so I just had to go.
How did you prep?:
I spent about a month looking for airline tickets and because our trip fell on Memorial weekend we paid a little more than usual. I decided to go with Emirates with a layover in Dubai, because....who doesn’t want to experience the beautiful city of Dubai?
How much were your flight costs?:
Houston to Dubai to Phuket (Round Trip): Emirates ($1300)
Phuket to Chiang Mai (Round trip): Air Asia ($123)
Phuket to Bangkok (Round trip): Air Asia ($50)
The flight from Houston to Dubai was expensive in my opinion because it fell on Memorial Day weekend. The weekend before and after was $700 round trip. I was locked into that weekend because I was going with a group. Price your trip around cheaper airfare if you can.
Thinking of taking a solo trip to Thailand? Grab your copy of the Solo Girls Travel Guide!
Where did you stay?:
Hotel in Chiang Mai: Movenpick
Hotel on Phi Phi Island: ChaoKoh Phi Phi Hotel & Resort
Hotel in Phuket: Hotel near the airport (can’t find the name)
I booked my hotels last minute (I'll share more on this later) but I have no complaints. Surprisingly, it was easy to find affordable, comfortable hotels on short notice.
What did you pack?
I traveled with only carry-ons because I knew that I would do most of the trip solo and wanted to make sure that I could move around freely.
I wasn’t disappointed in my airline choice one bit. My flight left on time and arrived on time. The food on Emirates was so tasty even adhering to my vegetarian diet. I took a night tour when I got to my hotel in Dubai since my layover was 14-hours. I would highly recommend it. Find the top 10 night tours of Dubai: here.
Chiang Mai (Day 1)
Arriving in Chiang Mai, I did not have a definitive plan, but I knew I wanted to see several temples, the elephants and to visit the night bazaar. Out of the three cities I visited in Thailand, Chiang Mai was one of my favorites. I chose a driver at the airport to take me to my hotel near the night market and restaurants. Although he barely spoke English he was so friendly, and I felt comfortable asking him to be my driver the entire time while I was in Chiang Mai.
I arrived in Chiang Mai around 1 pm, checked in to the hotel and headed off to see the White Temple. My driver knew that I wanted to see as much of the city as possible, so we stopped by a market on the way to Wat Rong Khun (White Temple). I had no idea that the white temple was 3 hours away from Chiang Mai (located in Chiang Rai) so the ride was a bit longer than expected. However, once we arrived it was breathtaking. We arrived just before closing so I had very little time to take it all in, but it was so worth it. It took us 3 hours to get back to Chiang Mai and my hotel. I had just enough time to shower, change and head out to the night market the first night (what is the night market?).
Day 2 Chiang Mai (Day 2)
My Driver picked me up early around 9:30 am and we headed to see the elephant sanctuary, Baan Tong Luang Eco-agricultural Village and several other temples.
It was raining when I arrived, so I was the only one there for the tour. I enjoyed it because I got special attention. I was able to learn about the rescue sanctuary, feed the elephant, bathe him and even had the option to ride his neck bare if I wanted (I don't play when it comes to large animals, so you know I had to decline).
Long Necks and other Tribes at the Eco- Agricultural Tribe Village in Chiang-Mai:
I loved this tour, it was like nothing I've ever seen before. I was able to experience how they live and I got a little emotional. They live with so little and appeared to be so happy. I was able to read about every tribe and even talk to the members a little- well, those that could speak a little English. I was able to try on the neck piece that the ladies in the long neck tribe wore and I could not believe how heavy it was. I was most amazed at this little school that the children attended. It was so small, but so effective.
On the way back from the eco-agricultural tribe village my driver stopped by the silver temples so that I could go in and see. Just like the other temples it was gorgeous. I was able to have a plate of my favorite vegetable pad Thai right outside of the temple.
My flight on Air Asia left Chiang Mai on Tuesday night around 10 pm and I arrived back in Phuket at 12:00 am the next morning.
Bangkok (Day 3):
I met the girls from the travel group at the Chiang Mai airport around 9 am to get ready for our flight to Bangkok which left around 9:30 am. When we landed we went straight to the Airbnb and off to the Grand Palace.
We meet a little lady at the front of the Grand Palace who tried really hard to hustle us out of our money in order to be our tour guide for the Grand Palace. She actually offered a great deal complete with attire since we were not dressed appropriately to enter. Proper attire includes long sleeves as well as loose-fitting bottoms. Our money was well spent because we loved her. She was knowledgeable and feisty all at the same time. The temple itself was intricate, detailed and beautiful.
After the Grand Palace, we ate at a Thai restaurant nearby and visited a little market for a bit. The group split up and we decided to take a "tuk-tuk" (what is this? Car?) to the Big Buddha in Bangkok and to the sky train so we could see the city. Both destinations left us disappointed. (Travel Warning) Clearly, the "tuk-tuk" driver was just trying to get our money as well as a commission by stopping by a tailor shop. Apparently, the city was giving tuk-tuk driver gas and a gift card for taking us to tailor shops that day. He failed to tell us the Big Buddha in Bangkok was under construction and that the sky train had so many people on it getting off work on a Wednesday trying to get home, that we could not see the views of the city out the windows. After the sky train, we headed back to the Airbnb walked to nearby convenience stores for snacks and headed out to party in Bangkok.
Partying in Bangkok on Silom rd.:
This was an experience. At some point the drinks kicked in and all seemed normal. We danced the night away. Afterwards, I only felt comfortable eating from street food that we saw being cooked right in front of us and we were a little sketchy about that as well.
Not many pictures of this...what happens in Bangkok, stays in Bangkok!)
Phi Phi Island, Monkey Beach, Maya Beach (Day 4)
Woke up on Friday morning and took the taxi to the dock to take the ferry to Phi Phi Island. I got there right after the ferry left, so ended up opting for a speedboat instead (Bonus!). Had I not I would have had to wait 4 hours for the next ferry. I booked a hotel the night before on booking.com, " Chao Koh Phi Phi Hotel & Resort". The room was beautiful, and the staff was friendly. I stayed on the island the entire Friday night ate dinner, went for a run, and worked out on the beach. I felt completely safe the entire time. I woke up Saturday morning and booked a tour to take a speed boat to 7 other beaches including lagoons and Viking’s Cave.
Of course I had to find time to workout and represent for my @fitwithcurves family!
Check-out my videos below!
This trip will always be one to remember. It was amazing to see the differences in culture, food, and way of life. I enjoyed every part of it and would go back anytime!
Note about booking my hotels last minute:
You won’t hear me mention the name of the travel group because although I’ve heard there are many professional, well-organized groups this one was not. The Organizer overbooked, and I found out 1 day before my trip that I was going to have to sleep in the bed with another woman I never met because the rooms only had 1 bed. I like my personal space, so I quickly declined and asked for a refund for my room.
Happy Travels Friends!
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