One of the dreams on my wish list is to spend more time in Thailand.
Do you ever find yourself wishing you were in Thailand while chowing down some Thai take out? Thailand, a place surrounded by mystery, and of course beautiful beaches that you see in magazines while keeping yourself busy on the tube. You have probably seen Thailand in many movies as well, such as Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and The Beach. In case you’re planning on going there soon, use this blog as your guide of places not to miss out on.
1. Things to do in Bangkok
Unless you’re going to spend a whole gap year travelling and have plenty of time, you will need to plan your trip carefully. Be sure to select the things that you are most interested in. Of course, you can’t miss a visit to Bangkok. Even if you want to have the kind of spiritual far-from-the-city-buzz kind of holiday, a visit to Bangkok is really worth it. In Thai, Bangkok is called Krung Thep Maka Nakhon or just Krung Thep. Interestingly enough, the full name of the city is “Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit”…!
As with every huge city, Bangkok has much to offer – and there are so many things to do there. If you want to learn more about Thai history and architecture, we highly recommend a visit to Bangkok’s National Museum, where you’ll be able to admire some of the masterpieces in Thai culture and art. It is the largest museum in Southeast Asia, so you can imagine how important it is. If you want to see more Thai architecture, you should visit the Grand Palace and the Temple of Dawn. They are two very different buildings, but equally important. The Temple of Dawn was given the name because you can enjoy the best view of it at dawn – it catches the sun’s rays and is a sight that you really shouldn’t miss.
If you want to immerse yourself in the amazing shopping world, then, of course, you may want to visit the big shopping malls, but we recommend the beautiful markets of the city where you’ll be able to buy the typical Thai items and most of all experience the real atmosphere of Bangkok. If you also want to learn more about Bangkok and Thailand’s nature and biodiversity, then visit the Lumpini Park and the beautiful Aquarium.
2. Best Places to Visit in Thailand: Phuket
The island of Phuket is considered to be one of the top places to visit in Thailand. It is well-known for its beautiful landscape and sea. It is in fact considered one of the most popular beach destination in all of Asia – so you really can’t miss this spot! The sand is white and silky, and the sea is crystal clear. You can see everything below your feet – so, if you are a bit scared of being in deep water and not knowing what lies beneath, there’s no need to worry here. Also, the accommodation and the facilities are absolutely fantastic. This is one of the best places to relax in the whole world. Phuket is not only ideal for laying on the beach while sipping a cocktail – if you’re an adventure lover, then there are plenty of things to do as well. One of the best options for any adventure seeker is the Phang Nga Bay; you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy a boat ride among the beautiful limestone carts that rise vertically from the sea. It is likely to be full of tourists however, because this spot is particularly beautiful and popular. You can also stop at one of the quiet beaches such as The James Bond Island, where the movie The Man with the Golden Gun was shot.
If you want to learn more about the story of the island, we recommend you visit Old Phuket Town. Here you’ll be able to see the amazing architecture which is a mix between colonial Portuguese and Chinese – indeed, quite a unique one! The town is scattered with amazing shops and restaurants where you can find some local specialties. If you want to experience a unique night out, then you really have to go to Bangla Road, where you’ll see the diverse population of Thailand and one of its landmarks – the ladyboys. Be open minded and enjoy a stroll along one of the most interesting places in Thailand. Keep in mind that the ladyboys will interact and call you over, usually they ask for money in exchange for pictures with them. You can spend the night trying the different restaurants, bars or clubs, whatever you choose, there is plenty to do!
3. What to See in Pattaya
If you’re looking for the ultimate party beach, Pattaya is the place for you. Here, you will experience great nightlife and amazing shopping opportunities. The city is well-known for being the sex capital of the country – so the administration is trying to draw focus to other cultural attractions. The city is built around a big bay called Ao Pattaya, which is surrounded by small islands. You’ll be able to taste delicious food and drink unusual cocktails. Pattaya Beach is parallel to the city centre and on Pattaya Road, you’ll find many bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. Of course there are plenty of activities to do outside of the amazing nightlife. You can play golf, race in go-karts or visit one of the many zoos and parks.
Just because Pattaya is considered to be the sex capital does not mean that you won’t find beautiful, spiritual places as well. Pattaya houses breathtaking temples worth visiting. For example, the Sanctuary of Truth is a spectacular place we highly recommend you visit. It is made of teak and it represents how art, philosophy and religion were fundamental in the development of mankind. If you are interested in Thailand’s nature, then you have to see the amazing Tropical Garden. It is also beautiful from a design/architectural point of view, and walking around the garden is incredibly romantic! There are gardens inspired by the European ancient manners, and you’ll be able to take part in great shows – including an elephant one!
Another unique experience that we strongly recommend is the floating market. Sellers from the four regions of Thailand (north, northeast, south, central) go there to sell their items (food, clothing, and so on) from some traditional boats or canoes. It is a very unusual thing to see, and it will make your visit absolutely unique.
Your visit to Pattaya can be as varied as you make it and include different scenes according to your tastes – if you want to learn more about Buddhist culture, then go to Big Buddha Hill, but if you’re looking for a fun activity then go to the Pattaya Waterpark. These are only some of the many things you can do here.
4. Thailand Nature and Weather
If you’re planning a holiday in Thailand, then you most likely plan to relax on a beach while sipping on a colourful drink topped with a miniature umbrella. Regardless of the time of year, you can enjoy the beach as Thailand’s weather is tropical and humid. In the southern regions, there are only two seasons: the wet season and the dry one. In many places around the world the best time to visit is during the spring or summer, but actually in Thailand that’s not the case. In fact, due to the weather, the best time to go is between November and February. If the cold temperature and traditional ski-resort-Christmas-holiday isn’t for you, then going to Thailand could be the solution to your problem! Here the temperature is hot but during this period you’ll enjoy cool, dry air that protects you from the heat. Avoid April and September. These are some of the months in which rain and humidity will be too much for a tourist to handle.
If you go during the months that we recommend, then you’ll be able to enjoy the beauty of Thailand’s nature. The flora and fauna of Thailand are exotic and unique, and likely to be different from anything you’ve seen. There are national and aquatic parks that offer activities such as trekking, scuba diving and so on. You also have the opportunity to see exotic animals such as elephants, monkeys and whale sharks (the world’s largest fish), and many more.
If you’re looking to relax after visiting the national parks then don’t worry, you’ll find a lot of beautiful, white-sand and emerald sea beaches where you’ll see amazing animals and plants. The beaches can be very different from each other – you might find a beautiful, big and crowded beach just a few kilometres away from a small, quiet and secluded one. There are plenty of opportunities to make your journey unforgettable.
5. Thailand culture, food and traditions
There are many aspects of the Thai culture that you may find strange. First of all, even if the temperature is very hot, it is illegal to go out without underwear or drive shirtless! Nevertheless, Thailand is quite liberal in sex-related laws. Changing sex is quite popular – you can find sex change advertisements in the newspapers! Transgender people are considered as having a “third sex”. Ladyboys are very popular. Regardless of how liberal Thailand is, there are many problems in the sex industry and you should never walk alone in Bangkok or Pattaya’s streets as they can be dangerous – there are many locals which aren’t registered or legally administrated. Every night, there are many raids that close down bars or clubs. Prostitution is officially illegal, but it is tolerated, especially in the big cities.
The name “Thailand” means “land of the free”. Religion and spirituality are two very important aspects of the culture of this country – in fact, at least 90% of the population is Buddhist. Thailand is also considered as one of the friendliest countries in the world. People are very kind and show respect to foreigners and each other. Thai people respect their elders and others of importance by keeping their heads lower than theirs.
Make sure to watch out for dangerous animals – there are scorpions, poisonous snakes, centipedes and jellyfish that could ruin your holiday. Scorpions tend to hide inside clothes left on the ground, so always be careful when you put on your clothes in the morning. There are also some types of fatal and poisonous jellyfish; the same goes for snakes.
Most of us have tried some Thai food at least once – and naturally you’ll find authentic cuisine here! The Thai culture takes pride in the amount of work and research they put into every meal. The food is generally very healthy. It can be spicy, but not too much – it is not an aggressive cuisine, but at the same time it has an unmistakable flavour.
Let us know if you had any cool experiences in Thailand or recommendations we might have missed.