Thailand has been on my list for a long time and it was about time I pulled the trigger. After seeing how everyone on my social media feed was going to Thailand for the past year or so, I just had to say "fuck it" and just buy my ticket. It's been on my girlfriend's (now wife) to-do list (more about it later on) for years also so the timing was just right to grab a few friends and hop on a plane.
We decided to make the best of our layover in Bangkok before we headed to our first stop in Phuket. After seeing a guy laying on a bench stick his hands down the front of his pants and sniff his finger, we had a quick photoshoot at an empty gate where there was no one around as far as we could see.
Amandas favorite thing in the world (which is probably my least favorite) is sleep, which is what she did almost instantly from when we checked into our first Airbnb in Phuket. Since I was alone, I couldn't help but hit the roof and fly my drone around.
The weather was so unpredictable for most of the time in Phuket. It was nice one minute, then a huge storm would come in and just as quick as it came, it would go back sunshine right after. within minutes after the storm passed, I was able to fly my DJI Mavic to Patong Beach to see what was going on.
You have to make the best out of every minute while you're traveling, so when it was raining, Amanda and I would shoot around our Airbnb building.
One thing I'm so glad we did was rent little scooters to ride around the island like the locals. We were able to rent a couple of them from this place called Cheap As Chips in Patong Beach for around $7/day. I've never ridden a motorbike on the road before but being an NYC bicyclist veteran, I was confident that I would pick it up quickly. We've seen a few crashes throughout the week though from other tourists so it could definitely be dangerous, especially in a new place where they drive on the oppostie side of the road.
Now for the moment you've all been waiting for......THE MONKEYS!
We had our hearts set on going to Monkey Beach which is on Phi Phi Island but before we had a chance to, we went to check out Monkey Hill in Phuket. This is a way better experience than Monkey Beach in my opinion. It's a bit of a hike to get to, especially when it's 90 degrees and 100% humidity but it was well worth it.
You can buy bananas and peanuts at the bottom of the hill, which we did, but the monkeys mostly only ate the peanuts. For some reason, monkeys don't like bananas (wtf??). They will all run right up to you since you have food and they're hilarious to watch interact with each other. The big ones may get a bit violent but the little guys are super cute and you can hand feed them and they will possibly jump on you also.
We had to visit some temples but only really had time for one in Phuket so we went to the Big Buddha Temple. This 45 meter tall Buddha sits on top of a hill overlooking a good portion of the island of Phuket. The actual "temple" part of it isn't too interesting, it's mostly just intriguing for what it is... a huuuuuge buddha. There were a few monkeys there also which is always a plus!
We had a nice time visiting this temple since we randomly found a driver outside of our hotel who was willing to drive us there for super cheap. He turned out being a really cool guy who ended up staying with us all day including stopping by restaurants, 711s for us and pulling over so we can feed an elephant on the side of the road. Most of the Thai people are kind and generous. He wouldn't even give us a price for the ride. When he dropped us off back at our hotel he just told us to pay him whatever we wanted.
We took a day trip on a speed boat to a few islands near Phuket. We visited Ko Phi Phi Don, Ko Phi Phi Lee and another tiny island that I can't remember what it was called but it was such a small island you can probably walk around the whole place in 5 minutes.
The Phi Phi Islands are usually what you see when you see anything about Thailand and it's home to Maya Bay which was famous for being featured in the movie "The Beach" with Leonardo Dicaprio. The islands are just as mesmerizing in person as they look in photos. Unfortunately, I didnt take too many photos because we were on a boat or at the beach most of the time and I didn't feel like getting my camera gear all salty and sandy.
Oh yea, I got married while we were in Phuket! this trip wasn't originally planned to be a wedding trip but we figured we were going to Thailand anyway, we might as well get married there. After hours of riding bikes around the island with my buddy Efrain to find an epic location to have our ceremony, we decided on just getting married at the beach across the street from the hotel we stayed at. All thats left now is to plan the honeymoon!
Im not much of a beach guy so it felt nice to move on from Phuket to Bangkok after a few days. We planned this trip on being in Bangkok for Songkran which is their New Years celebration of 3 straight days of people in the streets spraying each other with super soakers, hoses, and buckets of ice cold water. It was top 3 most fun things I've ever experienced and highly recommend that if anyone plans on visiting Thailand to plan it around this event which is in April. I don't have any photos since I obviously didn't want to drench my camera gear so all I have is a bunch of Gopro and cell phone videos.
One of the best things we did in Bangkok was visiting the observation deck of the Baiyoke Sky Hotel which is the tallest building in the city. It's only 84 floors but you still get a nice view of Bangkok and it was especially nice during sunset.
I've been to the top of some of the tallest buildings in the worst like The Burj Khalifa in Dubai and Freedom Tower in NYC and this experience was wayyyy easier than any of those. It's not obnoxiously crowded with tourist, it's not expensive, and there's no security to wait on long lines to go through. You literally walk into the building, pay 400 Baht per person ($12), and take the elevators straight to the top. Easy peasy. The observation deck spins around and you get a free drink when you get to the top, also!
A unique thing to do in Thailand is to check out one of their floating markets. We drove about an hour and a half outside of Bangkok for this one but it's supposed to be one of the biggest and best. I have nothing to compare this to, but it was really cool to experience.
You hop in a boat and they take you through their canals which are pretty much laid out like streets with water and there are little stores and stands on the sides where you can buy things like gifts and food. Some of the stores are literally the backs of peoples houses where they sell products to support and feed their families.
Not far away from the floating market was the Maeklong Railway Market. This is a small local market that mostly sells fresh foods and fish along an active train track. When the announcements are made over the loudspeaker, all the merchants quickly pack up their tents and pull their tables back while the train passes through. I made a previous Photo Of The Week post about the Maeklong Railway which you can check out here. This was a really cool thing to see and I still wonder to this day why they would build a market around an active train track...