I’m backkkkkkkkk!! 😀
Hey guys!!! How are you all doing?! I hope you’re all doing well and had an amazing past couple of weeks while I’ve been gone.
As you’ve read from the title, today’s post is going to be a travel diary all about our trip to THAILAND!!!
If you guys follow me on social media (which, if you don’t you totally should! My stuff is always left at the bottom of my posts and on my home page), you would’ve seen that Diego and I spent a week in Phuket, Thailand and were posting a TON of pictures and videos while out there.
So, if you don’t follow me on social media, go do that now and show some loveeeeee to my Thailand posts 🤗❤️!
Sorry it’s taken me so long to finally get this post up, it was a little difficult getting back into the swing of things while dealing with jet-lag (if you’ve ever traveled a long distance and/or dealt with this, you know what I’m talking about); but I’m officially back in business, and so happy to finally be too! 🙂
Anyway, this is a trip that I actually completely planned out for us in order to celebrate Diego’s 25th birthday (which was on April 9th). It was a surprise trip that I’ve had cooking for us for about 6 months.
I actually can’t even believe how fast time went by leading up to the trip and then how fast the trip itself went by as well…ugh tragic. Again, if you’ve traveled really anywhere before that you were super excited about, you can probably relate.
Regardless, I’m excited to be able to completely relive the trip with you guys and give you the complete 4-1-1 on Phuket!
It’s probably going to be a long one though, so grab a snack and beware! haha
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Travel Time & Layover
The first thing I want to speak about is the travel time itself and what all of that was like.
The flight in total for us was about 22 hours (more or less the same going and coming).
Our first flight, GOING, was about 15 hours to Shanghai, China. Personally, even though the flight was long, it really wasn’t that bad for me because I (by some miracle) managed to sleep through relatively the entire thing, literally have no idea how, but there are just some things I’ve learned not to question haha.
Once we landed in Shanghai, we were there for our layover for a total of 13-hours.
It was actually really cool because we had made sure to set aside extra money to be able to travel to the heart of the city and explore a bit in order to kill time. It was a really interesting, fun experience and technically means we got to travel to 2 different countries within this one trip.
While there, like I said, we got to travel to the heart of the city and see “The Bund,” which apparently to New Yorkers would be like our Times Square. It wasn’t as lively and packed as I thought it would be in comparison to Times Square, but that’s also probably just because we got there at like 5am so everything was just opening and everyone was just waking up/starting their days.
We really lucked out because the weather was absolutely beautiful the entire day that we were here (70 degrees more or less), and it was PERFECT for walking around and being able to explore.
We were in Shanghai for the majority of Saturday, and I’m not exactly sure if Saturday in general is some sort of holy day for the Chinese culture or it just so happened that the specific Saturday we were there was a holy holiday or holiday in general, but SOMETHING was going on because there were crowds of people everywhere and celebrations going on for something lol.
You would think that because we’re New Yorkers we would be used to those kinds of crowds, which to some extent we were, but generally, we don’t typically like crowds so it was still kind of a lot for us.
While walking around though we were able to find this place that sold dumplings (which Diego was DYING to be able to try when we got to China), along with also finding a Starbucks!!
As you guys know, I’m SUCH a picky eater, so my biggest stress when traveling is the food aspect, but I was very pleasantly surprised to find that I actually LOVED these dumplings, so that was pretty cool. Although as far as trying Starbucks in another country, I wasn’t the biggest fan of it to be honest.
Regardless, we somehow managed to completely walk around the city AND find our way back to our starting-point all while also having ample time to be able to get back to the airport for our flight (THANK GOD Diego is good with directions).
Before we knew it though, it was time to head back to the airport to catch our next flight to our main destination, THAILAND!!
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The specific flight getting to Thailand was not at all bad because it was only 5 hours long, so it was a complete breeze in comparison to our first one. We ended up landing in Phuket at 10pm their time, and by the time we went through customs, found our car service and actually GOT to the hotel, it was about 11-11:30pm.
I’m actually SO disappointed in myself for not taking NEARLY as many hotel pictures as I should have.
Normally I would take like a zillion of the room itself, the surroundings of the hotel, etc., but for some reason this time around, I barely got ANY. I suppose it was from all the excitement and fun we were having, but still…UGH!!
Anyway, because I wasn’t able to take that many pictures of the hotel and its surroundings, I’m going to be using some images of them from the actual hotel site to give you guys an idea (which I obviously do not own).
I do have a few pictures of my own, that which I’ll be sure to pinpoint for you guys.
I literally don’t think I can say enough amazing things about this place. But for starters, I guess I should tell you guys the name of it right? Haha. The name of the hotel was Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort And Spa.
The pools, the food, the drinks, the surroundings, the PEOPLE, the workers, the service?! All AMAZING. Checking in and out was SO quick and easy. All of the staff members were so nice and accommodating for anything/everything we needed; it was really a great all around experience.
Karon beach was also located directly across the street from the hotel, so that was super fun and convenient (although the waves at the beach were kinda ridiculously strong!! 😭).
For our particular trip package, I had chosen to get a Romantic Room, with a private plunge pool (a.k.a. Jacuzzi), pictures of which are shown above. The room was pretty spacious and comfy, and was cleaned daily.
As I had mentioned earlier on in the post, the main purpose of this trip was to be able to celebrate Diego and his 25th birthday, so you guys KNOW I had to do a little something extra for him, especially since we were out of the country and I couldn’t get him any balloons or cake like I typically would.
So, I coordinated with one of the ladies at the front desk (who was SO sweet and helpful the entire time we were here and I really wish I had gotten her name to be able to give her a special shout-out 😩), and managed to be able to get them to decorate our room a bit for him AND accommodate us with a steak dinner and complimentary wine (which he LOVED).
It wasn’t much, but it was all SO perfect, and he was so surprised and loved every minute of it, which made me very happy to see.
We met so many amazing people in the hotel alone that it was actually really bittersweet when we left (for more reasons then one obviously, but one of the biggest was because of the people). SO many that came up to us personally to say goodbye and wish us safe travels back home, and some that even asked if we would be back next year to celebrate their new year with them (which we were literally JUST missing by like a day or 2).
They were all just so friendly and genuine that it just made our trip THAT much better honestly.
100% recommend this hotel to anyone that is looking to travel to Thailand.
And for those wondering, we booked our package (which included flights going & coming, hotel, car service and an excursion) through travelocity.com.
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While on our trip we actually managed to do and see A LOT which was great because we were both a little worried about what the jet-lag may or may not do to us throughout the trip; BUT luckily, it really didn’t affect us much during the day so we definitely took advantage of that.
I’m going to breakdown everything we did and saw by the days that we were there since we did something new every single day.
Day 1, Monday, April 8th: Wat Chalong Temple & Big Buddha!
This was technically our first official day out and about on the town. I didn’t have much planned for us because like I said, we weren’t sure how jet-lagged we were going to be, so I figure, why not do some sight-seeing? So that’s exactly what we did.
We went to see 2 of the biggest and most famous Buddhist landmarks (so to speak) in Thailand. They were also both free which was a plus.
As fun as both of these things were to see and learn about, I actually felt REALLY bad because I went into this wearing a tank top and shorts (what did I know?), and once I got there was asked to put these longer garments on to cover-up out of respect for the Temples and Buddha.
Now as I said, what did I know? But I just felt bad because had I known, or someone told me, I would’ve gone into this much more covered up. What was good was that they had these garments on hand for all women that were showing too much skin, so I obviously was not the first and would not be the last, but nonetheless, me being how I am I just wish I would’ve known.
Overall though it was a really great time and great way to soak in some Thai culture.
We also even got to sign these tiles (which were extra, we paid to do this part)!! So within The Big Buddha, I suppose they’re still doing a ton of construction of some sort, so right outside of it they were selling these plain white tiles to be able to sign and eventually it will be used to continue construction IN the Buddha. I mean yeah, who’s to say it’ll actual happen and who knows if we’ll ever get to go back and see this at all, but it was still a cute little thing for us to be able to do to leave our “mark” in Thailand 😅❤️
Day 2, Tuesday, April 9th (A.K.A. Diego’s birthday!! ❤ ): Tiger Kingdom!!
Although I knew that he would end up loving EVERYTHING I had planned for us throughout this trip, I thought that, out of everything, Tiger Kingdom particularly would be his favorite on his birthday.
THAT was definitely an experience.
100% recommend to anyone that is interested in doing this but may be a little on the fence about it for one reason or another.
As I mentioned in my Instagram post when I posted some of these, please keep any and all comments about animal cruelty away and out of this post. If for whatever reason you do have a comment or concern about these, feel free to DM and/or email me privately for us to discuss it.
I hear it all the time, and I heard it during our time here about these Tigers being beaten, starved, and/or drugged and I just want to let you guys know that me of all people would NEVER in a million years ever go to a place like this that may be harming in any way, shape, or form these creatures.
I made sure to do a LOT of research beforehand, read a lot of reviews and ask a lot of questions. The entire time we were here, all of the caretakers were very caring/loving towards the tigers, giving them treats when they wanted, playing with them very much, etc. AND they were very much active. Obviously they are tigers which are wild animals, so they may not be as active as they would be in the wild, HOWEVER, that doesn’t actually mean that because of that, they are being harmed and/or mistreated.
As I say about everything I experience and share/recommend to you guys, come to your own judgments about this, but we both really enjoyed our time when we were here and never once felt unsafe or uncomfortable because of how the tigers were being treated.
Day 3, Wednesday, April 10th: The Elephant Sanctuary!
This was really an amazing and eye-opening experience for both of us, and was not at all what either of us expected (in the best way possible).
We both went into this thinking we were going to be SUPER interactive with the elephants; feeding them, cleaning them, even riding them, because that’s what we had seen and heard about other places in Thailand that had elephants like this.
It ended up being the complete opposite, I mean, we got to feed and learn about them, but that was it.
Ultimately, this place is exactly what it says in the name, a sanctuary for elephants. In fact, it’s actually a place that rescues elephants from certain places (some, not all) that allows you to do the things that I just mentioned.
Again, make your own judgments about this place and the others, but we did learn a lot about how some of these places actually harm the elephants to be cooperative and actually do these things for us, in subtle ways that we would never really see and/or notice.
And you’re probably thinking, well what’s the difference between this and Tiger Kingdom, and how do you know that’s not the same thing? Truth be told, I don’t, but again, I’m going based off of my own judgments and everything that I saw and learned this day.
By the end of it, we were both SO glad that it didn’t turn out anything like what we originally expected. We did have a great time and learned a lot though, which was enough for us.
Oh, and this particular excursion had lunch included as well, which was just an added bonus 😀
And finally Day 4, Thursday, April 11th: Phi Phi Islands (our last day)
This was another excursion that we were pleasantly surprised about. I don’t really know what we thought or expected, but it ended up being pretty much an all-day thing, from 11am-6pm. We were on a speedboat that was taking us around, and we ended up island hopping to like 4-5 different islands, all in relation to ‘Phi Phi Island’ (which is not just ONE particular island, but in fact several).
There was one island where we got to do some snorkeling, one that had the monkeys on them where we didn’t actually get off the boat, but we got close enough to see the monkeys and have an interaction with them, and 2 that we got to get off and wander on for a while.
All of the islands were absolutely beautiful; white sand and crystal clear blue water….absolutely stunning.
This excursion also had lunch included in it and was actually the one that I had booked with my entire vacation package that I mentioned earlier.
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Diego and I had the most AMAZING time while in Thailand. It was literally probably some of the best experiences of our lives thus far and I hope you guys enjoyed this post of me/us being able to somewhat relive the trip while also having it be as informative as possible (without being TOO long, although that part was probably inevitable haha).
It feels SO good to be back to writing and blogging! 😄
Let me know in the comments what you guys thought about our trip, and if you have any questions or want to see any other separate, detailed posts about the trip and vacations in general!
Thank you guys so much for reading, please like, share, follow and comment and I’ll see you guys in the next one!
-Xoxo, LeoGirl ❤