In 2013 my three friends and I were looking at going on a holiday before heading back to Uni in 2014 – preferably somewhere tropical and fun, but also somewhere relatively inexpensive considering we are all university students with only part time jobs.
We decided that Thailand would be the perfect destination as there are beaches, nightlife and lots of things to see and do. Thailand is also relatively cheap in many aspects such as accommodation, food and… alcohol!
None of us girls had ever been to Thailand before so we weren’t sure how to go about planning our first overseas holiday together. We weren’t sure where was best to stay, if we should book it ourselves online, or through a travel agent. There was so much information that it was overwhelming!
Then one of my friends said she’d found a couple of Contiki tours that travel through Thailand. The ‘Island hopper west’ tour was one that ran through Australia’s summer months, which is when we wanted to go. The tour ran for 9 days, went to Phuket, Phi Phi island and Krabi.
I’d heard that Contiki tours were one wild party but I had the impression that that was more in Europe, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect from one in Thailand.
After reading the reviews and researching the locations this seemed like the perfect tour for us. It was a good length of time and would allow us to experience a few different destinations without the hassle of trying to organize everything ourselves. We booked the tour through a travel agent, and also booked flights through The Flight Centre, with Thai airways.
By booking through a travel agent, this gave us peace of mind that if anything went wrong we would have someone to help us.
Flights: Ours were about $900 return from Melbourne to Phuket, but you can definitely find cheaper deals at certain times, through airlines such as Jetstar.
Tour: about $1000
Spending money: I spent about $700 in the 9 days, but you can easily spend a lot less (or more!)
I had an absolute blast in Thailand and it was great that I got to hang out with my friends but also meet new people. I loved that everything was organized for us but we still got plenty of free time to do our own thing. I recommend the tour for young people who are first time travellers to Thailand, people who want to meet others or people travelling alone. I was incredibly happy with the accommodation that Contiki chose for us as it was all very nice and close to things. My favourite place was definitely Phi Phi Island as it has beautiful beaches, shopping and partying. While the other destinations we visited were also great, Phuket is a lot busier and not as scenic, and Krabi is a little too chilled out for me as there wasn’t as much to do.
I made amazing friends on the tour that I will continue to keep in touch with, hopefully for a long time.
As Contiki says, #noregrets
-When shopping I recommend not going overboard like I did! Think about if it is an item that you will actually use/ wear when you get back home. Although everything is cheap, if your not going to use it, it is still a waste of money that all adds up. I still have many things sitting in bags that I haven’t used.
-Try many of the different Thai meals on offer at restaurants! They are super cheap and delicious, but also generally cheaper than western meals, which you can have any time.
-Take photos! The photos you take will help to remember memories that will last a life time.
-Remember the conversion rate. One night we went out and bought drinks, which were about 250 BAHT each. The next morning we realized how we’d spent so much money, as that translates to about $9, not $3 like it sounded in our tipsy state.