By Candra George, Third Year English
Candra George tells us more about her adventure around some of Thailand's Western Islands and, in conjunction with Travel Aware, gives some tips about how to stay safe.
Thailand is a favourite travel destination for students and you can see why it’s so appealing; from relaxing on white sandy beaches with coconuts, to venturing on boozy cocktail cruises and exploring the neon lights of Bangla road. After trawling through many travel guides I decided to book a two-week break in Thailand in the name of self-care, and as a good way to start exploring Asia. Thailand has something for everyone and you will most likely discover things that you didn’t know you liked. But the task of planning a trip can be daunting, so I thought I would share what I learnt from my time in Thailand, and give you some travel inspiration.
For my trip I didn’t have the chance to visit Thailand’s capital of Bangkok because of my flights, but it is definitely on my list for future trips! I spent my time on the Western Islands of Thailand: Phuket, Phi Phi and Krabi.
Phuket is a great way to throw yourself into the business and ordered chaos of Thailand. I spent my time here eating lots of tofu Phad Thai, coconut ice cream and banana crepes - all of which Thailand is famous for. If you want to sample all of these on a budget, then head to Thailand’s Night Food Markets where you will get to experience all the wonders of street food. I visited the Phuket Indy Night Markets (which are only open on the weekends) but there are Night Markets all over the island so just ask your hotel or hostel for recommendations.
Another must-have experience is the bustling and bizzare ‘Bangla Road’. Tourists often refer to it as the Las Vegas of Asia and it's easy to see why, with buckets of alcohol (they don’t measure their spirits - keep this in mind) for less than £4 so you are in for a wild night! Bangla road can be chaotic so make sure you stick with your mates and check in with each other on WhatsApp if you have to split up.
Finally, for those animal lovers I’d highly recommend ‘Phuket Elephant Jungle Sanctuary’ for an opportunity to meet, feed and bathe rescued elephants. This excursion like many others in Thailand also includes your transport to and from the Sanctuary and a free cooking class and meal. For cultural sites, it is easy to barter for a tuk tuk to take you to visit religious sites such as the ‘Big Buddha’ and temples such as ‘Wat Chalong’ - just remember that you will be expected to dress modestly or wear a shawl.
Getting to Phi Phi is fairly easy, as regular ferries depart from Phuket to Phi Phi and it only takes around two hours to get there. Many travellers just spend the day in Phi Phi as the island is considerably smaller than Phuket, however to fully experience the island I would recommend at least two days there. For those looking for island life, Phi Phi is where you’ll find it! So treat yourself to a traditional Thai massage on the beach where you can hear the ocean waves as you find your bliss.
Phi Phi offers stunning views as the island has many hiking routes where you can view both sides of the island. These hikes are best done early to get the best Instagram pictures and to avoid sunburn! Phi Phi is a great place to try Thai Iced Coffee which is made with condensed milk and is a great treat after a day of shopping at the markets. Finally, if you have time, check out the island’s ‘Reggae Bar’ which holds Muay Thai Boxing matches after 9pm where professionals and beginners enter fights and are rewarded with a free bucket.
View this post on Instagram
When in Thailand check that your insurance covers you for any adventure activities. 🏊🏼♂️Take care when swimming in coastal areas, especially during monsoon season. 🏊🏽♀️Take care when swimming, diving, kayaking or white water rafting in rivers or close to waterfalls. Currents can be extremely strong. #travelaware #thailand #kohphiphi #swimming #travel SBA 📷credit: @donohoj
- Many travellers rent out motorbikes to help them explore the island, however driving in Thailand is very different to the UK and tourists can find themselves in traffic accidents. A backpacker I meant in Phuket fractured his leg in one of these accidents so I would advise exploring the island by foot (you never know what you’ll find) or getting tuk tuks which are very affordable.
- To avoid getting ill travellers should avoid drinking tap water in most areas of Thailand. However, to avoid purchasing plastic bottles, bring a reusable bottle with you and ask your hotel or hostel to re-fill it for you when possible.
- Thailand has so many exciting activities and excursions that you never know what you’ll end up trying out. I went rock climbing for the first time on Railay Beach which had picturesque views. However, make sure you have the correct type of travel and medical insurance before taking part in these sporting activities.
For more travel inspiration and advice follow @TravelAware on Instagram.
Featured Image credit: Unsplash / Robin Noguier
Find The Croft Magazine inside every copy of Epigram Newspaper