It has always been a dream to me to see and touch an elephant – a dream that finally became true, during my stay in Thailand. We visited the Sonchana Elephant Sanctuary, to swim, bathe, play and feed the elephants. Definitely an experience that was crossed off my bucket list. The pricing was a bit different, since we were on our way to Phuket, we had a stop arranged at the Sanctuary before reaching our ultimate destination. But, most sanctuaries charge between $500 to $800 baht, per person – which covers for the food and care of the elephants.
I’m not going to lie, when you first see one RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU, it’s a bit scary due to how enormous they actually look in person. They are almost twice the size of a horse. But to me, the scariest part of it all, was getting on top of one – because it felt like I was going to fall due to the way they walk (they walk side to side, very slowly and not straight like most animals do).
We chose this activity, versus trekking with the elephants, because to us these animals (just like any other animal) are meant to be free in a habitat with no suffering or exploiting – #saynotoelephantrekking
Bangkok – Thailand’s capital and main city to visit.
I would highly suggest visiting the fascinating temples: Grand Palace (Residence & Museum), Wat Phra Kaew (where the Reclining Buddha is located), Wat Arun (Riverside Temple). It’s amazing how much art and color is seen in these temples, the feeling its indescribable. You can easily has access to all these temples for as long as you want, with an entry charge of roughly $100 Baht, per location (every $1 = to $32 Baht). Most of the funds being charged, are used for donations & maintenance of these temples.
If you are in the mood for shopping, definitely suggest visiting China Town or famous Khaosan Road. Be prepared to walk around crowded and congested roads, full of souvenirs and things to purchase. Main thing to remember – is to bargain with the sellers; their goal is to make a sale and have the customer leave satisfied. But, if you are not really feeling these outdoors shops (under 90 degree weather), another option would be to visit MBK Mall, which has 8 floors filled with stores and items you didn’t even know existed. If you are into buying electronics (such as phones, tablets, chargers, selfie sticks) would recommend visiting the 7th floor. On the first floor, they also have a small shop that can custom made your passport holder, for all my fellow travelers (cost around $100-$200 Baht with name and tags). Keep in mind prices are a bit higher than the outdoor shops.
Best nightlife spot to visit with a breathtaking view, was the Sky Bar – located in the center of Bangkok. It is a fancy rooftop bar, so make sure to dress up for the occasion. There is no cover charge, but drinks are overpriced, due to the location. I highly suggest going for the view and pictures, and maybe one cocktail or two – Be ready to pay around $25-$40 dollars, per person (approximately $800 – $1,400 Baht per drink). Additionally, there are taxes and gratuity included on the bill. But, to be honest the staff was so attentive, that every Baht spent was worth it. They also have a great DJ that made the atmosphere even more pleasant.
Our second destination to visit during our stay in Thailand was Khao Sok National Park. We flew into Surat Thani, which was the closest airport near the resort we were staying at. We chose this location because we wanted to get a sense of nature in beautiful Thailand, and because it’s rated top 10 places to visit.
We stayed at Khao Sok River Home Resort,
(check their Instagram page @kate.khaosok or webpage khaosokriverhomeresort.com) about an hour away from airport, literally in the jungle. They have about 7 rooms, which are actually villages – which included breakfast & lunch/dinner, at an additional cost. It cost us $48 dollars (approximately $1,600 Baht) per room, for 2 nights total, per couple. In here you will literally be disconnected from the world but connected to nature. Kate who’s the owner was amazing and very attentive. She helped us arrange the excursions we had planned during our stay in Khao Sok.
During our day trip to Cheow Lan Lake, we paid $1,800 baht per person (approximately $50 p/person) – which included transportation (there and back), fruits and refreshers, Thai boat ride, lunch, jungle trekking (pretty much a 2 hike through the jungle), coral cave (don’t forget to bring a flashlight & be ready to get wet), kayaking and swimming in the lake. The sightseeing in this lake is breathtaking- highly recommend going here for those who enjoy nature.
During our stay in Thailand, it was highly recommended to visit the Floating market, located in Damnoen Saudak – about an hour away from Bangkok. This trip cost us $1,000 Baht ($32 dollars) for 5 people total (arranged at our hotel called Isanook Bangkok), with transportation there and back included. In the floating market, you are literally inside of a Thai boat, going around each spot to purchase traditional Thai art / souvenirs. So much art, color and talent is shown on every stop you make. The atmosphere in here is truly amazing… to see a such small town with homes literally on a river, with scarce resources, and still see those who live there, smile. To think that they live their lives with no sort of luxury, and still look so happy to live there, getting up every day to sell items that some of them even created. What’s crazy about it all, its how cheap some of these items are valued, doesn’t even make you want to bargain with them, because you know this is how they make a living. It’s truly admiring how hardworking Thai people are, this place was definitely one of my favorite stops.
In addition to shopping, you could also take pictures with exotic animals, such as snakes and monkeys for $200 Baht ( $6 dollars). I’m terrified of snakes, so I took a picture with a Loris (similar to a monkey), which literally wraps around your arms once you hold it. They love to eat fruits and are normally found in Southern Asia.