I’ve received so much interest regarding this post that I feel pressured not to mess it up, so here it goes!
For all information regarding visa requirements, please click here. I found this website extremely helpful. A majority, if not all foreigners holding passports from Western countries are eligible for the visa exemption. The website provides further information for nationals who are required to apply for a visa and the required documents.
This trip to Thailand was very last minute. I was actually planning to go to the Caribbeans before my friend bailed last minute, therefore changing my plans (I’m not mad). However, I did have a great time so I guess the saying “Every cloud has a silver lining” holds true. Plus, I do love solo travelling. If you haven’t read my solo travelling post, check it out here for tips on travelling alone.
With three weeks to go, I tried everyones recommended favourites for evenly priced flights – Skyscanner, Kayak, Opodo and Momondo with no luck. I actually found a reasonably priced flight directly on the British Airway website with a short connecting time. I really dislike connecting flights, I find them stressful. However, when travelling to certain parts of Asia, you have no choice. I personally aim for nothing more than three hours in regards to connecting – Pro: you get to your destination quicker and have more time. Con: It’s more expensive.
In regards to finding cheap flights, I’ve seen a lot of urban myths. The most common is “booking on a Tuesday makes it cheaper”, this is not guaranteed. While some inventory executives/flight controllers readjust their price on Monday night to compete with other airlines, the price still based on demand and predicated sales which means it can go either up or down. A guaranteed fail safe is including Saturday in your trip. When a Saturday is included, it is identified as a trip for leisure rather than business which is typically Monday to Friday. As business travellers are travelling for business, they are charged more because they will undoubtedly go. Found this little gem out from my friend who actually controls flight prices for an airline – He has finally become useful. Another tip is searching and browsing flights in incognito or your private browser to get the lowest prices. Based on your cookies, airlines will increase the price if they see a particular destination has been searched repeatedly. This tricks you into buying it as quick as possible before it goes up again. This tip helps you and others. This way we all get to travel and be great for cheaper prices. In regards to Thailand, season in very important. July to November tends to be cheapest time as it’s considered the raining season. Although when I went in October, it did not rain once.
But back on to the main piece – my time in Phuket. This wasn’t my first trip to Thailand but it was my first time in Phuket and it was amazing. I had the opportunity to stay at the Avista Hideaway Phuket Patong, MGallery by Sofitel which is a 5-star boutique hotel offering luxury rooms and suites in a quiet setting with superb views. Despite being in Patong which is arguably the busiest part of Phuket, it’s in a really quiet area. The resort has two restaurants, two bars, three swimming pools, a gym and other amenities. If I wasn’t such an active person, I would have stayed in the hotel for the whole trip, enjoying their amazing service. There are many different types of accommodation in Phuket and I would recommend researching them all to find out what suits you best.
I really wanted to do a lot of activities but didn’t know what would be good or how easy it would be to find them. I reached out to Jessica (@theufuoma) as she happened to be in Phuket the week before and was really helpful. I can’t stress enough, if you’re a traveller – share your experiences and if you want to travel ask – It’s so much better than having to plan in the dark and it’s time efficient. I done a wide range of activities and sightseeing, some days doing two or more activities back to back. Here are all the things I got up to: Tiger Kingdom, Phuket City Tour, Green Elephant Sanctuary, Water Zorbing, James Bond Island, Koh Prinyi island and Na Ka Island tour, Phi Phi Islands, Monkey Hill, Water Rafting, a Cooking Class and Zip Lining. I have attached links where possible, I would recommend booking it before you get there. It’s cheaper when pre-booked and you can start to build your itinerary. Secondly, round trip transport from your accommodation is included. A majority of the tours or activities also include free lunch or breakfast. The Island tours are full day activities which start very early morning. I highly recommend the Phuket City Tour because you get to see everything at a great value, this includes the best viewpoints and temples. I stayed for seven days and managed to do all of this including two days lounging around the hotel. The most common question I received is how long should I stay? Personally, it depends on what you want to do but I would say no more than seven days.
In terms of travelling alone in Phuket, it was pretty chilled and safe. Safety was a big concern of mine but the locals are very peaceful, the most violent incidents are caused by foreigners. I met quite a few others that were travelling alone. I think if you’re nervous about travelling alone; Phuket, Hoi An and Bali are great places to start due to them being relaxed tourist destinations. I actually made a large number of friends out there which is the best part about solo travelling – you have your independence but you’re also pushed to step out of your comfort zone and meet people you wouldn’t have otherwise spoken to. As result, I have places to say in Korea, South Africa and Australia now, small wins. There is a nice mix of people – couples and singles of all ages and backgrounds. So you will always find people similar and different to you. However, if you travel in the summer months, it’s more likely you’ll find a lot of young teenagers.
In regards to transport, If you prebook your activities then transport will be included as mentioned above. From the airport, there are local taxes but prices are highly exaggerated. I pre-booked using Expedia where you can get a private car or a shared shuttle from the airport, they will also pick you up when you leave. All hotels provided a free shuttle service, the destination of the shuttle varies dependent on the location of the hotel. However, a majority tend to drop off at Jungceylon shopping mall which is a two minute walk from the famous Bangla Road. Other modes of transport include taxis and scooters. I wouldn’t recommend the scooters as they’re quite dangerous.
I had a few questions about cost. Cost will be different for everyone. It depends on what you want to do, your circumstances and what you’re willing to pay. Thailand is fairly cheap especially if you’re exchanging money with a strong currency. I spent no more than £350 on activities and general spending, bare in mind I went alone and had to cover all the costs myself. If I went with someone else I would have spent much less. The local currency is Thai Baht. If you will be withdrawing cash from an ATM while there, try to do it in big chunks as there is an unavoidable 200 BHT (£4) charge each time you make a withdrawal.
In terms of night life, Bangla Road after sunset is an amazing experience – clubs offering unlimited drinks for the equivalent price of £20. However, there are a lot of pickpockets in the area so stay aware or carry as little as possible. If you get offered a ping pong show – say no.
Here are the food places I really enjoyed: Bake free karon, Avista Restaurant, Hillmyna cafe, Project Artisan Laya, Mellow Yellow Toast & Bistro, Flavour (old Town) and Sizzler.
I hope I covered everything and if you have any more questions, pop me an email. Please share and comment!