Where the bloody hell are ya? Photo: Deni Hackett.

Title

This will make you book that cheap Thailand airfare asap...

Published July 17th, 2017
There’s a reason Thailand is the most visited country in Southeast Asia and it all begins with how much you SAVE in holidaying there! The booze is cheap, the food is cheap and each part of Thailand has its own personality. 
 
Phuket is the gateway to heaps of cool islands including the one used as a backdrop for the movie, The Beach. That’s in Maya Bay, which is just a short boat ride from Phi Phi Island – also a seriously cool party island. 
 
Student Flights Canberra consultant Deni Hackett loved it so much she recently went back a second time. We got all the deets on what tours to book and what her best tips were for having a loose (but also safe) time while island hopping...
 

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A long-tail boat, known as Ruea Hang Yao in the Thai language. Photo: Deni Hackett.
A long-tail boat, known as Ruea Hang Yao (เรือหางยาว) in the Thai language. Photo: Deni Hackett.

Tell us about your trip to Thailand?

I had already visited Bangkok a few years prior and was keen to see the south and relax in Phuket for a week so when a flight sale popped up I just booked it without hesitating! We spent a week there and stayed in Patong. We went out to the islands, up to the Big Buddha, went to a shooting range, and tried our best at bartering with the locals on Bangla Road.
 

What was your favourite city and thing to do there?

We only had the chance to visit Phuket, but my favourite part of the trip was the Phi Phi Islands for sure. One of the most beautiful places I've seen in my life! Snorkelling alongside limestone cliffs with fish literally centimetres from you is amazing (and somewhat terrifying if you have an irrational fear of sea creatures like me).
 

What sort of activities or day trips did you get to do? 

My favourite day trip was definitely the Phi Phi Islands! We booked with Buffalo Tours (who your travel agent can book for you as well!) and it was insanely good. We went to Maya Bay (where movie ‘’The Beach’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio was filmed) last whereas many of the other tour companies did Maya Bay first - so we practically had the bay to our self!
 
We had an unlimited supply of soft drink and bottled water on board and amazing guides who made sure we were looked after and having a great time. Plus, our speed boat had a cover on top so we weren't frying in the sun on the ride out from Phuket.
We also went on a bit of an adventure and rode ATVs up the mountain where the Big Buddha is, which was a ton of fun!

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Yes, the water really is that clear, and that blue irl! Photo: Deni Hackett.
Yes, the water really is that clear, and that blue irl! Photo: Deni Hackett.
 

Any insider tips for travel that you picked up in that destination, any tips you would pass onto your BFF?

Brush your teeth with bottled water! There's nothing worse than getting sick on your holiday. There's little 7 Eleven's everywhere and you can buy huge bottles of water for the equivalent of about fifty cents.
Barter, and always start low! Most of the time if they say no and you start walking away they'll change their minds and that saves you dollars for more food. Everyone loves food.
 
Also, book private transfers! There's nothing better than getting into that air conditioned car on your own at the airport while you watch people pile into a van holding their carry on bags on their laps. It also means you don't have to stress about finding a cab and not knowing what the appropriate amount to pay is. Get your consultant to book your transfers and have a stress free arrival into paradise.
 
What I found helped me the most with the locals was respecting their customs. Put your hands in front of your face like you're praying, and bow your head to say thank you. Earn their respect by respecting them.
 

Those are some great tips! What is your favourite memory from this trip?

Phi Phi Islands! I honestly can't say how amazing it was. If you're going to Phuket, you have to go there, and don't do it cheaply! Pay that little bit extra to have an amazing time like I did.
 

Did you go on the trip with anyone you already knew or did you get to make some new friends?

I went with my best mate AJ, but we also made friends! We met these two girls from Brisbane on our ATV tour, and then they happened to be on our Phi Phi tour the next day as well! 
 
We exchanged social media details and still speak often. AJ is a bit of a social butterfly so we made friends with people at our resort as well - an awesome couple from South Africa, who came out to Bangla Road with us one night, and a few mates from New Zealand, who came to the shooting range with us.
 

What was the best thing you ate?

Pad Thai in Thailand, of course!

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Where the bloody hell are ya? Photo: Deni Hackett.
Where the bloody hell are ya? Photo: Deni Hackett.

How did you end up working at Student Flights btw?

I wanted a fun and exciting job and thought that a position that encouraged travel would be perfect! I was passionate about travel and wanted the opportunity to help others go on their dream trips. I have now been with Student Flights for ten months (and I've booked myself four trips in this time!).
 

Finally, what do you think are some of the biggest benefits of booking with SF?

Our layby option is fantastic! It's so great to be able to deposit and pay off your flights two months before you go. It's also so beneficial to book at Student Flights because chances are, our consultants have been where you want to go! We have insider knowledge, we're like minded and we want you to have as much of an amazing time as we did. Your trips excite us as much as our own trips do!
 
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Sam Aldenton

Sam Aldenton is a travel writer, digital content creator (read: takes photos/videos with her iphone and sometimes a real camera) and former retail and youth trend forecaster. When she's not off discovering the world’s best pizza (an obsession picked up from her 4-years in New York), she makes her home in Brisbane, Australia. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram at @samaaldenton.