When I moved to San Francisco I started eating at a healthy Thai restaurant every week and it added to my love of world cuisines. My curiosity about Thailand reached a fever pitch after I started listening to a travel podcast called Extra Pack of Peanuts. They talked about how cheap it was in Thailand and so easy to get around and the generosity of the Thai people. It was a little concerning that I could find a way to stay gluten free and find real paleo type food but it really was not too difficult. I took some cooking classes so I could learn about how the food is made and the most common gluten free and paleo dishes.
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Our first stop was Bangkok sights and sounds. When we were there it was several months after the King of Thailand had died and there were thousands of mourners lining the streets and they came to the palace to pay their respect. He had been the king for decades and was most beloved. He was responsible for building up the robust tourist industry.
- Grand Palace was very ornate and beautiful. We didn’t stay too long, lots of people there and we were more interested in the food!
Later we rode the water taxi was my favorite thing because it was a great views and wonderful breeze. The river runs right through the middle of Bangkok and you could see everything from the boat, a great way to see the city and get your bearings.
There was food everywhere, street food, smoothies, etc. It is a busy city, not really my cup of tea.
I loved the smoothies, ask for no sugar-water to be added, just get ice, fruit and water. You will love them bc it is so hot there.
We took a lot of tuk tuk’s which are like taxis, try to negotiate the rate and hold on tight!
Try to avoid tourists traps, investigate in advance to plan your day (use tripadvisor.com, google reviews) We fell for a crappy made up floating market that was 1.5 hours from Bangkok. (Floating market below). It was way over priced and took a long time to get there. It was really a waste of time but the little boats were fun because they went fast. We figured if this was the worst thing that happened then we were doing pretty well. Even if you get ripped off it it won’t be too bad in my opinion the Thai people were very very hospitable even when overcharging.
Flying throughout Thailand is fairly inexpensive when booked ahead. Air Asia, Bangkok Airways, which was the best boutique airline but not the cheapest. You can go around on trains or busses but it is much, much slower and possibly hot. We also took one long ferry ride to Ko Samui and it was not ideal but not the worst either because you can walk around and look at the water.
We loved the stress relief of therapeutic massage parlors which are everywhere and cheap (keep your clothes on). I asked for head neck and shoulders massage, which was a great option to start out and not used to it. Thai massage can be a little hard core if you are not used to it. They basically walk on you and stretch your body a lot, I miss it so much!
2nd stop Chaing Mai–
More hipster destination in the north with a great breeze from the mountains.
First stop was the night markets in Chaing Mai which were awesome right by our guest house, Baen Kwan guesthouse.
The next day we took a Thai cooking class Arroy Arroy, owner is from North Carolina (ask for coconut oil, gluten free – they will accommodate)
if you are gluten sensitive, ask for fish sauce to substitute soy sauce.
Thai Garden Farm cooking class in Chang Mai, 5 course meal taught by the chef, all ingredients sourced from an on site organic farm, it was an amazing place and we learned how to make gluten free pad Thai.
They let me make my Pad Thai with olive oil and
The owner took us on a tour of their farm where they grow many of their own herbs for the classes. He was a diy-er making his own soap and herbs and living off the land.
Another day we ate at Rustic and Blue Farmshop which sources locally and has amazing smoothies and gluten free avocado toast. It is definitely a little pricy but they do take credit cards which helps. They even have farm dinners but the one we wanted to go to was already sold out.
Blue Diamond Breakfast Club Chang Mai gluten free restaurants was so amazing with so many natural and gluten free options. They had gluten free pancakes and rolls.They also had a health food shop with organic items and gluten free products.
Next we went to Ko Samui – gorgeous beach, tropical island. We stayed at the Florist Resort and it was really nice and affordable. It was right on the beach and had great air-conditioning. It was in a quieter part of Ko Samui but just a few kilometers from the fun Fishermans village where they have a Friday night market which include music and hundreds of food vendors. We had a fun time there eating off the food carts.
One day we rented a scooter to a waterfall called Na Mueang and we hiked up to the top. It was refreshing and nice to be in fresh water for a change. It was quite a hike up about 2 mile of hills but so worth it.
then we stopped for lunch at a great place by the ocean.
I usually ordered red or green curry usually with seafood, but sometimes chicken. It is a great gluten free staple full of healthy fats and brimming with vegetables. I can’t remember the name but the guy was English and had a bunch of soccer games on the TV.
Then we saw a sandbar in front of the restaurant that you could walk on way out into the water.
The next day we took a ferry to island where the Full Moon Party is but just stayed on the beach and didn’t really explore the island. We were not there during the time of the full moon party and I think we are a little older than the usual crowd but it was nice to see where it takes place. Cheers to Thailand for commercializing the full moon. They are true entrepreneurs.
After that we took an tour of the national park area that was preserved. We climbed up a big hill and lots of steps. Then on the other side we saw the spring.
We saw an amazing freshwater spring in the middle of an island. This is fresh water! Can you believe it?
Then we were able to kayak too! What a big day and a great tour.
Next we flew Bankok Airways to Krabi, an amazing beaches, busy. tourist spot.
Make sure and take a water taxi near Railay beach which is only accessible by boat. It was an amazing place.
We took a tour to Maya bay, where the Beach movie was filmed but it was so crowded. Hot tip: Try to go on an early bird tour. This place was seriously crowded!!
Later we enjoyed the sunset on the main beach in Krabi.
Then we used google reviews to find a gluten free pasta place on Aonang beach in Krabi. It was great pasta with seafood but remember non-that food is much more expensive. They even had gluten free tiramisu! they really do have everything in Thailand!
One of the last days we were in Krabi we hiked up to see a Buddha on a hill at the Tiger Cave Temple. It was a crazy hard hike of 1237 steps!
We made it to the top, wow that was rough, also it was 90 degrees, lol. Saw some wildlife on the way.
Next we took a ferry to Phuket, we booked an Air B and B in Rawai beach, locals beach/area known for Muy Thai boxing. It was common in Thailand for a scooter to be provided and we had this privilege at two of our lodgings.
We went up to the highest point in Phuket to see the Big Buddha. It was a an amazing view of the whole island.
- We found this awesome beach called Nai Harn beach. It was so beautiful and not crowded.
We even saw some elephants on the side of the road and stopped for a photo op. We didn’t ride elephants because that is considered animal exploitation.
Thailand Travel Tips:
- Before you leave the USA Call your credit cards ahead to let them know where you will be traveling so they don’t block your cards to be used overseas.
- Unlock your phones, you can buy a sim card for about $20 to have internet access, buy a card at the airport and refill at any 7-11 – very helpful for GPS. You can use your phone on airplane mode and use features such as iMessage and google hangouts to talk to people back home for free.
- Download a Thailand guide here for your kindle so you can read when away from wifi.
- call your airline ahead of time and request gluten free meals
- book accommodations through Air B and B (use my link HERE)
Support your health while traveling with essential oils:
- after arrival don’t go to sleep until sundown to try to combat jet lag
- Take your essential oils for immune support, sleep and digestive support.
- Caitlin uses cedarwood oil and lavender oil, essential oils to get circadian rhythms back in place, you can order oils HERE
- Digize essential oil for digestive support
- Thieves to stay well on the plane
- Learn more here
- purification can help with smelly hotel rooms and enjoy the outdoors annoyance free.
Gluten Free Tips:
- If you are gluten free or celiac, the best option is to stay at an Air B and B and cook your own food. The best way to save money is to eat Thai food and not go for the multitude of other ethnic foods that are available.
- Best dishes to order that are usually gluten free: pad Thai. green curry, Tom Ka Gai coconut soup. Avoid Chinese type dishes which will have a lot of soy sauce and sauces that may have MSG.
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