Thailand is a complete 360 degrees travel destination and has something for everyone. Bangkok and its fun activities are never ending and while my Thai travel highlights are Chiang Mai and Hua Hin, along with Phuket, there are a huge list of intrepid jewels waiting to be explored in Thailand. The country is a hot favourite destination for travel bloggers and for some more fun Thai tips, check The Crazy Tourist’s list Some of the most fun activities I did in Thailand were undoubtedly the adventure sports, trekking, cooking class, massages, angling, jungle resort stays and photo walks. I love northern Thailand and everything it has to offer. Pai is a beautiful sleepy town with a relaxed hippie vibe. Once a hidden off beat jewel, today Pai is neither off beat nor hidden, however it is still delightful.
1. Give into the misty hills – Easily accessible from Chiang Mai, Pai has lovely rice fields, eco friendly cottages and guest houses by the river and lots of beautiful caves. Caving (try the Wilderness Caving created and customized by John Spies, owner of the Cave Lodge, a caving enthusiast himself) , cycling, spending your days on a hammock, Pai just lets you be. Mae Hong although not as pretty as Pai, is pretty relaxing too and much easier on the pocket. Chiang Mai itself is unmissable and for nature enthusiasts, the best time to visit would around December-February, when the hills come alive with riot of blooms. The wats visit is a must and so are the hill treks and national parks. A cultural capital, Chiang Mai festivals like Loy Krathon, Songkran and Flower Festival are its highlights.
2. Feel its small historic heart – There is a stubborn little historical place in northern Thailand, which is very close to my heart. It is called Nan and set among rice fields and fruit orchards, by a river, Nan hosts an amazing boat race in October, provides jump off base for Doi Phukha and Mae Charim National Parks and the nomadic Mlabri tribe treks (they are quite expensive).
3. Explore the glorious ruins – The glorious ancient city of Sukhothai is mind blowing and is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kamphaeng Phet too is as rich as Sukhothai, if on a slightly smaller scale. Also listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site, it also offers stunning waterfalls, hill tribes, hot springs and the lovely Mae Wong National Park.
4. Go Indigo – However the most stunning place in Northern Thailand that I have visited in Phrae. One of the oldest cities in Thailand, it is famous for teak houses, famous indigo dyed cotton shirts, stretches of teak forests and soil pillars at Phae Muang Phi.
5. Explosion of Senses – Isan is one of my favourite provinces of Thailand and located in NE side of the country it is slowly coming into the tourist radar. Lazing by the broad Mekong River, it is riddled with Lao style wats, Khmer ruins and some of Thailand’s best national parks. Khao Yai and Pha Taem National Parks are amazing, although there are a few more. The cuisine is absolutely a tear jerker and a must try for food and spice lovers. It also has some fun festivals like Surin elephant round up and Rocket Festival in Yasothon.
6. Old World Charm – One of the loveliest and unsung provinces of central Thailand is Kanchanaburi. Sangkhlaburi town of this province is its crown jewel and has Thailand’s longest bridge, made up of incredible poles and boards. It also has the mystical sunken temple and a bustling Mon morning market. Cheap, relaxing and tranquil, it is central Thailand at its most sublime self.
7. World War Reminiscing – The only activity I did in Central Thailand was participate in the week long Bridge over the River Kwai Festival, which is held end of every year in Kanchanaburi. It was not one of the most memorable travel memories and has made me a bit reluctant to explore more of the central part of the country.
8. Discover isles of paradise – East Thailand is extremely beautiful and Koh Chang Archipelago is pretty awesome. The tiny jewel of Koh Kham is as idyllic as it can get. It is a snorkeler’s paradise, and has photogenic series of black volcanic rocks jutting out of the sugary white sand on the eastern beach of the island. Pattaya is the probably the most missable part of Central Thailand.
9. Go beach idyllic – South Thailand is the kingdom’s crown jewel of the tourism circuit. Phuket and Krabi are the most stunning places in the region, with more and more awesome places waiting to be discovered. Hua Hin is like home and I love Koh Phangan (bay and full moon parties), the polished stone “cursed” beach of Koh Hin Ngam (Satun), Tarutao Marine Park (for stunning marine life), Surin islands (for sea gypsy/Moken village and whale shark diving) and the tranquil lotus filled Thale Noi bird sanctuary in Hat Yai. Trang had been memorable for the spectacular Emerald Cave/ Tham Morakot near Koh Mook and upscale island eco resorts.
10. Celebrate life – Phuket Vegetarian Festival, Yala Barred Ground Dove Festival, Hua Hin Jazz Festival and Sak Yant’s grisly Tattoo Festival are my favourite Thai festivals after the Nan boat race and Loy Krathon celebrations at Chiang Mai. The strange and wacky Monkey Buffet at Lopburi (November), Dan Sai’s naughty Phi Ta Khon (June) and Ubon Ratchatani Candle Festival (July).are highly recommended for culture lovers and photographers. Apart from my few forays into Bangkok, I have not explored its surrounding areas much, nor paid Ayutthhaya a visit although the floating market of Amphawa had been a nice experience.
RESPONSIBLE TRAVELING-BECAUSE I CARE