Welcome to part 2 of our 3 part travelogue on Thailand. During my journeys throughout Thailand, one thing has always been a wonderful constant: the amazing opportunity to wander upon the unexpected. That’s why I love country of smiles so much – there are so many amazing places to visit in Thailand. Down every soi (alley) and around every bend in the road you’ll find something special. I believe that God created this region and its people to reflect His creativity and I think you’ll agree once you visit.
So let’s get started! While you may not be able to visit each of my places to visit in Thailand, you should be able to visit 1. So pick wisely. And if your heart aches for more after your journey ends, start planning out your next trip. The wonder is endless in Thailand.
street markets, street food, and smiles
Thailand may have the most beautiful beaches in the world but it also has the most amazing streetscapes – all found in the capital city of Bangkok. I imagine there are more sois (alleys) per capita here than in any other city in the world. And they know how to make the most of them.
You can literally walk down any alley and find food, entertainment, and most any supply you need. This is why backpackers love Bangkok so much. But it’s also why couples and older tourist do as well – and why they often retire there.
Street markets – you can find just about any brand or product in the street markets that exist in every major neighborhood of the city. Chatuchak Weekend Market and the Night Markets are my favorites (especially the Train Night Market on the eastside). And prices are great. Just beware of counterfiets. Also, feel free to barter but remember the vendor is trying to make a living, so be fair.
Street food – I was told not to eat the street food in Bangkok, “you’ll get sick” – I ignored that advice and used common sense when picking a stall or cart to eat from. I’ve never gotten sick as a result. And highly encourage you to sample as much as possible during your visit – just be sure to read my tips for picking street food first.
Bangkok is a great homebase for visiting the amazing sites in the region, including various temples, including Wat Pho, and is home to the Royal Palace – a must see. Also enjoy a cruise along the river and canal system (second only to Venice, Italy). So much in one place puts Bangkok on the top of my amazing places to visit in Thailand.
2. Chiang Mai
walkable adventures and handmade-factory tours
Chiang Mai is my second favorite place to visit in Thailand. Known as the capitl of the north, it is full of monasteries and quaint temples adorned with gold. It is a place you can get up close and personal as artisasn craft one of a kind treasures that are sold throughout the nation. I consider Chiang Mai to be south Asia’s craft empire. Here you can tour a variety of small factories where beautiful paper umbrellas, silk products, natural herbal medicines and more are made. And you can stock up at a great price.
The city is full of outdoor dining and professional Thai massage shops. And the countryside is filled with quaint farms and architecture as well. You’ll Chiang Mai so much you may even decide to retire there. But if you do, please leave all your bad habits at back in your home country and adopt their laid back, welcoming spirit instead.
walk through ancient thai history
Ayuthaya is recognized as a Unesco World Heritage site so if you’re a history buff, this will definitely be on your list. It was the second capital of Siam in the 14th through the 18th centuries but still proudly wears the weathered and time worn relics of that age for all to enjoy.
A walk through Ayuthaya should be done at a leasurely pace. Its towers and walls reak of the cultures that once inhabitated it and that have long since merged with others in the region to form present day Thailand.
If you like to hike or bike, Ayuthaya is the place for you. Spend a weekend on its many trails that wind through the ancient site. Keep a sharp eye out for hidden gems, including ancient sculptures that have become embedded within trees over the centuries, a very unique sight to see and just one reason Ayuthaya is one of my amazing places to visit in Thailand.
Also take a break and enjoy the many local dining options outside the ruins. Shrimp as large as American lobsters can found freshly grilled over open flames on the nearby streets. So enjoy!
4. Khao Yai National Park
Wildlife central for thailand and south asia
Khao Yai National Park is considered the best national park in Thailand and was the nation’s first national park. Think Yellowstone in scope of geography and wildlife and is about 180 km from Bangkok.
It cover an area of 2,168 km², including rain forests, evergreen forests, and grasslands. Plus, features the 1,351 meters tall Khao Rom Mountain. The parks is also part of a World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO, covering 5 protected areas from Khao Yai to Cambodian border.
Wildlife can be encountered throughout your visit. So be aware when you encounter northern pig-tailed macaques, barking deer, sambar deer, gibbons, porcupines, and civets. And always be alert, you never know when you stumble upon sun bears, Asian black bears, gaurs, otters, dholes and jackals.
World’s best resort beaches, elephant encounters and more
Phuket is considered the gateway to Thailand’s southern beaches – considered the most beautiful in the world. Excellent for foodies and offbeat adventure, the thin stretch of land connects mainland Thailand to neighboring Malyasia.
Literally hundreds of miles of beaches welcome you to Phuket, as do small towns full of local flavor and spirits. I feel you’ll find the most amazing and affordable resorts in Phuket, all tucked along cliff-side beaches on its western shores – hugging the Andean Sea and its marvelous sunsets.
If you crave diving and snorkeling, Phuket should be on your short list. If you love elephants, it is also the best place to encounter them up close. So take this rare chance to get hugged by an elephant – check it out at the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary. That helped seal the deal for Phuket as one of my amazing places to visit in Thailand.
In my next blog, we’ll investigate the most aroi (delicious) food on the planet – Bangkok.
READ Part 1: “Must knows” before you go to thailand