Karolina explores the delights of Thailand for the first time
As someone who’s never travelled to the continent of Asia before, Thailand was somewhere I have always been keen to visit. It’s the ultimate paradise for backpackers, but also a unique, diverse destination with authentic culture and incredible food.
Our trip began in Bangkok – the capital city of Thailand, famous for shopping, street food and many temples. We stayed at the 4* Rembrandt Hotel & Suites; a centrally located hotel with a spectacular view. What’s more, Rembrandt offers a complimentary Tuk-Tuk service to all of its guests. Despite it only being a short ride to the main street, it’s definitely a great experience. Spending our first evening at the hotel’s rooftop bar, sipping on a candyfloss cocktail was a highlight.
Since we were only staying in Bangkok for two nights, the easiest and most time efficient way of exploring the city was by purchasing a hop-on-hop-off boat tour, costing approx. £5 per person for the whole day. We visited landmarks including: The Grand Palace, Temple of Dawn and Khaosan Road. We also took a Tuk-Tuk ride of Bangkok which lasted around 2 hours – another great way of seeing the main sights in a small amount of time. Plus, it is definitely a must when visiting Asia – a very fun and exciting way of learning an abundance of things about the local people of Thailand.
Our next stop was Phi-Phi Islands, just a 1-hour boat ride from Krabi or Phuket. We were booked in to stay at the beautiful Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort – paradise, I must say. Believe it or not, there are actually no cars on the island, so the only way of getting around is by a long-tail boat. The transfer was organised by the resort, which is only a 20-minute boat ride from the main port of Koh Phi Phi. We arrived at the hotel and received the warmest welcome from all staff. Deluxe Bungalow was our room choice and it was perfect - spacious and close to the beach.
The resort itself is amazing, with plenty of things to do for couples and families. There are great excursions on offer, as well as evening entertainment every night of the week. What’s more, the resort does what it can to make a positive impact on the environment. For example, resort’s Marine Discovery Centre features educational displays for all guests.
It is certainly worth taking a day trip out and exploring the nearby beaches as there is plenty to do in Phi Phi. We took a half-day snorkelling day trip, visiting: Viking Caves, Monkey Beach and Maya Beach. We didn’t actually see much of Maya Beach as it is closed for visiting due to the damages of the eco-system. We very much enjoyed our time at the Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort and look forward to returning back one day.
Our final stop on the itinerary was the long-awaited Elephant Hills tour. We were picked up by Elephant Hills transfer provider from our hotel and embarked on a 2-hour drive to the jungle. Once we arrived, we had some time to check-in to our beautiful, luxury tent before participating in an afternoon activity. A big shout out to Elephant Hills for introducing the reusable water bottle scheme across the camp. A great way of reducing plastic pollution but also very convenient for the guests!
The afternoon activity began with a canoe tour along the Sok River, spotting birds, snakes and whatever else came along the way. We then arrived at elephant camp, and I must admit, nothing can prepare you for this ethical, unique experience. It’s a very special feeling, seeing all the elephants in their natural habitat, without being harmed or used for unsustainable, tourism related activities such as elephant trekking. We were given a full brief from our lovely guide on how to wash & feed the elephants – and that’s where all the fun began!
Unfortunately, our activity came to an end and we returned back to the camp, freshened up in our gorgeous tent and headed out for dinner. The next morning, we took off on a 2-hour guided trek in the jungle. After, we checked-out, returned our reusable water bottles, said our goodbyes to the lovely staff at Elephant Hills and before we knew it, we were boarding our flight back to London Gatwick. It was truly one of the best experiences of my life and I’d recommend anyone to visit Thailand and experience what’s on offer.
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