Honest About Travel

Something For Everyone

Ahhh Thailand, the go to exotic holiday destination for everyone. Thailand has something to offer for every holiday maker, but has it had its day? A spout of violent outburst and an increase in traveller’s awareness of scams are dampening the tourist industry in Thailand. I will talk you through how to make the best of your trip to Thailand, how to see the best bits and get off the beaten track. I’ll also discuss the scams and my tips for avoiding them. The lesser travelled to parts of Thailand are by far the most beautiful and my favourite parts of the country. Whilst hinting at an itinerary I will offer a few different options for those of you looking for different experiences. I like to balance my trips with a mixture of everything, parties, adventure, nature and relaxing.

One of the things Thailand is most famous for has to be the parties, from the once a year water-fight and festival known as Songkran to the nightly craziness of Patong, there is a scene for every party goer. Songkran is the Thai peoples New Year’s festival and begins on the 13th April every year. This usually lasts around 3 days and is of course famous for the huge water-fights that take place throughout. This year is due to be the year of the Dog, and whilst the parties are great fun, don’t forget to also experience some of the more traditional side of the festival.

Songkran

The most famous of the Thai parties is the Full Moon Party, this is celebrated country wide, however, the most famous is located on Haad Rin, Koh Phangan. This party falls on one night each month and whilst there are the half and quarter moon parties, they really do not compare. As with all parties around the world, if you are sensible, there are usually no issues. Watch your drinks and do not take any drugs, the punishments for drugs in Thailand do not even bare thinking about.

Moving onto the nightly parties, these happen all over Thailand, with the craziest parties being on Bangla Road in Phuket, Khaosan Road in Bangkok, and Pattaya walking street in Pattaya. These streets buzz with life and with drinks starting at less than £1, you’re always in for a messy night. Another location for a great night out is Koh Tao, with a first come first served basis and a limit of 150 people, the Tao bar crawl is a great laugh. Of course, you can just check out the local bars yourself.

There are several scams, offering cheap tuk tuk rides, these just take you to shops and locations that pay them to do so. Many of the tours on these routes feature animal cruelty and I advise people to steer well clear. If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is. Book any tours and tickets with trusted providers to avoid getting ripped off and don’t be fooled in thinking you will get a better price at the hotel as the case is often the opposite.

Quite often adventure and nature come as a package, when it comes to these 2, Thailand brings the goods. There are far too many locations and things to see for me to sum up in one post, but I will give you an outline. Starting with a hidden nature reserve that I have a great deal of love for, Khao Sok. Nestled up in the mountains located centrally between the West Islands (Phuket) and East Islands (Koh Samui), Khao Sok truly is a hidden paradise. The reserve is based around a huge lake with towering limestone structures protruding up from the waters.There is so much to do and see up here for an adventurous sole, my favourites are the overnight lake trips, sleeping in the floating bungalows and the deep jungle hikes. The forest and wildlife up here is absolutely amazing, animals range from dusky Langers to Water Monitors. I have to say the guides are also amazing, true jungle rangers with an amazing knowledge of the forest and its inhabitants (that’s coming from a fully qualified Zoologist).

Khao Sok River
Khao Sok
Butteryfly by the river in Khao Sok
Spider Khao Sok
Agama Khao Sok

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the better-known locations for those whole like adventure is Chiang Mai. The North of Thailand has so much to offer; you can’t possibly see it all, but I’ll give you a few good places to start. I suggest staying in the Old City, take a trip up to Doi Sup temple on the top of the mountain. For those who like to hike, you can take several different excursions out from Chiang Mai up the mountains to the hill tribes or just through the jungle. Other areas to explore in the North are of course Pai and Chiang Rai. Wat Rong Khun (the white temple) and the golden triangle are must visits if you are in the area.

Waterfall Chiang Mai
Rice Paddy Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai Rainforest

 

When it comes to relaxing I always head out to the islands. There are the well-known islands such as Koh Phi Phi, Koh Samui etc., and then there are the islands I like to call the hidden gems. Some of these are not open to visitors all year round, so be sure to check. Koh Lipe is one of my favourites, it is located on the West coast of Thailand about 151km south of Koh Phi Phi. You can get there either by land and boat, or by boat directly from Phuket. I generally stay on Pattaya beach, in one of the many Balinese style villas on offer, one of the best activities is diving, with crystal clear waters and hundreds of species of fish, It really is spectacular. Koh Lipe is near another amazing Island, I will however write about it in another post as Langkawi belongs to Malaysia.

Koh Lipe

On the East side of Thailand, off the coast of Koh Samui, lie some beautiful islands called the Mu Ko Ang Thong Islands. The biggest of the islands is known as Koh Phaluai and the main inhabitants are Sea Gysies, who still make a living from fishing. These islands are relatively new to the tourist industry and accommodation is limited, but their beauty makes up for what they lack in infrastructure.

Finally, one of the slightly better-known but still lest touristy Island groups needs to be mentioned, these are the Similian Islands. Located off the west coast in the Andaman sea, North of Phuket, these Islands ooze beauty. The reefs off the coasts are amazing and due to their fragility, the Thai government shut the islands down during monsoon season. These Islands should be on the must-see list of anyone looking to see the real Thailand.

Similian Islands

All in all, I believe Thailand has a lot to offer to every kind of traveller. If you plan your trip in line with what you are looking to experience, then I’m sure you will have an amazing time. Every country has its issues and I believe if Thailand can keep up with the constantly changing needs of the tourist industry, then it has a long future ahead. If you can avoid the stupid scams and be streetwise, then this is an amazing destination. If you would like me to provide one of my itineraries, please free to drop me a message and I will be happy to help you out.

If you would like to know more feel free to get in touch Sam@honestabouttravel.com

 

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