Your Thailand Travel Guide! Thailand… Known for the amazing food, the party life and the adventure. The country sounds like a dream to most travelers and tourists: every possible sight is easy accessible and Thailand would come to many people their minds when saying the word paradise. Many backpackers will start or end their adventures in Thailand, going around it seems almost impossible, it is the epicenter of South East Asia. No doubt you will have an amazing time here; young or old, culture lover or party animal, everyone will find a reason to love Thailand!
Bangkok – Traveling through South East Asia? You will probably find yourself at least 2 times in Bangkok and don’t be surprised to run into that friend you met 2 months ago in Vietnam, or that group of people you saw in Malaysia 2 weeks before. Even though Bangkok is such a big city most backpackers will find a hostel close to Khao San Road, the famous backpacker street. Khao San is filled with bars, tattoo shops and clothing shops. While some people prefer to leave Bangkok as soon as they can, I personally can’t wait to be in the city again. Don’t forget that Bangkok is more than just Khao San road, take your time to explore this city’s beautiful temples, restaurants and many sights!
Chiang Mai – Besides Bangkok, Chiang Mai will definitely be one of Thailand’s most famous cities, situated in the North of Thailand. The city is easy accessible by a night train or bus from Bangkok and will sure find a place in your heart. A lot of travelers use Chiang Mai as a base for multiple day trekking through Thailand’s nature or to visit one of the Elephant Parks. But don’t forget the many things the city has to offer: great food, a good party life and beautiful temples.
Pai – Done with the cities? Time for some relaxing? Head up just a little bit more north to the beautiful hippie town called Pai. If you easily get carsick make sure to take some medication before taking the bus to Pai; with the many hairpin turns this one will definitely make you sick… Nonetheless, it will be worth it. Make sure to rent a scooter in Pai and explore the beautiful surroundings and waterfalls. Do know that scooter accidents in Pai are not rare so make sure to wear a helmet (and don’t drink and drive of course!). Relax a couple of days before heading to your next destination.
Krabi – Decided to make it to South Thailand and visit the beautiful Islands? You will undeniably find yourself in Krabi at some point. Although the town is not big, many will stop for a couple of days to go rock climbing at Railay Beach or climb the 1261 steps of the tiger temple (recommended!). From here on it is just a boat ride to the West Islands such as Koh Phi Phi. The Eastern Islands can also be easily accessed by taking a bus to Surat Thani where you can take a ferry to one of the Islands.
The Islands – Don’t have the time to visit all the islands? Make sure you pick the right ones! Every Koh in Thailand has its own “speciality”, although you can nonetheless party on almost every single one of them. Watch the fireshows in the evening while enjoying a nice cold beer or cocktail, go snorkeling or diving in the beautiful ocean or just relax for a couple of days on the beach.
Bangkok – NapPark Hostel – Situated in a quiet street, but on a walking (or crawling) distance from Khao San Road. Nappark Hostel must be one of my favorite hostels out there. It’s a very social place, it’s clean, easy to meet new people, staff is friendly and it has a perfect location if you are looking for a party.
Bangkok – Bodega Hostel – Looking for a party? Don’t look any further. Bodega hostel is THE place to be if you are a party animal. A bar that is open 24/7, drinking games, daily deals and staff guiding you to a new place each night for another party. Beds are comfortable, location is close to the metro, and the owners of the hostel are amazingly friendly, could not recommend this place more!
Bangkok – Niras Bangkok Cultural House – If you are looking for a bit more peace and quiet, Niras Bangkok Cultural House might be your hostel. The hostel is beautiful, with a cafe situated downstairs. Beds are comfortable, you will (almost) be guaranteed a good night sleep.
Chiang Mai – Hug Hostel – Great location, comfortable beds, amazing atmosphere and the friendliest staff, what else are you looking for? I had an amazing time when staying with Hug Hostel in Chiang Mai, especially the staff (and their amazing burgers), and the atmosphere of the hostel, made me want to come back.
Phuket – Lub D Patong – Well there are hostels, and then there is Lub D Patong. Lub D Patong took the word hostel to a whole new level… Dorms are just simply luxury, showers are great, you get clean towels every day, and best of all…. there is an amazing pool. I went for 5 nights, stayed almost 2,5 weeks instead. Even better? Party and beach are just around the corner!
Krabi – Pak Up Hostel – Probably the place to be if you are staying in Krabi Town. Pak Up hostel is a massive hostel that has everything that you need. Restaurants around the corner, scooters can be rented nearby, bar in the garden of the hostel, and best of all… it has an amazing atmosphere. Great hostel if you are looking to make some new friends.
Koh Samui – Samui Hostel – Well if you are going to the islands, you are probably doing it for the beach right? Samui hostel’s location offers you just that. Walking distance from the beach, friendly staff, nice dorms and a chill atmosphere in the evenings. Simple, but in the end all you need.
Eat Street Food: Thai food is well known and many people love it, so stay away from the Western food for a bit, leave those burgers and pizza’s (yes you can still eat those in Thailand) and get a nice Pad Thai from a street stall. Make sure the stall is busy and your food is well cooked since you don’t want to get sick! Some other of my favorites: green curry, massaman curry, thai pancakes with banana and Nutella from the street stalls and mango sticky rice for dessert!
Visit temples: Thailand is filled with beautiful temples and I can definitely recommend visiting at least a couple of them. I had a great time walking around in Chiang Mai and visiting the temples (make sure to wear proper clothing and be respectful). About 10km outside Chiang Mai you can find Wat Doi Suthep, a beautiful temple situated on top of a hill. Walk up the 300 steps, wander around the temple and enjoy the beautiful view over Chiang Mai.
Go Scuba Diving: Koh Tao, one of the Eastern Islands, is known for being one of the cheapest places in the world to go diving or get diving certifications such as your open water or advanced open water. There are plenty of diving schools on the Island offering courses in many languages besides English. If you are lucky you can spot sea turtles, moray eels or even find Nemo (Clown Fish) swimming around in his anemone!
Enjoy Scooter life: Can’t drive a scooter? Don’t worry, you probably will after a visit to Thailand. Renting a scooter is one of the best ways to explore an island, towns or the beautiful surroundings in Thailand. Roads are often in very good condition and it is fairly cheap to rent a scooter. However, you will find a lot of the backpackers walking around with massive abrasions on their arms and legs, accidents do happen! Scooters in Thailand can go a little bit faster than you are used to so make sure to ask for a helmet when renting a scooter, don’t drink and drive and don’t forget to drive on the left side of the road.
Explore Bangkok: Bangkok is filled with many surprises and there is so much to do. Staying around Khoa San Road? How about taking the cheap water taxi and watch Bangkok from the river… the water taxi has piers at many stops such as Wat Pho, from where you can walk to the Grand Palace. Or have a nice walk through China Town, which is always an adventure. If you like heights visit one of the many rooftop bars or (if it is open since it closes from time to time) climb the Sathorn Unique Tower, or commonly known as the Ghost Tower, honestly one of the best experiences I had in South East Asia!
Party: While this one speaks for itself, Thailand is by far one the best places to party in South East Asia (in my experience). Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Pai or the Islands, it didn’t matter, there was always a party somewhere. Get some cold beers or SangSom at the 7-Eleven (to save some money) and head out to the bars after! Besides that, the famous Full Moon Party is also held monthly on the beach of Koh Phangan (check dates here). Make sure to book your hostel in time since they fill up quickly around these dates! Can’t make it for the full moon? Don’t worry, there is also a half moon festival held twice a month (check dates here) and I can sure tell you that one is loads of fun as well.
Shop: Leave your expensive clothing at home and make sure not to fill your backpack/suitcase up completely because Thailand is great for shopping. The cities are filled with night markets and you will find shirts, tops, dresses basically on every street corner. Bangkok has some amazing shopping centers and is even home to one of the largest markets in the world during the weekend! Chatuchak weekend market is not really located close to Khoa San Road or most hotels but it is worth the ride. Find your souvenirs, shirts, handicrafts and even pet toys here, but be sure not to get lost in this maze!
Climb the Tiger Temple in Krabi: While doing this climb I was wondering if I had made a terrible decision, I was sweaty and it was warm and humid and after 400 steps I was quite demotivated to walk another 800. However, when I did make it I knew it was all worth it… the view from the Tiger Temple is just absolutely amazing and a true unique experience. Watch out for the monkeys, bring enough water and a snack for along the way. Another tip: climb the temple earlier in the morning when the sun is not at its warmest yet, I am sure that will make the climb a bit more comfortable.
Celebrate Songkran: Celebrated yearly during the month of April, Songkran is the Thai new year. The new year has turned into a multiple day water festival, which is absolutely great since April is one of the hottest months in Thailand. Get your supersoaker at one of the stalls, fill it up for a small fee and enjoy a good party. Expect to continuously being soaked; electronics are everything but safe so leave those in the hostel!
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