THE TIME I MET MONA LISA IN THAILAND

It didn’t hit me until I got to John F. Kennedy airport that I’d be going to Asia. Like actually going. Like real-life going. Whoa!

I sat in the gate area growing with anxiety. The weird thing about this though is the fact that I’ve never experienced that feeling before, and then it hit me… I’m the darkest person that’ll be boarding this flight right now and I just might be one of the only darkest persons that I’d be seeing out there. Yup, that reality hit me so quickly at that moment, (and that edible too but thats another story) that I didn’t know how to feel. After identifying why I felt so anxious, the feeling disappeared and I became excited all over again. “Thailand, HERE I COME!” 

Firstly, I must note: Cathay Pacific Airlines is not one of my favorites. This was my first experience with them and lets just say they’re unorganized. They didn’t have much structure at all when it came to their boarding procedure. But their food was type good, I’ll give them that much.

Flight: JFK to BKK (including a 6 hour layover in Hong Kong)= 18 hour travel time

As bad as that travel time might appear, it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I sleep about two times and watched about 3-4 movies then wahla! we were there.

Tip: Bring some snacks for when you’re feeling snackish, wipes, small toiletries, and a neck pillow.

Note: Although I flew to Bangkok directly, I caught another flight right after landing and headed straight to Phuket. Reason being, we wanted to see both Phuket and Bangkok, so it worked out better to split our time in half, and get to experience the new years in Bangkok.

So heres how the itinerary looked:

JFK to BKK 12:55am-1:55pm

(Catch a cab to a different airport. Miss the flight. Had to purchase a new ticket.)

Tip: BANGKOK TRAFFIC IS HEAVY.

DMK to HKT 7:55pm-9:20pm

HKT to DMK 4:40PM-6PM

BKK to JFK 1:50pm to 10:25pm

Side Note: When I was coming back to the states, there was a snow storm happening in New York so we had to land in Vancouver, Canada until it was safe to fly into New York. (BLESSINGS IF YOU ASK ME!)

PHUKET

Car Rental: 2 days=$262 including the $159 that you’ll be getting back after you’ve returned the car.

Accommodations: Pearl Hotel 4 nights=$202 USD

Tip:Booking.com is pretty awesome with their deals, and they price match! Click the link to get $25USD off of your next reservations.

Day 1:

  • Patong Beach

It’s ridiculously hot out there! 200bhat seat & 100bhat towel.

  • Big Bhudda

45 minutes drive from the beach. You could experience a peaceful meditation inside with some of the monks.

Day 2:

  • Walk around Phuket Town
  • Trick Eye Museum

The museum was right behind of the hotel. #clutch

  • Monkey Hill

These monkeys are the cutest things ever! But do keep a keen eye for the monkeys that aren’t in the mood to be bothered. Just leave them alone, because they will snap on you. For example, I was feeding a monkey some peanuts and he randomly got angry and showed me his teeth, and when a monkey does that they’re signaling you their intentions to bite. Check out the pic here.

Tip: You can bring nuts and bananas for the monkeys to eat. If you forget to, or don’t have any to bring, there will be people up they’re selling them. I would also recommend driving there. There will be signs to direct you there. Just keep driving until you see all the monkeys chilling out and monkeying around.

Upside-Down House: $300bhat per person

Day 3:

I’m not a big fan of riding elephants so I didn’t do it. But nevertheless, the experience was still more than amazing; touching and feeding those giant animals was like a dream come true. P.S. The elephants there didn’t seem as if they were being mistreated or uncared for either, so that was an A+ in my book. I hung out with the sweet girl, Chao-Sri<3

Book your date online with a deposit of only $1600bhat.

BANGKOK

Accommodations: AirBnB 4nights=$152.56USD

Tip: Earn a $40 travel credit when you sign up and book. No need to put in any codes. The travel credit will automatically be applied once you get to the checkout process.

Exploring Bangkok is easily doable by the BTS SkyTrain.

Day 1:

  • Celebrate the New Years at Central World

I’ve never seen so many people in one area before, ever, and keep in mind, thats coming from a New Yorker. It was bonkers! Find a spot near the junction where you can completely enjoy the fireworks, and overall moment.

Day 2:

This day really confirmed with me that Thailand has a fluent prostitution activity happening. I saw so many unusual relations that made me have to question and do my own research. Check out this LivingThai post that would give you more insight.

  • Explore Central World Area
  • Hang Out and Get Drinks at Soi Cowboy Strip Red District

If you follow me on Instagram then you probably saw my drunk moment on stage with a band, singing my own made-up song.

Day 3:

Rent a Put Put: 24 hours $240bhat + $2000 deposit that you’d receive back after your return.

  • Wat Po
  • Golden Buddha

Day 4:

  • I tried to go to Chatuchak Market but they’re only open on the weekends. Instead, I headed over to Khaos Put Market.

I snagged a beautiful red pants from the marked at $850bhat, but I negotiated until I got it down to $300bhat. Thats what I call a deal.

  • Walk through Pratunam Market.

Tips and Notes:

  • I went to Thailand with $200USD cash. I planned on spending $100USD in Phuket and $100USD in Bangkok. But I had to withdraw more money only for the elephant sanctuary, but if I didn’t do that activity the $200 would’ve definitely been enough to get me through my whole trip.
  • Navigation; both Google Maps and Apple Maps works
  • It’ll be a good idea to learn some basic Thai before traveling, or downloading a translator app on your smart device.
  • 7Elevens are literally everywhere.
  • I recommend renting a car in Phuket or securing a driver while out there. As for Bangkok, the BTS Skytrain is the most convenient way to get around.
  • Eat the street food! So, so, so good! You’ll find all sort of options that’ll work for your personal diet. And note, when they say spicy, they mean it.
  • Get a Thai Massage. The prices are great!
  • Always bargain when shopping!

A special thanks to Mona Lisa, a vibrant and beautiful woman than worked in the Red District that made sure we were having the night of our lives. She was recently killed by her boyfriend, who she professed so much love to us about.

Thank you Mona Lisa! I’ll forever cherish that bracelet that you gave me.

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