Through some technical difficulties, we were able to continue Travel Talk this week with a very special guest. One of our own, as well as Co-Founder and CEO of Spently, Nicholas Wiktorczyk steps in as a surprise guest to travel talk about his experience in Thailand.
Monte & Coe: What's the best time of year yo go to Thailand?
Nick: I think most people would want to avoid the rainy season, however, some people might disagree with that as it’s probably cheaper to go then.
I went on Boxing Day, 2012 with a few friends. Our purpose was backpacking at the time. When we went it was not rainy season; I think rainy season is our [Canada] summer and our winter becomes their summer season.
M: Where did you end up going?
N: So, our trip was about a month-long and we were able to go all over. We started in Bangkok, which is their main City, super busy with other young backpackers. At night, the streets really come alive with a lot of pubs and clubs, specifically on Khaosan Road. It’s great for young travelers who want to stay at an affordable hostel and still have a good time.
After Bangkok, we went to Chiang Mai, which is North of Thailand. Chiang Mai is perfect if you are into hiking, going into the jungle, and camping. We did a hike and stayed atop a mountain with local villagers overnight and it was amazing.
We also went to Ko Phi Phi, it's right near... if you ever saw the movie "The Beach" with Leonardo DiCaprio. We went on a snorkeling day trip to visit the island, and it was absolutely breathtaking.
M: What type of living arrangements are available?
N: All of the Cities and Islands have the entire spectrum of really affordable hostels to extremely luxurious hotels. I was staying at more of the higher end hostels. Which would be comparable to a 3-star resort back home [Canada].
M: How is the food?
N: Incredible food. That’s one of the amazing things about Thailand. For an incredibly affordable rate, you get amazing food. If you have ever had Pad-Thai in Toronto, it would be 10x better than that.M: What was one memorable moment?
N: I attended the famous Full Moon Party in Ko Pha-ngan, which is another Island. I found it a bit more run-down than the other places, but I think that’s because it is a huge party island. The party is essentially upwards of 50 thousand people partying on the beach from evening to morning. Everyone has face paint, hula-hoops on fire, and constant music playing.
After the party, we relaxed in Ko Samui. We were sick of staying in hostels so we stayed at this beautiful 5-start resort for a night and recovered from our time in Ko Pha-ngan.M: What kind of travelers did you run into?
N: People age 20-30 would probably be their number one group of travelers. However, there are people of all ages of course.M: What is the average price to travel there? How much did you spend?
N: Our average hostel accommodation was around $15 USD a night. Which was usually a higher-end hostel. However, there are resorts that are thousands of dollars per night. When we stayed at Cosamui, we had a last-minute booking at a resort and, I think we paid around $300 USD for a suit with three people. I am pretty sure it was a thousand-a-night type of resort but because we were last minute it was cheaper.
I think what they do in Thailand really well is luxury. The luxury stores and hotels are really luxurious. When you think of Thailand, most people think backpacking and more lower-end accommodations, but that is truly not the case.
M: Would you recommend any restaurants?
N: If you are in Ko Phi Phi, there is a restaurant called Papaya. It’s a little hole in the wall spot with cats everywhere. For $5 USD, you will get a massive plate of some of the best Thai food. I think I had the spiciest soup of my life there, but it was amazing.M: What type of currency do they take in Thailand?
N: They have their own currency called Thai Bot. I exchanged my USD once I was in Thailand.
M: How long do you think you need for a trip to Thailand?
N: We stayed for a month, and I think it was perfect. I am not the type of person to cram everything in a short period of time. I rather have time to relax than constantly traveling.M: From Toronto, the flight is about 17 hours and is usually not direct. Do you have any tips on managing cabin fever?
N: Long flights out of Toronto typically leave in the evening or night. So when you wake up that day, don’t take any naps, don't even have coffee. When you do get on the flight you can crash right away. If you can get 7-8 hours of sleep on that flight, the flight is not that bad. For the rest of the type, treat is as a typical morning. Stretch your legs, read, watch a movie, catch up on work. If you're able to distract yourself, the flight will go by pretty quickly.
M: Lastly, what is your bucket list for travel destinations in the future?
N: I was planning on going to Italy and Greece this summer, but COVID canceled that, so I still want to do that. The goal would be to soak up some sun and lay on beaches. I also want to explore more of South America, and parts of New Zealand.
Thanks a lot for stepping in, and continue staying safe - Monte & Coe