Authored by Kellen Rauch
The glorious, mysterious, and (at times) ridiculous country of Thailand is a smorgasbord when it comes to things to do, places to visit, and experiences to be had. Although the country is relatively small in area, it’s impossible to take advantage of all it has to offer in a short vacation stay.
But no matter how long you intend to spend in Thailand, make sure that you at least manage to immerse yourself in most, if not all, of the following.
If there’s one thing you should know about Thailand, it’s that it is made up of beautiful sun-drenched, tropical islands which feature “emerald lagoons and secluded beaches, mountainous plains and jungle terrain”.
On the southwestern side of the country you have the entire province of Phuket, Krabi, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, and more.
On the eastern side of the Gulf of Thailand you have Koh Chang, Koh Sichang, Koh Samet, Koh Larn, and more. There are so many to choose from, enough to fill an article in itself just to compare which one is right for you.
So if you’re bored of Bangkok make sure you compile some research on Thailand’s different islands to find out which sun-drenched paradise is for you. They’re all different and all amazing in their own way.
Vist a National Park
Thailand’s beauty isn’t strictly limited to the country’s coastline, and its stunning natural landscapes continue inland to well over 100 official national parks.
Do you know that there are still tigers, elephants, leopards, gaurs, bears roaming free in many national parks across Thailand? Do you also know that 10% of all marine species in the world can be found across the country’s 22 marine national parks? Also, Thailand is the best bird-watching destination in mainland Asia. Which are the best National Parks in Thailand?
With such a varied range of parks boasting unspoiled landscapes and providing a haven for endangered species, you have to try to get to at least one while visiting Thailand. Each park is completely different from the next, some mountainous, some covered by forests, and some located on the beach.
A third that is quickly gaining more and more visitors is Huai Nam Dang National Park which is in the north of Thailand, close to Pai. If you’re looking for a great place to stay in Pai, I personally suggest Mad Monkey Hostel Pai!
Not visiting Bangkok on a trip to Thailand would be the equivalent of traveling to England but not stopping by London. Even if you’re passing through, you’re most likely going to arrive at BKK airport for your connecting flight, and then out again for your subsequent flight home, so you may as well spend at least a day in BKK. Should I visit Bangkok? Things to do in Bangkok
The hustle and bustle of Bangkok is unlike anywhere else in Thailand. 14 of the country’s 66 million live in a city that is very much built up, and not out. If urban exploration is your thing, “with so much of life conducted on the street, there are few cities in the world that reward exploration as handsomely as Bangkok”, and the contrasts of the city make it a fascinating place.
“Here climate-controlled megamalls with world class tailors sit side-by-side 200-year-old village homes; gold-spired Buddhist temples share space with neon-lit strips of sleaze; slow-moving rivers of traffic are bypassed by long-tail boats plying the royal river; and streets lined with food carts are overlooked by restaurants on top of skyscrapers serving exotic cocktails. As Bangkok races towards the future, these contrasts will never stop supplying the city with its never-ending Thai-ness.”
At Least One Temple
This one can be knocked off the list pretty much no matter where you decide to travel in Thailand. Temples (predominantly Buddhist) are EVERYWHERE.
Of course some are more extravagant than others, though no matter how big or small the temple you’re visiting may be, every single one will display amazing, and intricately hand-crafted detail. Best temples in Thailand.
Each of Thailand’s main regions will host at least one big temple to visit. Bangkok’s Grand Palace and Chiang Rai’s Wat Rong Khun are two to look into. Hire a tuk-tuk driver to take you around for the day to see the temples.
Go to a Half Moon Festival or Full Moon Party
No-one throws a beach/jungle party quite like Thailand, and if you’re thinking about heading to Asia and define yourself as “young”, you need to be at one of these parties. When is the Full Moon Party Thailand
Both held on Koh Phangan, each of these parties is completely off the charts, however they are both completely different. The Full Moon Party is an all night beach party which sees 10,000-30,000 people show up each month. The party begins at dusk and there are more than a few different bars to dance and party at as you make your way along the beach. In twilight , small tables are lined up on the beach and thousands of lamps are lit. The beach explodes into a dancing frenzy as different DJ’s play their mix.
The Full Moon Party happens…you guessed it…on the night of each full moon. So there’s one approximately each month. The Half Moon Festival however is totally different. Occurring once every two-ish weeks, the party is held at a concrete venue in the middle of the jungle. Unlike the Full Moon Party, the Half Moon Festival is hosted in a singular venue. If you’re into deep house. The Half Moon Festival is for you. When is the Half Moon Festival Thailand?
Of course, there is so much more to Thailand than just these 5 broad things. Though these are a great place to start, and if you find that Thailand is truly a place you want to immerse yourself in, it’s becoming a trend among travelers to find a job and decide to live there! You could also dive into a kung fu retreat and restore your mind, body and spirit. Thailand offers something for everyone.
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Photo credits: Featured photo by Mike Behnken. Ang Thong Viewpoint by hjjanisch. Elephant by Matt Martin. Grand Palace by DanaRiza EltraStudio. Partier on Haad Rin Nok by Joe Stump. Pinterest images by Mark Fischer & Mike Behnken.