There is not a backpacker paradise as much as Thailand. There is no denying that everyone has this as one of their top destinations and Thailand is ranked as our favorite destination by far. The immense culture and Thai traditions are one to leave an imprint on the hearts of travelers in many ways. So, let’s get into the details of this trip starting with…
There are several airlines and sites that we recommend booking your flights through and as in previous posts, booking through cheapoair, skippedlag, flighthub or any one of the other booking websites will allow you to get the best deals based on the time of year.
The best time to visit Thailand is outside of the rainy/monsoon season. This is usually when the air is cleaner and the views in any of the tourist destinations are spectacular. We found that any time between May to November is the best time to travel as there is not much rain.
This does come with a bit of caution as these months can be some of the hottest periods for Thailand but the heat is usually the best part living in North America where we don’t get too much of a lengthy summer.
Places to Visit, Things to Do!
There are so many places to see in Thailand that it would take multiple trips or an extended stay to soak up the entirety of what this beautiful country has to offer. Even so, if you are limited on time, here are some of the top destinations that did not disappoint.
Depending on your itinerary, Phuket could be the first place you get to in Thailand or the last place. Typically, flights into Phuket are much more affordable and it is recommended that this is where you land. Depending on your stay, 2 to 4 days is recommended to fully enjoy what this island has to offer.
To be honest, Thailand, as a first time trip is a culture shock so Phuket kind of eases you into the norms of the country. You can learn about Thai culture from the locals and visit the Big O’ Buddha and the extravagant temple Wat Chalong which is the most important one located in Phuket. You are able to visit an elephant sanctuary and tiger sanctuary but we do not recommend it as there are limitations on whether these animals are abused or not. By any means, this is just a suggested thing to do while in Phuket but I wouldn't recommend it.
Phuket is also a great place where you can enjoy one of many beaches and amazing street food. One of the best sunsets ever taken in was on Patong beach and it’s a must for everyone. During the day you can rent Jet Skis and zoom around the bay for hours if you please. This is so much fun that a couple of hours wasn’t enough. The views are breath-taking and overall an enjoyable activity that is fun with others. If you have gotten enough of the one beach, there are a couple more that can keep you interested. There is Koron beach and Kata beach where we had some delicious food overlooking an endless view into the Andaman Sea.
If you are over the beaches, other activities include visiting one of the many viewpoints in Phuket and enjoying the views. Try to visit all of them if you can, each view is very unique and breath-taking in its own way. Our favorite and top tourist spot from experience is Karon Viewpoint and Promthep Cape. For Karon Viewpoint, you could get lucky and have the place all to yourself or have a less crowded viewpoint if you go in the morning. We recommend doing Promthep Cape around sunset because to state again, some of the best sunsets have been in Phuket.
Next up, take a ferry for an hour and half to Koh Phi Phi. 2 nights on this island is definitely enough to take in some of the touristy attractions and do some day tours around the island. Few things that we recommend, you must go up to PhiPhi viewpoint for sunset (yes the sunsets are still the best part among many others
As night falls you must head to the beach to enjoy one of the many fire shows that is offered nightly on Koh PhiPhi and grab yourself one of their most affordable drink buckets to enjoy the evening. There are many tours that happen throughout the day to different islands.
One that we experienced was a 4 location tour with food included. This included visiting Bamboo Island, Monkey Beach, PehLeh Lagoon for a swim and ending the day at Maya Bay (the government has decided to close this beach for rehabilitation of the environment as it is very popular and use to have upwards of 5000 visitors a day prior to closing).
The next island on the list of places is Koh Lanta, a very narrow strip of land . One of our favourite islands is Koh Lanta island. This is because it is very relaxing and you feel at peace here as there are not that many tourists that travel to Koh Lanta. Some things you may find to occupy your time during your stay is to visit the national park at the southern part of the island. Rent a bike for your stay and enjoy coasting around the hills and scenic views along the road. This is truly a surreal experience that brought smiles to our faces and hope that it does for you as well.
There are also couple of caves to visit, the one we spotted was Kahi Mai Kaew Cave https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g303905-d3445712-Reviews-Khao_Mai_Kaew_Cave-Ko_Lanta_Krabi_Province.html and its is an experience, seeing the depths of the cave and bats habitat. https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attraction_Review-g303905-d4288284-Reviews-Mu_Koh_Lanta_National_Park-Ko_Lanta_Krabi_Province.html.
As always be sure to catch the sunset on the island and the spot to do so is at the Cliff Lanta Restaurant. This is a hotel/restaurant built into the side of a cliff that offers a breathtaking view for the sunset along with amazing food and drinks.
Railay Beach - Krabi
Railay is a secluded beach that is only accessible by boat. It is one of the beaches that amazed us for the impactful cliffs that rise out of the ground and seclude the area. This location is as picturesque as any with plenty to accomplish while there. Railay beach is the main attraction which is on the other side of the area from where the longtail boat will drop you.
There are other beaches in the area that you may want to check out such as Tonsai beach or Phra Nang beach but the main one feeds our obsession with chasing sunsets and you are able to enjoy a beautiful one in this area as well.
Other things you may find interesting to do are the Railay viewpoint Hike and visiting the lagoon. It must be stated that the hike is in some parts more of a climb and we recommend wearing proper shoes and not slides like we did. It will take about 15 minutes to get to the view point and enjoy the limestone cliffs and tall palm trees with unobstructed views of both beaches.
After exhausting yourself with all the things to do, you can grab a couple of drinks and some delicious food at any of the many spots around. We recommended getting a massage at one of the many resorts on the beach. We stayed at the Diamond resort, where we did the massages and cannot beat the prices of massages in Thailand. The resort was also very nice as it was nestled next to a very high limestone cliff that made the mornings surreal. There were lots of food options at the resort but decided to venture out for food. No matter where you are in Thailand, there are many options of delicious and affordable food. Be sure to try them!!
If you’re the party type, this is the place to be. Once a month, the island throws one of the world's most famous parties, the full moon party. It's essentially a massive party on the beach with clubs alongside the entire beach, a party lover's sight for sure. The price for entry is very small for the amount of fun packed at this event. On entry they sell these drinks called buckets, which is the staple drink to get the blood flowing. Once you've had your bucket, you get to enjoy as well as participate in some of the fire show events such as flamed jump rope, and the flame artist getting you to participate in their show. This party goes on until sunrise.
It was one of the most surreal feelings to be there at that moment. The amount of boats docking at the ports dropping off thousands and thousands of people from all around the world to celebrate and then leaving afterwards. It goes to show how one moment can gather all these people for one night of just celebrating and showing love to other cultures. The full moon party was the main reason why we went to this island, but there is so much more to do. We suggest taking some time to relax at the beaches, especially lamai beach. The amazing rock formations will certainly give you some social media worthy posts.
Phang Nga Bay
An amazing day tour takes you to many different islands and areas around the bay. Here you are able to see where they filmed the famous James Bond movie and it became so popular that the island that shows in the movie was renamed to James Bond Island. Just a day around this area is more than enough for any travellers.
There are so many amazing things to say about Bangkok, the city shocks you in so many ways, whether it be from all the amazing temples in the area, the Chao Phraya river flowing through the city, Koh San road with lots of food to try. From our experience 2 to 4 days in Bangkok is more than enough, you can start your trip here or end it here whatever you decide is worth the visit on your trip to Thailand. You can also try to get up the Bangkok ghost tower but at your own risk by sneaking in or paying the security guard a small fee of 1000 bahts to let you go up. The building is in no way maintained and some of the stairs are starting to degrade but it is well worth the climb up. The 360, unrestricted views down and around Bangkok are exhilarating. You can retire at one of the many rooftop bars around the area each night for great music and drinks. Ours was the Octave Rooftop lounge and bar. The vibes left us going back for more!
Chiang Mai is a city in northern Thailand known for its rich culture and history, beautiful temples, and delicious food. Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, Chiang Mai is a popular destination for those who want to experience a more traditional side of Thailand. The city is home to many beautiful temples, including Wat Phra Singh and Wat Chedi Luang, as well as a number of markets and street food stalls. Visitors can also take part in activities such as elephant sanctuary tours, cooking classes, and trekking in the nearby mountains. Chiang Mai is a great destination for those who want to immerse themselves in Thai culture and explore the natural beauty of the region.
Foods and more
Some of the must try foods of Thailand are the street food you find in the local markets, these are the tastiest and most affordable as well! Please be cautious of the food that you are buying and they may make you sick if your stomach is not accustomed to the spices and how it is made. Some of our favorite dishes from Thailand are the rice and spicy beef with veggies, the pad thai (with beef, chicken, shrimp or vegetarian), the green, yellow and red curries with chicken never disappoint us no matter which location. The best Tom Yum soup we had was on Koh Lanta at Mr. Greens restaurant but you can find delicious tom yum anywhere. The street food chicken skewers and breakfast/snack items such as the thai pancakes. If you are in Thailand you must have them!!
Additional list of foods to try:
Gang keow wan: a sweet and spicy green curry made with beef and various vegetables.
Khao niao mamuang: mango with sticky rice, a popular dessert.
Gai tod: deep-fried chicken pieces coated in a crispy batter.
Khao soi: a northern Thai noodle dish made with egg noodles and a coconut milk-based curry broth.
Some popular and chosen ways of getting around Thailand are by bus and boat, you can pay a one way fare to about any island or any city by boat or bus and they are fairly priced. One of our favorite ways of getting from cities to cities very quickly is by the air, the main airports being Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok and Chiang Mai International Airport, and Phuket International. This will take you from the north to south at affordable rates through any of the sites mentioned in our blogs. To get around cities we recommend renting a car or bike, you may also hire a personal driver for the week which is a great option for busier cities like Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya.
Until next time, We are on the way!