Hello travel bugs – I know it’s been about 8 months since I got back from Thailand and this post has been A LONG time coming. But there was so much that we did there it was hard to figure out how to organize it into a post. So that being said I’ve made it easy for you – here’s a list of the top 10 things I would recommend you do when visiting Thailand. Kevin and I visited 3 cities over the course of a week so this post will make it easy for you to plan your own trek across Thailand.
Touchdown in Thailand: ChiangMai
1. The Yi Peng Lantern Festival
Okay I’ll be honest, I messed up here because we literally flew in 2 days after it ended. BUT! there were still a lot of the decorations up in the city which was beautiful as well. It was a bit hard finding correct information on this so let me break it down for you. There are free lanterns that get floated up around the city for the festival.
If you want the mass release (touristy) version you have to buy tickets for the event and get there about 3 hours in advance to set up etc. The mass release one is at Mae Jo University and you have to buy tickets way in advance for this that will cost ~$100 per person. If you don’t feel like spending the money, my suggestion is to get to the Nawarat Bridge early in the day to get a good view of the festival.
If you want to find cheap souvenirs and delicious eats. I definitely recommend making the Kalare Night Market a stop on your list. The minute we stepped into the Food Court section of the night market Kevin’s eyes just lit up like I’ve never seen them before. Ladies, find you a man that looks at you like my mans looked when we arrived at the night market.
3. Elephant Jungle Sanctuary(or any elephant sanctuary)
If you’ve been following me since even last month you’ll know I already did a whole blog post here about my experience at EJS and I cannot recommend it enough. They have locations all over Thailand so it should be really convenient to add to your schedule. AND they provide transportation! They make it so easy to do something that makes a difference in the world.
4. Wat Rong Khun Temple (White Temple)
If you want to make a trip to visit the famous Wat Rong Khun Temple in Chiang Rai, the best place to leave from would be Chiang Mai. This temple is further north and the best way to get there is to either go with a tour, hire a driver or rent a scooter. Unfortunately by the time I got the planning this half of the trip I decided to do the “go with the flow” method and didn’t plan any details so we were not able to take the time to go. If you do plan to go, I would say go early and dedicate AT LEAST half a day for this if not more.
5. Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep and Wat Chedi Luang
I know I combined these into a 2 for 1 but cut me some slack ok? Ladies, I recommend you bring some maxi skirts with cardigans on the days you plan to visit temples. Some will require you to cover your legs and shoulders. If not, that’s okay too – usually they have some for rent by the gate.
Beach Town: Phuket
6. Phi Phi Island Tour
I booked the tour with Simba Sea Trips because from my research they are the ones that get you to Maya Bay before all the other tour boats. You get to their dock by 5AM-ish? And you get to Maya Bay on their speedboats by 6AM. The only other people that get there faster than you are people who stayed on Phi Phi or booked a private boat to bring them. BEWARE! get your photos in early because you have about ~30 mins before the rest of the crowd joins you * first pic for reference*
After that you go around to Pirate Bay and a bunch of other locations (snorkeling). And finally you dock on a small private island with just your tour group! There’s a picnic lunch on the beach and free time. I passed out and took a nap and woke up with my lower body completely under the sun and burnt to a crisp. Sunblock is your friend!!!
7. Bang Mud Floating Seafood Restaurant
Once you finish the tour you’re most likely going to super hungry again like Kevin and I and we SUPER SUPER recommend visiting the Bang Mud Floating Seafood restaurant. I know, the name is kinda iffy but it was delicious and also a pretty cool experience! It’s a restaurant floating in the middle of the water off the coast. To get there, you take a long tail boat from the dock (FREE!) and they drop you off right on the deck of the restaurant. You pick the fish you want from the menu and they fish out directly from these little underwater tanks they have. Fresh as can be and the portions are huge! As an added bonus, there’s also a pet cat. Believe it or not Kevin and I finished everything in the photo below. hehehe.
8. Chatuchak Market
If this is your last stop in Thailand I recommend stopping by here for all your souvenir needs. This market is HUGE!! It’s a bunch of little stalls with all different goods from clothing to food. Kevin’s pride and joy is this cat shirt (pic above) I spotted in one of the shops there. We also bought a dog one but this one is his favorite lol.
I CANNOT RECOMMEND THIS MORE OR ENOUGH!! Check their facebook for visit session times. They do not have open visits and do them in sessions instead which helps keep the dogs from getting overwhelmed. Each dog here is so well groomed and taken care of you can tell they are brushed often. Your ticket comes with 1 drink and 1 dessert. The ice cream cake is delicious! Get there at least 15 mins early before show time to buy your ticket and get your food and drink.
I don’t know if you can tell from the photos, but this was literally my heaven. I told Kevin that this is what our future together looks like lolol. And he agreed, so we’re all good! haha.
10. Temples in Bangkok
Yep I’m cheating here again because I told you I was giving you 10 things and keeping it within 10 bullets counts right? lol. If you visit two temples in Bangkok, you MUST check out Wat Arun (photos above). The tiles and architecture are amazing! Again, beware of the dress code, I had to rent a shawl at the gate and draped it around my neck. And last but not least, Wat Pho. The temple with the GIIIIINORMOUS reclining Buddha. As a popular tourist attraction it does get crowded so I would have done this earlier in the day if possible.
- Catch a Muay Thai fight
- Watch a show (ping pong, etc. I was definitely curious about these ping pong shows I’ve heard about but honestly I’ve heard from other friends that it’s kind of sad. Women are sticking things in – you know where – that don’t belong in there! So before you go you should think about whether or not you want to support this industry.)
- Ride a tuk tuk (negotiate negotiate)
- Alpaca themed cafe!!
- Cat Cafe
- Thipsamai Pad Thai!!! (delicious Pad Thai wrapped in egg!)
And there you have it! 10 (ish) Things To Do in Thailand! Hope you all find these travel guide posts to be somewhat helpful! I know there’s a lot of information and I tried to consolidate and prioritize 🙂