THAILAND is one of the popular destinations in the world and happened to be our first international trip together. We just wanted to show you how did we go about this trip, how we planned, what factors we considered, the resources, cost, planning, pre bookings, etc.,
We have also written about our mistakes, what we could have done better, things we could have avoided and things we missed.
FAQ’s- Our First Overseas Trip
How did we choose Thailand
I(Manny) have been to Thailand before and already in love with the country. For Deeps, it’s the first overseas trip, so I wanted to make sure she enjoys the trip and has the best of memories even after years. It gave me an added advantage having been there already, had a fair idea what to do and what not to do.
Deeps was more of a beach lover and her bucket list was filled with water related activities. Mauritius, Singapore, Seychelles, Bali and Palawan were all similar type of islands, but it then came to time & cost.
Thailand was only 4 hours by flight from Trichy, the closest airport for us. Flights were economical & we had on arrival Visa. Most of the day tours & activities were very much affordable. All these put together we finalized Thailand
So many beautiful islands to choose in Thailand, but we zeroed in Phuket. It’s because of the its beautiful islands & bays nearby. Phuket is relatively bigger town and is also safe for travelers. Snorkeling, Scuba diving, island hopping, kayaking, parasailing and all the water games were available when we searched online.
What was our budget?
We didn’t have an actual budget in mind, but we knew its relatively inexpensive compared to the other destinations. Bali was cheaper, but the flight tickets were expensive & we need to take an 8-hour flight compared to a shorter one to Phuket
Return Flight- INR 20000/person (Thai Air)
Accommodation- INR 2000/night
Visa- INR 2000/person
Transfers-INR 400/person one way (shared minibus)
What we didn’t compromise?
Being our first overseas trip together, we wanted that extra level of comfort. So decided to fly Thai Airways instead of Air Asia. Also we had our accommodation booked for all 4 nights. We were flexible with the activities, food and local travel
We went for mid-range travel and happy to spend a few extra bucks. We didn’t pre book activities though. We went off season (June), its considered to be wet season in Thailand. So knew we would get lot of good deals from local tour operators. Also we didn’t have any fixed plans and happy to even just relax in the beach
We pre-booked a very good accommodation along patong beach, which is the main strip of entertainment area. It was a 4-star hotel with breakfast option. This is another important thing to note. As this was our first trip, we preferred to stay in the main area with all restaurant options available, beach accessible and taxi’s 24*7. Resorts are a good option if you want to have a relaxing holiday moving away from the busy town life & tourists
We didn’t have any US dollars in hand, so we exchanged INR for thai bahts in Chennai Airport. Yes, it’s not at a favorable exchange rate, but we exchanged it only to cover our VISA/initial transfer charges to hotel
Taking out cash was easy in Thailand with an Indian debit card. We were charged 150rs for every transaction, but you don’t need to worry about carrying excess cash in hand all the times. That’s the safe & best way to do.
We didn't use our credit card much because of the overseas charge. Kept it only for online bookings if required.
As we had a direct flight booked till Phuket with Thai air, we had an allowance to carry 30kg per head. Though we didn’t require that much, we did have one big suitcase full of dresses. A back pack to travel internally. Deeps had dresses for all days, swim wear and shorts. For me its t-shirt & shorts, all 4 days
Food we ate/Drink
This is one major problem faced by Indians when they travel around the world. Today Thai food is one of our favorite’s and we will die for Pad thai! But then, deeps had a tough time with the local food. So after our English breakfast, we try to get some cakes/pastries as snack. Try to find an Indian restaurant and have a hefty meal & dinner
Indian restaurants are so expensive compared to the local restaurants. We would have to pay 5 times the price when compared to a Thai restaurant.
Things we wanted to do/see, Bucket list
Scuba Diving, Parasailing, Snorkeling, swimming in the middle of the sea, Partying till early morning
Of course we did all and happy to have did so. In India, we’ve seen people judgmental about your desires, behaviors, from the clothes you wear to the food you eat. We remember this phrase by a street vendor in Phuket “This is Thailand dude, no one cares what you do, what you wear or what you eat or drink, Party hard!!”
You don’t have to so ridiculous things, but this is the place to enjoy
We did plan for 4 nights. Yes, it was a short holiday!
Day 1: Flew from Trichy Airport to Phuket (via Bangkok)
Day 1: Siam Nirmait Show
Day 2: Island Hopping
Day 3: Scuba Diving & parasailing
Day 4: Local markets, Tiger Kingdom, Shopping
Day 4: Flew back from Phuket to Chennai
Out of comfort zone?
Nightlife was totally fun. Deeps had never been out after 10pm anyday in her entire life. I had beers running continuously in me, deeps tried a beer, but didn’t like the taste. Nightclubs were extreme fun again, drinking & dancing. Had an awesome time together.
Our flight route was Chennai-Bangkok-Phuket via Thai Airways. Flying time was 4 hours from Chennai to Bangkok and 1 hour from Bangkok to Phuket.
For Indians, it was on arrival visa at Bangkok airport. Then after getting visa we ‘ve to board the domestic connection from Bangkok to Phuket.
Things we could have done better
We would have left with a lighter luggage. A medium sized trolley & a backpack is sufficient for 4 days.
All the hotels will be laundry service which is extremely cheap
The items which we carried unnecessarily: Towels, Toiletries, Hair dryer, Extra set of jeans,
Photography, We dint plan for our photos properly. Our batteries in the mobile ran out and we had to settle for ordinary pics.
Thai massage, was so relaxing and inexpensive, we could have done it every single day. Missed it during our initial couple of days.
Local food is something we try nowadays wherever we go. Back in 2015, we hardly tried thai food. It is economical as well
Souvenirs & local markets; This is where we could have had the real local feel of Thailand Missed it altogether
Scuba diving was a great experience but it could have been in a better location. The waters were not clear and the equipment we used was ok. May be we fell for scuba diving without enquiring about the operator. We could have researched better.
Avoided 4 island tour: Island hopping is fine if it’s done at your own pace. We felt it was rushed. Also the places we visited were full of people. Better option is to hire a boat for yourself and explore islands early in the day. The boats are regulated and paid upfront in the office.
Conclusion & Our Recommendation
How much ever we plan, there is always going to be part which you will feel, could have been better. be a little bit cautious with your first trip and slowly you will gain experience. The comfort zone drops and you will become a better traveler for sure
Our Recommendation: Plan well and Enjoy the trip