A Day Trip To Ayutthaya From Bangkok

Ayutthaya is the former capital of Thailand when it was the kingdom of Siam, from 1350 it was a prosperous city and international trading port, until it was destroyed in the 18th century by the Burmese. It is located approximately 50 miles north of Thailand’s capital – Bangkok.

This once important city of global diplomacy and commerce, is now an archaeological ruin and now forms a large UNESCO world heritage site. The area of Ayutthaya is vast and is a huge archaeological site full of ruins, temples and buildings.

You could easily spend a few days exploring this former capitals ruins and the surrounding area. However anyone who is limited on time then there are plenty of options of day tours or you can get to Ayutthaya easy enough from Bangkok. It is a long day on the tour probably about twelve hours in total but so worth it!

We honestly loved Ayutthaya and seeing such an interesting historical site was just amazing, and would really recommend venturing out of Bangkok for the day to visit the many sites and excavations.

Sights & Activities

Bang Pa-In Royal Palace

Entrance Fee: 100 THB / or included in price of tour

Bang Pa-In Royal Palace is also referred to as the summer palace, and is just 20 minutes from Ayutthaya and located along the Chao Phraya River. It was constructed in 1632, but fell into disuse during the late 18th century, until King Mongkut began to renovate the grounds back in the mid 19th century. Although the palace is full of Thai style acrhitecture there is also some European influence shown in several of the buildings around the palace as well as several statues and sculptures dotted around the area, these were added in during the restoration, which were inspired by palaces from England and France.

The palace is spread out over a huge area and features small canals that run through the grounds to the river. The gardens of the palace are full of grassy lawns, water features and beautiful ornate buildings. Today the palace isn’t really used by the royal family and they only really use the palace for special occassions and royal banquets. The palace is immaculately kept and is a tranquil and peaceful place to visit, even though its a tourist attraction many tourists seem to skip the palace and just visit the archaeological ruins in Ayutthaya, however a lot of tours from Bangkok include the palace as an add on. We paid a little bit more for our tour and we stopped off at the palace before returning back to Bangkok.

You can also reach the palace easy enough by train from Bangkok if you didn’t want to opt for a tour. Honestly though when visiting Ayutthaya I would recommend a visit to the palace preferably at the end of the day as its a great place to wind down after a day of sightseeing.

Bang Pa-In Royal Palace AyutthayaBang Pa-In Royal Palace AyutthayaBang Pa-In Royal Palace Ayutthaya

Chedi Phukhao Thong

Chedi Phukhao Thong is surrounded by rice paddies and just outside of Ayutthaya in a small village, the temple was established back in 1387 and over the centuries with various invasions the temple changed hands several times, and so parts of the buildings were added to and modified. Today as the structure stands it incorparates both Thai and Burmese styles, you can climb half way up the stupa which provides views over the surrounding areas.

This temple is much quieter in comparison to many of the ruins in and around Ayutthaya. Since we visited the Chedi Phukhao Thong it has under gone some restoration work, so looks drastically different to when we visted, as it has been freshly painted white and renovated to perfection to give you a glimpse of what it would have looked like hundreds of years ago. This was our first stop on our tour as it is slightly out the way,  thats what makes the place a good place to visit as its not overrun with tourists.

Chedi Phukhao Thong AyutthayaChedi Phukhao Thong Ayutthaya

Wat Lokaya Sutha

Wat Lokaya Sutha translates to Temple of the Earth, the temple and monastery are one of the main sites of Ayutthaya. One of the highlights of these temples ruins is the 42 meter long reclining Buddha which is still in fairly good condition. There isnt much known about the temple and monastery but as its in close proximity to the Royal Palace ruins it is thought the temple would have held some form of importance.

Its founding date is also unknown but is believed to date back to the very early days of Ayutthaya. As well as the large recling buddha the site has plenty of other archeological ruins to see such as ruins of assembly halls, chedis (Thai stupa) and prangs (Buddhist spires/towers). Wat Lokaya Sutha is a must when in Ayutthaya as its crazy to see how many ruins there are dotted around this one area, the site is free to enter and most tours will stop here too. The site is also close by to other major historical locations such as Wat Phra Sri Sanphet.

Wat Lokaya Sutha Ayutthaya

Wat Mahathat

Entrance Fee: 50 THB / or included in price of tour

Wat Mahathat is one of the most important temples of the Ayutthaya kingdom, the name translates to The Temple of the Great Relic. This large royal monastery and temple was once the centre of buddhism in Ayutthaya, and was located close to the palace. The site was created back in 1374 and the site has many features and intricate details. The temple stood in this site for about 500 years before the invasion of the Burmese which saw much of Ayutthaya destroyed and turned to rubble. Today the ruins are all that stands but some are more preserved than others. It has a similar ruins to that of Angkor in Cambodia, many of the ruins are out in the open and the grounds are absolutley beautiful with so much to see and explore.

The main image associated with this well known site is the Buddha face entwined in the roots of a banyan tree. You cannot visit Ayutthaya without visiting Wat Mahathat its an absolute must, and was by far our favourite area to explore, the temple were incredible. I would imagine most if not all tours stop here as its one of the most recognised sites of the ancient capital.

Wat Mahathat AyutthayaWat Mahathat AyutthayaWat Mahathat Ayutthaya

Wat Phra Sri Sanphet & The Royal Palace (Wang Luang)

Entrance Fee: 50 THB / or included in price of tour

Wat Phra Sri Sanphet is another major site in the ancient capital and is most famous for its distinct pagodas which appear on many of the photos of the old city, and are an iconic image for Ayutthaya. The temple was constructed back in 1448 by King Borommatrailokanat who ordered the construction of the temple for his own personal use. The temple was also used for royal ceremonies. The pagodas were constructed after the death of the king to hold his remains and various other kings of Ayutthaya. Over the years smaller chedis were added to the site to hold the ashes of other members of the royal family.

There was a large 16 meter high gold buddha which stood on the site, but when the Burmese invaded in 1767 all the gold and valuables were taken, when Bangkok was identified as the new capital city of Thailand in 1782, the king arranged what was left of the Buddha to be moved to the Wat Pho which is a famous temple and tourist attraction in Bangkok.

Ayutthaya was founded back in 1350 and Wat Phra Sri Sanphet sits on the original site of the wooden palace, a new palace was built a little later just north of the temple, and was adapted and expanded over the years by the various kings. Today nothing much is left from the Royal Palace (Wang Luang) just a grassy area which has some outlines of some of the old walls of the palace. If you go to Ayutthaya’s historical centre there is a display of what it would have looked like. Close by is also Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit which is an active temple that houses one of Thailand’s largest bronze Buddha images, when visiting Wat Phra Sri Sanphet make a stop there too, as both can easily be visited in the same morning or afternoon.

Wat Phra Sri Sanphet & The Royal Palace AyutthayaWat Phra Sri Sanphet & The Royal Palace Ayutthaya

Transport & Getting Around

Most people tend to visit Ayutthaya from Bangkok on a day trip, however some people spend a night or two there and explore, depending on how much time you have I would recommend booking onto a day tour from Bangkok as it’s really straight forward to do! We booked our tour through our hotel it cost us about £35 per person and included pick up and drop off in Bangkok, and all the entrance fees into the various sites and lunch. We had plenty of free time to explore on our own and as we got driven to each place we didn’t have the hassle of having to get from one place to another.

However if you are on a budget there are trains that run from Mo Chit Station in Bangkok and takes about 90 minutes by train to reach Ayutthaya, there are also buses available too, and once there you can explore many of the sites by foot or there are several places to hire a bicycle and bike around. If the hot weather is too much for you, you could also flag down a taxi or tuk tuk to take you between each of the sites once in the city.

You can also get a taxi to Ayutthaya from Bangkok however it isn’t much cheaper than taking a tour and you won’t get the entrance fees and lunch included so by the time you pay out for everything else it works out about the same cost as one of the tours.

Top Tips

Many of the sights in Ayutthaya are outside and exposed so make sure to wear light and comfortable clothing, but also clothing that covers your shoulders and knees as many of the sights are temples so dress modestly. Take plenty of sun cream, a hat and sunglasses to help with the midday heat and plenty of drinking water.

There are still elephants available for tourist rides in Ayutthaya, please avoid this at all costs! The elephants have to endure a process called Phajaan also known as the crush, where they take baby elephants and brutally torture them for days and weeks at time to break the elephants spirit, so that they can be controlled by humans. It’s a really traumatic practice and unfortunately until tourists realise what actually happens to make these elephants allow people to ride on them the practise will continue. I personally have ridden on elephants in the past before I knew what they went through, and now personally I would never ride on one again as it’s truly heartbreaking what they must under go.

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful, if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx

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Bangkok’s Must Visit Markets

Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and is a city bursting with markets, street stalls and night bazaars. There are so many iconic markets in the city and always new ones popping up. You can’t visit Bangkok and not sample at least one or two of its markets. They are lively, colourful and vibrant hubs of activity and culture, you won’t be disappointed.

I would always recommend checking online or asking staff at your accommodation the opening times as some markets are open every day and others only open certain days and they can start at different times, so always check before travelling to one. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to Bangkok on many occasions both on holiday and with layovers with work. Every time I’m in the city I try and seek out a new market to shop and explore.

Artbox Night Market

Artbox is one of the trendier markets with lots of stalls set out in shipping containers, neon lights, ball pits, live music and street food. It’s definitely a market to visit for the gram pic, as well as having some amazing stalls selling lots of fashion items, vintage wear and handmade creations. It has a slightly more upmarket feel compared to other markets in the city. There’s plenty of seating so if you wanted to grab some food and drinks and make an evening of it, this market is a great place to do just that!

Artbox Thailand

Chang Chui Plane Market

Chang Chui Plane Market is the place to visit if you love wacky art installations, this quirky market has a plane in the centre which has been made into a restaurant and bar. The rest of the area is made up of buildings that have all been created with recycled materials.

The market has an artistic vibe with stalls and boutiques selling handmade creative items and fashion accessories. There are also several small restaurants and stalls serving up food and craft beers, some nights there is live music too. The market is great for families as there are slides, swings and a lot of crazy street art and statues. The market is situated close to the Khao San Road, so it’s definitely a must visit when near the old town. I would recommend exploring Chang Chui Market and then hitting the Khao San Road afterwards.

Chang Chui Plane MarketChang Chui Plane MarketChang Chui Plane Market

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Damnoen Saduak is Thailand’s most famous and popular floating market. Located about one hour from the bustling capital, it’s the place most tourists want to visit, don’t let that put you off though, as it’s a great place to come and experience history and culture and get an insight into a local life. Aim to get to the market early to fully experience it at its busiest and to see it in all its glory.

Personally I would recommend booking onto a morning tour, there are lots of tours available from Bangkok and all pretty reasonably priced, the guide will make sure you don’t miss anything and also provide you with information and facts about the market. Some of the market can feel quite commercialised like many markets in Thailand, however due to the popularity of this market there are tons to explore and food sellers selling a variety of food and fruit which really makes the market colourful.

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Khao San Road

You have most likely heard about the famous Khao San Road, it’s the backpackers hub for South East Asia. Yes it’s tacky, touristy and full of stalls selling creepy crawlies to snack on (I never have) it can sometimes get a bad rep. However if you go with an open mind and anticipate the mass commercialisation and manage your expectations it’s a great place to visit. There’s something about the Khao San that always draws people back, myself included.

I love the fact there are people from all over the world and from all walks of life and there is something for everyone along the Khao San Road. I can honestly say I’ve had some of the best nights on the Khao San.

I normally start the night off by grabbing some cheap street food, then browsing the hundreds of stalls and shops to treat myself to another pair of comfy elephant trousers (don’t judge!). After I’ve normally shopped and bought tons of new clothes, and trinkets, I grab a bucket of booze and sit and have a foot and leg massage, then after a massage I hit a few bars and before I know it I’m dancing in the street making friends with everyone and anyone. I’ve never had a bad night along the Khao San and normally stay until the early hours partying before jumping in a tuk-tuk back to my accommodation.

If you want to start the night off eating at restaurant I would suggest going to one of the side streets next to the Khao San Road such as Rambutri Road and some of the quieter lanes for a much calmer dining experience. If your on a tight budget then stick to the food on the Khao San as it’s the cheapest in the city!

Khao San RoadKhao San RoadKhao San Road

Maeklong Railway Market

Maeklong is a traditional Thai market selling fruit, vegetables and homewares. You probably wouldn’t buy anything there to take home with you, however it’s a great place to visit for the local experience. It’s famous for its market but more famous for its location set on train tracks and a few times a day the train passes straight the market with locals having to pull back their produce and canopies. Some stalls that are low to the floor the train just glides straight over missing the produce by a few inches.

It’s incredible to watch, but make sure to be careful as it can be dangerous. Try and go in the morning and grab some breakfast or lunch at the market and browse the stalls and watch the train.

The market is about a one hour drive from Bangkok and you can either book a tour, taxi or you can even take the train from Bangkok that will take you straight through the market and you can get off a few minutes walk away and wander back to explore the market itself.

Maeklong Railway MarketMaeklong Railway Market

MBK Centre

MBK Centre is a huge indoor mall and is well known in Bangkok, it’s next to the upmarket Siam Discovery. MBK offers a huge choice for shoppers, although it’s not quite a market I thought I would include it in this blog as the ground floor is mostly market styles stalls selling clothing and handbags. There are also plenty of places to eat, and as you go up the floors there is plenty of shops and restaurants. It’s a great place to shop especially if your visiting during rainy season or if you prefer shopping with the comfort of air conditioning – MBK is a good indoor option.

Neon Night Market

Neon Night Market is a lively night bazaar with a large array of stalls selling fashion, quirky homewares and has lots of food and drink stalls. There are neon lights everywhere (hence the name) and this market is probably aimed more at the younger crowd, but don’t let that put you off as there is lots to browse around, and the market is centrally located in Pratunam.

Neon Night MarketNeon Night Market

Patpong Night Market

Patpong is a popular night market amongst tourists and is a vibrant and chaotic market set in the built up area of one of Bangkoks most popular nightlife districts. The market is surrounded by go-go bars and sells everything from fashion items, fake designer goods, souvenirs and much more all for cheap prices, just make sure you bargain with the stall owners and don’t accept the first price offered for a product but also don’t offer to little for an item. If your looking for a lively night or just fancy a few drinks, browse the market before finding a bar for a cocktail or two.

Rod Fai Ratchada Night Market

Rod Fai Night Market is located in Ratchada and is also referred to as the train market as it’s located by a train station. This market is a must, it has everything and something for everyone with an artsy vibe thrown in for good measure. It has lively bars and live music in one corner, and lots of stalls selling street food and snacks, there’s places to pull up a seat and grab food. There are stalls selling literally something for everyone, as this market is popular with Thai people the prices are much cheaper compared to other markets in the city.

This has to be one of my favourite markets in the city I found lots of items I liked and there were plenty of stalls offering customisable fashion items, such as sandals that you could choose how you wanted them customised with pom-poms, tassels and trims etc. Just note that the market isn’t on every night so check opening times prior to going.

Rod Fai Ratchada Night Market

Sukhumvit Street Market

Sukhumvit Street Market isn’t much to write home about, however if your staying in this area especially around the Nana or Asok BTS skytrain stations, then I would suggest having a wander along the stalls in the evening. Stalls lines the whole of this road, it’s a good location as it’s so central. You can pick up souvenirs, and knocks offs every night of the week. However unless your staying local to this area I wouldn’t come out your way for it, as there are much better night markets in the city to venture to.

Victory Monument Night Market

Victory Monument is a great area to explore at night and hunt down some bargains, there’s tons of stalls that spring up in the evening and lots of places to eat and drink. There’s some good outside seating areas with live music too. Have a browse around Victory Point Bazaar which is underneath the Victory Monuments BTS skywalk, where you can see lots of stalls and food vendors and locals going about their evening.

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful, if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx

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What To Do In Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second largest city after the capital Bangkok, although Chiang Mai is often referred to as the capital of the north. Chiang Mai is an ancient city set in Thailand’s mountainous northern region. It was founded back in 1296 when it was capital of the independent Lann Kingdom until 1558. Chiang Mai doesn’t have a typical urban city feel to it, as it is surrounded by misty mountains, rainforests and hill tribes.

Chiang Mai is a cultural hub in Thailand and offers travellers a whole range of things to see and do with ancient temples, cooking classes, yoga retreats, trekking trails as well as having plenty of nightlife and shopping, it really does have something to meet everyone’s tastes. Chiang Mai is a relatively small city and has a very calm and relaxed atmosphere, there is a modern city which has grown around many parts of the ancient city and today both new and old merge seamlessly together.

We took an internal flight from Bangkok up to Chiang Mai and couldn’t believe the difference between the two cities. We absolutely fell in love with Bangkok, but we also loved how peaceful Chiang Mai was, they are a complete contrast from one another. We spent 3 nights in Chiang Mai and had the best time, Chiang Mai is definitely somewhere we would love to go back and visit.

Sights & Activities

Bai Orchard Garden & Butterfly Farm

Bai Orchard Garden and Butterfly Farm are on the outskirts of the city, there are a variety of Thai orchids that are grown there. There is also a butterfly enclosure which you can walk through too, this is a good place to visit if you’re heading out to the mountains or outskirts of Chiang Mai to the Mae Rim district. The garden also has a small restaurant and gift shop so is quite a nice spot to grab a bite to eat.

We really enjoyed stopping here however I wouldn’t come massively out of your way unless you’re a keen orchid enthusiast, I would recommend that if your backpacking south east Asia and Singapore is on your to do list then visit Singapore’s National Orchard Garden which is out of this world and has the best orchids you will ever see!

Bai Orchard Garden & Butterfly Farm Chiang Mai Bai Orchard Garden & Butterfly Farm Chiang Mai

Bamboo Rafting

Entrance Fee: 500 THB

If you fancy being out in nature then what better way than to go Bamboo Rafting?! There are several areas to try bamboo rafting but Mae Wang district is a popular choice as it is just outside of Chiang Mai. The area has mountains and forests you can admire while gliding down the river, and there is a variety of tours and packages available. If you do go rafting make sure to wear light clothing and expect to get wet as the water gets through the gaps in the bamboo raft, also take a waterproof bag and cover for your phone and camera too.

Bamboo Rafting Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Night Markets

Chiang Mai is famous for its night markets and bazaars and there are several large ones all over the city and on weekends even more pop up! The markets are a great and unique shopping experience with a diverse range of handicrafts available to purchase as well as your usual tourist souvenirs, and lots of other items. You can also grab street food and drinks while you shop and sample some northern Thai delicacies. The most popular and well known market in the city is the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar which runs every single night and is huge and a bit like a maze. Other markets to also check out are;

Chiang Mai Temples

Chiang Mai is an ancient city and is steeped in history and culture, it is known as the city of temples and has over 300 Buddhist temples dotted all over the city. The temples are a huge part of Thai life and culture and no trip to Thailand would be complete without a trip to a temple or two. I would recommend pinning some on your map to go in search of, head to Chiang Mais Old Town, or there are plenty of temple and city tours you can book onto if you wanted a guide to explain all the information to you. I love temples in south east Asia and always love just stumbling across them and wandering into them, I love all the decor and the shrines and always find them really calming places to spend some time in.

Chiang Mai TemplesChiang Mai Temples

Doi Pui Tribal Village

Doi Pui is a Hmong tribal village and is situated in the Doi Suthep national park and close by to the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple. The traditional village offers a glimpse into their way of life. In the village, you can view the houses that they live in and witness their simple way of living and learn about their culture. The village is beautiful and has lots of beautiful plants and flowers, and of course fresh mountain air.

The village like most of Thailand’s hill tribes of the north used to cultivate opium poppies for a living until the royal sustainable projects arrived and transformed the entire village to agricultural farms.

The village today makes a living from farming and selling souvenirs to tourists, and there is a small museum in the village too, which showcases their way of life. If you have any questions the locals are friendly and happy to answer best they can. I really would suggest visiting this village after visiting Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple as it’s only a few minutes out of the way. We really loved meeting the locals and wandering through their beautiful village and landscape.

Doi Pui Tribal Village Chiang Mai

Muay Thai

Muay Thai also is known as Thai Boxing is a combat sport and is the national sport and cultural martial art of Thailand. Muay Thai has been around for hundreds of years and was developed for close combat. It uses the entire body as a weapon. When visiting Thailand attending a Muay Thai fight is an absolute must, the atmosphere is incredible! We went to a Muay Thai fight in Chiang Mai as Bangkok seemed to have much larger stadiums and tickets were more expensive, and many of the competitors appeared to be from other parts of the world.

We wanted to attend somewhere with a more intimate and traditional feel and Chiang Mai offered that, we asked the hotel for Muay Thai suggestions and they recommended Thaphae Boxing Stadium. We went and tickets were approximately £12 per person however they can vary depending on the day of the week and the match. The stadium is small enough to feel intimate but also big enough with a selection of bars and restaurants and easy enough to get a front row seat. We also had the opportunity to meet with some of the fighters. It’s a great night out and there are plenty like this stadium around Chiang Mai, ask your accommodation where they would suggest, and if you want to have a go yourself then there also plenty of training academies to book into as well.

Three Kings Monument

The Three Kings Monument is an important statue in Chiang Mai and shows the three founders of Chiang Mai – King Mengrai, King Ramkamhaeng and King Ngam Muang. It was created back in 1984 and is situated outside the Chiang Mai Cultural Center and marks the centre point of the old administrative quarter of Chiang Mai in the ancient part of the city.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is one of Thailands most sacred temples and in an incredible location set up in the mountains overlooking Chiang Mai, and is part of the national park there. The temple is absolutely stunning and covered in lots of intricate details and gold. The architecture is typically northern Thai and can be reached by climbing the 306 steps. The temple dates back to the 14th century and is a major landmark in Chiang Mai and is popular with tourists, you can choose to visit the temple or for anyone wanting to learn more about Buddhist practices or meditation you can enrol on one of the meditation and mindfulness programs.

When visiting Chiang Mai this should be top of your agenda of places to visit, try and go as early as you can to avoid the crowds, and take something a little warmer to wear with you as the mountain air means its much cooler up at the temple, make sure to wear temple clothing attire too. There are several places to eat and drink nearby the temple so you can grab breakfast or lunch easy enough. We really loved visiting this temple and always recommend it to anyone I know visiting Chiang Mai.

Make sure to visit Doi Pui tribal village too as it is situated in the Doi Suthep national park and close by to the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Chiang MaiWat Phra That Doi Suthep Chiang Mai

Transport & Getting Around

Chiang Mai is a small city so most places can be reached by foot or bicycle. There isn’t a huge choice of public transport there are a few buses but most people tend to hop in tuk tuks, taxis or shared taxis which are in red trucks called rót daang. I would recommend exploring the city by foot as this is the best way to get around and you stumble across the cities hidden gems.

3 Day Itinerary

  1. Get up early and head to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Doi Suthep–Pui National Park, Doi Pui Tribal Village and bamboo rafting. If you have time when you get back to Chiang Mai wander the old town and explore some of the cities many temples. After a day sightseeing hit the Chiang Mai night market for dinner and shopping.
  2. Head to Chiang Rai for the day, it’s a few hours away and something I really would like to do on my next visit to Chiang Rai. If you don’t fancy it then explore more of Chiang Mais temples and jungles and waterfalls surrounding the city. In the evening check out Muay Thai and have some dinner and drinks.
  3. Research and find a reputable elephant sanctuary for rescued elephants, ensure to not ride on any elephants and check out the website and reviews beforehand to make sure you’re not supporting anywhere that is abusing these animals. I made this mistake in the past and still feel awful about it, and now always research before I visit any so-called animal sanctuaries.

Top Tips

Many of the sights in Chiang Mai are outside and exposed so make sure to wear light and comfortable clothing, but also clothing that covers your shoulders and knees as many of the sights are temples so dress modestly.

There are still elephants available for tourist rides in Chiang Mai, please avoid this at all costs! The elephants have to endure a process called Phajaan also known as the crush, where they take baby elephants and brutally torture them for days and weeks at a time to break the elephant’s spirit so that they can be controlled by humans.

It’s a really traumatic practice and unfortunately until tourists realise what actually happens to make these elephants allow people to ride on them the practice will continue. I personally have ridden on elephants in the past before I knew what they went through, and now personally I would never ride on one again as it’s truly heartbreaking what they must undergo.

Helpful Information

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx

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A Day Trip To Phang Nga Bay From Phuket

Phang Nga Bay is a national park and sits in between mainland Thailand and Phuket island. These droplets of limestone islands sit in the emerald green Andaman Sea. These jagged rock formations, cliffs, and small uninhabited islands with mangrove forests and caves are a great place to explore. This bay is full of hidden lagoons which you can reach by kayak and going through the small caves. The bay also has plenty of coral reefs dotted around in its waters.

This gorgeous national park is a must especially if you’re staying in Phuket or nearby to the area as the bay is easily accessible. The bay can easily be done on a day tour and there is plenty to see and do.

Phang Nga Bay Phuket Thailand Phang Nga Bay Phuket Thailand

One of the most famous landmarks in the bay is Koh Ta-pu also referred to as James Bond Island as the famous James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun was filmed there back in 1974. This rocky pinnacle juts out of the ocean and looks top heavy, and like it shouldn’t still be standing! The surrounding areas are spectacularly beautiful although can be crowded with many other tourists doing similar day trips.

Another area of interest in the bay is Koh Panyee which is a quirky village that’s built over the water on stilts, with a giant rock column at one end of it. At lunchtime many tourists on the tours stop by to eat and shop for souvenirs. Originally fishing was the main industry for this Muslim community but today about half of the locals work in the tourism industry, while the rest still continue to fish. The village has its own school, a mosque, a health centre, lots of small handicraft shops, and a few restaurants overlooking the sea where you can enjoy fresh seafood. Khao Khien is another place worth visiting as it’s close to Koh Panyee, and has ancient paintings of boats and animals on the rock walls.

Phang Nga Bay is an amazing place for cruising around on a boat. The limestone cliffs create a picturesque backdrop and scenic appeal and have an abundance of wildlife. The area is protected from both the northeast and the southwest monsoon seasons which means the waters remain calm all year round.

The hidden away lagoons in the islands which are referred to as hong (hong meaning rooms in Thai) are collapsed cave systems being overlooked by the sky and surrounded by towering limestone walls. The mangroves in the lagoons are rich in unspoiled flora and fauna. Many of these hongs were only revealed when they were picked up on aerial surveys.

Phang Nga Bay Phuket ThailandPhang Nga Bay Phuket Thailand

Many of the tours that run around Phang Nga Bay offer sea kayaking, where you can paddle through the caves into the mysterious centres of the islands such as Koh Panak and Koh Hong. Just make sure when kayaking through you might need to lay back, so you don’t hit your head and also make sure your mouth and eyes are closed, as many of the caves have bats in, and the last thing you want is any bat droppings going into your mouth or eyes.

Thailand was somewhere I had dreamt of going for many years all throughout my teenage years after I watched the Beach my infatuation for Thailand began, and after I graduated from university my then fiancée (now husband) decided to book a trip to Thailand – our first trip to Asia which sparked our obsession for the continent. For our first trip to Thailand, we booked a two week itinerary and went to Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket.

To be honest, we were really young and not very well travelled at this point and didn’t do much research before we went, so hadn’t even heard of Phang Nga Bay, the only reason we really ended up in Phuket was that we wanted to easily be able to reach the Phi Phi islands. While we were in Phuket we saw plenty of tours being offered to Phang Nga Bay and decided to book on one, and I’m so glad we did, the scenery was like nowhere else we had ever been before.

If your staying in Phuket this is an absolute must visit, this beautiful marine park is touristy and many tours operate there, but the area is large with so many limestone rocks and islands that I didn’t ever feel like it was overcrowded. The only place where it was busy was by James Bond Island which is understandable as it’s the main site. We really enjoyed our day trip here and loved kayaking into the mysterious lagoons and seeing lots of sea birds and eagles flying around, the whole place is a nature lovers dream!

Phang Nga Bay Phuket ThailandPhang Nga Bay Phuket ThailandPhang Nga Bay Phuket Thailand

Transport & Getting Around

Phang Nga Bay is easily doable in a single day and personally, I would recommend booking onto one of the many tours available by long-tail boat, speedboat, cruise or chartering a yacht. Leaving from any point along the east coast of Phuket will take you straight into the bay. There are also several launching sites on the Phang Nga province mainland too.

Top Tips

When going to Phang Nga Bay go prepared with a waterproof bag and waterproof cover for your phone or camera so that they have extra protection if you’re out sea kayaking. When booking onto a tour try and opt for one of the smaller boat tours and try and get on one that maybe starts a bit earlier to try and beat the crowds to James Bond Island.

Helpful Information

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx

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A Day Trip To The Phi Phi Islands From Phuket

The Phi Phi Islands also known as Koh Phi Phi (Koh meaning island in Thai) is a cluster of six paradise islands set in the Andaman Sea off the coast of Thailand, and are part of the Krabi province. With crystal clear turquoise ocean surrounding each of them and stunning white sand beaches curving around the islands and their jungle interior. They make the perfect tropical getaway, and they can easily be reached from both Phuket and Krabi.

Koh Phi Phi Don is the largest and most developed of all the islands, it’s where the main town is and all the hotels and resorts are located on this island, along with plenty of shops, restaurants and bars, Phi Phi Don is known as the party island! Loh Dalum Bay is the main party hub on the island, every night from 9pm the party kicks off on the beach with fire shows, Thai boxing and live bands all fighting for tourists attention. This is the place to come to drink buckets of booze and dance all night long.

Tonsai Bay is the bustling heart of Phi Phi Don it’s the main village on the island and the main arrival port. There are no cars or roads and everywhere can be reached by foot or bicycle, including Loh Dalum Bay which is a minutes walk away as this part of the island is so narrow.

All around Phi Phi Don are a variety of other beaches which are quieter such as Laem Tong Beach and Loh Bagao Beach. All of Phi Phi Don provides stunning scenery with its jagged cliffs and beautiful bays and beaches, however mass tourism has spoilt the island somewhat with over development and overcrowding of tourists.

Phi Phi Islands Phuket ThailandPhi Phi Islands Phuket ThailandPhi Phi Islands Phuket Thailand

Koh Phi Phi Leh is an uninhabited island that lies one mile from the southern tip of Koh Phi Phi Don. This island is most known for Maya Bay which was made famous by The Beach film back in 2000 that starred Leonardo DiCaprio. Phi Phi Leh offers stunning vertical cliffs capped with greenery, rocky caves, small sandy beaches and colourful coral reefs. Most visitors find their way around Phi Phi Leh on a tour boat.

The other four islands are Koh Pai also known as Bamboo Island, Koh Young also called Mosquito Island, and two islets marking the southern end of the archipelago named Koh Bida Noi and Koh Bida Nai.

With such a heavy footfall of people and boats coming to the islands, unfortunately, much of the coral reefs and marine life that once surrounded the islands have disappeared and much of the islands natural beauty is being threatened by more tourism expansion. Thai authorities are now seeing the effects of mass tourism on the islands and have recently been closing parts of the islands, and trying to reduce the number of visitors. So while planning your trip make sure to check what is open to the public, Maya Bay has been closed to let it recover.

Phi Phi Islands Phuket ThailandPhi Phi Islands Phuket Thailand

The Phi Phi islands were somewhere I had dreamt of going for many years all throughout my teenage years after I watched the Beach my infatuation for Thailand began, and after I graduated from university my then fiancée (now husband) decided to book a trip to Thailand – our first trip to Asia which sparked our obsession for the continent. For our first trip to Thailand, we booked a two week itinerary and went to Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket.

When we visited the Phi Phi Islands many years ago we opted for a full day tour from Phuket, which included pick up from our hotel in Phuket and ferry to the islands where we cruised around some of them. We got off at Phi Phi Don for lunch and to relax on the beach, before heading off on a long tail boat to some snorkelling spots.

The Phi Phi islands have mixed reviews and they have become like marmite you will either love them or hate them! I think when visiting you have to go with an open mind and manage your expectations, yes they are touristy and overdeveloped, and they may not offer an authentic Thai experience, however the natural landscape is undeniably stunning, and I would suggest not letting anyone put you off going, if it’s somewhere you fancy going I will always suggest doing what feels right for you, and go and make your own mind up about a place.

Personally, I liked the Phi Phi islands as much as they were touristy etc, were they the best beaches I’ve ever been to? No, I have been to better beaches and snorkelled in better locations, however we had a really lovely day out to the islands and I would definitely like to go back in the future to see how the government has implemented changes and to perhaps make the islands tourism industry more sustainable, so the islands can be preserved and enjoyed by people in years to come.

Phi Phi Islands Phuket ThailandPhi Phi Islands Phuket Thailand

Transport & Getting Around

Getting to the Phi Phi Islands is pretty straight forward, the islands are located about 30 miles from Phuket and roughly the same distance from Krabi. There are basically two options to reach the islands and that is either by ferry or speedboat.

The ferry is the most popular choice for reaching the islands. Ferries take about two hours from Phuket and about an hour and a half from Krabi or Koh Lanta. The main departure/arrival port in Phuket is Rassada Pier which is located in Phuket Town. In Krabi, the main ferry pier is Klong Jirad Pier, situated just south of Krabi Town.

Top Tips

I would recommend when planning any trip to the Phi Phi islands to check to see what is open as recently the authorities have been trying to help the islands marine life recover so have closed parts of the islands such as Maya Bay. So be prepared and know what you’re able to visit when planning. A day tour is a great way to visit the islands if you don’t have much time and there is a huge selection of tours to choose from, however personally looking back I wish we had stayed a night or two on Phi Phi.

If you suffer from travel sickness then make sure to take travel sickness tablets before getting on a ferry or speedboat to the islands as the sea can be quite rough! When we visited a lot of the passengers on board the ferry were suffering from seasickness, myself included!

Helpful Information

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx

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