Discover the top 5 things to do in Thailand
Our Southeast Asia expert Denise has a lot to say when it comes to Thailand. This fantastic country holds a very special place in her heart and she has returned time and time again to experience more of what it has to offer. Here, she shares her top 5 things to do in Thailand and offers advice to future holiday-makers.
Excursions in Thailand
Get lost in lush rice paddies, soak up the sun on the stunning islands’ golden sands, be thrown off course by the wonderful chaos of Bangkok, play with cheeky monkeys, dive into another world…Thailand offers incomparable opportunity to have life-changing experiences and a holiday like no other. With so much to do in this incredible country, it’s sometimes hard to know where to begin.
After travelling to Thailand extensively for both work and pleasure, I’ve had the honour of venturing into the country’s wildest rainforests, lounging on the most glorious beaches and tasting the very best curry. But what stands out most from my various trips? Read on…
1. John Gray’s Sea Canoe in Phuket
I would definitely recommend going on John Gray’s Sea Canoe excursion around the Gulf of Phuket. You spend the day exploring the stunning sea caves and lagoons first discovered by John Gray in 1989. Take in the breath-taking views and spot unique wildlife, such as macaques, water monitors, kingfishers and sea eagles. At night-time, make your own ‘krathong’, an offering made of leaves and flowers, and experience a feeling of spiritual well-being as you send it out to sea.
2. Amphawa Floating Marketing near Bangkok
For an authentic floating market experience, head to Amphawa village, located just 50km outside of Bangkok. The majority of visitors are Thai so you get a real insight into their everyday life, unlike some of the more touristy markets in the capital. The main attraction here is the amazing food, from grilled seafood and delicious sweets to noodle dishes and the class Pad Thai. Take a boat trip around the village to see all it has to offer.
3. Elephant Hills in Khao Sok National Park
If you don’t have time to check out the elephant conservation camps in the North, make a bee-line for Khao Sok National Park, conveniently located only two hours away from most of the southern Thai islands. Here you can get up close and personal with beautiful elephants in a truly idyllic setting. The mahouts have the elephants’ best interests at heart at all times and show you how to bathe and feed them properly. The Elephant Hills tour also includes a dance recital by local school children which is beyond cute. This is a must-do activity for honeymooners who want something extra from their getaway.
4. Chiang Rai
What I love about Thailand is that so many people can experience a different kind of holiday, even in the one place. Chiang Rai in the North is perfect for those who are interested in learning more about Thailand’s unique history and culture. The majestic White Temple never fails to take my breath away. From afar, it looks like something out of a Disney film but up close you can see it’s so much more than that. The intricate modern design is quite astonishing.
5. The country’s festivals
If you’re planning a trip to beautiful Thailand, definitely spend some time researching the festivals that are on while you’re there. These allow you to “discover Thainess” and enjoy an enriched experience you won’t get if you limit yourself to your beach-side hammock. My all-time favourite is Songkran which marks Thai New Year and involves a massive water fight – prepare to get drenched! The rocket festival at Yasothon, where locals launch home-made rockets into the night, is also really impressive.
So how’s that for some holiday inspiration? No matter what kind of getaway you’re after, Thailand certainly won’t disappoint. A fascinating culture, interesting history, glorious beaches, amazing food…what’s not to love?!