Asia, Destinations, Spend Money, Travel

One year ago we jetted off to Thailand for a holiday of a lifetime, this was the first time we had gone away and done any kind of long term travelling together. We had planned our trip and planned where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see with a budget in mind.

Our final stop before heading back to Bangkok to fly home was Phuket, we had already stayed in the main hub of Phuket, so we stayed a little nearer the airport with the purpose of visiting the Soi Dog Foundation. It was something we had discovered during our trip and really wanted to go and visit.


What Is Soi Dog Foundation

The foundation is a non-profit organisation that was set up in 2003 in Phuket, Thailand to help the stray cats and dogs when there was no one else to look after them. The population of cats and dogs were ever growing due to lack of sterilisation (spay/neuter) and so the problem was getting worse. The organisation provide a humane and sustainable solution to managing the strays and the medical needs of the stray animals.

The foundation works in many different providences within Thailand to help control the stray population, with conducting mobile sterilisation clinics across Bangkok area. Sterilisation was the only humane way to control the growing population of stray animals which is now under control. 

The foundation also works hard campaigning for the improvement of animal welfare across Asia, also helping animals caught in natural disasters. One of the biggest fights they have is battling the ongoing Asian dog meat trade, which to many people helping campaign has almost wiped out in Thailand. They are still battling to end the trade in  South Korean, Vietnam, and other south-east Asian countries where it is prevalent. 

Why You Should Visit

Why wouldn’t you visit? If you are anything like me or Helen and you love your pet or even just like animals, your heart strings will be pulled and your eyes will be welling up with the sight of these animals and the heartbreak they have been through. As soon as we read a sentence about this place we knew instantly we wanted to go, there was no doubt about it. 

When we arrived we were greeted by one of the many volunteers that are working at the foundation and were told a little about how the organisation started. We then were taken on a tour around the centre and were told about the meat trade and the current expansion of a new hospital.



Walking around and seeing the amazing work the volunteers have gone to create a safe environment for the animals was heart warming. The dogs were separated into different areas, older dogs were kept together, puppies together and so on, you were able to go into certain enclosures to play with the dogs and spend time with them. They encourage you to go in and spend time with the dogs as much as possible, they also have a cat house with 3 rooms kitted out with toys, beds and climbing facilities for the cats to play with.

 

The foundation does so much more than finding the stray animals, fixing them up and releasing them again. The amazing people over at Soi Dog care for the bigger picture and give these wonderfully cute animals a second chance at life, many who aren’t able to survive on their own stay at the centre until they are adopted. You can donate to the charity, sponsor a dog or cat or even adopt, many people from around the world visit the centre and adopt a dog or cat they have met while on their visit. 





I really wanted to give this foundation justice due to the many animals they have saved, cared for and given back a life. I wanted to use the medium we have to really reach people to spread the amazing work these people have done and hopefully help some of the dogs and cats find new homes. 

If you have ever visited Soi Dog Foundation or even given to the charity, let me know in the comments what you thought and why you loved the charity so much.

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Asia, Destinations, Travel

You’ll struggle to visit Thailand without a trip to the capitol, Bangkok. This thriving city is the perfect mix of culture, heritage and modern technology. While planning our trip to Thailand I honestly believed that Bangkok was going to be my favourite destination.

Unfortunatly, my expectations didn’t match the reality. For what reason I’m still not sure although I’m told that’s rather common. Nevertheless I had an absolutely amazing time seeing some of the great sights this city has to offer which is why today I present to you my 4 things to do in Bangkok.


1. Wat Phra Kaeo and Grand Palace

Many see the Wat Phra Kaeo as being the most important attraction of Bangkok. With almost every Thai person visiting the site at least once in their life. 

things to do in Bangkok
We travelled by boat down the  Chao Phraya River to the town in which the Wat Phra Kaeo is situated. Upon arriving I was touted by many ‘scammers’ trying to get me to purchase a sarong as I was only in shorts. Don’t fall for it. Instead do like I did and borrow a sarong from the entrance to the temple. 


The Wat Phra Kaeo and Grand Palace open daily from 8:30 A.M. to 3:30 P.M. The cost to visit is 500 baht for tourists although Thais can visit the temple for free.
 

2. Wat Pho and the Reclining Buddha

Within walking distance from the Wat Phra Kaeo and Grand Palace you’ll find the Wat Pho and the Reclining Buddha. Although the official and more formal name if you want to impress your friends is “Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimonmangkhlaram Ratchaworamahawihan”.

The highlight of this visit for us personally was the reclining buddha which was unlike anything else I’ve seen before. The 45 metre statue is almost impossible to capture in a full photo due to it’s sheer size. To see it is really to believe it.


The Wat Pho is open daily from 8:30 A.M. to 6:30 P.M. and costs 100 baht entrance fee and comes with a complimentary bottle of water.

If you enjoyed this article then be sure to check out: How To Visit Thailand on a Budget


3. Wat Arun

The Wat Arun is another great example of the beautiful temples in Bangkok. The central tower, Phra Prang is 80 meters high and offers you a great view over the river.

However, Wat Arun has more to offer than just impressive views. With the Prang’s interior decor and architecture being made up of thousands of mosaic stones. Designed to represent the path of a Buddha’s life from his birth to his death.


Admission to the Wat Arun is 50 baht per person. Out of respect you’re once again required to cover your knees and shoulders. A change in clothing is available to borrow on entrance should it be required.

4. Khao San Road

No (backpacking) trip to Bangkok is complete without a walk down Khao San Road. Complete with budget accommodation, bars, clubs, food stalls, shops and more.




There we have it. My top 4 things to do in Bangkok. As always I’ve left a map below highlighting the proximity between each of the attractions I’ve spoken about to make it simple and straight forward for you to plan your trip.



As always I’d love to know what you think of Bangkok. Have you been there previously? What did you enjoy most? What are your top things to do in Bangkok? Be sure to leave a comment below.

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Asia, Destinations, Travel

Phuket is Thailand’s largest island and is home to many of Thailand’s most famous beaches. We visited Phuket twice during our time in Thailand. It ended up being one of our favourite places to spend time. 

However, over ten days we still didn’t manage to see it all. So, plan better than we did with this complete guide as to my 3 things to do in Phuket – they also happen to be completely free!

Big Buddha

The big buddha, is known among the people of Thailand as Phra Phuttha Mingmongkhon Akenakkhiri. It’s undoubtedly one of Phuket’s most famous landmarks. Standing at 45 metres tall, and 24 metres wide. The whole body is made up of concrete layered with white jade marble. 

things to do in Phuket
The temple contains and exhibition with the story of the Buddha. The location in which the Buddha is based also provides a fantastic vantage point offering you beautiful views of Chalong Bay.

While the site is free to visit, it does rely on donations and purchases for the upkeep and maintenance. It’s available to visit year round and open from 8am until 7.30pm – although if you want to catch the sunset try to arrive around 6.00pm.

Phuket Old Town

One of our favourite day-trips during our time in Phuket was to the old town. This inland destination is in stark contrast to the beach resorts such as Patong.


The town is filled with beautiful heritage buildings, amazing art-work and a real buzz of community that I simply couldn’t find anywhere else in Thailand. There’s plenty to see, do, drink and eat here, so you can really make a day of it!

Bangla Road

It’s been almost a year since our trip to Thailand, and I still can’t figure out whether or not I actually enjoyed visiting Bangla Road. During the day this is a pretty average road in Patong, however once the sun goes down the road is closed to vehicle traffic and it becomes a 400 metre festival of neon lights, loud music and cheap beer.


Almost all of the bars are open-fronted. Which makes people watching a sport here. Especially considering that street performances are available every evening. 


I’ve put together the map below, to make it simple to find each place I’ve mentioned within the article. It should help you plan travel routes, and other things you may want to see along the way.


As always, I’d love to know what you think about my list of things to do in Phuket. Do you have any things to do that you think I might have missed? Let me know in the comments below… 

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Asia, Destinations, Travel

During our extended stay in Thailand in 2016, we spent some time in Krabi. Home to some of the most stunning scenery imaginable, beautiful white beaches, and more than 200 islands just of the coast.

Today, I’m going be talking about the 3 things to do in Krabi. So, whether you’re in town for a week or just the weekend, these are without a doubt the best things to do…

The Emerald Pool

Without a doubt the first thing on my list of things to do in Krabi has to be a trip to the absolutely beautiful Emerald Pool (Sa Morakot). Based inside the Thung Teao Forest Natural Park in the Khao Pra-Bang Kram area. This place comes to life with age old trees, unusual forest creatures and limestone foothills.

The entry price is 200Baht for adults and 100Baht for children (at the time of travelling, 2016) and if you visit by moped or private car then there’s also a 20Baht parking charge. 


Things to do in Krabi


The Emerald Pool is open during daylight hours year round. The water is often warm, and crystal clear.
 

While the walk from the carpark to the The Emerald Pool is only 800 metres there is also an optional 2.7 kilometre nature trail complete with waterfalls and breathtaking vantage points.


Night Market

A short bus ride out from the coast of Ao Nang into Krabi Town and you’ll find yourself at the night market. A hive of activity, this place is certainly one of the great things to do in Krabi. 

We took a trip here for an evening meal, despite the amazing prices in Thailand we found our money going even further here. We also went crazy with the variety on offer and had an amazing range of different meal options.

Things to do in Krabi
The market is available on weekends from Friday until Sunday and starts around 6pm and goes on until late in the evening. 

Tiger Cave Temple

Tiger Cave Temple (Wat Tham Sua)is located approximately 3 kilometres from Krabi Town and a fantastic place to visit whilst in Southern Thailand. Aside from being a site of meditation, Tiger Cave Temple is also of great archaeological and historical interest.

During excavations items such as stone tools, pottery remains and the mold for making Buddha footprints have been found. 

 


The main tourist attraction however is in the temple complex which is a 1,272 step climb up a limestone tower.

Once you’ve made it to the top you’ll find bizarre photos of internal organs and split cadavers. This is supposed to reinforce the temporary nature of the body and in turn help the monks to focus on more spiritual matters.


There we have it, my complete list of things you absolutely must do while in Krabi, Thailand. I’ve created a integrated map (below) that you’re more than welcome to download or print off to help you navigate whilst you’re there. 


In the meantime, as always I’d love to know what you’re favourite things to do in Krabi are? or if you’ve not already been, what are you looking forward to most? Let me know in the comments below.

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Accommodation, Asia, Destinations, Travel

Our first trip to Thailand was a mix of budget and luxury accommodation across the country. Certainly one of the finer destinations we stayed at has to be the Instagram perfect Zeavola Resort on Phi Phi Island.



Zeavola resort is designed around the rural village life in Thailand complete with adorable teakwood suites. The lifestyle here reflects that of the ethos of Zeavola resort and is designed to be long term environmentally friendly and sustainable. In fact it recently won World’s Best Sustainable Boutique Hotel Award.

 

Trip Details

Dates: 8th June 2016 – 10th June 2016 
Nights:
 2
Price We Paid Per Night: Hosted
Room Type:
One Bed Sea Front Suite 
Booking Platform:
N/A

Location

Zeavola Resort is situated on the northern tip of Phi Phi Don Island, in the Phi Phi Natural Marine Park. An outlying part of Krabi, the island is easily accessible from both Phuket and Krabi. 


The resort is located on Laem Tong Beach, a short distance away from the main pier. It therefore requires a private boat transfer. Zeavola operate a daily speedboat transfer service from Phuket which takes approximately one hour. Although private speedboats are available.


Alternatively guests can join the pubic ferry services and transfer to a long-tail boat upon arrival.

The Room

Our one bedroom suite was set on the sea front and comprised of; a beautifully decorated double bed, an indoor and outdoor shower and a amazing balcony area with two kingsize seats.

The attention to detail at Zevola resort really makes the experience all the more special. With personally tailored requests, a turn down service, and daily replenishment of refreshments and in-room facilities.


 

zeavola resort

Facilities

The facilities here are endless. I mean, honestly? Where do I begin. 

You’re room is never going to be more than a couple of metres from the crystal clear white sandy beaches. Where you’ll find sun loungers and beanbags to relax on. The whole island is so quiet it’s like having a private beach just to yourself.


The resort also plays host to a highly versatile restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Set on the beach front this is the perfect place to take in views of the sunset.  



The facilities of Zeavola resort don’ end there. In fact, they are just getting started. 

The resort plays host to an award winning spa. We’d never been to a spa before and wow! was it a great place to have our first. 

There’s also an on-site PADI certified diving centre. Which meant only one thing… We we’re going snorkeling. This entire experience ended up being the very highlight not just of our time at Zeavola resort but our entire time in Thailand.


In conclusion, Zeavola resort is as picture perfect on Instagram as it is in real life. So, if you’re looking for a little bit of luxury in Asia, here’s where you’re going to find it. 

In fact I’m 90% sure Helen is already planning our wedding at the resort – yes, they do weddings too!

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Asia, Destinations, Travel, Travel
Helen and I visited Thailand in May 2016. Many people say that Thailand is no longer a budget destination however in this post let me show you How I visited Thailand for less than £800 and see then if you disagree?

Thailand is a world renowned destination for its beaches, mountains, culture, and food. It’s at the top of most traveler’s wish list, and it’s easy to see why it’s grown in popularity.

In the early 90’s and 2000’s Thailand on a budget was easily done in fact it became well known as one of the very best budget holiday destinations. However, as the tourism in Thailand has grown many believe it’s no longer the financially friendly destination it once was. Today, I’m out to prove that theory wrong, here’s how you can visit Thailand on a budget!


Travel Insurance – £10

Before you go anywhere you’re going to need travel insurance. Travel insurance covers you for small things such as loss of baggage or larger things such as illness of death abroad. Whilst it isn’t compulsory I personally wouldn’t go anywhere outside of the UK without it. I have travel insurance as part of a service with my bank.

I still believe you can travel to Thailand on a budget
If you don’t have travel insurance already then I recommend using a comparison service such as Go Compare to find the cheapest / most suitable insurance policy for your needs. For the purposes of this study let’s say that you don’t have travel insurance but you manage to pick up an annual worldwide travel insurance policy for £10.  

 

Airport Parking – £30

Our trip to Thailand was a little over three weeks and the cheapest airport parking we were able to find was £8 per day. That’s £168 in parking – or £84 each.

If there were five of us instead of just the two of us then we would have filled the car in which case the £168 would have actually been £33.60 each. A price that’s much more in line with public transport options such as the train or coach.

In the end, we ended up getting the Mega Bus. It wasn’t as convenient as taking the car but it saved us over £50 each!

If for any reason you need to drive your car to the airport then be sure to compare the prices of airport parking online with the likes of Just Park. This quick and easy comparison alone could save you up to 50% on your airport parking. 

Airport Food – £6

Check the airport website before you travel to find out what food outlets are available in your terminal. Plenty of airports will promote offers or allow you to print vouchers to use inside the airport. All this will help towards planning where you’re going to eat and how much it’s likely to cost.

If you can simply take snacks from where you’re staying and wait until your on the plane for your main meal.

 

 

Flight – £300

The most common routes from the UK to Thailand fly into either Bangkok or Phuket. Most tourists who visit Thailand go to both of these locations so if one destination is particularly cheaper to fly to than the other think about rearranging your trip to accommodate this.

Alternatively, if flying to Phuket is, for example, £80 cheaper than flying to Bangkok but you need to start your trip in Bangkok. Thailand’s internal flight system is both extensive and very, very cheap. Booking an internal flight like this rather than one direct could save you anything from £50+

If you're looking to travel to Thailand on a budget then you're going to want to consider the time of year in which you travel
When booking flights be sure to consider seasons. Peak season in Thailand is November to February. Not only are flights going to be more expensive during this time, but you’ll find that accommodation will cost more too.

Finally, be sure to read my top tips on avoiding hidden airline charges. These charges are never a great start to any holiday and can go a long way to completely blowing your budget.

 


Hotel / Hostels – £200

The beauty of a destination such as Thailand is that it can be as cheap or expensive as you want to make it. During our time in Thailand, we stayed in places that cost £12 a night, and places that cost £100.


For a period of three weeks, you can expect basic three-star accommodation to cost around £200 per person. This is going to depend on the time of year you visit Thailand.

If you’re looking at visiting the Full Moon party in Koh Phangan for example, you’re going to find that accommodation costs more. The cost of accommodation will also vary between locations.


In central Bangkok and Phuket, there are a large number of accommodation options, this makes pricing much more competitive when compared to more rural areas. If you’re a family or large party then consider renting out an entire apartment using Airbnb.

Booking.com
Apartments that sleep four starts from £30 per night in central locations. Apartments are likely to provide a lot more space and give a much more authentic experience.  

 

Internal Travel – £50

Internal travel within Thailand is going to vary depending on where you’re looking to visit. Our three weeks took us from Bangkok to Ao Nang, through to Krabi, over to the Phi Phi Islands, to Phuket where we then flew back to Bangkok to catch our returning flight.


Looking back that was a little too much travel for the three weeks we spent in Thailand. However, the cost of internal travel was never a problem and we often opted for the most convenient method of transport over the cheapest.

We booked all of our internal travel whilst in Thailand. In Bangkok, we used a ticket office within one of the subway terminals to book a flight. In Ao Nang, we haggled at the attraction ticket offices to get a discounted ferry crossing to Phi Phi. The rest, we did online from my laptop. For the most part, you can use a UK based flight website to book internal flights within Thailand.


This means you’re paying in GBP and confirming everything in English. Which can both save you money, time and hassle.

Attractions – £100

Much like internal travel, the cost of visiting the attractions within Thailand is going to vary depending on what you would like to do. I have put together a small list of attractions in Thailand as well as the ticket price in the local currency Baht as well as the cost in GBP (rate as of Oct 16)

Grand Palace, Bangkok – 500 Baht – £11.60

Khao Yai National Park – 400 Baht – £9.30

Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho) – 100 Baht – £2.30

Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun) – 50 Baht – £1.15   


Thailand has so many beautiful places you can visit


Food – £100

The food in Thailand is simply amazing. Regardless of where you are, you’re never short of choice. Whilst there are western food outlets such as McDonalds and Subway you’re going to pay western prices. Instead, stick to traditional Thai food outlets or street vendors.


If you’re unsure about street food (I know we were at first) then look for the vendor that has the most customers. If a lot of people are visiting one particular vendor, it’s likely that they have visited the same one previously.



Souvenirs – £0

This one is simple, we didn’t buy any. There were loads of things we loved, but most of all we loved the memories we made and the photos we took. By choosing not to bring souvenirs back for ourselves and others we saved around £50 each – which is going towards our next holiday!


If you have enjoyed this Thailand on a budget post then you’ll enjoy my other travel posts. As always I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.

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