A few years ago our friends spent a wonderful summer holiday exploring Thailand with their children. They loved it and have been looking forward to return. They’ve now set a date for their next Thai adventure later this year and hearing about their plans has renewed my dreams of also visiting this amazing country. Here are five things that I’d love to do in Thailand, from visiting temples to taking private tours in Chiang Mai :
Visit the Temples
There are over 40,000 Buddhist Temples in Thailand, of which over 30,000 are still in active use. I would love to visit some of them. Wat Arun is possibly the most iconic temple of Bangkok. It’s located on Thonburi side of Bangkok, almost opposite to the Grand Palace and Wat Pho. It was built during seventeenth century on the bank of the Chao Phraya river. Its full name ‘Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan’ is rather hard to remember so it is often known simply as ‘Temple of Dawn’, although it looks stunning at any time of day. Wat Arun consists of a central ‘Prang’ (a Khmer style tower) surrounded by four smaller towers. The stairs to reach a balcony on the main tower are quite steep, usually easier to climb up than to walk down, but the view from up there is really worth it.
It’s important to be aware of “Temple Etiquette” while visiting Thailand. Otherwise you could be refused entry to a temple or unintentionally disrespect the locals. Many of the temples have strict dress codes so dress modestly and make sure shoulders and legs are also covered. Photography is often forbidden so always check before you take any photographs. They are primarily places of worship so always respect this.
2. Relax on the Beaches
I’m always drawn to the beach in any part of the world and during all seasons so of course I’d visit beaches while in Thailand. South and West of Thailand there are over 1,500 miles of coast to choose from you can decide whether to visit a busier tourist beach or to look for a quieter secluded beach to enjoy in peace. Highly recommended beaches in Thailand are Sunrise Beach, Koh Lipe (enjoy at least one morning watching the sun rise here) and Freedom Beach in Phuket. While visiting the coast, diving and watching sea turtles is another great activity. Koh Tao, Koh Change and Chumpon are amazing places to dive. Thailand beaches really are paradise.
3. Explore the Floating Markets
A trip overseas would not be complete without a visit to the local markets. In Thailand visit markets with a difference- floating markets where the goods are sold from boats. This colourful scene offers the perfect opportunity to take some bright travel snaps and you can pick up exotic fruits and souvenirs too. One of the biggest (and most touristy) floating markets is the Damnoen Saduak. If you’d prefer a more “local” market consider Khlong Lat Mayom, a medium sized floating market located really close to Bangkok.
4. Ethical Elephant Sanctuaries
Regular readers know that I love elephants. I would love to visit elephants in Thailand but it would need to be in an ethical way. A visit to an elephant sanctuary makes an unforgettable experience. Before you visit make sure it is an ethical sanctuary where the rescue elephants are treated well, such as The Happy Elephant Home in Chiang Mai. Elephant Nature Park, around 37 miles from Chiang Mai. Newt is a 250-acre camp, home to 80 rescuees. Elephant Valley Thailand, in Chiang Rai, is situated three hours north east of Chiang Mai by bus and is home to around six rescue elephants.
5. Take a Tour
Taking a tour is always the best way to really learn about a country. One great way to immerse yourself on your travels it to take a tour organised by a local. There are so many types of tours and tour guides available it’s possible to find the perfect Thailand tour for you. You could explore Chiang Mai by bike or go on a trip exploring all the hidden gems.
Which Chiang tour would you take?
When visiting Thailand you need to have at least six month left on your UK Passport. British passport holders arriving by air or land can enter Thailand for 30 days without a visa – this is known as a visa exemption. If you need to stay longer, it’s possible to extend your stay once, from the expiry date of the original visa, for up to 30 days. Always check safety travel and vaccination advice before you book. Read our post about how to be a safer traveller.
Have you been to Thailand? What would you love to do in Thailand?