Thailand was on my bucketlist for a long time before I finally was able to visit. It’s a beautiful country with plenty of different things to do across all types of budgets. The food is delicious, the locals are incredibly friendly and the landscape is just amazing! I spent a total of one month exploring the whole country, in this post I will go over my top 10 things to do in Thailand.
10) Fill your bellies and bags at a floating market
In old Thailand, boats were mainly used for local and regional trade, to easily transport goods to the customers. This way of life meant that areas along the river were the first to be populated and also gradually increased the number of floating markets.
About an hour and a half drive south west of Bangkok are 2 more floating markets; Damnoen Saduak floating market is the largest and Amphawa floating market is a smaller and more authentic market. Find out more.
9) Relax with a Thai massage
For only $10 you can enjoy an hour long full body Thai massage! From head massages, to foot massages there is something for everyone, and it’s a great way to relax and help local businesses.
8) Explore the ancient ruins of Ayutthaya
A must do day trip out of Bangkok is to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre of Ayutthaya. The Kingdom of Ayutthaya was a Siamese kingdom that existed from 1351 to 1767, when it was destroyed by the Burmese. You will find countless ancient ruins scattered about the town, including the impressive buddha head in a tree at Wat Maha That! Find out more.
7) Go crazy at the Full moon party
The Full Moon Party is an all-night beach party on the island of Ko Phangan, on the night of a full moon. It is a crazy party made up of visitors from all around the world. Depending on how much you love to party this may or may not be on your bucketlist. This monthly event buzzes with neon paints, heart-pounding music, buckets of alcohol and fire skipping ropes.
6) Learn how to cook Thai food
Thai food is easily one of my favorite SE Asian foods and I always wondered how they made the curry paste for Thai Green Curry, and what exactly was in delicious spring rolls.
If you are also curious about Thai cooking then I recommend signing up to a cookery course! I booked with Tom Yum Thai Cooking School in Chiang Mai. Our teacher, Gay, was as joyful as her name suggests! It was also the best value package I found offering 6 courses for 800 baht. Not only do you learn about different local food and how to make a variety of meals, you also get to eat it all!
5) Go Temple hopping
There are thousands of Buddhist temples all around Thailand.
Chiang Mai, located to the north of Thailand, is bursting with temples and should definitely be top of your list if you wish to marvel at a range of temples from golden pagodas to black and pearl temples, there is such an eclectic mix.
In Bangkok make sure you visit:
- Wat Pho (beautiful intricate details)
- Wat Arun (colourful decorated spires and stands majestically over the water)
- Wat Saket (the Golden mountain – beautiful views over Bangkok)
4) Marvel at the magic of the Loy Krathong festival
If you happen to visit Thailand in November, you definitely can’t miss Thailand’s very own ‘festival of lights’, the Loy Krathong. It is held annually on the evening of the 12th lunar month, usually in the first half of November.
2018: November 23
2019: November 13
2020: November 1
Loy Krathong is celebrated all over Thailand. You can go and enjoy the festival anywhere in the country that has water. The most iconic celebrations are in Sukhothai, Chiang Mai, and Bankok.
The most famous part of the festival is the launching of a krathong – a floating lantern carrying candles and joss sticks, as well as your wishes. As the night sky is illuminated with thousands of little lights, which then reflect into the body of water below, it creates a magical, wondrous sight.
3) Go to ‘the beach’
If you’re on Koh Phi Phi you probably plan to visit Maya bay made famous by Dicaprio’s “The Beach”.
This beach is located on Koh Phi Phi Leh, an uninhabited island. As I’m sure you can imagine there are loads of tours operating here ranging from 500 baht upwards, plus you are expected to pay an additional 400 baht just to enter Maya Bay. For a sizeable fee you can camp on the beach and at least this way you might be able to experience it a bit more empty like Dicaprio did all those years ago.
If you want to try to get a beach to yourself I would recommend hiring a kayak (about 500 baht for 3 hours) on Koh Phi Phi. Read more!
2) Get your scuba diving license
Coming to Thailand I knew I wanted to spend some time getting my scuba diving license. The Open Water Diver Course is a 3 and a half day diving course that will take you from complete beginner to certified SCUBA diver. It involves some theory work, 1 training dive in the pool and 4 dives out in the ocean.
Koh Tao offers one of the cheapest courses in the world (and they don’t neglect on standards). I got my SSI certificate through Phoenix Divers, they offer their course (including 4 nights accommodation) for only 8,500 Baht (around $260). My instructors, Rory and Nui, were extremely knowledgeable and friendly, and I thoroughly enjoyed the course even if we had super low visibility during our dives in the ocean!
1) Spend the day with elephants
My day at the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary was easily my favourite day in Thailand!
I think everyone and their grandma now knows that you shouldn’t ride an elephant. Now it’s all about finding an ethical sanctuary (some state to be ethical but then the elephants are mistreated).
If you are looking to spend a day with the elephants I recommend heading to Chiang Mai as this is where there are the most amount of elephant sanctuaries in Thailand. I can 100% recommend the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chiang Mai; they have a range of awesome packages and the elephants live in different “camps” with their families and are obviously loved ❤
You can easily travel on a budget in Thailand. A filling local meal is only $1-3! We spent an average of 39$ a day each, but that includes the scuba diving course and elephant experience.
I hope you have an amazing time in this beautiful country! If you’ve already been what would you add as your top things to do in Thailand?
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