Thailand – Travel Tips

thailand

  • See the Thailand Wikitravel page
  • If you arrive in the middle of the night at Bangkok airport and the buses have finished, negotiate for a taxi – 400-500baht is reasonable, there may be road tolls too. When asked by the taxi driver, it’s worth claiming this is your ‘second or third’ visit to the country – see above for more safety/scams tips.
  • Bangkok – See the Grand Palace, the huge Chatunchak weekend Market, Kao San area, Reclining Buddha monastery, Siam Square and its luxury cinemas, and the night markets. You may wish to avoid the dodgy sex shows/’ping pong’ shows – as working conditions for the girls are as dire as you imagine. See above regarding Kao San Road – it is cheaper to stay just off Kao San itself, Rambuttri is a great option (asked to be dropped off by the police station). The Kao San market is bigger, busier and cheaper at night.
  • Kanchanaburi – An hour or two away from Bangkok. See the Bridge over the River Kwai, Death Railway Museum and take a tour from the cheap-and-cheerful ‘Jolly Frog Hostel’.  Avoid the notorious ‘Tiger Temple’ where you can stroke a live, chained big cat – a CWI (Care for the Wild International) report from 2007 confirmed trafficking, drugging and abuse at the supposed ‘sanctuary’ – it does not do what it says it does, don’t be fooled! Hell Fire Pass is a bit of a trek but see it if you’re really interested in the history.
  • Ayutthaya – Thailand’s old capital, very different, lots of history. Hire a scooter and tour the Wat Temples in a day or two.
  • Ko Phangan – Book ahead and arrive early if you’re hoping to go to the monthly Full Moon Party – the world’s biggest beach party. You can get boats to other islands from here. Avoid staying on Had Rin beach, it’s very expensive and Westernised – find another beach, check out The Sanctuary Hotel in your guidebook for dirt cheap dorm beds.
  • Chang Mai – Get the fantastic night train up from Ayutthaya or Bangkok, lots of adventure sports and a cooler climate. Jungles, mountain biking, elephant rides, white water rafting, bungee jumping – all safe, all very cheap, great food and night markets.
  • Pai – Three hour winding bus ride from Chiang Mai – very little to do except relax – rafting here is the best in the region – I recommend Thai Adventure Rafting – or hire a scooter and travel to Mae Hong Son. Avoid ‘Human Zoo’ tourism, particularly of the Long Neck tribe from Burma (see this BBC News story)
  • Ko Samet – Ideal if you want to see a beach island but haven’t the time to head south – this resort is 3-hours from Bangkok and popular with Thai people.
  • Ko Samui – One of the better islands, huge beaches, not too busy, a happy medium.
  • Rai Leh, Krabi – Some of the world’s best climbing at this beach, the best in Krabi.
  • The best resource for seeking out the best ‘undiscovered’, quieter islands off the beaten track is Tezza’s Beaches and Islands blog. Koh Mook is a great quiet option.
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