Top Destinations in Thailand, my second home

Thailand

Thailand is a fantastic destination to visit and a place I’ve been so many times that I can now call it my second home. It’s a very large country with wonderful people and has a broad variety of different types of destinations, so where is best to go? Below, I have compiled a perfect guide from my experience of the top destinations and what to do when you are there, starting with Bangkok which is the most likely entry point into the country. You can read more about my trale experiences at Ikonmap.

Bangkok

If travelling to Thailand your most likely entry into the country would be via Bangkok airport. Bangkok is a very busy city and it’s fast moving nature can be a bit overwhelming for any newcomer. Personally I choose to use Bangkok as a stop off point before I travel further into more relaxing resorts. Still whilst in Bangkok there are many great things to see and do. Khaosan road is a popular tourist hotspot and I often choose to stay here as it is a familiar hub for tourists and travellers. During the day I would advise visiting some of the fantastic Bangkok temples and also The Gems Gallery which claims to be the largest jewellery store in the world, when you arrive you receive a quick tour of the factory and then I guarantee it will be the most amazing jewellery you have ever seen. To get around you can easily flag a minicab which are very cheap but be aware they will try and take you to tourist traps that you haven’t asked for as they receive a commission. In the evening Patpong is the entertainment capital and it also has a great night market, however you may wish to avoid this part of town if you have a family due to the adult entertainment nature of this part of town.

After a couple of days in Bangkok you will probably be keen to move onto a more relaxing destination. Bangkok is situated in the centre of the country and from here you can choose to go either North or to the popular South. The North of the country has from my experience one must see destination which is Chiang Mai. You will have to travel quite far just to see this one destination but many do manage to fit it in.

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is essentially the Jungle! It has many fantastic temples and will provide you with the most authentic and traditional side of Thailand. The largest population of the countries elephants are situated here and there’s a good chance you will choose to book an elephant trek. A very fun thing to do is the Jungle Flight whereby you zip line through the tops of trees in the Jungle. There are about 40 zip lines which are very long and it is organised in a very safe way, truly a great experience.

My Favourite part of the country is the South due to the beautiful islands, now I will explain why and how’s best to get around. From Bangkok it’s best to use an internal flight to either travel north or south. These flights are reasonable and cost around $100, beware it’s usually a small plane that seats around 50 people but they do seem very safe. Personally I choose to always travel south to Phuket and from here you have a choice of beautiful islands to choose from.

Phuket

Once again I mainly use this destination as a stop off point to travel to the islands. It is a nice built up modern town with nice beaches but there are far better places to go once you’re in the South. Usually I stay here for a couple of days and get a boat to one of the beautiful islands. A great recommendation is Koh Phi Phi.

Koh Phi Phi Don

Koh Phi Phi Don in my eyes is the most beautiful place on earth. If I were to sell my house and move anywhere in the world it would be here. It’s about a two hour boat ride from Phuket and is very close to the island where they filmed “The beach” Maya Bay, which you can visit on a day trip but can’t stay there However Koh Phi Phi Don is just as beautiful and has plenty to do. An island with no cars so everyone is either on foot or bike. The best part of the island to stay is Tonsai Bay, situated at the centre of the island with a beach in the middle and the sea both in front and behind you. This island has a great village and community feel and you will end up feeling like you are on heaven on earth. There are also lovely restaurants and beach side bars. The Cabana hotel is highly recommended and is situated in the middle of Tonsai Bay and is surprisingly great value for money.

Koh Tao

Koh Tao is a very popular destination for scuba divers. Here I actually did a five day PADI course and did some fantastic dives and received a qualification. Similar to Koh Phi Phi you have white sand beaches and crystal clear water but unlike Koh Phi Phi there are main roads and cars so you don’t get the true desert island feeling.

Koh Phangan

Once again you could choose to island hop via boat to another fantastic island. Koh Phangan is an island divided into two. For the older generation one side of the island is famed for it’s scenery and waterfalls. The other side of the island is very popular with the younger generation for one reason, The Full Moon Party. For one week of every month the island fills up with travellers who like to party so if this is the experience you want make sure you arrive on the island at the right time of the month. Also, accommodation fills up quickly so it’s best to arrive a few days early. If you don’t wish to participate in this famous beach party the other side of the island is very peaceful and popular with those who like to relax.

Other islands such as Koh Lanta are also idyllic and peaceful. My strongest advice is to leave mainland Thailand and island hop via boat to visit the most beautiful white sand islands in the world that all have plenty of things to do.