Out of all the countries I’ve visited, Thailand has been my favourite! I love everything about it: the culture, the people, the way of life, the language and the food. Usually travelling for such a long period of time can drain you of energy at times but with Thailand I felt it gave me energy. It’s very unique to find a country like that. My recent trip in April was my first time visiting there and it’s on my list of places I’d love to return to one day.
Thailand’s capital Bangkok epitomises a traveller’s dreams. It’s got everything you desire to see and so much more. The city has numerous options for sightseeing. The best ways to get around Bangkok are by water taxi or TukTuks. However, traffic may be an issue if you’re getting around via TukTuks and make sure you negotiate a price before you start your journey. I’d definitely recommend taking a long tail boat to explore the canals of Bangkok. It is fascinating to observe the life that goes on along these canals.
Wat Pho is also a great place to visit and it is home of the reclining Buddha. Another option is the Grand Palace – undoubtedly the city’s most famous landmark. For both temples a strict dress code applies. The Grand Palace with The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is Thailand’s most sacred site. Men must wear long trousers and shirts with sleeves and women must be similarly modestly dressed. If you don’t have the correct clothing, then there is a booth by the entrance that provides clothes to borrow with the charge of a small deposit. You also can’t come to Bangkok without getting a traditional Thai massage. You’ll find massage places all over Bangkok and the prices are extremely cheap.
Chiang Mai was undoubtedly one of my favourite places that I visited in Thailand. During my time in Chiang Mai I went on a city bike tour, took part in a cooking class, sampled some of the nightlife, had several Thai massages, trekked through the jungle, stayed overnight in local villages and visited an elephant sanctuary. Although I was only in Chiang Mai for four nights, I managed to fit in a lot of activities! For me, staying in the local villages and trekking through the jungle was such an enriching cultural experience and it was the highlight of my time in Chiang Mai.
The visit to the elephant sanctuary was also one of the best things I’ve ever done. The day was priced at around £40 and we got to get so close to the beautiful elephants and spend so much time with them. Throughout the day we fed the elephants and washed them and as a group we felt we’d had such a personal experience with them. I’d never done anything like that before and it will always be a day that I will remember.
Although I did not spend long in Koh Samui, we spent the Thai New Year (Songkran) there and it’s safe to say I’ve never experienced anything quite like it! I felt so lucky to be able to experience such a significant occasion on such a beautiful island. Koh Samui really is something else. During the day we took a boat trip to another island with a beautiful beach about two hours away from the mainland. We spent our time snorkelling and exploring the island and the surroundings were so picturesque – it really did leave me speechless at times.
After the fun day we’d all had, we were all very excited to continue the fun into the evening of Songkran! We all went to the local 7/11 and geared ourselves up with water pistols and set off to the main strip on the island. The experience of Songkran is something I’ll never ever forget. It was the biggest water fight party I’ve ever seen or heard of and everyone was laughing and smiling. The locals were so happy to have tourists involved in their celebrations and it made the evening extra special – I don’t think I’ll ever go to a party that will top that one!
Koh Phi Phi
Phi Phi islands are some of the most popular and well known islands in not just Thailand but in Southeast Asia. They offered the desired tropical getaway for tourists and are just a 45-minute speedboat or a 90-minute ferry from either Phuket or Krabi. Some of the things that attract people are the turquoise water and a vast amount of colourful marine life.
Phi Phi is in fact a group of six islands and the two main ones are Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh. Phi Phi Don is a photographer’s paradise with a view point overlooking the two bays. On Bamboo Island (Koh Phai) there are plenty of fantastic snorkelling opportunities with some beautiful coral reefs just a short distance from the shore. Diving is also one of the main activities on the Phi Phi islands and many come to do their professional scuba diving licenses.
Khao Sok National Park
The best way I can describe Khao Sok National Park is to compare it to the Maldives. The backdrop in the National Park is a traveller’s dream, a natural phenomenon. After a short boat trip, we arrived at a small island where we had the option of several activities. We all enjoyed swimming in the gorgeous blue water which was warm and very calm. After the swim, many of us went kayaking (my favourite!) around the island and afar. We loved exploring the National Park and it really is one of Thailand’s best spots.
For all the Instagram lovers out there – Khao Sok National Park is for you!
Guest post by the lovely Ellie Wookey