Growing up I had always been a little wary of discussing my Asian heritage as I was teased a lot in my youth for my ethnicity. However my cultural family roots is something I have come to appreciate so much in life. Especially as it has given me an excuse to explore the exotic paradises Thailand beholds all whilst doing my duty as a doting grandchild visiting my Grandmother. Now that’s what I call a win/win situation.
I have been so fortunate to be able to visit Thailand a few times now and even though the 12 hour flight never gets any easier (I do not sleep well on planes) the excitement of landing in the sweltering heats of Bangkok ready for a new adventure never gets old.
I’ve recently touched upon over on instagram that I seem to have been hesitant in my sharing of travel snaps on that platform and also over here on my blog. Travel posts have always been the content I enjoy seeing the most (well between fashion of course) so my lack of sharing it is something I really want to work on. Considering that I have an of abundance of photos I have never shared and a few tips on my favourite places to go in Thailand, it was high time I put together a little travel post.The country is a vast vast place and so there are many parts of it I haven’t yet seen (several islands I would love to hop across) and therefore I am by no means an expert on the best things to do. This is more just a little sharing of my favourite places I have visited and the activities I have enjoyed whilst there.
I couldn’t write this post without starting with the little town that has become a second home to me. My lovely mumma’s place of birth, Sukhothai. It’s also the home to my Grandmother and some other family members so we usually stop here for at least a week whenever we come to Thailand to ensure some family time is enjoyed.
One of my favourite places to visit whilst staying is the Sukhothai Historical Park – which is a colossal stretch of temple and palace ruins from the old city, also known as the ‘Dawn of Happiness’. The park is walk-able on foot/ cycle friendly or there is a tour buggy which can drive you around the whole park for a very reasonable price.
The old city of Sukhothai is based in the Northern part of Thailand and is filled with staggeringly tall Buddha monuments, ruins of beautiful palaces which have still kept so much detail and huge temples set on top of hundreds of steeping stairs. Perfect for anyone who loves soaking in wonderful historic sights.
Sadly something I have noticed during my visits is how much Thailand has succumb to the never ending demand of Tourism. Places which are well renowned for their natural beauty and wonder, such as the floating markets, have massively altered their ways to fit the demand of what they think western culture wants. What once was used as a huge trading place for locals to sell and exchange goods has now become floating stalls selling phallic shaped ashtrays. However if you can make peace with the fact that this is sadly the direction this wonderful part of the city is taking then I would definitely reccomend visiting a floating market as it is a one of a kind sight.
There are several markets which can be found within Bangkok, some closer to the city than others. We chose to visit Damnoen Saduak Floating Market which can be found downtown from Bangkok so do expect a good thirty minute journey out of the city. If you want to see the market in the most stress free way then it’s best to book a tour but this can be quite pricey. You’re other option (unless you plan to have a hire car) is to get a taxi out to the market however with the Taxis in Bangkok they like to rip off tourists, Booking a tour is definitely the safest bet in my opinion as the cost covers the travel from your hotel to the market plus the tour of the floating market itself on a motorized longboat.
Whilst visiting Bangkok it is simply a crime ~well in my opinion~ to not visit the temples. The Grand Palace and Wat Pho (Temple of the reclining Buddha) are simply some of the most breathtaking structures I have ever seen. Filled with ornate golden details and heavenly bursts of colour which shimmer in the sun the temples that sit in the city of Bangkok will fill you with awe.
During our last visit to Bangkok we arrived throughout the period of mourning for the late King. For one year after his death the king’s body lay in state inside the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall within the Grand Palace. During this period tourists were not allowed to enter the Grand Palace and instead could only visit the surrounding temples. It was fascinating to be in Bangkok during this time of mourning as the majority of the public wore black and there was an incredibly sombre mood in the air as the people of Thailand mourned for their king.
A thing to take note of in Thailand is that they are an incredibly peaceful and respectful country and they heavily believe in keeping the utmost respect whilst visiting these temples. Therefore make sure you cover up your arms and legs and wear a respectable outfit whilst visiting the temples otherwise you may be denied entry!
After taking in the hustle and bustle of the big smoky city of Bangkok some people might want to head to somewhere a little more peaceful. Chiang Mai has a wonderful relaxed vibe about it and is definitely one of my favourite places I have visited in Thailand overall.
In the below picture you can see me descending the great 309 steps leading up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep which is a stunning temple set in the Doi Suthep mountain. Chiang Mai also has several Elephant camps where you can go and visit the wonderful mammals and partake in feeding and washing them. The baby Elephants are beyond cute. Plus if you aren’t too scared of heights (okay they aren’t really that high but still) then you can also go on Elephant treks and even sit bareback if you are feeling really brave.
Another activity to enjoy whilst staying in Chiang Mai is wandering around the huge night market which takes over the town during the darker hours. Well known for its designer replicas the market thrives off tourists trying to find the very best fakes. From handbags to trainers, they have it all.
Island hopping around the coasts of Thailand is one thing I haven’t had a chance to do yet and something I feel I am very much missing out on. Considering that when I travel I travel with my family, it means that half moon parties on the beach have been definitely out of the question. My mums cool but not that cool. So the only island I have been to so far is Koh Chang.
Known as the elephant island, this little piece of heaven sits in the Gulf of Thailand and is one of the lesser known of the islands so attracts a bit more of a peaceful crowd. Whilst here we spent the days doing lots of activities such as snorkeling, quad biking and visiting the waterfalls in the national park.
I am very fond of the memories I have made on this island and especially of the fact that I got over my huge fear of fish. There’s nothing quite like bobbing your head underwater and seeing a swarm of magically coloured tropical fish darting around you to cure the fear. If you are scared of fish this might sound terrifying (like it was to me at first) however as you get used to it you realise they never come close enough to touch you and instead you can just marvel at their colourful beauty from your own personal distance. The island caters for many snorkelling trips which involve picking you up from your hotel, a tour of several coves and reefs to snorkel around and a lunch pit stop were they provide a fresh fish supper. Yum!
Discover more about what you can do in Koh Chang here
Last up is one for those looking for a bit more excitement in their lives. Think the night market in Bangkok multiplied by ten. Pattaya has it’s very own walking street which goes on for what I can only imagine is at least a mile. It’s vast and filled with neon lights everywhere making it quite the hub for nightlife. Plus there is an abundance of entertainment during the evenings from party boats to the famous Tiffany’s Drag Queen Cabaret Show.
Endless rows of bars and nightclubs fill the street and of course alongside it the stripclubs. If you intend to head to Pattaya’s famous walking street then be prepared to see many a dancer stood outside each bar calling in for customers.
Pattaya is not for the faint hearted, and if I am honest it is one of my least favourite places I have visited in Thailand. I chose to include it in my post as it was an experience nonetheless. In my opinion, people go there to either drink & party everyday or and here’s time for some brutal honesty, to get more than just a dance if you know what I mean. We came here as there are a few waterparks in the area that we wanted to visit and some lovely beaches along the coast away from the city. Therefore plenty of families do visit this place and there are many beautiful resorts here to enjoy the good weather and sandy beaches.
Hope you enjoyed these snippets from my travels
Until the next time