Looking for travel inspiration for your next holiday? Thailand is one of those destinations that has something for nearly everyone: big city excitement, small city exploration, beaches galore, island hopping, archaeological sites, and peaceful countryside. You can even meet elephants at one of several elephant conservation centers.
Thailand was the second stop on our World Trip. After a snowy week in South Korea, we traded winter coats for summer gear and spent three weeks exploring Thailand. The itinerary included Bangkok, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, and Koh Phangan. We found it easy and affordable to get around in Thailand, except for a boat incident in Koh Phangan (more about that later) as we traveled throughout the country by plane, bus, and boat.
If you like the excitement of a big city, spend some time in Bangkok before heading out to explore other parts of Thailand. Some of the must see sights include the museum at the Grand Palace, Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn), and a ride on the Chao Phaya river. If you love to shop, you will love Bangkok. Find several large indoor (air conditioned) malls in the Ratchaprasong area (don’t miss the grocery store in Siam Center). Get lost in the 27-acre outdoor Chatuchak Market where you will see a little bit of everything. Read about our visit to Bangkok.
Of all the areas we visited in Thailand, the northern part of the country was my favorite.
For a smaller and calmer city experience, spend a few days in Chiang Mai where you can explore some of the 300 temples, try new foods at the Kalare Night Bazaar, and do a bit of shopping. There is also an elephant rescue sanctuary, Elephant Nature Park, outside of town that I didn’t learn about until after we left (that’s a good reason to go back). Read about our visit to Chiang Mai.
In Chiang Rai, you can meet and learn about elephants at Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp. Choose from several activities including elephant walk, elephant behavior education session, and even a dip in the river.
Take a leisurely stroll or bike ride through the ancient walled city of Chiang Sean and explore temple ruins. Then grab a cool drink and snack by the bank of the Mekong River.
Read about our visit to the Golden Triangle.
Get your Beach On in Thailand
To get your beach on, head to the coast or one of the many nearby islands. Since we had always wanted to experience the full moon party, we went to the island of Koh Phangan. Be sure to take a boat ride to Ang Thong archipelago to see the gorgeous islands with limestone cliffs. Read about our visit to Koh Phangan, including the boat incident.