Ohhh Thailand, there are so many reasons to love this dreamy country….the delicious Thai food, the kind-hearted people, the tuk-tuks, the stunning beaches, the monkeys, the elephants, the endless temples and beautiful Buddha statues, the long tail boats, the shopping, the street markets, the massages, the affordable prices, the stunning scenery, the endless adventures and places to explore, the list goes on and on! There really is nothing not to love about this wonderful destination!
I spent almost 3 months exploring the different parts of Thailand and traveled to multiple cities in all parts of the country. Each and every spot had something wonderful to offer! The places I visited included Bangkok, Ayutthaya, the islands: Koh Chang, Koh Tao, Koh Phi Phi, Railay Beach, and the towns of Chaing Mai and Pai.
Travel Tips/Interesting Facts:
- Don’t worry that you need to have everything planned before you get there. It is much easier to figure things out, such as tours and travel plans, once you are actually there. Located on almost every corner there are Tourist Agencies to help you book tours, flights, buses, boats, and anything else you may need help with. After all, there is a reason that Thailand is so popular with backpackers! On the same note, if you are someone who likes to have a set plan, then that is always an option too, just try to leave some room for flexibility! 🙂
- There is a 7-11 to be found literally EVERYWHERE almost on every corner. So no worries, anything you might need or might have forgotten you will always be able to find and purchase while there.
- It is incredibly safe! Contrary to popular belief, you are probably much safer in Thailand vs. many of the other places you may go or even live in the States. I think for some reason there is this thinking in America that other countries are “unsafe” or “scary” just because we are not familiar with them. Most of the problems that do take place involve other tourists snatching bags or stealing, so just be careful to keep your important belongings close to you and your purse closed. And of course, you still need to be smart and use common sense at all times considering you are in a foreign country. Follow the rules/laws and be smart and you will stay safe!
- Thai people are some of the kindest you will meet. They are always smiling and happiness is just their way of life. Most Thai people are Buddhist and very respectful. Be sure to show them the same respect in return. Also, don’t forget to take off your shoes before entering a store or home and always be kind and smile! 🙂
- It also never hurts to make an attempt to speak their language.
- “Sa-wa-di-ka”- “Hello”
- “Terimah kasi”- “Thank you”
- The best Thai food is found in the tiny spots that might look like a little shack/ someone’s kitchen and the street food in the markets. Don’t be scared of trying something that might seem a little out of your comfort zone. I promise you it will be so much tastier than any Thai food you might have once thought you loved in the States. (Just remember to be smart about street food and eat only food that looks like it has been just cooked and is still hot and fresh….food poisoning is a thing so you do still need to be careful.)
- Be careful when riding scooters, always wear a helmet and make sure you take photos of it before you rent one. Although the prices might sound super cheap for the rentals, I’ve heard lots of horror stories of people getting charged for scratches that were not their fault…so don’t make that mistake of not covering your bases to ensure this won’t happen.
- If you want to stay for more than the 30 days allowed with your Visa, you can extend it for another month no problem. Many people do what is called a visa run to get their extension paperwork handled and local tourist agencies also offer help with this service. Or you can always leave the country and come back after visiting one of the neighboring countries.
This bustling metropolitan city is full of life and excitement and not nearly as “scary” as I for some reason thought it was going to be. There is so much culture, beauty and charm to be found in this big city that you can easily spend days here exploring.
Be sure to take a trip to see this historical archaeological park full of palaces, temples, monasteries, and statues which is located about 80 kilometers north of Bangkok. There are day trip tours available from Bangkok.
Ko Tao….Ahhhh….my favorite. Chances are you will fall in love with this island the same way everyone else does. This tropical paradise is best known for its beautiful coral reefs and diving as well as its stunning sunsets. I ended up spending 3 weeks here and loved every minute of it! Also, if you really want to see all the beauty and hidden gems this island has to offer you will need to get a scooter- or a friend with a scooter! 🙂
Another peaceful island paradise good for some R&R is Ko Chang. There are multiple beaches on this island, each with its own character and highlights. In the three weeks I spent on this island, we stayed at 3 of the main beaches and below are some details of each.
- Khlong Prao Beach- A quiet beach town with a bohemian flair, here you can find hammocks, swings, and massages. This beach is also close to the fishing village of Bang Bao Pier where the snorkel and dive boats go out and closest to the neighboring islands of Ko Mak and Ko Kut.
- Kai Bae Beach- This long stretch of beach is a good place for a resort style vacation where your main objective is to just relax on a beautiful beach. Also located near the center of town, shopping and restaurants are nearby.
- White Sand Beach- Also full of resorts, busy beaches, and nearby shops and restaurants, this beach was a bit of a mix of the other two. Be sure to catch a fire show in the evenings and also check out the night market for some tasty street food!
Ko Phi Phi
Probably one of the most recognizable islands, Ko Phi Phi is the place you think of when you think about Thailand. Long tail boats, floating mountains, and a famous beach make this island the ultimate Thailand experience.
The cutest little hippie town, this island is full of adventures and lots of beauty! Rock climbing, caves, lagoons, monkeys, and more all make this destination beyond worth visiting. In order to get there you need to take a boat, so just be prepared to take your luggage through the sand…don’t worry though I promise you it will be worth it.
This charming city is full of incredible temples, restaurants, markets, shopping, nightlife, as well as mountain trekking excursions, tours, and cooking classes. Full of variety, there is something for every type of traveler here. You can even catch a Lady Boy show or go take a mud bath and feed elephants! Chiang Mai is definitely a must-do place to visit while in Thailand!
This little hippie town is located up in the mountains and about a 3-hour twisty windy drive from Chaing Mai. Full of charm and adventure, here you can go waterfall chasing, explore caves, take a dip in the hot springs, check out the canyons and sunset, explore some temples, or just relax and get a massage. I recommend either scheduling a day tour that takes you to all the highlights or renting a scooter and taking yourself to see all the best spots this little town has to offer. You can spend days here relaxing, it is definitely another must do when visiting Northern Thailand!
All in all, Thailand is most definitely a destination not to be missed! So start planning your trip now! Enjoy and happy travels!