Essential Travel Guide To Thailand

Visiting Thailand was an amazing experience! I had initially planned to surprise Ray for graduating, but it is nearly impossible to surprise this guy, seriously, I try every year haha. Anyway, I know that most want people just want the itinerary info, not that story behind every single thing. So here is a list of where we stayed, excursions we chose, what we loved and what we learned.


We flew Singapore airlines, they have a partnership with Jetblue, so I felt like that alone, made it trustworthy. The trick to flying as a couple, pick both the aisle and the window seat. You’re less likely to have someone book a middle seat on a long flight. We ended up having the whole row to ourselves both ways. & if someone is in the middle, you can always switch either seat.

Singapore was great, we had our vegetarian meals, hot wash clothes, unlimited movies & shows. We paid 20 bucks to have 24hrs worth of wifi (so ray can get work done). The screen also had a reading light at the bottom, so you can have your personal light without bothering others. highly recommend!

Hotel: Mandarava Resort and Spa

I had done a bunch of research on where to stay, of course, most tourists choose to be on Phuket Beach, I chose Karon Beach because it was highly rated & the reviews were on point with what we were looking for.

Prices vary depending on what time of year you visit. I booked through Travelocity, just to have that insurance policy. We went for 10 days in October, although it was 90’s all week, we were able to bare the heat because it wasn’t humid.

The resort is HUGE! It sits on a hill, so most rooms have breathtaking views. However, take in consideration you will be climbing stairs to get to your room. They do have services to take you to your room throughout the day and night.

The breakfast buffet was like the Ferrari of meals. Seriously, that intercontinental breakfast you get in the U.S ain’t shit. We woke up early every single day just to make it the buffet & the panoramic view of Thailand.

It’s about an hour away from the airport, so I just set up pick up and drop off, for about 25 bucks.

Things to do:

Two seas tour

I could write a completely different post on this tour. Honestly, I would take that long travel just to experience this again. I paid around $250 for both Ray and I. The company picks you up from your hotel at the crack of dawn. Literally, pick up is around 4:30 – 5:00 am. At first, Ray was skeptical, but how else are you going to catch the sunrise?

It’s an all-day tour, that includes a three-course meal, a canoe, and a personal tour guide. Seriously, you have a tour guide that rows your canoe & teaches you about the island, wildlife & and culture. We were treated so well, in the beginning, the chef asks for any dietary restrictions, she made a vegetarian version of every meal for us. I couldn’t be more appreciative, we knocked out after we ate, literally fell asleep between our next stop.

The tour leaves early to beat the crowds, You are also able to see more because the tide is low. We would leave caves, that most people weren’t able to see because the water is too high to reach the entrance.

There is so much more to this tour, but I don’t want to ruin the experience. Spend the money, wake up early. You will not regret it.

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

You can’t go to Thailand and skip seeing elephants, its a must. The company we booked with also picked us up from our hotel. We spent all day learning about elephants, feeding the elephants & giving them a mud bath. They also provide a meal & some goodies!

Go in a bathing suit & change of clothes. After you spend the time in showers and mud with the elephants, you can take all the mud off and change before lunch.

This place rescues elephants from strenuous and dangerous lifestyles. We don’t support Elephant Trecking, so going to a place that is against animal cruelty was important to both of us. We had a blast! Literally soaked from head to toe the whole time playing around in the mud pool.

I think I paid $180 for both of us. (which includes pick up and drop off)

We chose to do those two only because we want to explore Thailand ourselves. There are so many excursions to choose from, but again, we don’t just pick things because of hype. Like for instance, we both passed on seeing the tigers, because they all look so heavily sedated. That’s not their natural habitat, why should I pay for that ??

What we learned!

Scooter > Cabs

We booked a scooter rental from Travelocity. At first, we were skeptical because I had watched a video of the most common scams in Thailand. One being the scooters, but since this place was verified with Travelocity, we went for it. WE HAD SO MUCH FUN! Seriously, we spent all day on the scooter, stopping everywhere and being our own tour guides.

And, it was so cheap. $10 USD for 24 hours. The owner was like, just make sure you come back intact and with a full tank of gas. We filled the gas with 1 USD. haha. She had to take our passports for accountability, we took a video of her grabbing our passports, opening them to verify they belonged to us & putting them in the safe. (Just in case). We also took a video of reviewing the damages to the scooter with her before we took off. She understood our intentions & was all for it.

Before we left, I had taken a screenshot of the map of our surrounding areas. Luckily I did, we had no service and still got lost. It’s really easy to get around though, there’s one highway, so if you can get yourself back on the highway, you’ll be able to get home, eventually. Haha

We were able to check out our neighborhood, this is how we found the best places to eat & shop. We stopped at least 20 times, such a dope experience.

We didn’t take any cabs, we walked or took a scooter. Cheaper and much more fun.

Soy dogs…….

So, to make the story short. Ray was pretty much attacked by soy dogs in front of our room. He walked out of the room at night to get a pina colada & was chased back in. Looking back, I crack up thinking about it, but I was scared to leave the room. Haha. So we watched a video on youtube on how to stop soy dogs from attacking you & boom we were good.

For real, we walked everywhere & none of them tried us. The last thing you want is to be bitten by some wild dog in Thailand.


-Download a conversion app that you can use without wifi.

-Take out as much as you can before leaving the airport.

-Double check your count before you tip, you might tip way more then you planned.

-Try to eat locally, our room service was way more expensive.

-I like to put money in a bunch of places, I had some in my bookbag, wallet, ray’s wallet & our phone cases. Just in case you lose something, you don’t want to be stranded.

Helpful tips:

-Buy water bottles, we walked to a nearby grocery store and bought a case. The sun is no joke, you want to stay hydrated. We also avoided tap water at all times, just in case. So no ice & brush your teeth with the water from the bottled water.

-Learn basic phrases, Ray did so well with every employee / local. He learned how to say thank you, please, good morning etc. They loved him!

-I bought a waterproof case for my phone, it rains out of nowhere. Seriously, we got caught in the rain a bunch of times.

-Don’t be afraid to negotiate, somethings are so overpriced because of tourism. Doesn’t hurt to try.

This is the second time I write this blog, my intentions were to shorten it more.
I hope this is helpful for you guys planning to take the trip! If you have any more questions or want a little bit more detail on anything, please comment below!

  • Davida Williams
    Posted at 12:23h, 11 October Reply

    aw i love it!! so insiteful & love the pics! i need a price on the hotel & flights 🤣🤣

    • Hips & Hustle
      Posted at 16:48h, 11 October Reply

      Glad it was helpful! We booked through Travelocity, so with insurance, flights and 7-day stay at Mandarava, it was $2300 total! [That also includes the great breakfast I talked about] I’m sure you can find a better price, I just wanted the best of everything.

  • Ethy Canon
    Posted at 17:20h, 18 October Reply

    This article was DOPE!!! You have inspired me to go to Thailand !! Rays soy dog experience nailed it!! Haha!!!

    • Hips & Hustle
      Posted at 17:21h, 18 October Reply

      Yes ! take the trip & make sure you watch a couple of you tube tutorials on how to stop them haha

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