📍 Chiang Mai --> Bangkok --> Ko Phi Phi --> Ko Pha Ngan --> Phuket
March was packed to the brim with activities and travel. It's almost a blur. Let's rewind to mid-March when we left our beloved studio in Chiang Mai and took off to get lost in the food-filled streets of Bangkok, also known as the City of Angels. Hard to believe now, but at one point in history, it was a place of haven and tranquility.
This was the first time in months we got to see friends from home! We met up with my high school friends, Ali, Johnny, Jenny, and her boyfriend Paul in Bangkok. As soon as we arrived, Jenny, Paul, Aaron, and I scoured the streets in need of food. We were all hungry and settled on some tasty curry dishes.
That night, we hit up a boat party hear some local DJ's perform. Rabbit on the Boat had different genres of music but the real party was downstairs where DJ Mindy was killin' it. She's a total BAD ASS who knows how to keep people groovin'. After the boat party, we met up with Ali and Johnny who just landed from Boston.
The next day, the 6 of us grubbed on basil fried rice with chicken (a new favorite), sweet potato balls, and fresh coconut water to rehydrate. After filling our bellies, we explored a different area of the city and then said farewell to Jenny and Paul as they live in Singapore and had to return home for work. After our goodbyes, the four of us went to Chatuchak Market on the hunt for souvenirs and to go round 2 on refreshingly sweet coconut ice-cream.
Then, we adventured to Khao San Road where we dined on scorpions and pad Thai. There's an energy on Khao San Road you won't find anywhere else in the world.
Next, we stopped by a local bar and had a few mojito buckets. The buy 1 get 1 deal will hammer the hangover nail into your coffin. Every time. We also saw signs for laughing gas and had to try...
When in Rome...
They fill up a small balloon with the gas and you inhale/exhale the air. About 20-30 seconds later, a laugh-so-hard your belly starts to hurt washes over you. It's great. We do it twice.
After some liquid courage, we head back out to Khao San Road where we're immediately pegged as drunk Americans who are looking for a grand ol' Bangkok time. Inevitably, we say yes to a ping pong show. Oh no.
After what seems like an eternity (probably 20 minutes) in a tuk-tuk, we pull up to a shady looking nightclub. We pay our 400bhat entry fee, follow a waitress where she seats us in the 2nd row and takes our drink orders.
The stage is in the middle with seating all around it; there are couples, groups of men, groups of women, and us. Some people look extremely comfortable--even relaxed, some are cheering, and most of us are looking around averting eye-contact feeling guilty and shameful for being here. I won't go into detail about what we saw, but I will leave you with the advice I should have followed: don't go.
After the 3rd act, we got back into a tuk-tuk and headed to Cowboy Soi. A street lined up and down with go-go bars on either side. The neon-lights are inviting and the throngs of people have you curious. A lot of the bars have outdoor seating before you head in so we decide to chill out for a bit and quench our thirst with some beers. After we finish a couple rounds, we head inside and there are girls dancing on the bars. Think Coyote Ugly but much less redneck and country.
After another beer, we decided it was getting late and we should go back home so we could get a head start on the next day. We got into a tuk-tuk and headed home. After getting home, we fell asleep immediately and didn't wake until mid-morning.
With a later start in the day and a slight hangover, we kept it simple and got basil chicken with rice for lunch, chilled in the apartment to cool down, and then headed back out to do more shopping. There was a small street market near our pad so we walked around there and after Aaron finished up some calls, we got a few beers.
The next day we tried to see the Palace but it closed early for an event so we went to the Reclining Buddha instead. Pro Tip: go see the Palace as soon as you get to Bangkok because it's rented out for private events or the Royal Family's use and there's no notice or very late notice. Wat Pho is beautiful and full of history.
On to Ko Phi Phi! The adventure continues to island hopping. We stayed at Phuphaya Resort and had a wonderful experience. The location is further away from the beach and a slight hike up a hill but it's worth it because the views are incredible and you'll appreciate the distance at night when the beach parties are bumpin' until the wee hours of the morning.
The staff was friendly and helpful, the food was decent, and the accommodation was great. Highly recommend it if you decide to go. We spent our time relaxing by the pool, swimming in the warm ocean water, or partaking in some excursions. Aaron got sick while we were there and missed out on the booze cruise. Ali, Johnny, and I went on the Pirate Booze Cruise and thought it was fun.
Ali and I took a cooking class and would recommend this as you learn about different Thai herbs and spices. This was my second cooking class in Thailand and I'm glad I did it because it was more focused around Thai cooking and my first was more about the history of Thailand and basic cooking in general. I loved both and found each to be special in its own way.
Something we learned in hindsight was that 6 nights in Ko Phi Phi is too long. You can definitely see all of Ko Phi Phi in 3 days/nights. The beach parties are a ton of fun but they become familiar and the novelty wears off.
After Ko Phi Phi, we went to Ko Pha Ngan for the 1/2 Moon Festival. Unfortunately, I got food poisoning a few hours beforehand and missed out. From what I heard, it was a cool venue and a good time. We stayed at a resort we found on Airbnb and would not recommend it due to its shadiness, poor facilities, and low food quality. You can contact me directly for more information on this one. Unfortunately, this was the end of our time with Ali and J. We said our 2nd round of goodbyes to friends and went our separate ways.
Next stop for Aaron and I was Phuket. Upon arrival, I was so drained from the food poisoning and still not feeling 100% so I konked out leaving Aaron on his own. He went out in search of food and a few hours later, he said he felt queasy. I went out to get Gatorade and when I returned Aaron started throwing up. Oh no. He had food poisoning now.
The next morning, we decided it was a toast and Gatorade type of day. We stayed indoors in the cool A.C., did some work, and just tried to get better before our flight out to Australia. Our arrival to Thailand was so magical in Chiang Mai and our goodbye to Thailand was less than ideal--it's still a country near and dear to us. We know we'll return to Chiang Mai someday.
With March over, we head to Australia to cross another continent off of the list. Onwards.