From October 24 to November 12, 2018, we went on a trip in Thailand. It was the third time in Thailand for Madeleine, but the first for Pierre-Adrien, and especially his first steps in Asia.
A few days in Bangkok
To start, we spent 4 days in Bangkok. We wandered in the city to see where Madeleine grew up and did her studies.
Then, we went to visit some famous temples such as Wat Pho, and on the other side of the Chao Praya (the river that crosses the Thai capital), Wat Arun.
We also walked around Chinatown, the flower market and the big market of Chatuchak.
On our 4th day, we left for a day trip to visit Ancient City, a few kilometers south of the capital.
Ancient City is a theme park which offers to discover by foot, by bike or by shuttle, most of the major religious and historical monuments of Thailand. The entrance costs 700 bath per person, and the bike loan is free.
It takes about 1 hour and cost 500 bath for a taxi to get there. But, it’s definitely worth it, since we spent one of the best days of our holiday.
Moreover, as Ancient City is closer to the sea, it is relatively cooler than in Bangkok and the air is more pleasant for a beautiful outdoors day.
Lopburi, the city of monkeys
In Bangkok, we took a train at Hua Lamphong station, and we went to Lopburi in almost 3 hours.
Lopburi was the capital of Thailand when King Narai was on the throne (1657-1688), because he found that the climate was better than in the actual capital, Ayutthaya.
Today, Lopburi is known for its monkeys who religiously are considered to be the children of the goddess Kala. The apes wander freely in the city and do not hesitate to steal anything that may seem to be food.
[Madeleine: Be really careful with the monkeys! One morning, we strolled in the city while drinking fruit juice and during a moment of carelessness, a monkey jumped at me and clung to my hand to grab my apple juice.
Surprised and shocked, I tried shaking my arm for him to let go, but of course, he only left when the juice fell to the ground.
The result: a tiny scratch that was disinfected immediately with alcohol, a bandage to prevent dust from getting into the wound and an hour to get over my emotions.
Except that after talking to my parents, we went to the local hospital to report the injury and without much surprise, I was prescribed an anti-rabies treatment consisting of five vaccines to be done on day 0, 3, 7, 14 and 28, as well as an antibiotic that I took for a week.]
Otherwise, to get back to the subject of Lopburi, we visited the palace of King Narai. We went on an excursion outside the city to visit a temple with a Buddha lying in a cave. Then, we climbed more than 436 steps to see a gigantic white Buddha on a mountain. And, we admired the phenomenon of bats leaving their cave at a precise time at the beginning of dusk to go hunting.
After Lopburi, we left a little farther north to visit the city of Sukhothai.
To reach Sukhothai, we took a train for 3 hours to Phitsanulok, and then a bus for a total trip of approximately 4 hours.
On the first day, we rented a scooter to go to Ramkhamhaeng National Park, 30 kilometers from the city of New Sukhothai. We left the scooter at the foot of a mountain for a 3-hour hike to a magnificent view point, located halfway to the top of this mountain.
To climb to the top, it takes 3 hours of complicated walking so 6 hours up and down. For the bravest, you can rent a tent at the top to spend the night. We did not have the courage, nor the time to go to the top. We had a picnic at the view point before going back down.
The next day, we drove to Old Sukhothai, the old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is located 12 kilometers from New Sukhothai, where we were sleeping. Along the way, we stopped at the hospital to get Madeleine’s second rabies vaccine.
On the third day, we were heading back to Bangkok with the night bus. We hung out in Sukhothai all day and to keep busy, we went to visit the Sangkalok Museum, where we learned a lot about Thai culture, but also about Buddhism and its representations.
Once the evening came, we went to the bus station to take a 7-hour bus to Bangkok. We arrived around 5 a.m., and after a change of bus station, we got on another 4-hour bus to reach the port of Ban Phe, and we went to Koh Samet by boat.
For 4 wonderful days on the island of Koh Samet, we went on hikes, walked on many paradise beaches, got a thai massage and went snorkelling.
Then we returned to Bangkok for a last weekend. We also had the chance to attend a Muay Thai combat before returning to France.
Financial aspect of this trip in Thailand
Now let’s talk about the cost of such a trip! We left 20 days with a budget of €1,600 per person, €3,200 in total.
The plane tickets were purchased a long time in advance, and we were able to get an interesting price with Emirates airline departing from Lyon with a stopover in Dubai. We paid €1,084.68 or €542.34 per person.
We had a budget of €240 for taxis, trains, buses, tuk-tuks, bikes, boats or any other means of transportation. This estimate was good because we spent only €195.
As for the accommodations, we only booked the 4 nights in the resort on Koh Samet Island. For the rest, we went to ask the price of a guest-houses on arrival. Our initial budget was €535 for 18 nights.
In Bangkok, Madeleine knew in which neighborhood we were going to stay. It was the one where she grew up and lived during her university semester. All we had to do was find the cheapest guest-house. We spent our first 5 nights at Mama’s guest-house and restaurant, in a beautiful room for 800 bath per night, or €110.
In Lopburi, we slept two nights in a small hotel for 350 bath per night, so about €20. In Sukhothai, we spent 3 nights in a charming guest-house for 1500 bath or €40. Then in Koh Samet, which was the most expensive, 4 nights for 9 680 bath or €260. Finally, for our last 3 nights in Bangkok, we returned to the same guest-house, at Mama’s, for 1500 bath, €40. So we spent €470 for the 18 nights spent in Thailand.
You will count that there are only 17 nights in accommodations as wee spent one night in the bus between Sukhothai and Bangkok.
Often the most important budget of a trip, for us food and drink represents the largest share of our expenses. We had a very wide estimation for our meals and drinks: 36 000 bath (€970) in total, i.e. 500 bath (€13.50) per person per meal. Obviously, we have not exceeded the budget, because we spent a total of €780 for food.
I had not counted any gifts/souvenirs budget, so we went a little off budget in this category. We spent €415 on a budget of €365, but at least most of our Christmas presents are already purchased 🙂 This budget included the entrances to temples or activities such as excursions, shopping, and entertainment.
Finally, we spent €2,945 for this 20-day trip to Thailand. We respected our budget, and count what remains for the tolls and gasoline we had to spend to get to the airport and return.
If you have any questions, or you want advice for a future trip to Thailand, do not hesitate to leave a comment or to contact us on our Facebook page: You and me on the loose