Thailand is known as a tropical paradise, with a significant amount of rain forests, mountains, waterfalls, lakes, and a handful of nice beaches. Want to the know the best places to visit in Thailand? The popular places but also those off-the-beaten track? Read on!
Over the years, it has become a lot more touristy. Personally I believe it has had a negative effect on its reputation. Places such as Phuket, and Phi Phi have been overruled by drunken tourists and are destroying its natural beauty. Nonetheless, there are many places in Thailand which haven’t been affected by tourists and are great spots to visit!
For me, when I travel it is important to engage with the local people, their culture and lifestyle. I try to fully take advantage of this.
The Best Places to Explore Thailand’s Culture
North of Bangkok is Singburi, a local town with numerous temples and gigantic buddah’s; perfect for a historical adventure. 2.5 hours South West lies a town called Kanchanaburi, another great place to visit. On your way, make a pitt stop at the Open Zoo & National Park to see animals roam around freely and get up close and personal with a giraffe!
In Kanchanaburi there are many things to do including a visit to the Thai-Burma Death Railway Bridge, and camp out next to the Khwae Yai River . This is a fantastic place to stay, as you sleep adjacent to the water in which you can swim in throughout the day and make camp fires next to at night. Being on the edge of the rain forest, you are overwhelmed with endless waterfalls to visit, and views to take in. The Erawan Waterfalls are stunning!
As Kanchanaburi is a small local town, it is a very cheap place to stay, eat, drink and shop.
Getting Involved with the Locals
Visit a Thai School
If getting involved with the locals is something you enjoy doing, look into visiting a few schools while you are in Thailand. Spend the afternoon playing with some of the children. You can take gifts like a football, or a skipping rope and the children will be more than grateful! You can contact schools directly and organise a visit. Here is a link to a school who regularly welcome travellers into their classes.
Sleep at a Homestay
Staying at a Homestay allows you to get involved with a handful of local people. They will make you dinner, and include you in their morning ritual of giving food to the monks. They come to each establishment to collect it. As you hand over the food, they bless you with their prayers. Sleeping at a Homestay can also be cheaper than other places.
Visit the Floating Markets
There are many floating markets throughout Thailand and they offer a very unique experience. The floating market in the city of Pattaya is the largest one in the world, however expect it to be very busy. We visited the Ayothaya markets in the province of Ayutthaya, north of Bangkok. Arriving early to beat the crowds worked in our favour. The markets are a great place to witness a true reflection of a typical day in the life a Thai local. You can pick up a great souvenir too!
Other things to do include staying in Khao Sok National Park, and enjoy sleeping in a floating hut surrounded by limestone cliffs and pure silence. Head south and stay in Krabi; the gateway to island hopping around the southern islands. Railay beach, and Phi Phi are beautiful locations, with a fantastic stretch of beach, and breathtaking cliff views. Snorkel in crystal clear waters and see tons of tropical sea creatures. Visit an elephant sanctuary and spend time with them in their natural habitat. Go to an inflatable water park, kayak through the mountains, go white-water rafting, or quad biking in the rain forests. There is SO much to choose from!
Food, Transport, Nightlife & Accommodation in Thailand
Food in Thailand is BEAUTIFUL. Have you ever tried a Pad Thai? You will want to eat one every single day! There is a great selection of fresh fruit which is also a huge bonus.
TIP! Just be careful with the spice level.
The Thai’s are incredible at handling their spice. What Westerners believe is a 10, for the Thai’s it is a 5. We tried a local dish: Spicy Bat and it blew every single one of our heads off. We were unable to get rid of that taste for days. Ooohh one other tip – if you see Porridge on the menu, it isn’t oats and milk, it’s a very bizarre salty rice dish.
Transport in Thailand ranges from cheap, uncomfortable and lengthy options such as the overnight train or local buses, to more expensive, comfortable and efficient modes of transportation, including private vans, and flights. There is something to suit every budget and time-frame. One thing to note is that the traffic is insane; people are pilled up on trucks. Whole families fit on one scooter and there are too many cars for its roads!
If partying is your thing, nightlife in Thailand is big. No matter which city you are in, there is always something going on. Bars, street parties, fire throwing. Bangkok’s Ko San Road is famous for its large strip of bars, and parties lasting through the night. The islands have also developed a party reputation so you will not be short of a good time.
Accommodation is very affordable in Thailand and you can stay in luxurious places without breaking the bank. For around 15–20$ a night you can stay in the most beautiful locations! There are also very cheap hostels available for anyone on a budget 🙂
Keep your eyes peeled as more content on Thailand is coming soon!