For me, although visiting exotic countries is always an exciting pleasure, the most important thing that you’ll pack when getting back home are not the amazing pictures or the souvenirs you get at local markets. I think it’s what that place itself made you feel. That’s why I wanted you to have a really practical Thailand guide (not just the capital Bangkok), so you can get the full spirit of this wonderful country just by visiting certain spots.
Here you have it (in no specific order), the Thailand tour guide I’d like to have if I was heading to this beautiful land, according to the three most important points of travelling for me:
- blending peacefully with nature.
- soaking in the spiritual culture of the country.
- and of course, having fun.
1. KS Elephant Sanctuary
Source: Book of Thailand Now
Keeping up with animal lover options, here’s THE ONE you can’t miss if your thing is protecting them. When I discovered this place talking to a friend who visited it, I couldn't stop thinking why in the world doesn’t every country have something like this! It’s a non-profit foundation that gives harmed or mistreated elephants a place to live, they take care of them and make sure they live in a natural environment.
You can visit the sanctuary, volunteer or do both of them. A really nice option to be in touch with nature, learning how they truly provide elephants with love and a lovely shelter.
2. Doi Inthanon National Park
Source: Touch Chiang Mai
Here’s where you can visit the highest spot in the country, the Inthanon Mountain, with 2565 metres exactly. You can easily get here by car and, besides the exceptional green lands you get to overview here, there is a couple of things you can’t miss. One of them is the Mae Klang Waterfall, where visitors actually swim (especially local people).
And the other one is the Gew Mae Pan trekking, an excursion that will make you unplug from any stress or worries you can have. In Thailand, as you can see, it’s all about embracing what nature has to offer you. The respect that local people have for their environment is something a lot of countries should mimic.
3. Sunday Walking Street Market
Source: Akitai World
Visiting some typical markets is a stop you can’t miss if you’re heading to an asian country. This specific one is located in Thanon Ratchadomnoen Street (Chiang Mai) and it’s one of the most famous in Thailand.
Hippie clothes, local artisans and food and all kinds of decorative pieces are found in this attractive and colourful market that, by the way, is enlightened with hundreds of little lights if you go at night. It’s an exotic dream come true!
4. Camping overnight at Doi Luang National Park
Source: Asian Itinerary
If you’re into spending one of your Thai nights surrounded by forest and varied wildlife in a virgin jungle, look no further. You can totally camp and trek in Doi Luang, where you’ll find amazing green landscapes, crystal clear waterfalls and several kinds of birds that cover an area of 1170 square kilometres. Pretty impressive, right? There’s no other place in which you’ll be able to blend more with nature than this one.
5. Koh Tao beach
Source: Dive Compare
Speaking for myself, instead of trekking, I’d rather spend my day sunbathing in stunning beaches, such as Koh Tao. If you’re an adventure animal, it’s the ideal place to do some snorkel or diving while seeing beautiful creatures.
You can make your trip more sustainable by getting involved in some programmes like the “Sea Turtle Headstarting” - they work to guarantee marine turtles a healthy growth- or the Impian Divers Center, that develops cleanings of the reefs around the area. This way, you’re not only protecting nature, but you’re also learning how they integrate the environment in their everyday life.
6. Koh Kret island
Source: Loads of Roads
it’s located at north Bangkok and for what I’ve seen, I can say that this is one of the places that will really transmit you the actual spirit of Thailand. It’s not really what tourists are used to visit, but I’m certain that you also think visiting out-of-the-beaten-path spots is one of the best things of travelling.
In this case, Koh Kret is still the shelter of Mon tribes and keep this humble feeling that many asian countries have nowadays. Little temples, local artisans, delicious sweets a lot of of green landscapes can be seen in this wonderful island that will for sure capture your heart.
7. Doi Suthep Temple
Source: Charming Place Hotel
It’s almost mandatory for you to visit a temple in Thailand. It has the name of the mountain where it’s located and is a sacred place to many Thai people. The views you see here are really spectacular: all Chiang Mai can be spotted from the temple and very long (to be exact 309 steps) and colorful stairs, paired with bright golden structures and statues will make your asian dream come true.
Once inside, you must remove your shoes, have to be dressed properly and the draws you will be seeing reflect much aspects of Hinduism and Buddhism.
At this point, I think you could totally describe Thailand in three words. Mine would be: spirituality, nature and simplicity. A great recommendation if you’re about to commit to a trip that’s out-of-beaten-path, I’d say Thailand is the place to find your deepest “you” wherever you head to inside the country.