As part of my travels earlier this year, I spent some time in Thailand and thought I’d share my top seven things I did there. Thailand is a huge country with areas that range vastly in climate as well as having hugely busy cities and towns aswell as beautiful scenic villages.
I only explored the North of Thailand and went to Chaing Mai, Chiang Dai and Pai before heading to Bangkok for a week. I fell in love with Bangkok, which is where I know a lot of people prefer quieter places, but being from the south of England, I love a big city.
In no particular order, here are my top seven highlights whilst in the North of Thailand.
This amazing place is absolutely breathtaking. I would really recommend reading up on this history before visiting, as although you can get a guided tour, which I really recommend, it’s easy to miss parts. There’s so much to learn and gives you a real insight into the history and culture of Thailand. It’s a UNESCO world heritage site and there are so many monuments, I knew some people who hired bikes and cycled their way around. At my hostel in Bangkok they ran a day trip up there so I went with a small tour group which I really enjoyed. I went on a really hot day and because it’s all outside it did start to feel a bit much towards the end of the day.
From Bangkok it took about an hour in the car so it wasn’t too far and even though it was an early start, I think a day out there was enough for me. Do remember to be respectful and wear long trousers and keep shoulders covered. A lot of people had shawls who were turned away because they expect you to be fully covered. I would also recommend taking water with you because the can rack the prices up once you’re there as there aren’t many places to stop.
As mentioned in my perfect week in Chiang Mai post, I went to these waterfalls that you can actually climb up. The waterfall is around an hour away from Chiang Mai and would make a really nice day trip if you took food with you for the day. The falls have a little pool at the bottom with a tree vine which is perfect for swinging across. Start early in the day to make sure you can climb the falls before they get too busy!
This cafe was Instagram goals. It was actually a Instagram search that led me to this place and whilst in Bangkok I had a morning to myself and set off in search of it. From the moment you walk in, you feel like you are in some sort of dreamworld. There are two locations just round the corner from each other so you should be able to get a table without booking like I did. They have a full food menu with everything from unicorn cheeseburgers to unicorn pasta but when I went I got a hot chocolate and a brownie and they were so cute. You can also rent onesies and sit in unicorn outfits whilst eating.
On another day out where we rented a car we made a trip to these botanical gardens. There was so much here that was really interesting so would recommend going for a morning or afternoon but my favourite part was the canopy walk there. It’s really fun walking amongst the tops of the trees and you end up with some really pretty views. It wasn’t too expensive either and didn’t feel like it was full of tourists. There’s a little museum as well as the gardens and nice water fountains as well as different parts to explore.
Again, this is another one that I mentioned in my post about my week in Chiang Mai but it was such an incredible experience that overall it was one of my best days in Thailand. Like I said before, you have to do a lot of research into which elephant sanctuary you are visiting as some are still exploiting the elephants to gain money from tourism. Others are actually rescuing elephants from places where people ride them and helping them live a peaceful life. It’s a huge debate online about how helpful sanctuaries are but when I think that I’m putting money towards people who are rescuing elephants from having to perform, I’m ok with it. Having never seen an elephant up close before, it was scary but I would visit again if I was in Northern Thailand.
As part of my time in Thailand I went on a long weekend to a place called Pai. It’s known for being the perfect place to relax and there seems to be an abundance of “recreational” activities. When I was there I stayed at a place called Pai in the sky but a lot of young people seemed to gravitate towards a hostel called Circus hostel. I went there one evening in Pai just to experience the incredible sunset and swim in their pool. It seemed like a really chilled out Hostel but I liked the location of mine a lot more. I was close to the centre of Pai and it was really nice to stay there just for two nights. I’m going to be writing a guide to Pai in the next week so you can read about what I got up there and what I would recommend.
The market to end all markets. This place had so many stalls it was non-stop. It was crazy busy and everything was so bright and loud and smelt so strongly. It was a fully immersive experience that I completely loved but, I would not be able to spend more than 2-3 hours there without needing a lie down after to recover. I loved that it was divided into crazy sections between food stalls, flower markets, clothes stands and everything you could ever want from a market. I bought a recycled bag which I love and also got some really cheap light clothes perfect for the Thai weather.
If you’re in the North of Thailand and are looking for some fun things to do in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Doi or Pai, maybe have a look at some of these options.
I post once a week covering topics such as solo travel, working and living abroad and also creating Gabriella’s Guides to places I have been. I cover topics under the following categories such as Planning and Packing, The Travel Diary, Travel Inspiration, Photo Diaries, Gabriella’s Guides and Working Abroad.