Guide to Planning Your Thailand Trip

Now that my last post got you all hyped up to go to Thailand  ;-), let’s talk trip planning. This post won’t be quite as exciting but will give some practical information to anyone planning this trip. First, here are some general cultural tips you should know about Thailand:

  • In the Thai culture, it is offensive to point your feet directly at someone. As a foreigner, Thai people probably won’t have a big issue if they see you doing that, but it’s still good to keep it in mind.
  • It is illegal in Thailand to discuss the monarchy in public. It doesn’t matter if you are saying the nicest things in the world; it’s forbidden to talk about the king and his family unless you are in private. But, just as with the toe pointing, if a Thai person hears you doing this, they will probably let you off the hook since you are a foreigner. A Thai person, however, would actually be arrested for this.
  • You must dress modestly to enter the temples. For this one, it doesn’t matter that you’re a tourist; you must cover your shoulders and legs with appropriate clothing when visiting a temple (a “wat”). Some temples will not allow you to enter if you are not dressed properly. It’s super offensive to be dressed scantily in a sacred place of worship. I know it’s hot but please respect their beliefs and culture by covering as much of your body as possible when going to temples.

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The outfit I wore while visiting temples – shoulders and legs fully covered

Bangkok Must Do/Must See:

  • Wat Pho (the reclining Bhudda!)
  • Wat Phra Kaew
  • Khao San Road
  • The Grand Palace
  • Boat ride on the Chao Phraya River
  • Chatujek market (so much cheap shopping – negotiate prices!)

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Fai and me at the reclining Bhudda at Wat Pho!

Chiang Mai Must Do/Must See:

  • Jungle trekking (waterfall swimming, bamboo rafting, hiking, and the opportunity to engage with natives!)
  • Bungee jumping (I did it at X Centre Chiang Mai!)
  • Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
  • The Grand Canyon (cliff jumping and swimming!)
  • Chat with a monk (program that enables you to talk with a monk for a couple of hours and learn about his lifestyle!)
  • Elephant sanctuary (Please don’t go somewhere where you ride elephants; they are often abused and drugged at those places. At the sanctuaries, they are being well-cared for and you can play with them, bathe them, etc.)
  • Tiger sanctuary (I didn’t have time to do this but saw a lot of advertisements for it and it looked cool!)

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Elephant selfie!

Phuket Must Do/Must See:

  • Fish pedicure
  • Massages (traditional Thai, hot oil, and more!)
  • Bangla Road
  • Ping pong show
  • Patong Beach
  • Street markets
  • Day trip to Coral Island (scuba diving, parasailing, snorkeling, swimming, and more! I went with Phuket Tours Direct!)

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Diana and me getting fish pedicures – such a weird feeling!

Koh Phi Phi Island Must Do/Must See:

  • Boat party (Maya Bay and Monkey Beach, drinking, dancing, and more! I went with a company called Blanco, but there are lots of them!)
  • If you don’t go on a boat party, be sure to visit Maya Bay and Monkey Beach another way
  • Kayaking
  • Koh Phi Phi Viewpoint
  • Beach clubs
  • Scuba diving
  • Beach lounging

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Some cheeky monkeys at Monkey Beach!

I do not recommend taking the overnight train to Chiang Mai from Bangkok, like my friend and I did. It was full of cockroaches, bumpy roads, and crowded beds. It’s worth it to just pay for a flight. But beware, with budget airlines, they will often charge you quite a bit extra for your checked baggage, so be sure to check that it’s still worth the lower price once you’ve factored in the baggage cost.

Cheap airlines for flights within Thailand:

  • Thai Airways
  • Nok Air
  • AirAsia (budget airline all over Asia)

Hostels where I stayed and highly recommend in Thailand:

  • Bodega Phuket in Phuket
  • Bed Station Hostel in Bangkok
  • Thai Thai Hostel in Chiang Mai
  • Hangover Hostel at Koh Phi Phi Island

Thailand is one of the best countries I have been to so far. As I’ve said before, I highly recommend making a trip over there. Save for months, get a second job, work odd hours, do what you have to do to make it happen – it will be SO worth it, I promise!

If you have any questions, feedback, or recommendations from your own travels to Thailand, please leave a comment! 🙂

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