Thailand has become one of the more popular travel destinations
in Asia, and possibly the world. And that is understandable, with its brilliant culture, bustling cities, vibrant nightlife as well as its breathtaking beaches and tropical islands.
You can understand why backpackers from all over the world flock to this amazing place. If you’re planning on being one of these people then I suggest you should definitely check out these 5 places on your journey…
Pretty much everyone’s Thailand trip will start and end in Bangkok, with it being the main travel hub of the country. You could easily spend your entire trip in this unreal city as there is just so much to see and do.
Definitely check out some of the awesome street markets where you’ll be able to find all sorts of weird and wonderful things and maybe even a bargain or two. My personal favourite was a night market called Khao San Road. This is one of the more well-known night markets in Bangkok and it is more than worth a visit. If you want to find out more about it and why it should definitely be on your Bangkok to-do list, check out this post!
Experiencing the Bangkok nightlife would be another thing that’s high up on my list of things to do. The city is littered with awesome bars and clubs and is even host to some of the best rooftop bars in the world!
If partying isn’t really your thing, then there is also an abundant number of sightseeing opportunities, with the Grand Palace being at the top of almost everybody’s list. Other notable hot spots include the Golden Buddha Temple (Wat Traimit), Chinatown and the famous floating market.
2. Chiang Mai
The largest city in northern Thailand and the second-largest city in the country to Bangkok, Chiang Mai is one of the lesser-known gems that Thailand has to offer.
It has a more old-school, traditional feel to it, particularly in the old city, which is home to Chiang Mai’s most enticing temples. You’ll also find an abundant selection of riverside bars and restaurants that are especially worth going to in the evening.
In terms of activities and things to do in Chiang Mai, the list is almost endless. One of the “must-dos” is visiting an elephant sanctuary. These are places where elephants are rescued from the tourism industry where they are harshly treated and even tortured. You can spend a half-day, full-day or even longer at these sanctuaries, feeding, bathing and interacting with the elephants. These places are always looking for volunteers so you won’t be short on options. Just make sure there is a strict no-riding policy.
Another great thing to do in Chiang Mai is kayaking. There is something for beginners who just want to take in the spectacular views and snap the occasional photo and on the other end of the spectrum, there are tours that include plenty of rapids and excitement. Great if you’ve got a GoPro and want to push it to the limits!
Something that’s really popular with travellers is a large number of meditation courses. These can last from a couple of days up to a month or more! Cooking and massage courses are also very common and are, again, very popular in the travelling community!
If you’re looking for a more laid-back city experience, Chiang Mai may be the city for you!
Heading down south now, Phuket is the biggest and most popular of Thailand’s islands, with about 5 million people visiting per year! Though it has gone through some major development in recent years, the beaches remain picturesque and beautiful, and many of the resorts on the island are top-notch.
Off-shore snorkelling and diving are among the most popular activities which are understandable, given the beautiful, crystal clear waters. And don’t forget about the nightlife. Thailand’s vibrant party scene is on full display here, especially the famous Bangla Road, located near Patong beach.
4. Ko Samui
The second of the three islands on this list, Ko Samui is known for its stunning beaches. The soft sand and crystal blue waters with towering palm trees on the shore make for a paradise of sorts.
Some of the notable things to do here (other than chill on the beaches) include the Big Buddha, a towering 12-meter-tall Buddha statue that can be seen from miles away. There are other things to see on the island, including the amazing Na Muang waterfalls and Chaweng Beach, the main town and beach on the island. This is also nightlife central for all you party people!
I would try and avoid coming here during the peak season, during Christmas and New Year as it just gets crazy busy at this time. Most of the rest of the year should be fine.
5. Ko Pha Ngan
Often referred to as the younger sibling of Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngan is mostly covered in the thick jungle when you venture inland. While it doesn’t have the same number of picturesque beaches as Samui, it is still home to some absolute gems! There’s the quiet, isolated Hat Khuat (Bottle Beach), Thong Nai Pan which isn’t nearly as isolated and does have a lot of pretty decent accommodation and other facilities and of course, there’s probably the most famous and popular of the beaches on Ko Pha Ngan, and that is Hat Rin, home to the world-famous Full Moon Party.
Hat Rin is a hub for backpackers and party people alike, boasting a huge range of beach-side accommodation. Once a month, at the turn of the full moon, the entire beach becomes one huge party. About 10,000 people attend the Full Moon Party each month!
Many people, such as myself, came here solely because of the full moon party and I can say that it more than lived up to the hype!