Phuket, Thailand

Phuket is an island of Thailand and is known its beautiful beaches and exciting party scene.  We knew if we ever had the chance to visit Thailand, then Phuket was a place we wanted to see and experience.

We flew from Chiang Mai to Phuket and immediately felt the shift in energy. While Chiang Mai was quiet and peaceful, Phuket was energetic and filled with people ready to party and have some fun. It was a nice shift to feel after having spent four nights relaxing and rejuvenating in Chiang Mai.

Phuket’s streets are lined with markets, restaurants, bars and is home to Bangla Road, where you can find a very active nightlife scene. Bangla road is located right in the middle of Patong Beach, which is a beach resort town on the west coast of the island. If you go to Phuket, Bangla Road is definitely a site to see!

Kata Beach

After spending a few days soaking up the sun on Patong Beach we were looking for a change of pace so we decided to visit Kata Beach. Our hotel offered free shuttle ride to and from Kata so we decided to take advantage of it and explore a different part of the island. The ride from our hotel to Kata Beach was about fifteen to twenty minutes. Kata was much quieter then Patong beach and the sand seemed to be much cleaner. There was also a man renting out umbrellas and sand mats so we rented both for about $2. The water was also much clearer in Kata than it was in Patong Beach. We spent the day swimming in the ocean and relaxing. There were also many resorts near Kata beach, all of which looked very nice.

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Accommodations:

We were originally going to stay on the northern part of Phuket because it is known to be a bit more relaxing but after doing some research we decided to stay on the southern part of the island because we wanted a bit more activity and we wanted to be closer to the night life that Phuket is known for. We chose to stay in Patong Beach at the Amari Resort which is located right on the water and about a five minute walk from Bangla Road. The resort is a big and is located close enough to all of the nightlife but just far enough away from the commotion to still feel like a retreat. The pools were beautiful and overlooked the ocean. The breakfast buffet was huge, and filled with every type of food you could imagine, including many gluten free options.

Our Eats:

La Gritta

The resort has three different restaurants. We chose to eat at the Italian restaurant located on the property one evening and had a wonderful time. The food was excellent and they had plenty of gluten free options. The chef visited with us at our table and made sure to accommodate Mrs. Traveling Honeymooners gluten free needs. The best part was the views! The restaurant sits right on the edge of the bay which gives you views of the gorgeous sunset, Phuket is known for.

No. 9 on 2nd Street

Our last night in Phuket, we really wanted some yummy thai food in a casual setting.  We took a tuk tuk from our hotel to No. 9 which took about ten minutes and arrived at the small restaurant. Since the restaurant only has about fifteen tables, we had to wait a little while before we could be seated.  No. 9 had been recommended to us multiple times by fellow travelers and friends so we knew we couldn’t go wrong by trying it. Mrs. Traveling Honeymooner had no issue ordering her favorite thai dish, chicken with steamed vegetables while Mr. Traveling Honeymooner loved his pad thai. If you are looking for traditional Thai food, this is the place to go!

Rustic Eatery & Bar

After eating Thai food three weeks straight, Mr. Traveling Honeymooner was craving some good Italian food. We had walked by Rustic multiple times during our stay and it looked warm and inviting so we decided to try it. I wish I had taken more pictures of the inside of the restaurant to show how cozy it was. We were seated in the back wine room where we were greeted by the chef himself. The chef walked us through the specials and offered us wine paring options for our meal. The meal was fantastic! It was the perfect Italian meal!

During our stay we also stopped by the street markets to get Mrs. Traveling Honeymooner her favorite drink, fresh coconut water. In Thailand, they serve the coconut whole, and cut it open when you purchase it and it is delicious!!!

Overall, we had a blast in Phuket. We just wish we had more time to spend exploring all of the small islands off the coast of Thailand!

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO,

The Traveling Honeymooners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Tour of the Phi Phi Islands in Thailand

Visiting the Phi Phi Islands has been on our bucket list for years! Naturally, we were drawn to the crystal clear water and the white sand. We had seen so many pictures of the Phi Phi Islands over the years and we were excited to finally experience this beautiful place for ourselves.

Since this was our first time to Thailand and to Phi Phi Islands, we decided to stay on the mainland and take a day trip to Phi Phi. In hindsight, we are a bit sad that we did not stay on the islands for a few nights. We met a few people that were staying on Phi Phi and they told us that there is a party every night on the beach that lasts all night long! We are sad to have missed out on that experience so I guess that means we will just have to go back right?! Also, if you stay on Phi Phi, you get access to the other part of the island that is less touristy.

Anyway, for our trip we stayed in Pantong Beach which is about and hour ride from the harbor. We had arranged a ride to the harbor through the agency that chartered out join-in day trip and we were picked up at our hotel around 8:30am. Once we were on the boat, it was about and hour ride from the harbor to the islands. During our tour we visited a few different beaches on Koh Phi Phi Ley and Koh Phi Phi Don.

Once we arrived at Phi Phi Islands, we were overwhelmed with the white sand and the clear blue water. We had time to snorkel for a bit and explore each beach. The only downside is that we never wanted to leave!

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Maya Bay Koh Phi Phi Ley

 

 

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Yong Kasem Bay Monkey Beach

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This area of Koh Phi Phi Don is a protected area for monkeys to live, breed and do money things. There were monkeys EVERYWHERE! It was so much fun to see all of them. They all were very friendly toward us and did not seem to mind that we were there.

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Viking Cave on Koh Phi Phi Ley

 

Half way through our tour we were taken to Phi Phi Island Natural Resort to eat lunch. They prepared a large spread of traditional Thai foods like steamed rice, chicken, curry, fruits, etc. Mrs. Traveling Honeymooner stuck with the rice and fruit just to make sure her food was gluten free but Mr. Traveling Honeymooner tried everything and enjoyed it all!

The tour was about seven hours long from Bay to Bay but it still didn’t feel long enough! Next time I think we will take a private tour or a smaller tour (our boat had about 30 people on it) and maybe spend a few nights on one of the islands.

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Thailand- We miss you, your people, your culture, your food, your sites, so much already. We can not wait to visit you again soon!

Thank you for stopping by!

XOXO

The Traveling Honeymooners

 

 

Patara Elephant Farm: Chiang Mai

Visiting elephants in Thailand is a very controversial topic, and we plan to write more about the seedy, dark side of elephant tourism in a later post. However, for this post, we just want to share our wonderful, personal experience we had at Patara Elephant Farm.

After months of research and several recommendations from friends, we decided to visit Patara Elephant Farm in Chiang Mai and we are so glad we did! We chose to participate in the full day experience and we loved very second of it. We were at Patara for eight hours but the time flew by and it felt like we were only there for a short time.

Patara is located in the mountains of Chiang Mai and is about an hour drive from the city. We chose to hire a driver to take us to Patara and pick us up and would recommend doing so if you are interested in visiting Patara.

We started our day by meeting with a Mahout, an elephant care taker, and learned all about Patara, their mission and their elephants. All of Patara’s elephants have been rescued from a poor situation or were born there through their breeding program and are each taken care of by their own Mahout. We LOVE elephants so learning even more about them was really fun.

Next we were introduced to a Mama elephant and her two babies. It was a very humbling experience to be able to feed them their favorite foods (bananas and sugar cane) and be up close and personal with such special creatures.

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After about an hour, our small group of six people walked up the mountain to meet more elephants. We were each assigned an elephant to take care of for the day.

During our visit we gave our elephants massages, checked a variety of things (including their poop to make sure they were healthy), fed them, bathed them, walked through the forest with them, fed them some more and watched them interact with each other the way elephants love to do. They also served us a delicious lunch of local staples like chicken, fruit, rice and coconut cakes. Mrs. Traveling Honeymooner stuck with eating the fruit and rice to be safe. A few of the elephants even joined us for lunch! Did I mention elephants LOVE fruit?! We eventually just fed the elephants all of our fruit and we all walked away happy.

Mrs. Honeymooner of course volunteered Mr. Honeymooner to help the mahout demonstrate how to check the elephants poop.

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As you can probably tell from the photos, elephants love water and they love to play! We had so much fun interacting with the elephants and taking care of them. Patara was definitely one of the major highlights of our trip and we will remember our experiences there for the rest of our lives.

Tips for preparing for Patara:

Patara Elephant Farm only lets twelve people on their property a day, so book well in advance. We booked about eight months in advance and filled up the last two spots they had available for the entire month of November.  To book, you can visit their website by clicking here.

We wore a bathing suit under our clothes and were so glad we did because we got soaked in the river. Make sure to bring an extra change of clothes to change into after your visit. They have clean bathrooms where you can change.

Wear flip flops because tennis shoes may get ruined.

Bring bug spray! The forest is full of misquotes so it is good to make sure you have protection.

Lastly, have a blast!

We hope you get to visit Patara too one day!

Thank you for stopping by!

XOXO

The Traveling Honeymooners

My Thailand Dental Mishap

So we were sitting in the airport in Chiang Mai, waiting for our flight to Phuket and of course…. my permanent retainer comes unglued on one side.

All this girl wanted to do was to eat her paleo protein bar in peace..but the universe had other ideas of how we should spend our day in Thailand.

My first response was to try to finish my protein bar (because I was starving due to oversleeping and missing breakfast) and ignore the fact that I had a sharp wire protruding from my lower jaw but that didn’t really work.

So we started to figure out what options we had at our disposal. This was our first time in Thailand and we were not sure of the quality of medical care, all we knew was that we didn’t want to wait three more weeks until we got back to the United States to get it fixed. We started googling and I reached out to my orthodontist and a few friends back home who had been to Thailand before. The consensus was that the quality of medical care in Thailand was actually really good! So we found a place that had all sorts of certifications and booked an appointment for the following day at Sea Smile Dental. To check out Sea Smile Dental click here.

While we were waiting in the lobby, we met people who had traveled to Thailand from all over the world who were waiting for dental care. That made us feel even more comfortable.

We waited about 20 minutes to be seen by Dr. Cho and it took him about 10 minutes to glue my retainer back in it’s place. Let me tell you…he did an EXCELLENT job. Sea Smile Dental was clean and everyone there was extremely professional. The total cost of our visit was 1000 baht which is $28.04 in US dollars. Not too shabby, especially compared to the $500 I paid 6 months ago to have it put in by my orthodontist in the US!

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Overall, I was very pleased with our trip to Sea Smile Dental and I would definitely come back!

XOXO,

The Traveling Honeymooners

Chiang Mai, Thailand

WOW! We landed in Chiang Mai and instantly fell in love with this mountain town. It was such a nice change of pace from busy Bangkok. The weather was cooler and there was a bit of a breeze. Chiang Mai is full of ancient history, delicious food and beautiful scenery.  We knew there were so many things we wanted to do and see in this wonderful city so we started exploring right away.

We started our trip with a visit to Wat Suan Dok, a temple where ashes of former Kings of Chiang Mai and the Royal Family are kept.

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The next temple we visited was called Wat Phrathat on Doi Suthep Mountain, which was founded in 1383 A.D. A road was built in 1935 to the top but many people still choose to continue to climb the 309 steps to the top. Once you arrive at the temple, you can see a 360 degree view of the entire city and explore the beautiful temple.

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The next day we decided to take a bicycle tour of the southern part of Chiang Mai. We biked 25km (around 15.5 miles) through plantations, rural local neighborhoods, temples and the McKean rehabilitation Center.

We biked along the Ping River and ended up at the McKean Rehabilitation Center, which houses a former leper colony. The main road is lined with identical houses that  used to be filled with people who had Lepersy from all over Thailand. Now only 16 eople reside in these houses. The people that live there were cured from lepersy but their families are still too scared of the disease to allow them to go back home to their families. We met one woman who has lived in the community for over 50 years and her family still refuses to interact with her due to the fear of contracting the disease, even though it is not possible. The last known case of Lepersy in Thailand was diagnosed around 20 years ago but was cured in a few months. The community members have access to free treatment and health care as long as they live there. The government also feeds them three times a day. To learn more about the McKean Rehabilitation Center you can visit click here.

We continued to bike and visited a local temple and fed the fish, which the monks told us was good luck.

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We biked through plantations, a fish farm and rice fields.

We loved every second of the bike tour and would highly recommend taking one in Chiang Mai.

We both LOVE cooking; well I love to cook, he loves to eat…so it was only natural that we took a cooking class in Chiang Mai!  We decided to take a class at a family owned and operated cooking school by the name of Baan Hongnual Cookery School and had a blast! We started our class by shopping for our food at a local market, then we headed to the school to make our meal. We made curry, stir fry, soup and coconut bananas for dessert. We made all of our food gluten free.

I will do a blog post soon about tips for getting around Asia and staying gluten free.

We are both animal lovers so we really wanted to see Thai Elephants during our stay.  After almost a year of research we chose to visit Patara Elephant Farm and we had a great time! We learned all about how to take care of elephants, feed them, bathe them and make sure they are healthy. I will do a more in depth post about our experience at Patara later because I do believe the topic of elephants deserves it’s own post. Until then, here are a few pictures from our wonderful experience!

ACCOMODATIONS:

We chose to stay at Ratilanna Hotel and Spa and loved every minute of our stay! It is a smaller hotel which was a nice change of pace from the Shangri-la in Bangkok and it was an added bonus that we were upgraded to a suite! During our stay at the Ratilanna, I enjoyed a foot massage and we both enjoyed the best couples massage we have ever had!

We were very pleased with the Ratilanna and would defiantly stay there again. For more information on the Ratilanna Hotel and Spa click here.

Thank you for reading our blog!

XOXO,

The Traveling Honeymooners

Bangkok, Thailand

We made it to Bangkok! After traveling for 24 hours from Houston, Texas, we have arrived and have explored this busy city.

We chose to stay at the Shangri-la Hotel which is right on the Chao Phraya river. The hotel is large with two towers, multiple restaurants, spa and shopping area.  The amenities were nice to have, but we did not spend much time at the hotel so they were not necessary in our case. The two best things about our stay at the Shangri-la was that the restaurant where they served breakfast was right on the river and the hotel provided free shuttle boat rides to the night market.

We took the free shuttle boat to the night market one evening and had a delicious Thai dinner at Baan Khanitha and walked around the night market afterward.

Bonus: The Shangri-la served gluten free bread at breakfast.

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Neither of us had ever been to Bangkok before so we decided that we would do a few tours to get the lay of the land. We are both SO glad that we did! We had the best time with our guides! I would highly recommend doing at least one guided tour while in Bangkok because there is so much to see and experience!

The first tour we took was of the Grand Palace and surrounding city Temples. It is a historical time in Thailand right now because King Bhumibol Adulyadej passed away on October 13, 2016. The entire country is in mourning of their beloved King for the next year. The King’s body is currently being held at the Grand Palace so people can pay their final respects to him. People were lined up for miles. The city is currently working on building a crematorium for him to be cremated in right outside the Grand Palace. The streets outside the Grand Palace are lined with kiosks offering free food for people visiting the Grand Palace. We also saw the Emerald Buddha and the original school of traditional Thai massage here. If you are in Bangkok, the Grand Palace is a must see.

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Next we explored Wat Pho and were able to catch the Monks morning chant. For me, this was one of my favorite activities and it became a morning ritual for us to find a temple to catch the morning chants.

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We also hopped on the public ferry and took a short ride across the river to Wat Arun which was once the grand royal temple to King Rama II. Our tour lasted about three hours and we were able to cover so much ground in that short time frame.

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Our tour guide, Nancy, was great!

The next day we took a tour with Bangkok Biking Company, the name of the tour was Rickshaw and Hike: The Colors of Bangkok. Our tour guide, Amm, was fabulous! We explored many different neighborhoods, visited multiple temples, took a long-tail boat across the river to Lumpini Park and walked through fruit plantations and fed the fish. Afterward we took rickshaws to a local restaurant on the water which was delicious!

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Overall, we had a great trip to Bangkok! I think there is a misconception that there is not much to do in Bangkok but I feel as if we only scratched the surface during our three night stay.

XOXO,

The Traveling Honeymonners