I’ve read so many of these lists and watched so many videos and have always found it really interesting to see what different people see as the highlights of a country. Lists like this gave us a lot of ideas for our trip and I hope that this list might help somebody else too!
This list is only based on my opinion and I’m sure I missed something amazing out, narrowing it down to just 10 was difficult!
10. Ride a Tuk Tuk!
Such a typical tourist I know! I couldn’t resist the novelty though, and they are so much cheaper than taxis. We mostly used Tuk Tuks or walked to get around in Bangkok, yes some of the driving is a little “adventerous” but be sensible and use your common sense, if you feel unsafe don’t get in! Be prepared to haggle for your journeys and don’t be afraid to walk away if you’re not happy with the price. If you’re still a little unsure you can book organised Tuk Tuk tours which are regulated and the drivers tend to drive a little more carefully.
9.Try Thai Street Food
Even the weird stuff, you might never see this food again. Some favourites I tried were Pad Thai, buttered corn, spiral potatoes, spring rolls, rice cakes, Massaman Curry, fried rice, Pandan Custard and Steamed bread. There’s plenty of “mystery meat” and insects if you’re feeling brave too!
8. Snorkelling off Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan
The sealife here isn’t shy! You will find yourself completely surrounded by fish you have never seen. I personally found the snorkelling off Koh Tao the best (Mango Bay I think) for the variety of fish, but I did see some interesting animals off Nang Yuan too. You usually book a trip to here and get both destinations included meaning you get to explore Koh Nang Yuan- which is beautiful!
This might seem an obvious one, but the two I highly recommend are Wat Phrathat Doi Sutep in Chiang Mai and Wat Pho in Bangkok. I found the Temples in Chiang Mai to be very ornate with such amazing detail. The entire Wat Pho complex is packed with history, this temple is also open at night and is like a completely different place in the dark. Definitely try to get there if you can!
6. Phi Phi View Point
A big climb, but worth it for the view of both of Phi Phi Don’s bays! Take lots of water, sunscreen and mosquito repellent and take rests if you need them. Next time I climb this I’ll try to go in the morning to avoid the midday sun. View Point two is worth the extra climb too.
5. Pad Thai in Bangkok
Specifically from Thipsamai! A restaurant not far from the Grand Palace and Wat Pho, this restaurant opens in the early evening each day with people queueing from as early as 2pm! You can’t book at this restaurant and they only have three items on the menu, shrimp pad Thai served in omelette, shrimp pad Thai and vegetarian pad Thai, the food is cooked outside where you can watch the chefs work. The place is absolutely packed to the rafters, and locals even pay students to wait in line for a table for them! Make sure to try to orange juice too!
4. Night markets
One of my favourite parts of Thailand, the more locals the better! You’ll find everything you could possibly need here and at bargain prices (3 handbags for £2.50!) as well as some damn good food! Shop around and don’t be afraid to haggle, the stalls nearest to the “entrances” to the markets are usually more expensive.
3. Long Boat Ride
These boats are found at most beaches with the guys waiting to take you out on the water. Chat to a few and get some prices and set off sailing! This was by far my favourite mode of transport in Thailand. So stripped back, but so amazing. Almost every boat had life jackets if you are a little nervous on the water, so ask for one if you feel better.
2. Maya Bay
The setting of The Beach, if you have watched this film you know why you should visit. We visited the bay twice, once on a speedboat tour and once again on a long boat. Pulling in to the bay will give you Goosebumps (imagine Pure Shores by All Saints playing too!). There are no words to describe this place, I’ll let the pictures show you and I promise there are no filters or photoshop here!! I personally recommend visiting on a long boat (if you’re staying on Phi Phi Don) and paying the fee to dock the boat, you get as long as you want then and can beat the crowds. We went at about 8:30 in the morning and there were very few people there. Perfect for the classic “jumping in the air” facebook profile picture.
1. Elephant Sanctuaries
As I’ve mentioned before doing your research is so important here, a camp may claim to be cruelty free while allowing you to ride the elephants and making them perform. Really take your time to make sure you don’t do anything you regret and really make the most of your time with the animals. Just being in the presence of them is overwhelming, watching them interact with each other and letting them interact with you. You’ll end your day tired, soaking wet, and covered in elephant snot but there’s nothing like it. There is a huge conservation park about an hour north of Chiang Mai with lots of camps in, do some reading and see what level of interaction you want with the elephants. Some of the rescue camps don’t allow you to get too close to the elephants as the elephants have a bad past with humans. If you’re not into diving in with both feet somewhere like this might be good. If you don’t mind climbing in the water with them and washing them then there are plenty of camps there that will let you do this. This is an amazing experience so make sure you enjoy your day!
Please share anything that you think I missed so I can add it to my list for next time!