When you arrive in Thailand, you’ll probably fly into Bangkok and be thrown into a world of organised chaos. This city is the essential way to begin any Thailand trip. Street vendors selling fried scorpions and huhu grubs, tuk-tuk drives zigzagging their way in and out of the traffic and the amazing aroma at every street corner of spices and incense. Bangkok has a marvellous choice of temples, Wats and Buddha’s and haggling at the markets for a fake Gucci watch or the price of a tailor made suit is an experience I would recommend to everyone travelling in Thailand. However In the last 15 years or so Thailand has been evolving from faraway destination for hardened travellers to what is becoming a package holiday. With air travel so readily available Thailand is now also a family travel destination. Thailand is also a great place to travel for the elderly and the inexperienced gap year traveller alike, and of course at a budget price. However, travelling in Thailand has something other than just the tourist route to follow and this article will give you some of those hidden gems that the throng of Thailand travellers will not have found… yet.
The majority of international flights to Thailand arrive in Bangkok and although this is not an area to miss, once you have seen the golden temples, Wat’s and floating markets why not head a little out of the city to the north east to a street called Soi 1. Although it was previously a dirty little street with a smell rivalling that of open sewers things have now changed and in 2007 it was cleaned up and serves the most amazing local food to the locals and few Thailand travellers lucky enough to stumble across it. Intestines and entrails may be on the menu on many of the stalls but when travelling in Thailand why not try everything! And of course there is an array of locally cooked curries, pad thai and sticky rice for those Thailand travellers with slightly weaker stomachs. The cost to eat is minimal as it is off the tourist trail and you will get a true experience of what Bangkok used to be like before the Weston invasion.
From Bangkok you have many options at your disposal for your Thailand trip and with a travel agent on every corner offering you jungle treks and trips to the River Kwai you can quickly get sucked in to their sales patter. My advice is to avoid the mass route and if you are looking for something different on your Thailand trip jump on a bus to Sida, 3 hours north east of Bangkok passing through the stunning jungles of Koh Yai on the way. In the little village of Sida get off the bus and arrange a night in one of the few guest houses. From here the guest house owners will help you organise a home stay with a family in the local area – an unforgettable part of any Thailand trip. You can visit schools, live in with a local family, go frog hunting and depending on the time of year see how they harvest their crops, celebrate festivals and get a true idea of how a typical Thai family lives in the country side. A true Thaiand travel experience.
Travelling to the north of Thailand is a must as the jungle are dense and teaming with wildlife, but rather than stop at Chiang Mai where the majority of travellers in Thailand get off, keep on going. A night in Chiang Mai will give you time to visit local markets and explore the old town but don’t stay too long as there is so much more to offer in this region. Heading North West by bus you will travel through some of the most beautiful serene country side and the winding road up through the mountains will make you feel a little queasy but the views and little towns you pass through will make this journey well worthwhile. Mae Hong Son a little further west is the home to the Paduang hill tribe famous for the numerous golden rings around their neck, “The long necks”. Exploring this area by motor bike is the best way to see all the little hidden gems, meet the locals and with the Mekong River flowing along the border there is the opportunity to go white water rafting with a local guide. These experiences really will help you get hte most out of your Thailand trip.
The first thing many people think about when travelling to Thailand are the idyllic white sands of a picture perfect tropical island and with so many to choose from the question is which is the best. Well to be honest with such a large number of islands there is something for everyone travelling in Thailand. However if the thought of sharing a beach with a hundred other backpackers drinking Chang Beer and riding jet skis isn’t your cup of tea then why not try one of the islands off the south west coast. There appears to be a trend of Thailand traveller who will go to a certain distance and explore no further but taking that extra little effort will open up and array of empty beaches, less developed little islands and friendly genuine locals. Taking the sleeper train from Bangkok south, almost every backpacker gets off at Surat Thani which gives you great access to the east coast islands but instead of following the crowds, stay on that train for another couple of hours to the station of Trang. From here you are reaching an area which has been largely kept out of the Thailand tourist route. The train station is 20 miles or so to the west coast and so getting a taxi to the port of Pak Meng and jumping on a boat out to one of these remote islands is easy to do. Koh Ngai which less than a 1 kilometre wide and with only 3 or four resorts is a great spot to start and an amazing place to relax during your Thailand trip. You can spend your day’s snorkelling in the warm waters, reading your book under a palm tree or simply taking a walk along the white sandy beaches to one of the restaurants that serve an array of fish caught that morning. You truly will feel like you have found paradise.
Source by Bryony Holland
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