Today I leave after Traveling Thailand for 2 months. It’s the longest I’ve stayed in one country besides the USA and Australia and still I’m sad to leave. The charm of this lovely country and its hospitable people makes you feel at home. I started in the very south and travelled from Krabi and Phuket all the way to Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai in the north. The people I met along the way made my trip extra special. Thai people are some of the most kind and welcoming people I’ve ever met and they are an example for the rest of the world to see. It’s one of the most visited countries in the world and yet they welcome tourists and travellers with open arms. A far cry from some countries where you feel like a rude intruder.
For me the main highlight of Traveling Thailand is the people I have met. Somehow I ended up meeting almost all Thai people rather than other travellers during my stay. I struggled during My Week In Laos because there were only foreign backpackers in the hostels and I was shocked at how hard it was to relate to other European/white people. I suddenly had no interest in talking to these people even though I usually love to hang out with other backpackers.
My Blog Post: Selfies With Locals In Asia, has more photos of people I met in Thailand and other countries in South East Asia.
See my Post: Selfies With Locals In Asia for more.
Bangkok has 22,000 people on Couchsurfing and if you ever visit this fascinating city I recommend using couchsurfing to make friends. There is a weekly meeting on Wednesday and other events on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
A few days before I got to Bangkok I sent out about 10 couch requests and was surprised to only get 2 very short replies. I sent another 15 message/requests and this time got about 10 good replies. Much better! I didn’t have enough time in Bangkok to meet everyone!
I hadn’t actually Couchsurfed with anyone for a couple of years. The first place I stayed was with Tarn, her friend and a guy from Croatia, about 2 hours from the centre of Bangkok. They were so lovely and insisted on paying for dinner and most of lunch the next day. She had a car and showed me and the Croatian guy around some parts of the city including a really cool market on the side of Tha Chin River. I was sad to leave them when they dropped me at the metro station in central city.
I also found to meet people in Phuket and Chiang Mai and Udon Thani in the North East.
In some large cities, like New York and London, you really need to send couchsurfing requests a month or more in advance as local hosts may get 50 requests a day! In Bangkok hosts only get about one request a day, so it is quite easy to find one if you send a good request.
Read my post: How To Couchsurf to learn how to use this amazing travelling tool.
Thai culture is very kind and giving. It is based mostly around Buddhism but in some parts there are Muslims and a few Christians as well. I was amazed at how friendly people are here. If you smile and bow a little they will always smile and bow back. Even someone who isn’t friendly will always return the compliment and end on good terms.
After travelling for 5 years, I’ve got a bit jaded in some ways from different people trying to rip me off or just trying to get money out of me. The Thai culture has really helped me to realise this and adapt to being much more polite again.
Thai food is so good! I would get a Pad Thai and fruit shake almost every day. Pad Thai (fried rice noodles) costs between 40-60 baht, less than $2, and has lots of vegetable, noodles and spices served with chopped peanuts and fresh sprouts. It tastes so good that if you use a fork you will eat it too fast! Use chopsticks and it will last longer.
My other favourite is fruit shakes that you can find for 25-40 baht. Again, $1-$2 for a delicious fresh fruit shake. They have all different types of fruit including some you won’t have seen before.
My Favourite Shake: Banana and Passion Fruit.
Second Favourite: Mango and Passion.
We all know about Thailand’s strange-looking mountains, secluded islands and lovely beaches. Before Traveling Thailand I had never seen mountains like this. I believe they are limestone and there are lots of cool caves, sometimes with temples inside.
The islands are a bit more expensive but are well worth it. If you’re into partying on the beach then you would have heard of Koh Panang for the famous full moon party. I didn’t actually make it to the full moon party but I had a lot of fun at Koh Phi Phi Island near to Phuket. There are 2 clubs right on the beach. You can dance on the beach or just sit and drink a quiet beer while watching the antics of people mixing too much alcohol with things like swimming, fire dancing, limbo and tight rope walking.
See My Post From Chiang Rai for More Pictures of the Landscape.
Thailand is a very cheap country to travel, especially in wet season, June-Oct. I never spent more than 100 Baht ($3.20) on a meal, and that would include a main dish and fruit shake. The south is about 30% more expensive than the north.
For accommodation the most I paid was 250 Baht ($7USD) per night on some of the islands for a dorm room. The cheapest was 130 Baht ($4) for a twin private room.
Transport is probably the biggest cost. A 13 hour sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai cost me 600 Baht ($17). Returning from Udon Thani to Bangkok, I decided to experience 3rd class which only cost 200 Baht ($5) for an 11 hour overnight ride but was not very nice! I had a straight-backed seat that was hard and didn’t recline to sleep in. It was one of the most uncomfortable 11 hours I’ve ever had! But I see every experience as a good experience and I’m glad I did it. I feel bad lying in a comfortable sleeper bed when there people who can only afford to sit on a hard seat all night. As I don’t see why I’m so special. I would rather be with them in 3rd class.
Alcohol is expensive if you drink in bars. With my mate Giogio, we’d buy a bottle of MornKorn Tong Thai whisky in 7/11 for 200 Baht ($5.50) which was enough for both us to have a crazy night out.
I loved the variety of things to do Traveling Thailand. From exploring the island beaches on Koh Phi Phi, The Big Buddha in Chiang Rai, to the insane red light streets of Bangala Road in Phuket and Walking Street in Pattaya. And don’t forget Khaosan Road in the centre of Bangkok for partying.
My advice is to give yourself as much time as possible in Thailand.
I travel on an open schedule and found myself spending about a week in each place. That’s long enough to make friends and explore properly.