A Girl’s Detailed Travelogue About Where & How To Go To Thailand
Telugu cinemalaki Thailand ki oka vidatheyaleni bandham vundi. Enough is said and done about Thailand.
So Telugu cinema choosi Thailand chalaa Mandi velle vuntaru, Inkonthamandi velali anukuntu vundivuntaru. So be it planning a trip to Thailand for the first time or revisiting this beautiful kingdom you’ve got it covered in this post.
Thailand is a popular destination in Asia, just 3 -4 hour’s flight from India and an easy visa on arrival- all reasons contributed for some blackened images in our brain. Thailand anagane, Bangkok nightlife, Pattaya beaches, temples, shopping streets and massage center images flash avthay!!
Bangkok and Pattaya are the most visited cities in Thailand and obviously full of tourists. But this country is beyond these two cities. It’s very versatile with pristine crystal blue water beaches in the south; lush green mountains and offbeat hike trails in the north.
Since the flight frequency to Bangkok is great you can have that as a base place for arrivals and departures. You can also spend a day or two in the capital city. Things to do in Bangkok include visiting temples, tasting the Thai food, shopping in the local markets, spending an evening on the floating markets and getting some stunning views of the Bangkok city from one of the sky lounges during nighttime.
Here are two Alternate destinations in Thailand, you should consider visiting and some responsible travel tips for this spectacular country.
This northern Province of Thailand has years of long history dating back to the 12th century yet the name literally translates to ‘’new city’’
Its cultural hub, a laid back town with rich nature and friendly locals and is a paradise for trekkers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Chiang Mai has all the modern day comforts. Hip cafes, boutiques, shopping streets, and decent nightlife. The old city, Nimman road, The Pae gate, and the riverside are few areas where the travelers can stay. The riverside has got luxury hotels and resorts. You can find locally run stays for a more authentic experience.
While the bigger cities have mouth-watering Thai food, they, however, draw global influences in the preparation. Chiang Mai can give you gastronomy with Authentic style of Thai preparations. Their cuisine is usually (Not spicier than mirchi bajji so don’t worry). The Thai green curry is to die for!!!
And my favorite thing is Chiang Mai’s weather. Though Thailand has a tropical climate, Chiang Mai has a pleasant climate throughout the year.
Things to do in Chiang Mai
Visit the beautiful temples:
Temples are Chiang Mai’s top attraction, they locally are known as ‘’Wats’’ and depict the Buddhist culture & architecture. Don’t forget to dress modestly while visiting the temples as a sign of respecting the local culture. I highly recommend planning the temple visits little early in the morning, its peaceful with not too many tourists during the early hours.
Out of all the temples, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is architecturally beautiful. It’s a little away from the city center, you have to climb up about 300 steps to reach the temple. The reward is a spectacular view of the city.
The Elephant nature park:
It is a conservation center, which cares for the Elephants. This is also a rehabilitation center for rescued Elephants. Most of the places in Thailand are not elephant friendly and this is the place to go to understand why animal safaris should be avoided.
One can visit the volunteer and spend time with these beautiful creatures. It’s an ethical organization and is a safe environment for the Elephants.
Chiang Mai to Pai bike trips and Hikes:
Chiang Mai is a base destination for starting hikes in some of the pristine trails. This city is surrounded by so many named and unnamed waterfalls. You won’t regret a bike ride from Chiang Mai to Pai. It’s very scenic and leaves you with memories of a lifetime. (Needless to mention that you should very responsible and a pro at riding a bike)
Learn how to paint on Umbrellas:
Bor sang or Bo Sang is an artistic village near Chiang Mai known for its colorful umbrellas and parasols. Its a visual treat in the village to see handcrafted colorful umbrellas in the streets filled with stores and decorated with flower motifs. They are made with natural materials and natural dyes.
The locals are enthusiastic in giving classes for travelers who admire art and interested in learning the same. Every year the village also celebrates umbrella festival on the third Friday of January.
Learn to cook:
Chiang Mai is known for its delicious authentic Thai food. It is also home for so many cooking schools run by amazing chefs.
There are half Day, full-day cooking classes available. Asia Scenic Thai cooking school, Thai farm cooking school, Sammy’s organic Thai cooking school are a few to name. All of them introduce you to the basics of Thai cooking along with the hands-on cooking experience of 3-5 dishes.
Visit the local and night Markets:
Strolling in Nights markets is one of the best things to do in Chiang Mai at night. The markets soak you up in the scene and are the best places to take a closer look at the local lifestyle.
The Chiag Mai night bazaar is one of the best one in entire Thailand. Its set up near the junction of Chang khlan road and Loi khro road. It’s a huge market and doesn’t have a specific start and end points. Its spread over so many streets. It offers almost everything that comes in your mind when someone says, Market.
Clothes, souvenirs, handicrafts, jewelry, footwear, furniture, fruits, groceries, paintings, electronics, knick-knacks and what not. It also has a lot of Chiang mai’s best street food stalls and snacking bars to feast on. on the parallel blocks, there are also a lot of restaurants.
If you are there during the weekend when The Sunday walking street is set up, it’s worth a visit. If that didn’t work out because you are leaving on Sunday evening or have some other plans then Wualai Saturday walking street is an alternative. Also, it’s a bit less crowded, which gives you an edge over bargaining and asking questions to the vendors.
Deserts stall at the Saturday local market
Apart from these grand markets, the Warorot market is the biggest food markets in Chiangmai and Ton Lamyai flower market is my favorite with a variety of local and imported flowers. Both these markets are on the Riverside.
Krabi is a popular beach destination in Thailand. It is always bustling with life, especially around Aonang Beach. Pale blue sea, good eateries, beach-front massage parlors, little souvenir stores, and night clubs all make the place really vibrant. The sunrise and sunsets are not to be missed. A walk along the Aonang beach stretch during the golden hours of sunset can be a memorable one. The water is warm, making it idyllic to take dips in the sea.
Aonang Beach – Krabi
Things to do in Krabi:
Go Island hopping:
The famous Thailand Sailing tours include Ko phi phi le, ko phi phi don, koh samui and James Bond islands near Phuket.
They are beautiful, blue and emerald water islands, one can either go there in speed boats or the traditional long-tail boats.
If you are trying to avoid the crowds then I recommend Hong island hopping.
Emerald water beach – Hong islands
Beachfront massage :
There are authentic massage centers near Aonang beach. A few are open Gazebos with Thai music in the background, the aroma of the oils and the Beach Breeze. It can be a very rejuvenating and exhilarating experience.
Tha Pom Khlong Song Nam:
It’s a Deep, Natural trail amid the tranquil mangrove Swamps. Its an Eco park around 35 km away from Krabi town. Its located near the Andaman sea line and is it is a spectacular experience to walk on the wooden walkway watching the water to change its colors every few steps, the thick vegetation and high mountains in the background. It is definitely one of the uniquest places in Thailand.
Just outside the park, there are 3-4 shacks run by locals and the food is very authentic.
Kayak or sail to the unnamed islands of Thalane Bay:
It’s hard to find the least crowded places in Thailand and Ao Thalane Bay one of them. Upon the suggestions from the locals near tha Pom Khlong Song Nam, I went to Thailand Bay (there are directions on the highway). I can’t be more grateful to them.
The entire stretch is beautiful, with hills on one side and backwaters on the other. When I reached Thalane Bay, there were hardly any people …just a handful of travelers kayaking on the vast expanse of water along the side of the island. At one of the kayaking centers, I met the Staff member Mr. A (yes his actual name was just “A”!). He agreed to take us around to a few islands and soon he was our official skipper, photographer and Guide for the rest of the day.
He quickly went to get one of the smallest boats he owned and started sailing as soon as we settled in. We cruised among the thickly populated thickets of mangroves; away from the concrete jungle. I could only hear the musical tilt of water and the screeching of bats deep in the mangrove forest.
It started raining after a while as we kept sailing to some of the best & untouched islands
Aonang beach and Krabi town have great shopping areas. The clothes, swimwear, and footwear are almost the same in most of the stores. Choose to buy souvenirs from local handicraft stores. There are temporary local markets during the weekends and on specific weekdays. There is a great deal if you are looking for some cheap and local stuff.
The food stalls in these markets are my favorite. I feasted upon some unique Thai snacks.
Getting to Chiang Mai/Krabi
There are internal flights connected from Bangkok with a great frequency to both Chiang mai and Krabi
I recommend hiring a bike, it’s the cheapest and most convenient options.
Taxis are anyway available, the Tuk Tuk is a fun option, they have meters but the drivers don’t like to use the meters usually and charge any amount which comes to their mind (sometimes 4 times that of a taxi)
Where to stay in Chiang Mai and Krabi
There are options starting from luxury Resorts to backpackers hostels to choose from. I gave the average costs in the below section.
It’s a foodie’s heaven!! You get everything from Vegan-friendly places to fresh seafood places to hog. There are more Indian restaurants than we imagine especially in Krabi.
Budgets for Stay and Food:
With this and the costs of flights from your city, you can sum up to cost of Thailand trip
Thailand being a tourist country, most of the locals speak basic English. However learn a few phrases in Thai, before you land there.
Its a Visa on arrival for Indian travelers. All You Need is an Indian passport valid at least for the next 30 days. Sometimes the immigration officers might ask you to show a return ticket and proof of hotel booking. Keep these things handy on your phone.
The Visa fee is 2000 Baht which you have to pay near the immigration. Note that they only accept this in cash (Baht) and not credit/debit cards.
Responsible travel tips :
1. Tanning is good. Do not apply sun-tan, sunscreen lotions before getting into the sea and pollute the water.
2. Do not litter. Imagine heartbreaking images of bottles and plastic wrappers in front of the coral blue water or a lush green mountain. Don’t contribute to those images.
3. Try Travelling in public transport or e-bikes instead of private taxis.
4. Do not feed the fish in the ocean. Nature has a way of life. The fish knows how to get food on its own. Let’s not interfere and try traveling without impacting nature.
5. Stay in locally run hotels and buy local produce from local vendors.
6. Kindly do not encourage elephant safaris or any other animal safaris. The environment in which they train the animals for safaris is not friendly to the beautiful creatures and they undergo a lot of abuse. Be Cautious in not buying anything made of Ivory.
Happy Traveling ☺
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