Here are 7 must-visit places in Thailand. This country is one of those that made us dream and has has always fascinated us with the diversity of its natural attractions and its cultural heritage. From lush forests to heavenly beaches and temples combining tradition and modernity, this country offers almost everything you could wish for. Combine this with its strong economic growth and its reputation as a popular tourist destination, and it didn’t take us long to convince ourselves to visit Thailand longer than any other destination. Therefore, we sat there for almost 4 weeks.
The Must-Visit Places in Thailand
For nothing in the world, would we have wanted to miss the lantern festival (Yee Peng) which takes place every year during the full moon of the 2nd lunar month of the Lanna calendar (Northern Thai), from November 21 to 23 this year. On this occasion, the whole city was decorated with lights and lanterns in multiple colours and dozens of events were organised all around the city. In the evening, hundreds of thousands of lanterns are raised in the sky, in a warm and friendly atmosphere.
Apart from the lantern festival, Chiang Mai obviously has a lot of charm. It is a peaceful city that seduces by its culture, its traditions, and especially by its temples!
The White Temple, or Wat Rong Khun, is a contemporary temple dating back only 20 years, combining tradition and kitsch. It has become an emblem of Thailand. I expected to be amazed because it was the purpose of our visit to Chiang Rai, but I was a little disappointed. Of course, it is beautiful from a distance, but if you look closely, you can see that it is entirely made of concrete and plaster, with a lot of coarsely applied white paint. This “work” is probably condemned to a high maintenance cost over the years, especially since the complex in which it is intended to be located will not be completed until another 50 years! It’s a Disneyland in preparation.
The blue temple, or Wat Rong Suea Ten, is an incredible temple which, as its name suggests, is blue! When we arrived on the site, we were very pleasantly surprised by the massive blue statues that guard the entrance.
The Baandam Museum is a mysterious site made up of black houses made entirely of wood. It is a magnificent work that juxtaposes art and aesthetics, with its multitude of sculptures and its collection of animal bones, skins and horns.
The icing on the cake is Wat Huay Pla Kung. On the same location, you can admire a very pretty 9-storey pagoda, a very beautiful white temple, as well as a mega huge statue depicting Guanyin, the Buddhist/Taoist goddess.
Bangkok has a population of more than 8 million. And like every big city, Thailand’s capital comes with its share of inconveniences. But as always, we prefer to focus on the positive.
Among the most beautiful attractions of the capital is Wat Phra Kaew. More commonly known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. It is part of a large complex, constituting one of Thailand’s most important sacred places.
A boat ride on Chao Phraya, the river that flows across Bangkok, is an imperative. On the shore is another icon of Bangkok, Wat Arun.
In the Wat Traimit Temple sits… an 18-carat gold Buddha of 5.5 tons, probably from the 14th century.
The Chatuchak Weekend Market is not only Thailand’s largest market, but also the world’s largest weekend market! You can find everything you need! We could get lost in it for hours. We chose to spend a few hours watching the animals for sale. Among the most unusual are marmosets, raccoons, flying phalangers, marmots, owls, as well as an incredible collection of fish and birds.
Le Wat Don Mueang est aussi très joli. Il se trouve juste en face de l’aéroport du même nom.
Phuket is the largest island in Thailand. It is popular for its beaches, its aquatic activities and its nightlife. On the agenda: beach, restaurant, beach, restaurant, beach, restaurant, restaurant. A major disappointment: wastewater is dumped directly into the sea, so although the beaches are beautiful, the water is contaminated in most places. Nai Harn Beach, the only recommended beach for water quality, did not allow you to swim for long because of the itching that occurs after 5 minutes in the water.
The landscape of Phang Nga Bay is breathtaking and looks like Halong Bay on the Vietnamese side! The view from Samet Nang She Viewpoint overlooking the bay is breathtaking. A boat trip in mild weather provides a closer look at the limestone rock formations. As a highlight, we set foot on Khao Phing Kan, more commonly known as “James Bond Island” because it hosted the making of two James Bond films. Also, in the Phang Nga area stands Wat Tham Suwan Khuha, and its famous Buddha lying in a cellar, whose entrance is guarded by a horde of monkeys posing for you in exchange for food.
Koh Lanta is a beautiful and quiet island south of Krabi, accessible by ferry. The large beach of Phra Ae is the main attraction of the island.
Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Siam is known for its temples. It is located in a historic park classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ayutthaya is easily accessible from Bangkok as part of a daytrip.
For a better preparation
Our visit to Thailand was made in two stages: a first 25-day period covering the months of November and December, then a second 2-day period in January.
We stayed 6 days in Chiang Mai, then we headed to Chiang Rai for 2 nights. Bangkok then awaited us for 5 days, before a long period of 10 days of “holidays” in Phuket, in the south of the country. When we returned from Cambodia in January, we were able to visit Ayutthaya, the former capital of the Kingdom of Siam.
As Bangkok is an airline hub for Air Asia, we have arranged from there to take low-cost flights to Burma, Cambodia and Vietnam. Apart from the Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai route which we did by bus, we took domestic flights for the Bangkok-Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai-Bangkok and Bangkok-Phuket and Phuket-Bangkok routes. We preferred this mode of travel to the bus to avoid fatigue. And that’ s all the more reason when you know that several Thai airport lounges offer free massages!
In Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Bangkok, we travelled by taxi for a little cost thanks to the mobile application Grab. The travelling distances being longer within Phuket, we decided to rent a car, which allowed us to explore a large part of the south of the country, and to drive as far as Koh Lanta.
We chose Thailand to slow down and relax a little, which resulted in a relatively sedentary life and a return to a short routine. We would get up very late and do only a couple of small daily activities. We relaxed a lot and enjoyed our family life while eating in good Thai restaurants, going to markets in search of beautiful and tasty Asian fruits, and visiting beautiful temples. This new way of travelling made us realize that “slow travel” was not for us because in the end, we had the impression that time was moving much more quickly than usual.
We nevertheless took the opportunity to meet other families around the world who had also chosen to visit Thailand during this time of year. We crossed the path of no less than 15 families during our entire stay. It is a real pleasure to meet people who are taking the same approach as us during this transitional year. What a pleasant and enriching experience, the opportunity to share and exchange with people who resemble us! And what a nice surprise for the children to finally be able to have fun with other children who speak their language!
Thai cuisine is relatively varied and cheap, if not refined. We had greats meals nonetheless!
Our expenses in Thailand were not extravagant. The cost of our stay for our family of 4 is:
- 90,309.00 THB (2,498.84 USD)
- 3,345.00 THB (92.56 USD) per day;
- 836.00 THB (23.13 USD) per person and per day.
|Expense Category||Amount Spent|
|Flight||19,677.00 THB / 544.46 USD|
|Accomodation||27,368.00 THB / 757.27 USD|
|Transport (including gas)||16,684.00 THB / 461.65 USD|
|Eating out||15,880.00 THB / 439.40 USD|
|Groceries||5,370.00 THB / 148.59 USD|
|Activities||5,330.00 THB / 147.48 USD|
|Total||90,309.00 THB / 2,498.84 USD|
In a nutshell
|Dates||2018-11-19 to 2018-12-14; 2019-01-05 to 2019-01-07|
|Number of days||27|
|Cities we visited||Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Bangkok, Phuket, Phang Nga, Koh Lanta, Ayutthaya|
|Inbound||From India by plane|
|Outbound||To Myanmar by plane|
|Mode of transport||Rental car, bus, taxi|
|Distance travelled (car, bike & foot)||1673 km|
|Number of photos taken||7050 (261 per day)|
|Currency||The Thai Baht (1.00 USD = 36.14 THB)|
Beautiful, good and cheap are words that characterize Thailand. However, a small Wow factor was missing to be able to say that this country stands out. Everything was too relaxed for our taste. Was our perception distorted because we had landed in this “paradise” after visiting India? Maybe, but no matter what, we still enjoyed staying there a lot. We meet in Myanmar!
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