Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Amanda Stancati
Our travel agent Shannon Champagne travelled to Thailand from May 29-June 15th. Part of her time was spent self-exploring while the other time was spent on Contiki‘s 9-day Thai Island Hopper East tour. Read about her experience below:
Thailand truly is amazing! From the food to the culture, the beaches, and everything in between, it’s an incredible destination to visit.
I started out my adventure spending three nights in Bangkok staying at the Navalai River Resort. It was a very nice hotel with good accommodations and a great location. The property was located in the heart of Bangkok and about a 10 minute walk to the popular Khao San Road, which is where everyone goes for bars, restaurants, shopping, and great nightlife.
On my first full day in Thailand, I did a VIP tour at a Tiger Temple located about 2 hours outside of Bangkok. This was one of the most amazing experiences of my life! We started off the morning by offering food donations to the Monks and then joined in for breakfast with them.
After this, we got to meet the baby tigers! We fed them from a bottle, just like you would with a baby, walked them, played with them, and bathed them. Then we went into the playground for the adult tigers and got to play with them and watch them interact with each other. At one point, I even got to sit down and have the tiger’s head lay down on my lap! This was a little scary at first but again just so incredible to be up close and personal with such wonderful creatures.
The second half of this day was spent hanging out with an Asian elephant! She was so gentle and friendly. We got to ride her, feed her, play around with her in the water and have a water fight (she won!).
During my last day in Bangkok, we did another tour to visit the Floating Market and the Train Market. These were both very interesting experiences. At the Floating Market, we got to ride in a boat and see where and how a lot of the locals sell their products. During our visit to the Train Market, we got to experience the vendors pulling in and setting back up their stations again to make way for the train to pass through, and there certainly isn’t a lot of room for the train to drive through!
From Bangkok, I flew down to Phuket, Thailand’s largest island. Here I spent 4 nights at the Kata Palm Beach Resort, which was a beautiful hotel just across the street from the beach. There were a lot of good restaurant choices around the area as well as plenty of shopping. However, those looking for a nightlife and party scene should head to Patong. Patong was about a 15 minute ride by Tuk Tuk from Kata. In Patong, Bangla Road is where everyone goes for bars and clubs. It’s a great place to party but you definitely want to use your common sense there!
After exploring Phuket for 4 days, it was time to head over to the East islands of Thailand for a Contiki Tour. The tour name was Thai Island Hopper East Tour, a 9 day tour that started in Koh Samui, then went to Koh Toa, followed by Koh Phangan.
On the tour, we spent 3 nights in Koh Samui at the Nora Chaweng Hotel, which is only a short walk away from the beach. This island has something for everyone. It’s great for beaches, shopping, spa visits, dining, nightlife, and more!
One of our days here we did a full day excursion of the island. We cruised around in ex-army jeeps and visited the Grandfather and Grandmother rocks. We also went to the Buddha’s Magic Garden, we got to explore a waterfall. We ripped the jeeps throughout the island and got stuck in some mud pits along the way! It was a fun and exciting day in Koh Samui.
The next stop on the tour was Koh Tao for 2 nights at the Charm Churee Village. Koh Tao is famous for snorkeling so if anyone is going to Thailand and looking for the best snorkeling area, they must visit this island. We did a half day snorkeling excursion and boat ride and saw some great lookout points along the way.
The last stop on the Contiki tour was Koh Phangan for 3 nights at the Shiralea Backpackers Resort. The resort is just that, a backpackers resort, so the accommodations are very basic but the resort itself has a very fun and laid-back atmosphere. Koh Phangan is the party island of Thailand. It’s famous for it’s Full Moon parties and Jungle parties.
The Jungle party is the party that happens on the night before the Full Moon. We planned our trip in Thailand to match up with a Full Moon party so we could experience Koh Phangan to the fullest! For those of you who don’t know, here is a little bit of information on Full Moon parties. Some time ago, a group of tourists found that the most beautiful moon was in Koh Phangan. They arranged a party along the crescent-shaped beach of Haad Rin to celebrate the Full Moon night. From then on, people from all over the world came to join the celebration. We were there for the full moon on June 12th with approximately 50,000 other people. All along the beach of Haad Rin, there are DJs set up, bars, entertainment, etc. You’ll want to be sure to stay close to your group because it is very easy to lose people in the crowds!
Participate in the Full Moon party, interact with baby tigers, and experience other once-in-a-lifetime adventures in Thailand! Contact Shannon at 1-800-665-4981 ext 7342 for more information.Check out the deals!