Now that I have been back in the Big Apple for a couple weeks, I’ve finally had the time to sit down and blog about my most recent trip, which included a little excursion to Thailand.
Thailand, is definitely a unique and interesting place. It has become a lot more developed in recent years, but with the country offering a bustling city life, lush jungles to trek, or laid back island vibes, it is still a top destination. Read on to learn more about my experience there and for a few tips on things to do and getting by.
I arrived in Bangkok, but only to get on a connecting flight to Koh Samui. As Koh Samui isn’t known for being a destination island, I only spent the evening there and first thing in the morning hopped on a cheap and quick ferry to Koh Tao.
Koh Tao is a small island based in the Gulf of Thailand. There you will find great deals on scuba diving certifications, resorts, tours, snorkeling, and of course partying (which is everywhere in Thailand).
There are 3 main areas in Koh Tao. Mae Head Pier where the all visitors will arrive and depart. North of the pier is Sairee, which is the livliest and most popular are in the island. You will find lots to eat, and lots of bars here. I opted to stay south of the pier, in Chalok Baan Kao, where it’s a lot more peaceful and quiet.
The next day consisted of a whole day snorkeling trip, where they took us to smaller, nearby neighboring islands. We stopped at sharks bay ( didn’t see any sharks) but saw some amazing coral and fish. They provided lunch, and finally we stopped on a secluded and private island that they open and close to the public everyday. Following our scuba diving adventures we spent time on the beach getting burnt of course, as well as walking around Sairee (which can be done fairly shortly), enjoying the food and a Singh beer.
Do take the time to either go on a scuba diving or snorkeling trip.
Rent a motor bike from Buddha Travel. They’re one of the few places that will let you leave a deposit instead of your passport and includes insurance on the bike. Many places try to scam tourist by claiming they damaged their bike, so this will give you peace of mind.
Eat at Blue Chair in Sairee. We spent pretty much every night having dinner in Sairee as the rest of the island gets pretty dead in the evenings. Blue Chair was by far my favorite food experience in Koh Tao. The decor was great and the food was satisfying.
After a few days in Koh Tao, we took the ferry back to Koh Samui. Spent the night in Koh Samui and in the AM it was off to Chiang Mia!
Chiang Mai was by far my favorite place in Thailand. First, the Green Tiger House was an amazing stay and one of the better Guest Houses in Thailand. If they’re booked up, Chan’s Chang Mai House is great and they’re super friendly.
The two most amazing experiences in the whole trip happened here, beginning with the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary. They picked us up early in the morning and drove us about 45 minutes outside of Chiang Mai to the sanctuary, where they rescue elephants. The sanctuary is the most amazing place and one of the happiest moments I had during the entire trip. Here they will take you to feed the elephants in their amazing habitat. After their meal, you will walk them down to the river where you will bath them, and they love this. It’s one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had to watch the amazing creatures, and see how happy they get when you feed and bathe them.
Please do not get confused between the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary and the Camp. The sanctuary actually has to rescue abused elephants from the camp. Please do not support the camps. Although riding the elephants seems like it might be a cool experience, the elephants at the camp are abused and mistreated. Not to mention, the weight of the riders on their backs is terrible for them, and you can see how unhappy they are compared to the ones that have been saved.
Following our day at the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, we headed out to amazing little town in the mountains by the name of Pai. Pai is such a small mountain town you could walk the whole thing in a couple hours, but it is fun. It offers a walking street with shops and restaurants, as well as excursions to canyons with great views, waterfalls, and the Longneck Tribes.
My favorite thing about Pai was the trip home. There are few ways to get to and from Pai. One you can hire a van up the mountian like most people do. Two you can take a 30 minute flight there. Three you can rent a car or motorbike and head up yourself, which is what I did on the way back.
The ride back from Pai was my second favorite experience of my trip from Thailand. They say there is 762 curves from Pai to Chiang Mai. If you’re a motorcycle rider like myself, thats a dream come true. And every one of those 762 curves from the mountains to Chiang Mai, was an amazing and beautiful sight.
Bangkok was our last and final stop before heading home. Of course we had to check out Koh San road, which is tourist haven. We did a few temples, saw the grand palace, took a ferry up the river, took a cooking class, got a few massages, and saw the infamous “Ping Pong” show. Although there was a lot to do here, my the floating market we traveled to, about an hour outside of Bangkok was the best part.
It wasn’t the typical floating market on the weekends you hear about from all the tourists. In fact, I only came across one other foreigner the entire time I was there and it wasn’t until the end. This was the best part for me because for the first time I was actually immersed in Thai culture and the people, without them catering to tourism. They were just themselves, and this was the nicest group of people we ran into, and the best food market out of the entire trip.