16 Days. 3 Cities. 8 Flights.
It. Was. A. Crazy. Mess.
I recently came back from a trip to Thailand and Cambodia and I’ve learnt a few things on the way. Instead of being the generic “Top Tips for Thailand” blog post, I’m going to keep it real with you girl— these are 10 tips to help keep your sanity. Some days you’re on cloud 9 sailing through the blissful waters of Phuket, while other days you’ll be on your knees with your head in the toilet— IT HAPPENS. So where do we begin?
Tip #1: DIRECT. DIRECT. DIRECT.
I’m going to tell you a little story about stop overs: No… Just no. If you’d like to keep your sanity, make sure you minimize the amount of stop overs you have for your trip. We had entirely too many and it took a toll. If you’re wanting to head from Siem Reap to Phuket, girl you got another thing coming. Siem Reap’s only Thai outbound flight goes to Bangkok’s international airport Suvarnabhumi (reminds me of the word Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious) so make sure you plan ahead and start your journey in the right city!
Tip #2: Fewer Days, Happier Travels!
Timing is everything and having a small amount of days in a various amount of cities is the way to go. Within Thailand and Cambodia, I recommend no more than 3-4 days in each city. In Bangkok we found that we were able to explore the city in less than 3 days, but we had planned 5. So we had 2 extra days that kind of dragged on a bit too much… oh well, any excuse for a massage!
Tip #3: PILLS GIRL. PACK ALL DA PILLS.
It is a known fact that your bowels will hate you as soon as you step foot into Thailand. For this very reason you should pack every known legal drug into your suitcase. Paracetamol, amoxcilylin, diarrhoea tablets, sea sickness tablets, malaria tablets, you name it. You can buy pretty much anything in the Thai pharmacies, however it’s best to just be prepared. I had to buy Bonjela for my massive ulcer (usually $5AUD) and it cost 390 Baht or $14.40… Needless to say I cried heavily into a pizza that day.
Tip #4: When In Bangkok, UBER.
Not many people know this, but UBER in Bangkok is dirt cheap. I’m talking cheaper than tuk tuk’s! UBER X was never more than 100 Baht, even when we travelled 10-15 minutes from our hotel to the Grand Palace. Say good bye to creepy tuk tuk drivers and their weirdly decked out rides, and say hello to air conditioning! Each ride is charged to your card so no need to fuss around with cash! #Winning
Tip #5: Avoid Eye Contact
Remind yourself that you are in a third world country so things run a tiny bit differently… You’ll hear the words “Tuk Tuk?” “Maaaassaaaageeee big booooy?” or “Very nice suit for you?” a shit tonne. When I mean a shit tonne, I mean within the space of 30 seconds I heard each phrase twice while walking the streets of Patong. It can get annoying but if you avoid eye contact, eventually you’ll get used to it!
Tip #6: Hate Crowds? Try Early Morning Temple Hopping
Ahhh temples. A quiet spiritual place of worship and reflection… jokes. Introducing Mainland Chinese tour groups. Selfie sticks, loud yelling, pointing fingers and long awkward stares, this is what you’ll be greeted with at The Grand Palace in Bangkok. These tour groups typically all arrive at the same time at 9:30am, so it’s best to arrive at 8:15am for its opening at 8:30am. In Siem Reap, Angkor Wat is the ultimate temple experience. I 100% recommend arriving at sunrise and avoiding the massive crowds. Being the very first person to walk through the temple gates that morning absolutely took my breath away and was one of the highlights of the trip.
NOTE: Get your 1 Day Pass at the ticket desk after 5:00pm and you’ll be granted sunset at Angkor Watt as well as the full day the next day, but hurry your ass because the temple closes at about 6pm. We also noticed we were able to get all of Angkor done within the day, we were exhausted by 1pm and went back to our hotel.
Tip #7: Get Yo Ass Some Ice Cream!
It’s damn hot, you need to get some frozen lactose! With soaring temperatures and high humidity, it’s easy to get exhausted and lose energy in Thailand. Solution? SUGAR. Whether you’re having an Ice Cream Brownie Sundae at Swensens or Nutella Ice Cream Rolls from a street vendor, you need to keep those sugar levels up! Swensens in Patong’s Jungceylon shopping centre was my saviour. Mmmmmm, calories. #IceCreamMoreLikeIceCankles #FatLife
Tip #8: SCREW DUTY FREE. CONVENIENCE STORE ALCOHOL FOR THE WIN!
I never understood why people bought their alcohol from Duty Free, it’s not even much of a difference in price! I thought to myself, we’re in Siem Reap… There’s got to be cheap alcohol here somewhere. Introducing “CHINESE ASIA MARKET CONVENIENCE STORE 24/7”— It. Was. Life. Changing. As I walk through the isles with my basket filled to the brim with Coconut Flavoured Oreos (amazing by the way), I stumble across the holy grail of bargains, a 1 Litre Grey Goose Vodka bottle inside a fancy ass box for only $21USD. To put that into perspective, the same bottle costs $90AUD back in my home town in Australia… and it doesn’t have the fancy ass box! Needless to say, the entire experience left me speechless. (Tip inside a tip: Alcohol must be stored in your checked bag if it’s bigger than 100mL so wrap the bottle in a massive bunch of your clothes and it’ll be fine! My bottle went on 7 flights and it came home safe and sound!)
Tip #9: Pack Light, Wash Often
Now it might seem disgusting but for 16 days I only wore 3 pairs of shorts, including one pair of pyjama shorts. Why? Because laundry is so cheap. Hotels… not so much. In a hotel, laundry will cost you anywhere between 50-300 Baht for one item of clothing… lol bye. Across the road from your hotel should be a laundry service (that doubles as a travel agency) for 50 Baht a KG. I was able to get all my clothes washed every 3-4 days for about 150 Baht ($5AUD). Just make sure if you’re wearing anything from high fashion brands like Chanel, it’s best to get it washed/dry cleaned at the hotel for security and peace of mind.
Tip #10: GET. A. DAMN. MASSAGE.
Stressed about the heat, loud tuk tuk drivers or the constant smell of dirty ass cheeks while walking the streets of Thailand? Put down the alcohol and make your way to essential oils and tiny Asian hands. Nothing can’t be fixed with an amazing massage! I 100%, ONE HUNDRED PERCENT recommend Let’s Relax Spa. From two trips to Thailand, countless massages and hours of searching TripAdvisor, Let’s Relax is the best massage spa I have come across. The service is ridiculously amazing and gives a certain Japanese touch. For 500 Baht you’ll get a 1 hour massage in the most beautiful spa I have ever been to. The staff are certified and trained in Thai Massage. Now, lets get one thing clear… Cambodian’s ain’t got shit on Thai Massages. I decided to try a Cambodian massage at 3 different places while in Siem Reap and each were mildly relaxing. Siem Reap is very third world and you have to keep that in mind when you set any expectation for a massage.
And that’s pretty much it!
I hope these tips will help you on your travels to Thailand, Cambodia or wherever you’re jetting off to! Don’t lose your mind, remember to enjoy the present, eat so much street food, drink responsibly and remember, your toilet hates you. xx
Hi, I'm michael!
I'm 22 years old and obsessed with food and fashion-- especially sneakers.