Thailand Travel Guide

 

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We did Thailand in 3 different parts so I will break it down by area and by days. You can read all about our “Thailand 101”, things we wish we knew before our trip, here. Husband helped put this guide together, so enjoy!

Phuket

We started our Thailand journey in Phuket and we weren’t blown away as we thought we should be. The real magic happens in Phi Phi island and I can go on and on and on about Phi Phi island. First, lets start with Phuket!

Hotel: U Zenmaya

We weren’t INSANELY crazy about this hotel. I think it had to do with the location. The view was amazing on one side (cliff with an infinity pool) but on the other side it was on a busy highway. We did like that they had a tuk tuk service, to downtown Phuket that ran all day! We also were obsessed with the Chicken Curry and Pineapple juice at breakfast. Breakfast with the cliff view in the morning. Here is a little about what we did with our day in Patong

Day 1: Phuket 

  • Went to the pool for a couple hours. No one was there & the view was unbelievable. Sadly the beer was way over priced
  • We took a shuttle to Patong the center & walked to the beach (beach wasn’t anything special)
  • We walked Patong’s main street and had fresh fruit and then had pad Thai for $3
  • After dinner we got Thai massages. Ted and I freaked out about if we should take off our clothes or not. Ted took off his pants and I yelled at him to put them back on haha Ted basically was in a wrestling match the entire massage and did not enjoy it. I looked over and the girl was jumping all over his back!
  • We walked around Patong street at night and it was so dirty, worse than Bourbon street (we even saw a couple rats and I shed tears of fear every time I see one)!

Phi Phi Island

 We didn’t really know that it would take more than half a day to get over to Phi Phi island. Since I am such a beach girl, I wish we would have skipped Patong and just went straight to Phi Phi since it was so magical. We only had 1 night booked here but we instantly called the airlines once we arrived and extended our stay to 2 nights. The water was SO blue. Here is a little of our itinerary.

Hotel: Phi Phi Island Village Resort 

We couldn’t recommend this hotel enough! It actually reminded us of our honeymoon. It was a resort with huts on the property and about a 10 minute long tail boat ride from the main village. It is a very clean, excellent service, food, and amenities. The price was like $130 a night for a insanely nice resort! The adult pool was unreal and very modern! I especially loved that behind the hotel was a small small village of local shops and restaurants. This is where we booked our long tail boats. The village is mainly for the resort and you can walk from your hut to here. There also was hotel restaurants majority of the time we wanted local experiences so we would walk to town!

Day 2: Phi Phi Island

  • The ferry was in total a 5 hour trek from the hotel in Patong to hotel in Phi Phi. From the ferry ride, we took a long tail boat to Phi Phi Island Village resort.
  • Checked in and changed right into our swims. Hung out and ate by the pool and the beach. We discovered a small village behind the hotel that was full of locals with small little restaurants, massage places, bars, and travel guides.
  • We went back here for dinner and some drinks. All sand on the roads and was the best time. So authentic and local!
  • Also, we were able to find a place that could give us a 4 hour private boat tour to all the islands for 12$ a person….this place is cheap lol

Day 3: Phi Phi Island 

  • Had breakfast and sat by the adult only pool. It was so my favorite pool area (SO NICE)
  • Ordered a few drinks, relaxed a little while we charged up and get ready for our private boat trip!
  • The boat tour was amazing! We had 2 options to choose from, either take a speed boat, or a long tail boat
    • We did the long tail boat for 2 reasons
      • 1. The price was a quarter of the cost compared to the speed boat
      • 2. The long tail boat is so adorable and so authentic! We had so much fun riding this boat, that it made the trip that much more enjoyable!
  • We took four stops on our trip
    • First stop was to a secluded bay
      • The water was soooo clear it was unbelievable! I really regret not bringing a go pro so I could capture the experience first hand.
      • There were giant cliffs in the background, which added to its intrigue. I don’t know how else to explain it! It was just so surreal
    • Second stop was to Maya Bay
      • This was considered to be a top 10 beach in the world (where The Beach was filmed)
      • The long tail boat doesn’t have the strength to actually drop us off into the bay (bc of currents), but there was a back way to get in
        • The back way included:
          • Jumping off the boat into the water
          • Swimming to a rope ladder
          • Climbing the rope ladder about 20 ft high
          • And then walking across the island to the beach
        • Quite the adventure!
      • Needless to say, the hype was real. The place was absolutely stunning!
        • The downside – it was sooo sooo crowded. It’s unfortunate how crowds can bring down a place, but the place was a little dirty in some spots because there were so many tourists around (including us haha).
    • Third stop – MONKEY BEACH
      • As the boat approached the shore, the monkeys began to swim towards us. At first, I thought this was so adorable. Then when they jumped into the boat and started grabbing all the food is when I began to scream and panic lol!
      • You really couldn’t pet the monkeys (nor did I have any interest too lol), but they would let you hand them food. IT was definitely a totally different experience, and I would highly recommend it to anyone that visits.
    • Fourth Stop, Lan Say
      • This was the main village area, where there were tons of shops, restaurants and massage spots.
      • I really enjoyed this area, mainly to the island feel and the authenticity of the people there. I just walked around the village with a huge smile on my face.
  • After we were done with the tour, we paid a late night taxi (another long tail boat), to take us back to the hotel. Riding the boat at night is both scary, and amazing. The weather was great, the stars were bright, and the breeze was just right.

Day 4: Travel Day to Bangkok 

This day was 100% travel, as detailed below

  • 7am check out
  • 8am speed boat ride back to Phuket
  • 9:30am arrival to phuket
  • 10am transfer to airport by Taxi
  • 11:45am Arrival to airport
  • 2:30pm Flight to Bangkok
  • 4:30pm arrival in Bangkok
  • 4:30-5:30 in regret for 1 hour not doing our research on the best way to get to the hotel (haha)
  • 5:30 No longer in regret since a taxi ride was 12$ to our hotel (which was a 1 hour drive away)
  • 7pm check into the hotel
  • 8pm get settled and Ted needed to call airlines book his work flight back to S. Korea
  • somewhere between 8:30-9pm I passed out
  • 7am next day I realized I slept through the whole night lol

I am literally sharing all this so you can get a better idea of travel time, etc! We thought we would just hop over to different cities like we did on our Spain trip but this was completely different. So much travel time needed!

Bangkok

I think we loved Bangkok so much because we did it right. My sister would have been like what the heck because you can legit travel Bangkok for like $20 a day. We decided to “splurge” on the hotel meaning book a 5 star hotel for like $150 a night. We also got a personal driver to drive us around, keep all our stuff in the car, and just help us get around the city for like $50 the entire day. My uber from my house to the airport is $35 so we thought this was a steal!

Hotel: Avani River Side 

Y’all, this hotel was another favorite. The views were incredible, they had white marble everywhere, everything was SO clean, and the breakfast was one of our favorites! This was our kind of hotel. Everything was new and they even would change the floor mats in the elevator everyday to the day of the week. We couldn’t recommend this hotel enough! They also had a ferry boat running to the night market. && you can’t forget Avani rooftop pool! Gosh the views are incredible and had such a friendly staff!

Day 5 && 6: Bangkok

  • We just explored the city! We did the night market on the river which we loved
  • HIGHLY suggest the night market, one of our favorites and I got a personalized #raadstravel passport holder here!
  • Dinner on the rooftop of Avani also was incredible. It was Attitude and we loved their fun drinks. If you don’t stay at Avani, I would suggest coming here for dinner one night!
  • We went to the floating market and I wasn’t CRAZY about it, only because the water looked nasty and I swear our boat broke down on us like every second. There also was a guy with a snake just chillen in one of the markets and I nearly barfed. It really was a cool experience after we survived it!
  • Khao San Road is the heart of Bangkok! Several people recommended it and it was a strip of markets, food, and just people. We did a lot of souvenir shopping here!
  • Cashmere Suit: we knew this was a must while in Bangkok! We went early morning one morning to get Ted fitted. We had to go back later that evening to get him fitted one more time. They ended up shipping us his finished Cashmere suit and WE ARE SO IMPRESSED. We definitely will continue to be ordering Teds suites from this guy!
  • Sky Bar with a dome: this also is a must! We ended our night here before we had to leave to the airport. I kept reading you had to make reservations so I had our hotel conciegre set it up for us. I don’t remember anyone asking for our information once we arrived. It had a BEAUTIFUL view of Bangkok with a gold dome and a bar. It kinda was scary but a memory that I won’t forget. Hangover 3 was filmed here!
  • After sky bar, the perfect way to end Thailand was with our last Thai massage. We walked on over to this massage place called Silom Bodyworks. It was probably our favorite massage place! Very clean, nice, and our best massage!

Also I am SO excited to share our first #raadstravel youtube video!! Enjoy babes!

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Banff Calgary Travel Diaries

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Sweater: Topshop | Jeans: Wit and Wisdom | Boots: Sam Edelman | Jacket: Leith
Dress Up Buttercup, dede raad, houston blogger, fashion blogger, Banff and Calgary Travel Guide
Thermal: Socialite | Jacket: Caslon | Jeans: AG Jeans | Boots: Hindge
Dress Up Buttercup, dede raad, houston blogger, fashion blogger, Banff and Calgary Travel Guide

Dress Up Buttercup, dede raad, houston blogger, fashion blogger, Banff and Calgary Travel Guide
Dress Up Buttercup, dede raad, houston blogger, fashion blogger, Banff and Calgary Travel Guide
Dress Up Buttercup, dede raad, houston blogger, fashion blogger, Banff and Calgary Travel Guide
Sweater: Love by Design | Jeans: Wit and Wisdom | Shoes: Sam Edelman
Dress Up Buttercup, dede raad, houston blogger, fashion blogger, Banff and Calgary Travel Guide
Dress Up Buttercup, dede raad, houston blogger, fashion blogger, Banff and Calgary Travel Guide
Tee: Lush | Jeans: AG Jeans | Boots: Hindge
Dress Up Buttercup, dede raad, houston blogger, fashion blogger, Banff and Calgary Travel Guide
Shirt: Wayf |Jeans: AG Jeans | Bag: Sole Society  | Necklace: Bauble Bar
Dress Up Buttercup, dede raad, houston blogger, fashion blogger, Banff and Calgary Travel Guide
Shirt: Halogen | Jeans: AG Jeans | Shoes: Sam Edelman | Bag: Sole Society
Dress Up Buttercup, dede raad, houston blogger, fashion blogger, Banff and Calgary Travel Guide

 

Blackstone Mountain Lodge by Clique : This place is so stinking cute! It is surrounded by other lodges that all had the same cozy feel to them. We stayed in Canmore and the location couldn’t of been better since it was only about a three minute drive into the town center which was filled with little shops and a ton of resturants! It is about an hour drive to Lake Louise so we stayed up there all day and came back in the evening. The drive to Banff is only 25 minutes from our hotel which we loved! Im glad we stayed in Canmore since Banff can be very crowded with tons of tourists! We got a good deal through the Hotel Tonight app.

Hyatt Regency Downtown Calgary: After staying three nights in Canmore, we decided to drive back to Calgary to check out the city life and it did not disappoint! We loved staying at the Hyatt since it was located right in the middle of downtown and so close to so many shops and restaurants! I would highly recommend this place if you are staying in Calgary!

Breakfast:

Poppy Brasserie: This restaurant is actually located inside the Fairmont on Lake Louise that had such a beautiful view. We ate at the brunch buffet and I was a big fan since there was so many options to choose from.  Highly recommend after your canoe ride on the lake!

Tooloulous: This cute little place in Banff was all the rave from the locals so we had to check it out. The line was actually out the door but we decided to wait and only took about 25 minutes to be seated but it was so worth it! There were soo many choices, I have never seen a breakfast menu that large before.

Rocky Mountain Bagel Company: This place was also the talk of the town! Who knew bagels were such a favorite! There was a little bit of a line but nothing too bad. I got the breakfast lox bagel and if you’re a fan of salmon then I would recommend this!!

Yellow Door Bistro: The cutest brunch spot I ever did see! I was obsessed with the decor in this place, it is so cute! I got the continental breakfast which included all the basics (bacon, eggs, potatoes, toast) and it was actually my favorite breakfast I had eaten all trip!

Lunch/Dinner:

The Grizzly Paw Brewing  Company: This was the first place we went to when we got into Canmore. We sat outside on the patio and it was such a cute setting in the middle of the town center.

The Wood Restaurant and Grill: We sat outside and it was so beautiful with all the mountains surrounding us. The food was super yummy, I had a veggie sandwich. There drink selection is good too!

Graze: This place was alright, nothing too special. The service was slow and the food was pretty basic. We didn’t love it but didn’t hate it.

Tavern 183: We went on a friday night and they had a live band which I loved. The outdoor patio was nice too. It was pretty chilly but they had heat warmers! I loved the chipotle chicken tacos and the white sangria!

Earls: Okay this was the cutest place of the trip, if you go, you must sit outside. The patio is the cutest and is filled with beautiful flowers. We went for happy hour and I got the margarita pizza, coconut shrimp and of course it wouldn’t be HH without some white wine!

Lake Louise: This spot is so beautiful its hard to put into words. The canoe ride is a must! Although it is pretty pricey, it is so worth it! I would recommend going as early as you can because it gets very crowded! Make sure to keep your life jacket on or else they will come out to you on a speed boat and tell you to put it back on like they did to me!! haha! Anything for a perfect instagram picture! The Fairmont hotel is located right on the lake and it is stunning! Great for pictures! There are also many hiking trails around the property which we went on one! It was about a 30 minute hike to the Fairmont overlook which was beautiful! They also have a “teahouse” hike which you can hike up to a tea house. We didn’t do it but sounds fun!

Lake Moraine: Sadly we didn’t get a chance to go here but I’ve heard nothing but great things about this lake! If you get the chance to go then do it because I heard the views are breathtaking!

Banff Gondola: We decided to take a ride up the Banff Gondola because we heard that the view was amazing! It took less than five minutes to get up there, I would recommend going early to avoid long lines. We went around 9 and we went right to the front. Once we were at the top, the views were amazing! There are also some cafes and a nicer restaurant if you wanted to grab a bite to eat!

National on 8th : This is a rooftop bar in downtown Calgary that we were told to go to by some locals! Once we first walked up to it there was a huge line to get in so we decided to go to a bar across the street and grab a drink. The line went down after a bit so we were able to go in! The views from the top were pretty cool since it is surrounded by all the tall buildings! They were playing throwback music all night which I was all about!

Town of Banff: This little town is so cute! After eating breakfast we got to walk around and see all the little shops and other restaurants. I wish we got to spend more time here because there is so much to do!

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Thailand 101

Travel Blog, basics traveling to Thailand, Thailand 101, things you need to know for Thailand
Travel Blog, basics traveling to Thailand, Thailand 101, things you need to know for Thailand
Travel Blog, basics traveling to Thailand, Thailand 101, things you need to know for Thailand
Travel Blog, basics traveling to Thailand, Thailand 101, things you need to know for Thailand
Travel Blog, basics traveling to Thailand, Thailand 101, things you need to know for Thailand
Travel Blog, basics traveling to Thailand, Thailand 101, things you need to know for Thailand
Shorts: Leith | Top: Dolce Vita | Romper: Show Me Your Mumu

Before diving deep into our Thailand / South Korea travel diaries next week, I wanted to put together a Thailand 101 quick tips guide. Ted and I mentioned how we wish we knew all of these tips while planning our trip. Granted, we barely did research and just booked our flights without knowing much about Thailand, but it would have been nice to know:

  • Bangkok, being the capital, is such a big city. Saying that,  you would assume you need to spend a lot of time here, but actually, you only need a couple nights here. For the actual touristy islands and elephant sanctuaries, they are in other cities, which is a plane rides away.
  • Phuket is another city on the beach, but the beaches are not as nice as Phi Phi Island. We thought we should stay in Phuket since it was so popular, but in reality we should have stayed in Phi Phi Island longer.
  • Phi Phi Island is about a 2.5 hour ferry ride from Phuket, BUT another 1 hour drive to the dock. You also can take a speed boat for 1 hour, which is much pricer but worth it in our opinion. We did the ferry on the way there and the speed boat on the way back. The closest airport for Phi Phi island is in Phuket.
  • Phi Phi island was by far our favorite! You must rent a long tail boat and have a local take you around to the small islands. It is such a unique place!
  • Chiang Mai is another must city which we had no idea about…. we WISH we did. Chiang Mai is where the elephant sanctuaries are located.
  • If you are looking to swim and play with elephants, if it’s not a sanctuary, the elephants are not treated correctly. Little did we know you would need to go to Chiang Mai for the sanctuaries. It is either a plane ride or train away from Bangkok. You can’t drive there!
  • Everything is reasonably priced, you just have to negotiate. Negotiating on the streets is a thing. Ted got a $70 bag down to $30 for my mom. We also stayed at 5 star resorts for about $100-150 a night.
  • In Bangkok, we also paid a taxi driver to stay with us for 2 days and take us wherever and only charged us around $50 a day
  • Pad Thai was around $3 and Thai massages were around $8

In reality, we kinda wish we did more research so these are things we learned along the way! I will be doing a step by step travel diary within the next few weeks since I know a lot of you have Thailand on your bucket list (& you need too add it if you don’t)! There is always so much to learn in a new country but these were some of the key basics we wish we knew!

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10 Travel Tips for a Long Flight

10 Travel Tips to Survive a Long Flight

 

 

Sweatshirt: Wildfox or here | Shoes: Dr Scholls | Jeans: J Brand | Suitecase: Delsey

During my 24 hour journey to and from Asia, I thought to myself, I think I have this long flight traveling down. I have been on long flights my entire life and started when I was a little girl. Mom use to take us to the Middle East all the time to see her family, China to experience culture, and South America since dad used to buy jackets and sell them at a flee market here in Houston. This is definitely where my wanderlust comes into play and I am so thankful for the long flights along the way! Here are some travel tips I noted on the flight  that I think you may find useful:

  1. Neck pillow: No matter if I am in the aisle, middle, or window, a neck pillow will save me every time. I get very creative while trying to sleep on a plane and it is always 100x better when I bring my neck pillow along.
  2. Pack warm socks & wear slip on shoesI wear these slip on shoes all the time because they are super comfy and easy to throw off and on whenever I want. It’s so unrealistic to wear heels on a long flight and expect to strap yourself in every time you want to get up. I try to get out of my seat and walk around every time someone needs to get up in my row. Taking this opportunity helps with the blood flow! Also, I am not a fan of sleeping with my shoes on, who is? Warm fuzzy socks always do the trick! Just please don’t be that passenger that goes to the bathroom with your socks on because I do judge those who do!
  3. Layers: Dressing in layers is key! Even Ted dresses in layers because you can never guess the airplanes temperature. It always is fluctuating but if you have a jacket, a scarf, etc. you will be good to go. The worst flights for me have been when I am freezing cold and I don’t have anything to keep me warm!
  4. Sleeping mask: Sleeping on the plane is by far my favorite thing to do to pass time quickly. The sound of the white noise on the plane instantly knocks me out! What wakes me up is that darn passenger in the window seat who decided to keep his window open. A mask literally saves me every time. This is something I forget often so if you do, ask for an extra blanket and throw it over your head. 99% of the time I am wearing a baseball cap and this helps drape the cover over my face without suffocating me.
  5. Bring your own entertainment: I got this tip from Ted and it saved me on the last trip. The plane TV wasn’t working for me, but luckily I had all the Bachelorettes downloaded on my phone to watch on the flight! I was so thankful I decided to keep all of them for the flight and I literally had 8 hours of entertainment! You never can depend on the plane TV so downloading your own shows or movies is a good back up! Watching movies on the plane is probably my second favorite pass time. I watched Why Him? The Founder, and Hidden Figures (all such good movies and I am not a movie person)! Or organizing my photos and deleting old ones is also good entertainment!
  6. Noise Canceling Headphones: You can’t enjoy a good movie with a baby screaming in the background or a passenger snoring up a storm. Ted and I swear by these headphones and we each have our own!
  7. Portable Charger: My last flight home from Japan, my phone died and we lost the portable charger. I was miserable to say the least. We ordered 2 of these and I also just got this “smart” suitcase in the mail that has a built in charger, so we hopefully won’t run into this problem anymore! I was dependent on the airplane to have a charger and of course they didn’t so I sat and twiddled my thumbs for a couple hours!
  8. Sanitation wipes & travel size spray: I am not an organized freak, but I am for sure a clean freak. I tend to get really grossed out by the tray tables yet I sleep all over them. I put my feet on the tray table, I lay my neck pillow and my face on the tray table, so sanitation wipes are a MUST. I get so grossed out when I forget them. Also, I have sat next to 2 nice dudes in the last month that just smelt. Being stuck on a 10+ hour flight with them is NO FUN. Luckily, I packed my travel size febreze wrinkle spray so I kept spraying it on my arm and smelling my arm. Hopefully you don’t sit next to someone that stinks, but just in case!
  9. Passport holder with a pen:  I can’t tell you how many times I have had to ask my neighbor for a pen. If only I just had a pen with a passport holder, I would be set. I traveled with this passport holder that was by far my favorite! It also held our boarding passes and any extra papers. Would make a good gift!
  10. Hot sauce & mustard: This is going to sound SO SILLY, but pack a baby tabasco sauce and mustard packages into your carry on and you will be glad you did when the airplane food gets served. I literally made fun of my sister before getting on the 12 hour flight because she had these two packed in her bag, but I wasn’t laughing at her for long. When the plain eggs came around or the sauceless ham and cheese sandwich, I was begging her to share lol!

Another extra tip: I have heard ginger ale is so good for you while up in the air. I haven’t done the research, but I just order it every time I travel now haha and if I can’t sleep, a glass of wine will do the trick! I try to stay away from caffeine if I know I am about to hop on a plane and I always don’t mind if I am not getting much sleep the night before a flight. 

PHEW so long but I hope these tips help you! I know a lot of you will be traveling this summer and I am so excited for you! Would love to hear where you are off too next?! & PS these tips also can be for short flights!

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