Thailand. It’s unique. Bangkok was the first landing point to what has evolved to many more returns to South East Asia in the last ten years. Bangkok is best described as an assault to the senses. It’s loud AF, almost all the time. It’s smells are ripe verging on putrid and sights of bright colours coupled with rapid fire movement are a constant. Cockroaches scurrying across the sidewalk? Yep. < this is BKK specific 😂 from my experience.
What can I recommend when it comes to Thailand? A few things. All of which are my raw opinion only. Everyone has their own perspectives and experiences. Take my two cents with a grain of salt.
- Spend as little time in Bangkok as possible. 24 hours and I’d say you are good. I’ve been to Bangkok now six different times. I can happily recommend the Casa Nithra in the Way Sam Phraya neighbourhood. Not a backpacker budget but a worthy splurge if it’s a first time to Bangkok. I also really like the Citin Pratunam. About half the cost of the Casa Nithra but certainly a budget hotel and in a totally different area of Bangkok, perhaps a better choice once you’ve been once or twice.
- Island food is not as good as mainland.
- Best food in Bangkok is in Chiang Mai. Don’t miss this city. Go to Ratana’s Kitchen. Get a foot massage. Beers at 7/11.
- Just because an Island is deemed a “party island” does not mean you should skip it if you are not a partier. Every island has tons of unique beaches, each with their own vibe. Don’t write off a destination quickly and do some digging into the best beach on the Island for your taste. I personally am not a partier but I LOVE Koh Phan Ngan and choose to stick to the North West beaches away from the crazies.
- Don’t overpack. You see so many people with huge backpacks. Like WHAT is in there? On our last 6 week trip to SE Asia I took a regular school bag from Old Navy. It was totally perfect and I even had things I still didn’t wear. You don’t need a lot.
- People all go to Thailand, it’s one of those places but it’s all the bottom of my list for SE Asian countries. It’s the most touristed and some of the people are hardened by this. Scams and lies a plenty. Look to the surrounding countries around Thailand for some of the truly best destinations with less people, a better daily budget and more untapped beauty.
- If you can’t ride a bike at home, don’t rent a moped in Thailand. You don’t magically become adept because you travel to a new country. I have seen so many travellers with injuries impeding their holidays because of a silly over ambitious attempt at driving a moped. You will see tons of people driving them around and maybe you are capable- my husband is but I prefer to ride alongside and have never dabbled myself. Know your limitations.
- Plan as you go. We usually book 2-3 days ahead of time. It used to be just rolling up to your beach joint and seeing if they have a free room. Sometimes the best deals can still be had this way. Compare the rates you see online with in person conversations. The longer you stay, usually the better the daily rate. This has always worked out for us except for one time in Koh Lanta. A story for another day.
Questions about a specific place in Thailand? I've been to every island! Sometimes twice! Hit me with any questions in the comments and I'd love to answer what I can.