Bangkok the big mango
Bangkok is the ideal starting point for any Thai holiday and countless monstrous shopping centers and hundreds of clubs will keep you busy forever. The tourist’s sights around the grand palace will be done in a weekend and if shopping is not your thing Bangkok have exit in all directions for very cheap prices by air, bus or train. It is also the home of Khosan Road the mysterious street that is the big starting point for every person who wants to be called a true backpacker in Asia. You will feel right at home with backpackers delight such as Star Bucks and Mac D that moved in a few years ago.
Pattaya the black pearl on the east coast of Thailand
Pattaya, discovered by the Americans during the south east Asia wars, built up by sun hungry men from the United Kingdom during the 1980s, invaded by Vikings in the 1990 and put to sleep until around 2000 when the Arab invasion started but was stopped by the Russian take over in 2006. People come to Pattaya to live, to play golf, to visit the many girl bars but they don’t come to swim in the sea. Pattaya is not a ideal family holiday destination but Thai family’s still flock her on big weekends to sit under huge parasols with their cloth while playing cards and eating sea food.
Issan the forgotten Kingdom
Not many tourists travel further north then Ayutthaya but more to the north east is the forgotten tourist destination if Issan (essan). Issan is what many people call the real Thailand and people from north east are the work horses behind all factories and rice farms in Thailand. On the big holidays you can see Bangkok shut down and the bus stations overfill with people trying to get back to the forgotten Kingdom. For people that want to travel where not many tourists have traveled before this is the perfect place to start your exploration of Thailand. Most backpackers skipped the north east of Thailand and headed straight for the northern parts so this is a hidden gem. You will not see many other white people besides the older settlers and their younger native wife’s. Don’t be surprised if some villages never seen a white person and that you will see Thai genuine smiles and hospitality. You can travel by bus but the best way to travel is by car or motorbike if you have the possibility.
Samui island the rebel outpost
Samui was from the beginning a big farm for Coconuts but most of them have been cut down or died in a disease and nothing is done to save them. Now Samui in south Thailand is a place for backpackers that could not leave Thailand because they did not want to back their suite job. They also could not get enough of trance music that coming from the island of Koh-Phangan. The former backpackers’ have set up spa, yoga centers, cologne centers, wellness centers and just feeling happy because I smoke much weed centers. Samui has real unspoiled beaches and bungalows by the sea and in the wet season the whole center get flooded. You can compare it a bit to Christiania in Denmark since the motorbike gangs also found their way here, it just more sunny.
Phuket the Andaman Pearl
Phuket is the starting point of every island hopping tour in south Thailand and many low cost carriers fly here every day from around the world. It the home too many expat and you will find the most ridicules prices ever for a house on this Island. Phuket is a perfect holiday detention for everybody because it has the nightlife, the clean beaches and cheap hotels if you look for it. Phuket has never really recovered after the Tsunami 2004and the many hotels are empty most of the low season and real bargains can be found.
Krabi the Island kingdom
Who can forget the old James Bond movie “Gold finger” and the hidden Island near Krabi in south Thailand? If you want beaches, underwater exploring and quiet nightlife then Krabi is the place to go. It is also the place people go for rock climbing. Krabi has many spectacular five star resorts where the beach really belongs to you and not many tourists bother to travel down here.
Chiang Mai the northern realm
It does not matter how you spell it Chiang Mai, Chiangmai, Cheng Mai or Cheang Mai it is still the capital of northern Thailand. Many artists and culture personalities from both Thailand abroad have built homes here and they create a unique atmosphere in this northern part of Thailand. If you want to travel further north and visit the hill tribes of Thailand Chiang Mai is your starting point. The town has lost some of its charm to traffic jams and forest burning but in the cold season Thai travel so they can try on the glows and winter clothing’s they bought in Bangkok. If you want to buy cheap Thai style furniture imported from Burma this is the play to go.
Hua Hin the new charter Paradise
Thai people think of Hua hin like a high society place and like to travel there by car and stay in posh hotels and visits expansive spas. The sea side resort is most famous because it’s where the King of Thailand like has his summer castle. The tourists that come here are mostly charter and Hua Hin is perfect for families even it’s is a bit difficult to get there. The beach stretches forever and ever year they play elephant polo here.
November 30, 2013 | MrThaiBudget
Thailand is a very popular tourist destination in Asia and it is not hard to see why. The country offers an abundance of natural attractions, unique cuisine, and great people – not to mention fantastic weather!
Visitors from most Asian nations as well as tourists from the European Union and Western countries are not required to have a visa to enter Thailand if their primary purpose for visiting is a vacation. However, you need to have a passport valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival in the country. Depending on the home country and the means of transportation, visitors get permits of different lengths, so it is best to get in touch with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to find out more. Tourists should also note that they are legally required to carry their passport with them at all times.
Things to Do
Thailand constantly draws tourists year in and year out. One of the most popular tourist attractions are the many beautiful beaches Thailand has to offer. Another fun activity is golf, which playing a very popular sport in the country and almost everyone in the country it.
Popular outdoor activities in Thailand include rock climbing, cycling, trekking, surfing, and scuba diving. If you enjoy a Thai massage, you should really try out a Thai massage. Spas are abundant in the country and tourists should definitely be pampered and enjoy this luxurious experience.
Sights to See
Aside from the beautiful beaches Thailand offers, there are also other great sights. One of these is the Khao Yai National Park in which tourists can experience forests and wildlife in a peacefully serene atmosphere. In the northern part of Bangkok, Thailand’s capital, tourists will also find plenty of historic ruins, which are part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Khao Sok National Park is also a great place to visit. Being the oldest and biggest rainforest in the country, it is a great place for hiking as well as discovering a diverse variety of flora and fauna.
Behavior Tips for Foreigners
Thai people are very easy to get along with, as long as you do not insult the Royal Family. If for instance you drop a Thai coin or a paper bill, never stop it by stepping on it – just bend down to pick it up. The king’s face is on almost every currency and stepping on it is considered the same as stepping on the king’s face.
With Thai people naturally being conservative people, well-dressed foreigners will be surprised at the amount of respect and attention they will receive compared to others who are not so well-dressed. You should also be aware that you are required to take off your footwear when entering places of worship and homes, and even some shops.
In the event that you come across a monk, keep in mind that offering them money is a sign of disrespect. If you would like to make an offering to a monk, you should give food instead. Women should never give anything directly to a monk – it is best to place it in front of the monk so he can pick it up himself.
November 23, 2013 | MrThaiBudget
How long do I need in the north?
Many people ask me how long they need in the North – my personal answer would be ‘it could never be long enough!’ My first visit to Thailand 4 years ago was to the North, and I have been living here for the past 2 years. For those restricted to a travel schedule though, at least 2 days is needed to cover the basic sightseeing of Chiang Mai (the capital of the North) although you could spend a week and not have covered all that the city and it’s surrounds has to offer. If you want to explore the countryside beyond Chiang Mai a recommended 3 days is needed to fully appreciate Chiang Rai province, and a further 5 days for Mae Hong Son.
What is the best time of year to go?
Winter in Thailand is from November – February, which is also the tourism high season here. Travellers prefer to come during these months as the temperature is slightly cooler, it is also the best weather for trekking. Whilst many people avoid rainy season (May-Sep), there are advantages -this is when the fields and nature are at their most lush green. Most of the time the rain will come in short spurts, it does not rain heavily all day. Summer time (March-April) is the worst time to come, when temperatures soar to mid-late 30′s. This is also when farmers burn the fields, so air quality is very bad and visibility of the mountain views masked by smoke. Note that prices for many things such as tours,accommodation,flights are much higher during high season, so it can be cheaper to travel in the low season.
Is it recommended for kids?
Northern Thailand is a fantastic destination for kids, in fact it offers something for all ages. Soft adventure and outdoor activities, nature and animals are sure to keep the kids entertained whilst opportunities for cultural exploration together as a family can an enriching experience for all.
Most major to mid size towns in the North are well connected by local bus routes, so its possible to get around by bus, however to explore outlying areas and small villages then you will need your own transport. In some of the more developed and touristic towns there will be motorbikes for hire, if you want to hire a car it is best to do so from Chiang Mai.
Destinations in mountainous or more remote areas, will not have any form of transport so it’s advisable to have your own transport here too. Local buses come in 2 classes – air conditioned or fan. Air con buses are slightly more expensive but worth paying the extra baht for as they have more leg room and seating is more spacious. Overnight buses in Thailand are very comfortable, seats recline to about 150 degrees with enough leg room for the average height person. The only things to watch out for are the air-conditioning which they tend to put on high and karaoke songs which they like to keep you entertained with at high volume.
There are various ways you can travel around Northern Thailand – independent travel, group package tours, or something in between such as a private tour. Which one you opt for will depend on how you like to travel and your budget. Independent travel (the cheapest form) is obviously for those who don’t like to be restricted and prefer to explore by themselves, commonly done by backpackers on a low budget. The downfalls can be that whilst you may cover many areas with an open schedule, your travel experience will be purely observatory, you won’t know about the meaning and culture behind places without the knowledge of a local guide. Package tours are for those who feel less comfortable exploring a place on their own and like to have everything pre-planned, the disadvantage being that every aspect (hotels, transport, itinerary) is fixed including the amount of time you can spend at a sight, not good for those that don’t like to be rushed. A private tour combines the best of both independent and package travel in that you can tailor the itinerary to what you want to see and do, without the restrictions of a fixed schedule, basically you are the boss.
Your trip to Northern Thailand could combine a mix of styles, for example for tourist areas such as Chiang Mai city which are easy to get around by with public transport where a lot of the attractions have explanations in English then a guide and private transport is not required. For sightseeing in outlying Chiang Mai (adventure activities, national parks, waterfalls and temples) you may want to consider hiring a taxi or song tiaw for a day. Then for excursions to the countryside beyond Chiang Mai, which are not so easily done on public transport you could hire a car, driver and guide for a tour.
Northern Thailand offers an amazing array of hotels and guesthouses from budget backpacker to 5 star boutique hotels. If arriving during low season it is not necessary to book beforehand, although you may get better rates if you book online. Many hotels in Chiang Mai can be found on online hotel booking agents. In rural parts most hotels/guesthouses (unless they are high end well established ones) are not available on any of the online hotel booking agents, you might be lucky if they even had their own website, so a phone reservation is the best way. During high season and any national holidays booking beforehand is advised as places get full pretty quickly.
November 15, 2013 | MrThaiBudget
With the currency exchange, it is difficult not to find frugal attractions in Bangkok, Thailand. However, there are a few tips to make travel dollars stretch even further and to better the travel experience.
The Grand Palace And The Temple Of The Emerald Buddha
Yes, there is an entrance fee (200 Baht, roughly $6 U.S.) but this sight is a must see for any visitor to Bangkok. It hosts a range of Thai architecture.
Temples and other national monuments have a strict dress code. No shorts, sleeveless tops, or risqué dress. This is true of the most religious places the world over but in Thailand, travelers should also not wear open heeled sandals (there must be a strap behind the heel).
Which leads to some Thai customs that savvy travelers observe.
Shorts are considered appropriate only for children and the lower class.
The head is considered sacred (closest to the heavens) so do not touch. Actually try not to touch the locals at all.
Feet are also to be treated with care. To point your feet at a person is considered a grave insult and to sit with soles exposed extremely rude (especially in religious places). Sit with feet tucked under the body.
No public displays of affection. Keep that for the privacy of your room.
As with most countries, but especially Thailand, do not criticize the local government or monarchy.
This may seem like a lot of rules but most apply to almost every country a traveler is a guest in.
Also the Thai people are extremely polite so they are unlikely to express their disapproval.
Chatuchak Park Weekend Market
This is where frugal travelers buy their souvenirs. With over 15,000 stalls (pick up a free map at information kiosks), there is plenty to choose from. This is a place to haggle. Never take the first offer. Also be very wary of fakes (fake antiques, fake jewelry, etc) and of pickpockets (keep some small bills in an easily accessible pocket and hide the wallet away).
What to buy? Almost anything, especially handicrafts. My mother is an elephant lover and Thailand, with reverence of the animal, was the ideal place to pick up teak carvings (be careful of wood drying and cracking when you return home).
Wat Pho (Temple Of The Reclining Buddha)
With another very, very inexpensive entrance fee (20 Baht), Wat Pho is the largest and oldest Buddhist Temple in Bangkok. The highlight is, of course, the 46 meter long, gold covered Reclining Buddha. However, the buildings and I found the orchids were also noteworthy.
November 7, 2013 | MrThaiBudget