I recently traveled to Thailand to celebrate my birthday with my sister and two friends, and I loved every minute of the trip. I choose Thailand for two main reasons.
• I wanted to spend my birthday somewhere hot.
• I wanted to travel somewhere that forced me to immerse myself in the culture of the country and have an authentic travel experience vs. a vacation
We did a lot of research before going, so hopefully, the information below is useful if you plan on traveling to Thailand soon or take any long-haul flights.
• A foldable fan is a lifesaver in Thailand. It gets really hot walking around, so do yourself a favor and get one
• If you’re traveling on a non- US passport then a visa is needed. One of the pros of living in DC is that the majority of countries embassies are located here, so the process is relatively easy.
• For the long flight pack a zip-lock with sleeping pills, Advil, vitamins, wipes, and Hand sanitizer
• Negotiate/bargain when buying souvenirs from street vendors. If you start or end your trip in Bangkok, I would recommend doing all of your shopping there, since you’re able to negotiate the price.
• Ubers are available in Bankok , so I would recommend using them instead of a taxi and Tuk Tuk , since they’re cheaper. Unfortunately, Ubers are not available in Phuket and taxi's cost more than they do in Bangkok.
The most expensive part about Thailand is actually getting there . Our travel dates were February 17-27th, and we got our round trip tickets on Emirates for $ 835, which is pretty good considering tickets to Thailand are typically between $1200-1300. We got our tickets during Emirates black Friday sale, so if you’re a planner like myself, I would recommend looking out for that sale this year, for any of the destinations Emirates travel to.
For accommodation, we spent $635 for eight nights and stayed at two hotels and one Airbnb (which is a hotel). Each location offered free breakfast, so that helped with keeping cost down. If you want to get a better look at the places, we stayed at then head over to my Instagram page and watch my Thailand highlight story( @rosebudmj). We started our trip in Bangkok then traveled to Phuket and stayed at Patong and Karon. Patong and Karon are the more touristy area of Phuket. Patong is known as the busy area of Phuket with great nightlife, while Karon is the tamer area of Phuket, but as equally as much to offer.
Below are the hotels we stayed at :
• Located in Bangkok – Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn ( has an awesome pool and is connected to the sky train, which is useful considering that traffic in Bangkok is horrible). The hotel is also located right beside Blue Elephant , which is a Michelin star restaurant.
• Located in Patong – Avista Hideaway by Sofitel .The hotel was beyond gorgeous, and we got upgraded to the Jacuzzi suite, which enhanced our experience. Although the hotel is located in Patong, it was far removed hence the name hideaway, so it was a little oasis.
• Located in Karon – Hotel Ikon, which is the Airbnb. We paid $47 a night per person, and we couldn’t have been happier with the accommodation.
We spent three nights and two days at Bangkok before flying out to Phuket.
• We went to Lebau Sky Bar. Apparently, it’s the bar from Hang Over 2, so it’s pretty pricey but you really cannot put a price on the view.
• Ate at a random spot we found while walking.
• We visited the Grand Palace. Do yourself a favor and get there as early as possible and also ensure that you’re dressed appropriately. No short sleeves, shorts, etc. The palace was gorgeous naturally since almost everything was made of gold and emeralds.
• We Went to the Thonglor neighborhood and checked out The Commons, which is a food mall. We had lunch at The Roast, and the food was divine and so cheap.
• I went to the skybar again, since my sister stayed in night 1 and didn’t get the opportunity to see it the first night.
• We went to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. I did all of my souvenir shopping there, and bargaining was key there. Never accept the asking price, because it’s typically marked up.
• We went to Khao San Road, which has a lot of food vendors and shopping.
Patong and Karon
On day three we traveled to Phuket. We got our round trip ticket for $80 using Skyscanner, but there were tickets for as cheap as $40 when we initially looked. Below are some of the things we did in Phuket.
• Half of us went riding on the elephant.The other half went swimming with the elephants at Paradise beach, which is the better option if you want to get up close and personal with them.
• We visited Freedom Beach in Patong, which was gorgeous but getting to and from the beach was a challenge, since you had to climb down a steep incline and climb back up.
• Went to Illusion Nightclub located on Bangla Road, which is New York on steroids. Also, they allow smoking in the clubs.
• Got a Thai massage
• Island hopping excursions via Simba Sea Trips to Phang Nga & Beyond. Granted Simba Sea Trips is pricier than other excursions package that offers the same thing, but you can't beat the customer service that provided so I would recommend booking with them.
Some of the restaurants we went to are below, in case anyone was looking for a recommendation.
• Mama Jin
• The Garage
• The Roast
My favorite part of the trip was the food without a doubt and the island hopping. My least favorite part of the trip was the heat, which is ironic because that was one of the main reasons why I wanted to go. Also, traveling back was such a hassle, but that’s a story for another time.We didn’t get to some of the stuff that was on our itinerary, but even so, we had an amazing trip, and I would recommend visiting Thailand/ putting it on your bucket list if it isn’t there already.