Thailand is a very popular holiday destination, and if you’ve ever been there you understand why. The country is beautiful, the people are friendly, prices are low and the food is great.
I’ve been to Bangkok, Chiang Mai area and Phuket area. I’ve avoided the big touristy areas as much as possible. And as always, my travel blog focusses on food. Actually, it was one of the reasons I wanted to go to Thailand. And believe me, Pad Thai tastes the best in the country it’s from!
Spend a couple of days in Bangkok so you’ll have time to visit Wat Phra Kaew, The Grand Palace and Wat Traimit. And of course to have a real Thai Massage. Wat Pho is the headquarter of traditional Thai massage, so after seeing the big lying Buddha, you can get a nice massage. Don’t worry: they’re not painful!
Booking a hotel in a city you don’t know can be tricky. We stayed in hotel Malaysia, it’s far away from busy backpackers Khao San Road. It’s close to a subway station and to one of the nicest restaurants in town: Just One. Sitting outside in a quiet courtyard with fishes swimming under the glass plate underneath your feet, you might think you’re in paradise. Don’t be discouraged by the sports bar pictures on their facebook page, their outside area is very tranquil.
After dinner you can have a drink at Indy Trees, a nice outdoor terrace with live music. Most of the songs played are Thai and even the English songs still sound like Thai songs, but the atmosphere is great.
If you have the time, I recommend doing a cooking course. The Thai kitchen is super tasty! My favorite cooking school is ‘Sam’s Thai Cooking School‘. Sam is the most friendly man in Bangkok.
If you don’t have time for a cooking course, you can also just have dinner at Sam’s balcony where he serves nice Fish and Chips.
After staying in Bangkok for a couple of days it’s time to escape the heat of the city and travel to the North.
Chiang Mai and the North
We took a train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, which is a very nice experience. Keep in mind that the train tickets tend to sell out days in advance, so book them at the train station as soon as you arrive in Bangkok.
In Chiang Mai we stayed at the Mandala House, a nice hotel with spacious rooms. Across the street is a nice restaurant called Cafe Pandau, we had a lovely organic dinner at their porch.
There are many temples in Chiang Mai, a zoo with giant panda’s and a great evening activity is the Night Market. Order a Pad Thai here and watch the people go by or buy your souvenirs here.
From Chiang Mai you can do a day tour to the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) and the Golden Triangle, where Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet. We took a tour with Travel Hub Chiang Mai.
The White Temple, near Chiang Rai, is beautiful. And it’s quite nice to be able to say that you also set foot in Laos.
Another nice tour that you can do from Chiang Mai is to visit an elephant farm.
There are many places in Thailand where the elephants are treated badly, especially in the more touristic area around Bangkok. We booked a tour with Insight Thailand Tours and went to Baan Chang Paradise. Even though you can argue that elephants should live in the wild, they’re treated nicely here. They don’t get hit by a stick and they don’t have to carry you in a carriage. I got the feeling that the animals were taking good care of. And bathing with an elephant is an unforgettable experience.
From Chiang Mai we flew to Phuket. Phuket is a beautiful yet very touristic peninsula. So we took a taxi from the airport to Khao Lak, a small town in Phang-Na, just north of Phuket.
It has a quit and relaxed beach, where you can have dinner at sunset on the beach. And even better: you can get a massage at sunrise at the beach!
Sea Dragon Dive Center is located in Khao Lak, they’re a good quality diving school. I went on a day trip to the Similan islands with them.
They arrange a great breakfast and lunch on board and the dive sites are wonderful.
Across the street from the dive center is a great restaurant where you can eat in a bamboo house. And the best place to eat in Khao Lak is ‘Go Pong’, a family run streetside cafe.
From Khao Lak you can take a day trip to Ko Phi Phi, two beautiful islands that you might recognize from the movie The Beach with Leonardo Dicaprio. We booked our day tour with Khao Lak Travel Center, the tour includes the transfer from your hotel in Khao Lak to the marina in Phuket.
The islands are stunning. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. The only downside is that you’re not the only tourist there. The beaches tend to be crowded by tourists. Luckily you’re always able to take a beautiful shot with your back to the crowds, so that it seems like you were alone at this heaven on earth!
All in all, Thailand is a great country to visit as it has so much to offer. It’s can be a bit touristy, but the benefit of that is that it’s safe to travel there, also for solo travelers.
When you’re back home after your Thailand trip, you can make a healthy Pad Thai!
Here’s our time in Thailand in 3 minutes (click here for my YouTube channel):