What Inspired Me To Travel To Thailand
Once, I came across a photo of a colorful wood boat floating on a emerald and crystal water with the most strange rocks behind, which looks like the Aleluia Mountains of Pandora in Avatar, fascinated by this place I immediately clicked on the photo finding out it was Phuket, Thailand, and that’s where my desire to visit Thailand came from.
So it started the planning part of my trip, which in my case always starts by reading blogs and watching travel videos, yep I’m not a big fan of travel guides, I prefer referencing personal experiences which better helps me find out what, from a travel, I absolutely should not miss.
How We Planned For My Trip To Thailand
Since this was my first trip this far, I started looking for flights in February, a few days after me and my boyfriend decided to visit Thailand in June, right before the monsoon season begins, mostly just to have an idea of the flights price and how they change during the week and the month.
In March we finally found a good deal matching our budget, we paid about 600 € with Emirates for the main flights Milan-Dubai (6h) and Dubai-Bangkok (6h).
The websites I use for my travels are Skyscanner for flights and Booking for hotels, apartments and so on.
Skyscanner is very useful to compare the different deals available for the selected itinerary while what I like about Booking is the possibility to cancel for free the location if you find a best deal or change itinerary, I know that there are other websites offering the same possibilities but I’ve always had a good experience with them also when I’ve encountered some troubles, so why change it?
We didn't pack anything specific for this trip, we just wanted a first taste of Thailand so just a comfy backpack and a comfortable pair of shoes for all the kilometers we planned to walk.
Our journey could only start from the beating heart of Thailand, the vibrant and chaotic Bangkok, then we moved north to Chiang Mai, less chaotic and greener, in search of great adventures right before enjoying some relaxation in one of the many paradisiacal islands, Koh Samui.
Unfortunately I had to abandon my dream to see Phuket, the origin of my interest for Thailand, because during summer monsoons hit that part of the coast abundantly and I had no intention of ruining this dreamy place, so Phuket it’s still in my wish list.
Going back to Bangkok, we spent two days, really few to appreciate its fascinating madness made of flashy taxis whizzing along wide avenues with motorbikes, tuk tuks, street food stalls that fill the air with smoke and smells, cooking non-stop and of golden chedi emerging from the narrow streets of a modern city which, like all of Asia, maintains and preserves its oldest side.
Bangkok is super served so you won’t need to rent a car, there are means for all budgets and tastes, from the more expensive taxis to the metro, to the cheapest Chao Phraya Express Boat, the boats that cross the Chao Phraya river which allow you to visit the main attractions of the city quickly and from a different and special point of view, in close contact with the locals, always ready to give you a smile and help.
In just two days we had no time to lose so we put our comfortable shoes on and started our tour to see at least the main attractions:
The Royal Palace, official residence of the kings of Thailand since 1785, a complex of historic and religious buildings embroidered with gold and colored glass inside which stands the Wat Phra Kaew or "Temple of the Emerald Buddha" the holiest Buddhist temple in Thailand.
The What Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha) just 10 minutes away from the Royal Palace, famous for the huge Buddha statue covered in gold and mother-of-pearl decorations and for being the home of one of the oldest schools of medicine and massage, perfect place if you want to try the real Thai massage and find some relief from the fatigue from your flights.
Last but not least, my favorite, the Wat Arun even if it is called "Temple of Dawn" we assure you that even during sunset the atmosphere is magical with the sound of the pendants attached to the buildings moved by the wind and the pink-orange color that makes the gold of the Grand Palace chedis shine even more.
From Bangkok we visited Ayutthaya, the ancient and religious capital of Thailand, reachable in just one hour by train, famous for the head of the Buddha set among the roots of a bodhi tree (sacred fig), an ideal escape to get a rest from the smog and chaos of the capital, you can choose to visit the temple area by foot or better by bike, which you can rent once you arrive there.
Time to leave Bangkok, we hopped on a night train, destination: Chiang Mai.
Here apart from visiting the city and it’s market, we threw ourselves from one tree to another in the jungle attached only to a rope in one of the many adventure parks, we spent a wonderful and exciting day with elephants and lastly we learned how to cook Thai food with Asia Scenic, one of the many cooking schools but we also enjoyed some famous Thai massage in a beautiful Spa.
After all these adventures we really needed some Vitamin Sea, so after another night train to Bangkok and one hour with an internal flight we found ourselves with our feet soaking in the warm waters of Koh Samui, but just a few days and our adventurous soul called, so we visited one of the most particular temples seen during the trip, the Wat Plai Laem, where traditional Chinese and Thai elements blend and then by boat we reached the Ang Thong Natural Marine Park where we walked up to the viewpoint of the biggest island to see the 42 islands of the park and had so much fun riding a canoe around one of them.
With an internal flight we came back from Bangkok and so our first trip to Thailand ended, leaving us with a great desire to return.
Our trip was in total 14 days (travels included), of course there were many things we missed, also because we didn’t want to fill all the days with tons of places to visit, we like to take our time and enjoy each single day not coming back to the hotel dead tired.
So considering all the beautiful experiences made I can say that this could be a correct amount of time.
We Met So Many Travelers And Locals In Thailand
We are always open to meet people during our trip and we met other travelers during our many experience in Chiang Mai, among them we met an Italian guy now living in America with his girlfriend with whom we talked a bit about our beautiful country and a German girl travelling by herself who told us about her plan to visit the south-east of Asia for all her summer from Thailand to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
We also met locals during our stay in Chiang Mai since we chose to stay in a Family House to get more in contact with people living there, we asked them about their life and traditions and we shared information about our country that they dream to visit but for most of them is really expensive.
I think meeting other travelers and locals is the perfect way to enrich a trip.
Food That You Can't Miss Out On
Well of course you can’t come back from Thailand if you haven’t tasted the national dish, Pad Thai, and something really particular which I was so curious to try is the Mango with sticky rice which it might look like an appetizer or a first course while instead it’s a greedy sweet.
But really thai food is great, you have to try everything.
Favorite Memory From The Trip
We had a lot, but If I have to select one, for sure it was our day with Elephants, they are the most incredible and gentle creatures and even if they are big, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t fragile. They suffer a lot having to carry all of the tourists in crowded cities with cars moving near them. Their lives, which are normally like humans, could be reduced to a few years because of exhaustion and depression.
Thanks to our experience in the rehabilitation park we knew more about them and what we can do to prevent this abuse, first of all, avoiding to pay for experiences which use riding and elephants as a way to entertain tourists.
Spending a day feeding them, having a bath with them and watching them living their lives free in the jungle, this is the kind of experience you should look for if you want to take back a great memory, travelling is not only about exploring new places, we need to respect people, creatures and places that are hosting us.
How We Budgeted For The Trip
Making some approximate calculation we spent 100 € per person per day, which considering that we always ate in restaurants and spent two nights in one of the most beautiful hotels in Bangkok, is really cheap compared to other destinations.
Things that cost a lot are the experiences since they have tourist price of course but some of them are really worth it, so if you want to save money I suggest to try looking for the cheapest accommodations, always move using public transportation, and if you are ok with it, try the famous Thai street food since you can eat a lot and be full by spending a maximum of 5€ per person while at restaurants it is at least 15 € per person.
Hikes And Sights Not To Be Missed In Thailand
The only hike we did was at the Ang Thong Naturale Marine park in Koh Samui, if you decide to go to this island this hike can’t be missed for sure, the view from the top is something really amazing.
Our Suggestions For Anyone Traveling To Thailand For The First Time
Thailand is a beautiful country full of people, always ready to gift you some of the most pure and gentle smiles. If you are visiting it for the first time I suggest this itinerary to see all it’s different faces and understand what you like the most so that you can plan your next visit here more accurately, if you have less time of course you have to choose based on what you need from the trip, but if you have more time, well, you’re really lucky to be able to enjoy Thailand in all of its beauty.