Being home for a week right now made me reflect about my wonderful trip to a small part of South-East Asia. Last week I was still mourning because I did not want to go home, while today I am glad that I am home and that I am surrounded by all my friends and family. By sharing my memories with friends and family, I reflected over my trip to Thailand as well. I can only repeat how wonderful it was and how happy I am I did it! Therefore I want to share my must-do’s (and don’ts with all of you). So here we go:
What to do in beautiful Bangkok?
- First of all, you have to visit the historic center like said in all travel guides. This center includes the Royal Palace, the Wat Pho or Laying Buddha, a lot of other Wat’s and Dusit Park. Since there are so many little temples besides the Royal Palace and the must-see Laying Buddha it is recommended to walk around in the Rattanakosin neighborhood and visit some as you like. The best what you can do is plan all temple visits in one day, including the Royal Palace. You have to cover your shoulders and knees entering these religious buildings and this way you only have to wear long pants in the hot weather for one day. Although you have to cover most of your body parts when visiting temples, you have to take off your shoes. Wearing sandals or flip-flops is highly recommend!
- For you make any trip in Thailand check the opening hours of the sites you want to visit. Most important temples already close at 3.30 p.m. in contrary to the temples in other cities. Moreover, some of them are closed on Mondays.
- Secondly, take the boat to move around in the city, to avoid Bangkok’s horrible traffic on the roads. Be aware, there are different boats with different fares but most of them stop at the same piers. If you take the boat the locals take you will safe some money.
- Thirdly, make an evening trip to Chinatown and enjoy its food, lights and amazing atmosphere.
- Next, getting a drink at a rooftop bar is a must-do in Bangkok! You can find bars all over the city and not all of them are that expensive as the world-famous Lebua Skybar, at which the view should be breath-taking. We went for a late night drink at the rooftop bar of the Central Plaza in the Business District, which is not famous but the view was better than all our expectations. The drinks were more expensive than in a ground bar but the extra bahts were totally worth it. This rooftop bar is nice but not too fancy so with a nice dress and sandals you will be allowed to enter.
- When tired of the Thai food or for some souvenir shopping find your way to the Asiatique. All types of world food are represented here and you can do some original shopping in the small cosy shops from clothes to soap to magnets and other souvenirs. (I bought a wonderful long dress here, but you can find anything out here!)
- From the Asiatique you can make a short walk to the smaller bridge behind the Taksin Bridge. When you walk half-way over the bridge you have a stunning view of Bangkok. Another advantage of this point is, that you probably will be the only one stopping here without any tourists surrounded. The traffic driving over this bridge is busy but it connects you and the peacefulness of the bridge and its view with the millions of persons living in all the buildings you are looking at.
- Also, the Business District is thé place-to-be for shopping. Several big shopping centra are located next to each other in this Bangkok area and you can find here any big chain from H&M to Dior. This district is also the area where all old white man find their younger Thai ladies. This is confronting and disgusting but a harsh reality which is part of any Thailand trip.
- And of course, plan a trip to a market you prefer. There are so many markets near or in the city center of Bangkok that you can find one that fits you well from floating markets to flower markets to the biggest market in the world.
- (If you have time, take a 45 min bus ride with the 75 bus to King Mongkut’s University of Technology, here they organize free bike tours through the surroundings of Bangkok and its plantations. It is wonderful!!!)
- Things we weren’t able to do but are still on my wish list are the Ghost tower ( a must-do according to our French Airbnb host), the Chatuchak Market (the biggest market in Bangkok) and the Wat Arun (which was under construction).
2) Ancient Ayutthaya
- When in Bangkok, make a day trip to Ayutthaya. You won’t regret it!
- Although lots of people take the taxi or train to this ancient city, it is easiest and cheapest to go by a van that leaves from Victory Monument.
- Once at Ayutthaya it is recommended to rent a bike (which is very cheap) and explore the city this way. All the temples are situated out of walking distance and taking the bike is much more fun with a cool breeze from time to time.
- Be aware of the street dogs, some of them aren’t that cute and harmless as they seem to be. At one of the sites we were attacked by fifteen aggressive dogs. So be careful!
- Albeit you have to be covered visiting the temples in Bangkok, you can wear shorts while wandering in Ayutthaya.
3) Charming Chiang Mai
- Firstly, do not plan to go too long to Chiang Mai. It is a cosy city and in a couple of days you will succeed to see the most important temples, discover the lively night life and the crowded markets.
- The Green Tulip House is a nice place to stay in a less busy side of the town but still in the center and all places are on walking distance (if you don’t care to walk 30 minutes after going out, we didn’t!). In addition, the staff is very friendly and they help you figure out which excursions or day trip are best for you and your interests.
- At night Zoe in Yellow is the place-to-be. Here you don’t only find locals but lots of tourists and fellow backpackers as well. Next to the two night clubs at this spot, there are several bars surrounding this trending spot as well as a garden where you can rest your dancing legs. The clubs and bars next to Zoe’s offer different types of music and drinks. When going out at Zoe’s do not forget it is hot and while dancing it will only get hotter so be prepared.
- At 2 a.m. Zoe in Yellow closes and almost the entire crowd moves to the club Spicy. The music at Zoe’s was okay, not that good as we are used to in Belgium and the DJ was a big fan of some vintage music from the Nillies. But the music at Spicy is even worse as well as the public. Be prepared to dance between people the age of your parents on bad music. The fact is that this is the only place in town open at this hour of the day and at the end it is not that bad, dancing here with your friends and forgetting all your worries.
- A must-do in Chiang Mai are the markets. I advise you to ask in your ho(s)tel which market is located where during your stay. We were as lucky to be in Chiang Mai for the weekend and could visit the Saturday market as well as the Sunday market. As much as we loved the smaller Saturday market, as much we did not like the too crowded Sunday market. At the Sunday market the heaps of vendors sold the same products as at the Saturday market but it was just way too crowded to see anything on the tables of the vendors.
- When in Chiang Mai, TAKE A DAY TRIP TO CHIANG RAI!!!! Its wonderful white temple is the most beautiful I ever saw! I loved it! The day trip, my travel buddy and I chose for took us to a hill tribe, the Golden Triangle and the Myanmar border as well. The hill tribe visit was rather disappointing since we only were allowed to see the local market. Our drive to the Golden Triangle was totally worth it though! The view was beautiful and only the idea of three countries flowing into each other (in the Mekong river) only makes the place more magical. At the Myanmar border you can try to find out if you can already guess which Asian is Thai and which not. The border is nice to take some pictures of the sign but nor more than that. The trip thanks its good reviews to the White Temple (wow, wow, wow) and the Golden Triangle which make it a MUST-DO!
4) Paradise Krabi
- One of my Thai friends recommend to go to Krabi instead of Phuket, it is less expensive and less crowded. My travel buddy and I were happy we booked a flight to Krabi.
- I have to admit we did not stay in Krabi Town itself but in a village bit further, Ao Nang. The hotel we stayed in, Rimlay Villas, was a bit outside the village what in some way made it even more look like paradise. When hanging in the pool, I had a view on the sea and the lovely long tail boats floating on it. Not one person (except for my travel buddy) could me seen. We were there alone. Almost 9 billion people are living in the world and as far as we could see there was NOBODY! This hotel felt like paradise with a comfy bed!
- Of course, we made a trip to Railay Beach, considered as one of the most beautiful beaches on our planet. And indeed, it is worth that tag. Except of the amount of tourists traveling to these beaches this place is just perfect.
- During our stay in Krabi we visited Ao Nang (the village) as well during sunset, which was a pretty good decision. (even more paradise feelings) Besides some shops, small restaurants and tourists there is not much to see, though in this small island village.
- On our last day in Ao Nang, some of our American friends convinced us to take a hike to an amazing point of view. The hike was tough but some sport was a good idea. The woods were magical and we even came across some small animals. At the end of the hike the view point was … I cannot even describe it. Maybe WOW! ? Since our map was all wet, due to the rain we got on our way up (thank you for it, weather gods! We needed it.), I am not able to tell you the place nor the name of the view point. I will ask, if our smart American friend still remember it, I doubt, though…
- Although we booked a island hopping trip, we did not do it due to a cancelation. It is still on my wish list and a must-do in the Thai Gulf so when in southern Thailand, book it and make sure it does not get canceled. (And do not let me now how wonderful it was 😉 )
- Another thing still standing on my bucket list is the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan island. This should be one of the best parties in the world. I recommend you to check the dates of the party since it is organized every moment and plan your trip around it!
When I think about something I definitely have to share with you I will add it to this list. So if you are traveling to Thailand soon, check this post from time to time to see if I added something so you are sure you do not have to miss anything! And of course, let me know, how your trip to beautiful Thailand was!