12 Day Shanghai & Thailand Inspiration Itinerary with Max Emerson & Andrés Camilo


Getting away from Christmas and New Year is a dream for many. Wouldn’t we all like to get away from it all if we had the chance? We followed Max Emerson and Andres Camilo of Instagram’s Maxisms and andrescamilo___ who spent 3 weeks exploring 4 completely unique parts of Asia.

They kick off their trip in the modern metropolis of Shanghai before spending a relaxed Christmas island hopping in Thailand. For New Year where else to be than the gay party capital of Asia, Bangkok. To detox, they stepped back in time and enjoyed 6 days exploring the temples and unique culture in Myanmar (formerly Burma).

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Chic Chic Shanghai


Shanghai is China at its most dizzyingly modern! Epic waterfront skyscrapers straight, trendy crowds, and China’s most vibrant gay nightlife.

It’s also a city rich in history and tradition, from the elegant colonial architecture of The Bund to beautiful temples and narrow winding lanes serving steaming hot street food. Shanghai is home to the country’s most progressive and gay-friendly nightlife, check out Shanghai’s best gay bars and clubs. There is perhaps no better place to understand the past, present, and future of China than Shanghai, and it is an equally great destination for eating, shopping, exploring, and partying.

W Shanghai

What did you think of the hotel? 
Max: This place was DOPE! I lived in Shanghai as a broke model ten years ago… it was NOTHING like this. Our room had FLOOR TO CEILING view of the majesty that is the Pudong Skyline. And the breakfast… my god, the breakfast! Staying at the W Shanghai has raised the bar. For someone who stays in hotels 100 nights a year, this one spoiled me on the others.

Andres: What a view! The W Hotel Shanghai is right on the river-facing Pudong. The exciting interiors are delightful against the city lights. And while the space was amazing, it was the breakfast that wins here. Best hotel breakfast out of any hotel I have ever stayed at. Truly well done.

The concierge / social advisor / friend at the W knew what gay parties were happening. Upon arrival we got a bunch of “gay-themed” cookies that really set the friendly tone. Top tip – the higher the floor, the better since it’s the truly the best view in the city.

Anything you didn’t like?
Max: About the hotel, absolutely nothing. Shanghai did have some smog while we were there but not much you can do about that.
Andres: Shanghai is a big city, so getting about took a while everything seemed a long car-ride away, the hotel was still worth it for view.

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Spectacular Christmas On The Beach

Koh Samui

Koh Samui is Thailand from travel brochures, quiet white sandy beaches, jungle covered mountains and luxury resorts sournding the island. It is relatively quiet island with only a few party spots along Chaweng Beach. Flying into Koh Samui airport is the easiest way to reach the island. It’s under an hour flight from Bangkok.

On the southern tip of Koh Samui sits, Avani+ Samui Resort a small, intimate resort located in a secluded corner of the island.

Avani+ Samui Resort

What did you think of the hotel?
Andres: When we first got picked up at the airport and met the staff, I knew this place was going to be special. We had a one bedroom villa to ourselves in tropical paradise. —Oh and did I mention it had a private pool. The tall sloped ceilings in the room made the place really grandiose. It was Christmas about two days after we arrived: the place was all light up and everyone was extra celebratory. We got a great feel for the vibrant and relaxed atmosphere at Avani. Can’t wait to be back!

Max: EVERYTHING… from the airport pickup to the food to the massages to the concierge services… EVERYTHING was great quality, prompt and friendly. Can’t thank these guys enough.

Anything you didn’t like?
Max: Christmas celebrations can often be a little dorky, but it was Christmas for Christ’s sake. Santa arriving by boat only added to its charm.

Andres: The beach was not really that loungey but the resort really makes up for it with the private pools that are part of the villa. This place is ideal if you want to rent scooters to get around the island as otherwise it’s a bit far.

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Thai Island Hopping Itinerary

Koh Phangan

Just 15km north of Koh Samui lies the tropical island of Koh Phangan. The island is probably most famous as the birthplace of Thailand’s iconic Full Moon Parties that draws up to 30,000 partygoers each month from all over the globe.

But there is much more to Koh Phangan than the parties. Away from the party beach Koh Phangan offers visitors spectacular nature with picturesque beaches and stunning views of the Gulf of Thailand. Tropical jungle forests cover the island and are home to an array of exotic animal and plant life, Koh Phangan is far more than a party destination.

Anantara Rasananda Koh Phangan Villas 

What did you think about the hotel:
: We were kidnapped on a private luxury jet-boat and taken James Bond style to the most perfect beach in Koh Phangan. Seriously couldn’t believe . This place is real.. it’s too beautiful. The surrounding neighborhood was PERFECT too, not the typical touristy clutter that the island is often awash in. Although our beachfront, private pool room was glorious, the jungle-top yoga studio is my new absolute favorite place on earth.

Andres: The Anatara Koh Phangan has this jungle / island paradise feel the moment you step off the boat in front of the property.  The ocean front was amazing and the spa was truly unique. The whole spa is on the mountainside overlooking this beautiful bay.

Anything you didn’t like:
Max: They wouldn’t let us use the paddle boards when the beach had big waves one day. Mai Deeeeeee, lol

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Celebrating New Year's Eve in BKK

Bangkok – Siam

Bangkok is hot, sticky, epic, crazy and busy every night, all year round. Bangkok has developed a reputation as the capital of gay Asia and everything about the city makes it a paradise for gay party people. The Thai people’s culture of LGBT acceptance, Bangkok’s infamous party and red light scene to hosting Asia largest gay circuit parties.

Siam@Siam Design Hotel

What did you think about the hotel:
The funky and unique decor only ads to the charm. Set right in the middle of the city, this is the perfect place to catch all the interesting things in Bangkok. During our stay we used the gym and pool area. The view from the infinity pool on the 10th floor was spectacular. The gym was well stocked and spacious.

The Siam@Siam is well located within easy access to the gayborhood. The whole city is so great and friendly that I just felt at ease.

Max: You can’t beat the location for New Year’s Eve at this chic gem. Bangkok is a mall town. That being said, WHITE PARTY BANGKOK was happening less than a kilometer away. We opted to wander the neighborhood and ride the monorail from station to station, ending up at the station closest to the hotel for the countdown… three thousand people were there (at the mall) screaming as DJ Hello Kitty took the stage. A highlight of my life.

The pool also provides the necessary mid-day break from the BK heat to take thirst traps. No judgements.

Anything you didn’t like:
Andres: The artsy interiors are very bold. Some could think the design is too out there, but it also makes if somewhat quirky.

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Real Luxury For Daddy

Bangkok – Sathorn

The weather is hot and sticky all year round, the traffic is crazy yet the people still come. Bangkok holds the title as the world’s most visited city for four years running. International visitors flock to Bangkok for the food, culture, temples, shopping and its affordability. Bangkok is one of the best cities in the world for bargain-priced real luxury hotels.

Banyan Tree Bangkok

What did you think about the hotel:
: SWANKY! This hotel had everything going on. I had my dad with me for this part of the trip, and I think the only time he bothered to leave the hotel was to go on the hotel’s new dinner cruise. Food was unstoppable.

Anything you didn’t like:
: Potentially a little high end for my particular taste, but still an incredible treat. Perfect for my dad who loved it.

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