Possibly the best (and possibly the most obvious) thing about living in Thailand is, well… you’re living in Thailand. This beautiful country is incredibly vast and there are unlimited things to do and places to see; of course you will have heard of the well known destinations; but there are also so many more you won’t have even heard of, just waiting for you to come and explore them. But when do you have time to travel in this breathtaking nation if you’re in a classroom 5 days a week? Weekends, bank holidays and half term of course!
Yes, I know I’m back in the UK now but I can still pretend I’m in Thailand right? Plus, SO many of my friends have been asking me where to visit in Thailand…and I never disappoint.
Here are some of my personal favourites…
So I’m guessing you already knew about Bangkok? Pretty hard not to isn’t it! Most of the time, you’ll be placed in a school that isn’t too far away from Bangkok so it’s a great place to spend a weekend when you’re not sure where else to go. Having said that; Bangkok is pretty big and it can sometimes be incredibly difficult to navigate around if you don’t know where you’re going. BUT, on the positive side there is so much to do here the possibilities are literally endless. Here’s some cool places to hang out;
Khao San Road– AKA backpackers heaven. Want to know where everybody gets their elephant pants from? Want to have the best night (that you probably won’t remember the next day) on cheap alcoholic buckets? Want to be daring and taste the local delicacy of fried insects? Khao San is the place for you.
Soi Cowboy– This is what farangs (foreigners) imagine when they think of Bangkok; lady boys, red light district, go-go bars, neon lights. Soi Cowboy has it all and it is definitely worth experiencing for at least one night.
And there’s more;
Sofitel pool party- Head to the coolest hotel in town for their monthly pool party- drinks are flowing, DJs are setting up their decks and you can relax in the sunshine for the entire day, what could be better than that?
Chocolateville- Chocolateville is one of a kind; it’s so unique you simply must see it for yourself. Set like a European city; Chocolatelville allows guests to change continents (and time frames) without actually leaving the country. Cobbled streets, cute architecture, head here for something a little different.
Chatachuk market- If you’re in the mood to shop ‘til you drop then Chatachuk is the place. Every weekend a huge market (the size of 3 football fields) is set up close to Mo Chit BTS station. If you see something you like; take my advice and buy it there and then, the market is so big it’s not likely you’ll see the same stall twice.
Lumpini park- My favourite spot in the whole city; bring along a picnic, hire a blanket from street sellers and watch the day go by in Lumpini park. Pick a spot by the river and watch tourists sail in a paddle boat or pay a couple of baht to rent a swan boat for an hour. Just watch out the giant monitor lizards; they’re so cool but so scary looking.
China Town- Head here for the best food in town and the best markets. China Town is cheap and cheerful but the architecture is brilliant; the buildings were once huge hotels and casinos- the facades are as they once were and it feels like you’re stepping back in time.
Asiatique- Travel to Saphan Taksin BTS and board the free ferry to Asiatique, hop on the ferris wheel and see the Bangkok lights at Sundown. Roam the market stalls for fresh, organic goods, eat local produce at the restaurants and then head to the riverside bars for a few drinks. One of my favourite places in Bangkok; Asiatique, the entertainment island has something for everyone.
Ayyutthaya is the Ancient capital of Thailand; its temple ruins are pretty incredible and you can easily get lost for the weekend exploring them. There is a cool, little nightlife scene that is worth checking out and some of the coffee shops here are to die for- just make sure you watch out for angry dogs when the Sun goes down, they can sometimes be pretty intimidating.
Lesser known Kanchanaburi is one of my favourite places in the entire country. So rich with history, this place, heavily entwined with WWII is a fascinating town to explore. Don’t forget to check out the death railway, the hellfire pass, the dragon temple and Erawan waterfall.
My favourite historical town; Sukhothai is a short 8 hour bus ride North of Bangkok. Not often frequented by tourists you can sometimes have the entire historical park to yourself. Hire a bicycle and explore the beautiful scenery.
Pattaya is the Benidorm of Thailand; western retirees flock here to bag themselves a Thai bride, there’s more British pubs than there are 7/11’s and there are some pretty full on looking massage parlours lurking about. I say all of this with love though because Pattaya is AWESOME! If you want to have the holiday of a lifetime with your new best friends then Pattaya is the place for you. A three hour bus ride from Bangkok; Pattaya is the perfect weekend trip away and is possibly the closest beach to where you’ll be living. The beautiful island of Koh Larn is a short ferry ride from Pattaya; the white sands and clear sea are some of the nicest I’ve ever seen. So grab your pals, get a beer and head on down to walking street for a weekend you’ll never forget!
Having said that; Pattaya does have two sides to the coin. The first may be party central, but the latter is actually very family friendly. Head to Jomtien Beach for some great kid-friendly resorts, lovely restaurants, beautiful beaches and a much more relaxed and chilled atmosphere.
Psst! Look in to the Cartoon Network waterpark and you’ll never want to leave (don’t say I didn’t warn you)
The King of the North
No doubt Chiang Mai will be pretty close to the top of your travel itinerary, I can’t really blame you, I LOVE it here! I spent 2 weeks in Chiang Mai so I know all the ins and outs of this incredible city. Chiang Mai is so culturally diverse, it’s pretty vast, there is so much to do here and the food is incredible. Personally; I would recommend coming here in between term time- a weekend will not do this amazing place justice; PLUS you’ll want to head right over to Pai afterwards (more on that later) and Chiang Mai is the gateway. Chiang Mai is not only the King of the North but it’s also the King of the Elephant sanctuary; with so many to choose from it’s impossible to not experience feeding and bathing these giant beasts (just promise me no riding?!). There are hill tribes to visit, limitless temples to worship, a crazy night market, delicious cuisine, the highest mountain in Thailand, amazing waterfalls, beautiful pagoda’s and SO much more.
You haven’t really been to Thailand until you’ve been to Pai…It’s like a dream, like a different universse. In Pai; time stands still and your worries melt away. Possibly the most relaxed place on the planet, you can buy locally sourced, organic clothes from kitsch and quirky boutiques, you can taste the culinary delights of the night market, you can be energised by Northern Thai coffee beans, you can learn to ride a scooter and whizz off the Pai canyon, the land split, the hot springs, and the giant buddha on the hilltop. You can hike for hours until you find yourself at the most breathtaking, secluded waterfall, you can even run away and join the circus. Like no other place in the world; Pai is a must see!
Word of warning; brace yourself for the minivan journey there; 3 hours and 762 bends in the road from Chiang Mai (it’s going to be a bumpy ride)!
Koh Samui/ Krabi/ Koh Phi Phi etc.
The islands are some of the most beautiful in the entire world; crystal clear water, white sandy bays, luscious palm trees. I feel relaxed, simply thinking about them. Island hopping is a perfect way to spend your time off in between terms; just make sure you do your research in to monsoon seasons before you book your plane tickets. The islands are pretty much the only place in this country I am yet to explore so I can’t tell you too much detail about them. All I know is that they’re dreamy, pretty breath taking and the millions of people who travel from across the globe especially to visit the Thai peninsula cannot be wrong.
I have recently visited Koh Phangan, head to Angthong National Marine Park and you’ll be blown away.
Fancy travelling a little off the beaten track but don’t have any idea on where to start? Not to worry; I’ve done the groundwork for you.
Khao Yai National Park- Swim in the famous waterfall where The Beach was filmed and go elephant watching in one of the only places in the country where these beasts still roam free and wild.
Hua Hin- A Thai local holiday destination- Hua Hin is the best place to visit in monsoon season as it gets virtually no rain. The coastline is stunning and is the perfect place to visit if you fancy staying in a 5* luxurious resort.
Chantaburi- A beautiful place with cool quirky boutiques, stunning scenery and a catholic cathedral.
Petchaburi– The prettiest place in Thailand; check out the hilltop palace, multiple caves, giant Buddha and lovely beach- just watch out for the bandit monkeys
Lopburi- Monkey heaven…or hell, I haven’t quite decided. Not for the faint hearted, only come here to be truly at one with wildlife, only make sure you’ve had your rabies jab first.
Chiang Rai- Home to the magnificent White temple; Chiang Rai has so much to offer in terms of sightseeing and is well worth a visit.
Where are your favourite places to visit in Thailand? Let me know in the comments or contact me here!
Much love from wherever I am xx