#1 Karen Village
This is a hill-tribe in the Northern part of Thailand, close to the Burmese border. When we arrived in Chiang Mai we were able to book a hill-tribe trek which took us to visit the Karen village. We trekked for the whole afternoon up the mountain until eventually we made it to the village. Once in the village our guide, from a nearby village himself, introduced us to the family we would be living with for the night. The views were absolutely stunning, life was simple, the food was delicious, and the people were incredibly friendly. If I go back to Thailand I would definitely like to go on a longer trek and explore more of this incredibly interesting part of the country.
#2 Haad Mae Haad on Koh Pha Ngan
Koh Pha Ngan is an island situated in the Gulf of Thailand, just a short boat journey from Koh Samui or Surat Thani. Although infamous for it’s full moon parties you don’t have to venture far to find empty idyllic beaches, so that you can act out your own castaway adventure. The sea is so warm it is like taking a bath and perfectly flat so you can sit in it for hour upon hour. When we visited this part of the island we stayed on nearby Haad Salad which was so peaceful it was the perfect place to relax, catch up on writing my diary, and sample more amazing Thai food at the My Way restaurant. Haad Mae Haad sticks out though because of its unparalled beauty. From the beach you can walk across a sand bar to the nearby island of Koh Ma and from there you can spend hours snorkelling in the crystal clear waters. Lots of coral lies in the shallow waters acting as the home to a vast array of marine life. Barely up to my waist snorkelling there were whole shoals of colourful fish and there have even been sightings of turtles and reef sharks (which aren’t dangerous)! However I did cut my food on some coral so I would recommend renting some flippers or wearing some water shoes. This is definitely one of the best beaches in Thailand.
#3 Chiang Mai
A city in the North of Thailand, which acts like a breath of fresh air. It is more mountainous and notably cooler than Bangkok. With loads of temples to walk around and discover if you stay within or near the city wall everything is in walking distance. You can relax in a coffee shop, get a Thai massage, go on treks and visits into the surrounding hillside, or just check out the night Bazaar. Whatever you want Chiang Mai has it so it is well worth its spot on this list.
#4 The Grand Palace and Wat Pho
These are the two major sights in Bangkok, despite the crowds and the quite steep entry fee (just comparatively for Thailand, it’s not actually that expensive) these two complexes are architectural masterpieces. I have combined them together because they are so close so you might as well go to both. The grand palace, as its name suggests, is a complex of pure luxury and elegance. It is vast and well worth taking a couple of hours to walk around. As with many temples (Wats) in Thailand there is a lot of gold and a lot of intricate paintwork, you find your eyes almost don’t know where to look. I would definitely recommend taking a camera as it makes for some impressive photographs. Wat Pho is much more quiet than the Grand Palace, however make sure you have smaller note denominations on you because they don’t give change on the entry fee. As it is more quiet it is much more relaxing and peaceful to walk around. The main sight here is the giant reclining Buddha, you have to see it to believe it but it is absolutely enormous and golden! Walking around the whole complex is also really relaxing and the shade offered by the many buildings is welcomed in the afternoon Bangkok heat.
#5 Chatuchak Market
Again this is a sight for Bangkok, there are a lot of them. This is Thailands largest market and one of the worlds largest too! It occurs every Saturday and Sunday over an area of 27 acres with over 15,000 stalls selling everything from wood carvings to trainers to animals. Don’t worry there are maps and sectors to make it a little bit harder to get lost, saying that it still is a maze. It’s perfect for your last day or so in Thailand as you can buy a whole manner of gifts for people. I’d advise going to a floating market in the morning such as Taling Chan (also at weekends) then heading over to Chatuchak for a couple of hours, it gets over 200,000 visitors a day so spending any more time could get a little claustrophobic in the afternoon heat.
I’ll be posting more about my time in Thailand over the coming weeks with more information, stories, and hopefully helpful advice. If in the meantime you would like to hear about anything else, just message me or comment below.