My First International Trip – Thailand

What would you expect from your first international trip? In my case, it was just the curiosity to explore a different country than mine to observe its geographical diversities, people, culture, roads, cities, markets and experience the food. From the automobile brands to the life of a commoner, I was curious like a small child to know about everything that my eyes witnessed on this foreign land for the next few days.

We all know Thailand for its exotic beaches, exquisite islands and imposing cliffs standing right in the middle of the sea casting their green hues on the turquoise blue water. Today I am just going to share my own experiences and observations from these six days I spent in this ‘Land of Smiles‘.


As we had only six days for this trip, we decided to spend two days each in Phuket, Krabi and Bangkok. While six days was definitely not enough to explore a whole country, we had kept our plans more realistic than ambitious.

DAY 1 & 2



DAY 3 & 4



DAY 5 & 6




Although we had engaged a travel agent to plan this trip and do all the bookings (except the flights) for us, we had customized each and every leg of the journey to ensure that our stay is exactly how we would prefer it. We did our own research, reading travel blogs and reviews for days, to finally boil down to the best available resorts in the price range of INR 6-7 K per night in our budget and maximize our free will during the trip.

Unlike our last trip to Kashmir in April this year where I could not resist clicking photographs all the times, we made it a point to allocate at least one day when we do not head out anywhere and just spend quality time together, given the unique locations, exquisite views and premium amenities the resorts offered. This helped us strike a good balance between the instinctive urge to cover as many tourist attractions as possible and our ultimate goal of having a ‘vacation’ in true sense to experience the ‘stillness’ which is a rarity in our chaotic lives.

We also made it a point to exclude some of the unnecessary inclusions offered by the travel agent (like city tour) to bargain some time and free will to explore the city as and when we really wished to. This also helped us negotiate a better price with the travel agent.


Firstly, we tried to calculate the total cost of booking the same hotels and island tours ourselves, assuming no travel agent being involved. It was definitely more economical than booking through a travel agent. However, as we wanted to avoid the hassles of arranging our internal transfers, we eventually engaged a travel agent by paying a hard-bargained premium over that cost. The total fee of INR 95 K paid to the agent, included the following expenses:

– Two nights’ stay at Crest Resort, Phuket in a pool-access sea view room with complementary breakfast;
– Two nights’ stay at Islanda Hideaway, Krabi in an ocean-front villa with complementary breakfast;
– Two nights’ stay at Avani+ Riverfront, Bangkok in a river-view room with complementary breakfast;
– Full day trip to Phi Phi Islands from Phuket with lunch;
– Half day trip to Four Islands from Krabi with lunch;
– All internal transfers by road;
– Domestic flight from Krabi to Bangkok for two persons;
– In-route city tour of Phuket.


Just when we boarded the flight, we realized that we had left our forex card at home by mistake. We were not carrying any cash either. Carrying this guilt of unpreparedness, we landed Phuket in four hours as clueless souls, desperately trying to convert some residual Indian currencies into Thai Baht (THB). Knowing well that the conversion at the airport would hardly fetch us any significant amount in THB, we still tried our luck, getting hardly THB 300 (i.e., INR 640) out of INR 3000. We had to eventually withdraw money from an ATM machine using an international debit card with extra withdrawal charge of THB 220 (i.e., INR 470).

Lessons We Learnt
– Always get a free forex card from your bank and remember to carry it. You also need to recharge this card with Indian Rupees in order to use that amount for transactions in the foreign currency of your choice.
– If you don’t get any forex card, please carry at least one international debit card so that you can withdraw money from an ATM (though with some extra charges);
– Avoid converting your currency at the destination airport, as it is not likely to give you the best conversion rates.


Once you reach your destination airport in Thailand, you will have to pay the fee for visa on arrival. This can cost you around THB 3875 (= INR 8273) for two persons. The application form also requires you to affix one passport-size photograph of yourself .

Insider Tips: You should carry one passport size photo from India as getting this one photo at the airport can be super expensive there.


If you do not want the hassles of arranging your internal transfers and local commutes, you should leave worry this to a trusted travel agent (in India) who can take care of all your internal movements for certain sum. In any case, it is not very difficult to find a pre-paid taxi from the airport to your hotel. Once you are at the hotel, most of the hotels have internal arrangement to book a cab on your behalf.

Insider Tips: If you are taking a domestic flight in the country, you will have to pay extra for the check-in luggage. Unlike India, there is no free 15 Kg check-in luggage rule in many Asian countries. .


Day 1 & 2

No journey to Thailand is complete without a trip to Phuket. Located completely south of Thailand, Phuket could either be the very first stop on your itinerary or the last one. This town is known for its exquisite beaches, islands, Buddhist temples, Thai spa and sizzling night-life.

We spent the first day taking a quick tour of old Phuket town on our way to the the hotel, catching up on our sleep from the night before, and cautiously introducing ourselves to this new world of Thai food. The next day was all about our much coveted trip to Phi Phi Island and other islands nearby However, what really made my day was the best scuba diving experience I ever had on one of these islands. A full day of expedition followed by a pleasant evening walk at Bangla road near Patong Beach sums up our day. We spent rest of the evening exploring the local market, trying street food and having a glimpse of ‘popular’ nightlife. The food part was a bit disappointing though, as we could not embrace their choice of fish oil and sauces with a clear nose.

Stay: Crest Resort & Pool Villas

We loved our stay at Crest, and would definitely recommend it to someone who prefer a location, slightly away from the hustle and bustle of a popular beach, yet offering a spectacular view of the sea from hill top where it is built. If you so decide to explore the popular Patong beach and the local market downhill, they have free shuttles at regular intervals to get you there.

Why Crest Resort?

– private (infinity) pool-access room;
– sea-view room with balcony;
– bath tub (single);
– hill-top location;
– common infinity pool with panoramic view;
– free sauna bath;
– free snooker;
– free gym access;
– children’s play room;
– good Thai food

Where to Go: Phi-Phi Island, Nai Harn Beach, Black Rock View Point, Phuket Old Town, Bangla Market; Malin Plaza Night Market, Simon’s Cabaret Show, Promthep Cape, Karon Viewpoint (Three Beaches Hill), Phang Nga Bay, Dolphin Bay (list based on my research).

Where to Eat: One Chun Restaurant, Mom Tri’s Kitchen, Coffee at Kopitiam/ Campus Coffee Roaster, Aroon Po Chana for breakfast, Tusk Restaurant (list based on my research).


Day 3 & 4

Kudos to my lovely wife, Krabi made my birthday the most picture-perfect and dreamy one I ever experienced in my life. While the exquisite panoramic view of the ocean and golden hues of the sun set the tone for the evening, an open air candle-light dinner planned by my wife just made it nothing less than a dream sequence.

The first half of our next day was yet another island hopping in a speed boat, this time covering Four Islands. By the end of this half-day tour, we were already craving for some Indian food, which we were lucky to find and get packed for evening as well. We spent rest of the day chilling in the swimming pool, relishing yet another picture-perfect sunset and having quality time together.

Our Stay: Islanda Hideaway Resort

Our stay at Krabi couldn’t have been better than this, an ocean front villa offering a spectacularly stunning view of the sea adorned with the hues of golden sunset sky on both the days. It also had open bathtub, adjacent infinity pool, open air restaurant and fun activities like cycling and kayaking.

Why Islanda Hideaway?

– panoramic view of the sunset;
– open air bathtub with sea-view;
– extra-spacious like own home;
– infinity pool with sea-view;
– cycling;
– kayaking;
– authentic Thai food;
– great hospitality;
– tucked in a calm village.


Day 5 & 6

We reached Bangkok catching an afternoon flight from Krabi without anything specific in mind. While the list of places we could visit as a restless tourist in the city was long, we took a conscious decision to restrict our movements to selected few places, only to get a feel of the city. The idea was to try a few good restaurants and indulge in a bit of retail therapy.

Except for its unending maze of giant malls and wide clean roads, we did not find the city very different from Mumbai or Delhi in these two days. However, two things surprised us the most in Bangkok. First, we did not hear any honking on the roads despite traffic. Secondly, we could not find any form of littering in the whole city.

Things to do in Bangkok: The Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World, Madame Tussauds Museum, Thai Massage, Asiatique Sky Ferris Wheel, Dinner on Cruise, Mall hopping, Chatuchak Weekend Market, Sukhumvit Road.

Our Stay: Avani+ Riverside Bangkok Hotel

Avani+ Riverside offers a panoramic view of Bangkok’s dreamy skyline and the Chao Praya river flowing down, not only from its chic rooftop bar and swanky rooftop infinity pool, but also the rooms. The hotel is located in one of the plush localities of Bangkok and looks as premium as you may expect a five-star hotel to be, in India. The breakfast also has a wide spread to satisfy your gastronomic cravings and begin a power-packed day. You can also take a complimentary boat ride to cross the river just for fun.

Why Avani+ Riverfront?

– terrific views of the city and river;
– wholesome buffet breakfast;
– rooftop infinity pool;
– rooftop restaurant and bar;
– plush locality and premium interiors;
– fitness and spa centre.

What We Liked:
– Cleanliness;
– Respect for time;
– Roads;
– No honking at all;
– Scuba diving experience.

What We Did Not Like:
– Pungent smell of the food;
– No free check-in luggage on domestic flights;
– No separator in Men’s urinals;
– Poor communication skills.

Food We Liked:
– Tender coconut water;
– Basil chicken rice;
– Pina colada:
– Local Chang beer

What to Buy:
– Smart phone;
– Handbags/ Laptop bag;
– Coconut rolls;
– Salted broad beans.


Published by Vivek Kumar Verma

Investment Banking Lawyer | Photographer & Blogger | Connoisseur of Food | Poet

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