Phi Phi Islands


If you’re into following travel pages on social media, you’ve probably noticed that Thailand has become the new wave. I’ve seen so many pics of the Phi Phi Islands and Tiger Kingdom, that they were instantly added to my itinerary before I even had begun to put dates on my trip. For the past 2 years, I’ve had plans to go to Thailand, but somehow, the plans had never really come to fruition until this summer. What was supposed to be a 3-4 week trip from Dubai to New Dehli (to see the Taj Mahal before it closes to the public this summer) to Thailand to Singapore and home from Bali quickly got nixed when my summer vacation was significantly cut down due to my school district shortening this summer for us to be out of school before Memorial Day next year. But hey on a positive note, at least next year’s summer vacation will be longer.

Since I was traveling with a companion that had already been to Phuket, he was placed in charge of the Phuket itinerary (which he outsourced to a tour company, men lol). Over the course of 6 days, we embarked on tours to show us the best of Phuket.

Here is my round up of my favorite things to do in Phuket:

Visit the Phi Phi Islands via Speedboat

The Phi Phi Islands are arguably one of the most picturesque places in the world, and while you can reach them by ferry in about 2 hours, I opted for a speedboat

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Speedboats are not for those that are prone to get seasick, the faint at heart, children, or those with any ailments. And please take the Dramamine they offer you at the beginning, or you will regret it.

Take a picture with a tiger at Tiger Kingdom

Even though I opted to take my picture with the medium size tiger, Tiger Kingdom has tigers of all sizes for the tourists that’s willing to put on their brave face for a picture. While I was expecting there to be one tiger in the enclosure, instead I walked into a huge cage with 4, and for a second, my bravado disappeared. But being that I was with 2 men, and didn’t want to be the scary one, I sucked it up and smiled for the camera (as quickly as possible). My tiger was busy enjoying a chew toy, but I almost violated one of the golden rules, “Don’t run,” when one of his fellow compadres decided to take a stroll behind me. I got the perfect shot, and I got out the cage with haste, but it was worth it.

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Go Canoeing through a Dark Cave

While James Bond Island was a bit too touristy for my taste, with a vendor every half a foot, the islands that we visited on the way, Hong and Panak, were pleasant surprises. Our guides led us through dark caves in canoes to view pristine waters and untainted beaches. Since I was only expecting James Bond Island, this was a pleasant reprieve in the journey, and the best part was that I didn’t have to row the canoe myself. That would have been tragic.

Btw, if you have to use the ladies room on your tour to James Bond Island, opt to use the one on board your ship. I wasn’t ready for the toilet paper-less holes in the ground that were nasty enough to make my bladder change its mind.  Read more about tips to know before visiting Thailand by clicking here.

Eat Authentic Thai Cuisine

I have a confession. Please don’t stone me to death. I’m a really picky food eater and often don’t venture into authentic cuisines, so I’m always prepared to be on a fruit, water, and libation diet on vacation. So imagine my surprise when I fell in love with Pad Thai and Thai Stir Fry. If I would have had some extra time on this trip, I would have taken a cooking class.

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Party on Bangla Rd

If you’ve ever partied on Bourbon St in New Orleans, it’s very similar to Bangla, except Bangla is bigger and not as dirty, for lack of a better word. Bangla is a long street filled with vendors, mega clubs, and bars meaning that’s where you go to turn up into the wee hours of the night. Clubs don’t close until 4am, so it’s one hell of a lituation, spend wisely. My only advice to men is that if you’re going to take a strange women home from the club, you might want to check and make  sure she’s not a lady boy. Some of them were gorgeous enough to fool me, so I could only imagine what they looked like when wearing beer/vodka goggles.

Climb the 97 steps to see Big Buddha

Sitting on the top of the Nakkerd Hills, between Chalong and Kata, is the 167 foot tall marble statue, affectionally known as Big Buddha. After you are appropriately covered to visit this architechtural masterpiece, not only will you be able to view the Big Buddha up close and personal, you will also have access to some of the best panoramic views of Phuket city.

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Explore the Shalom Temple 

The intricate details inside of this temple made it one of my favorite places to visit in Phuket, and let me not forget to mention, that while perusing the grounds, I also saw my first real life monk on his way to prayer service.  I wanted to stop him and get a picture for the Gram, but my better judgment reminded me that would probably be super tacky, and I didn’t want to get banned from Shalom or Phuket on my first visit.

Shop at a Market 

There seemed to be huge markets sprinkled everywhere throughout the city. Markets are a great place to buy cheap fruits and vegis, and to sample exotic foods like shark and stingray. 

Get a Custom-Made Suit 

There are tailors on every corner that specialize in making custom suits for the low low, and most of them are on Trip Advisor, which makes selecting the one that meets your needs and budget even easier. And don’t forget, everything is negotiable.

Relax on a Beach

Whether it’s Patong, Karan, or one of the other many beaches sprinkled throughout Phuket, grab a fresh coconut, towel, and maybe a good read, like Punishment is Due, and relax on the beach.

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Drink a Chang or Singha

I’ve only recently acquired the taste buds for beer, but even still, I require light lagers versus heavy ales and am partial to Red Stripes and Heinekens. With that being said, I’ve been sucking in this beer belly for all of my pictures.

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You can read about my tips to know before visiting Thailand by clicking here.

Btw, you can visit and follow my IG page to view more of my travels.

P.S. If you would like help planning your next vacation, click here.

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As with any trip, the best lessons are learned through trial and error. Below are some tips to help make your trip to Thailand as smooth as possible:

1) Trip Advisor is the traveler’s bible.

One lesson that I learned real fast in Phuket is that a 4 star hotel can be equivalent to a Motel 6 in the States. You may be planning on spending most of your time in the city or on the beach, but before you book a hotel at that great rate, check the reviews and make sure that you will have basic amenities like hot water, air conditioning, and wifi.

2) Be prepared for tummy troubles, just in case.

In all honesty, I was scared shitless, no pun intended, about my trip being ruined because I was sick to my stomach due to the horrible traveler tales I’ve heard from people that had visited before me. It is not uncommon for your body to have an adverse reaction to all of the rich and flavorful foods that Thailand and similar countries have to offer. In Bali, they even have a name for the phenomenon that occurs from eating their exotic foods, Bali Belly. We all know the old adage, you get what you pay for, so decide very wisely if that $2 US Pad Thai is worth the tummy troubles that might accompany it on the backend, pun intended.  Before I left Houston, I stocked up on Imodium, and everything else I could think of just in case. Happily, I didn’t get sick at all,  but if you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.

3) Ladies, don’t leave home without toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

It was very American of me to think that toilet paper was standard in restrooms all across the world.  Let’s just say it took one hole in the ground restroom experience (yes, I mean a real, hole in the ground) for me to learn this lesson really fast.  Also, pay close attention to whether the restrooms that you use are toilet paper in or toilet paper out, as most of the drainage systems in Thailand were not set up to properly dissolve toilet paper.

4) Don’t lose your departure ticket.

You don’t need a Visa to visit Thailand, however, you will need the exit ticket you receive on arrival to be able to depart the country. I’m not sure what happens if you lose it, but I’m pretty sure it’s something that’s undesirable like a fee and/or extended security process.

5) If you want to play with elephants, visit a sanctuary versus a trekking camp.

By no means am I an animal activist, but there was something about seeing such mild animals chained to trees and beaten with sticks that prompted some additional research.

Even though I paid for Elephant Trekking as part of my package, I kindly opted out after doing my research and will make plans to visit the sanctuary in Shanghai instead where you can bathe, feed, and interact with elephants that have been rescued from trekking camps.

6) Don’t be afraid to negotiate with vendors.

I literally watched my friend buy a pair of Hay Ban (not Ray) sunglasses that started at 950 Baht and dropped down to 200. Your goal is not to commit highway robbery, but never go with the first price, especially since it’s not like you probably need the stuff you’re buying anyway.  The goal is not to scam the vendors out of making a dollar, but definitely, don’t let them scam you either.  The rule of thumb is that the real price for a street vendor item is usually 25-50% lower than the first price asked.

7) Don’t get scammed.

Even though there are some really nice people in Thailand, the honest truth is that most services come with a price.  When it comes to advice and finding cheaper pricing, check with your hotel or hostel, before you go with a random stranger on the street, especially if they are the ones offering.

8) Don’t drink the water.

I learned this tough lesson the tough way in Mexico, so I was already prepared by the time I reached Thailand. For the most part, most restaurants and your hotel will have bottled water, but just in case someone brings you a glass, kindly decline unless you want to be a victim of number 2.

9) Respect the customs.

In many of the temples and religious buildings, you may be required to cover certain parts of your body.  My advice, be like Nike, and “Just do it.”  I’m not going to lie, I was confused at the penis paraphernalia and sex propaganda on every corner with religious expectations on the next, however, my goal when I travel is to follow the rules and make it back home.  And while this was not something that affected me directly while on my trip to Phuket, I read various blogs and articles that stressed the importance of never touching a Thai person on their head, as it is deemed a sacred part of the body, or point your toes at a religious image, particularly of Buddha, or images of the King.

10) Enjoy your vacation.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you this, but just in case, smile, unplug, and enjoy your vacay. You deserved it.

Read all about my trip to Thailand and things you must do by clicking here.

Be sure to read our blog on making the perfect itinerary here.

 P.S. If you would like help planning your next vacation, click here.