I’ve never been out the country (except on cruises) and for my first passport stamp, I’m not dipping my feet in with a trip that has mild culture shock (looking at you, Europe). I’m diving straight into the deep end with a trip to THAILAND.
Everyone has been asking me: “Why Thailand?”. I don’t really have an answer besides the fact that one day I was in the shower (#ShowerThoughts) and was thinking about elephant sanctuaries and then I found this trip with EF College Tours. So WHY NOT? I booked this trip alone with what I’m sure will be 30 other solo travelers.
And plus it will be NYE, one of my favorite holidays besides my birthday (yes, that is considered a holiday) and July 4 (what…I love fireworks), I figured I’ll do something fun this year, instead of nothing like every other year.
Day 1: Board my overnight flight to Asia
Day 2: Land in Bangkok! My flight lands around 10:45 p.m. their time….around 16+ hours of travel time
Day 3: Visit the Grand Palace + Welcome Mixer
- Drive Ratchadamnoen Avenue, modeled after the Champs Elysees in Paris
- Visit Wat Phra Kaew, the most sacred Buddhist temple, which houses the Emerald Buddha
Day 4: Explore the Damnoen Saduak Floating Markets + Thai Dinner and Classical Dance Show
Day 5: Travel to Phitsanulok via Ayutthaya
- Take time to roam and snap photos of the serene ruins
- Visit Wat Pa Lelai, a sacred temple dating back 800 years, home to a 75-foot tall golden statue of Buddha
Day 6: (New Year’s Eve) Tour Sukhothai Historical Park + Travel to Chiang Mai
- Explore the ruins of Sukhothai
- Try local cuisine, like fried insects or exotic fruits, from street vendors
- Head to Thapae Gate to write my New Year’s wish on a sky lantern before sending up off to lit up the night #LIT
Day 7: Ran Tong Elephant Sanctuary + Chiang Mai Hill Tribes
- Learn about the mission of Ran Tong to rescue and care for Asian elephants
- Continue on to the Akha Hill Tribe Villages of Palong and Lahu
- Meet the Hill Tribe people and learn about their rich traditions and simplistic way of life
- Home-Hosted Dinner with a Thai family to learn more about their culture
Day 8: Monk Chat + Doi Suthep Temple
- Ask the monk all my pressing questions in open forum, and gain better insight into the Buddhist way (I need to start doing some research on monks asap)
- Climb a set of stairs to reach Doi Suthep, where intricate and breathtaking scenery awaits
Day 9: Fly to Phuket
I don’t want to steal anyone’s pictures off the internet…but just Google Phuket. It’s freaking gorgous and I plan to get dark af tanning out there.
- Observe hundreds of monkeys lining the beach and climbing the cliffs. Feed them bananas
- Arrive at my final stop, Maya Bay on Phi Phi Ley, where Leonardo DiCaprio filmed The Beach (Maybe I should watch this before I go…)
- Swim by towering limestone cliffs, aquamarine water and colorful long-tail boats
Day 11 & 12: Free Days in Phuket
- Definitely getting a Thai massage.
- Beach day
- Soak up every last minute of being in Bangkok
- Farewell dinner with the group