My “Best of Thailand” Recap

What an amazing whirlwind month it was! So many incredible sights, sounds, tastes and experiences, definitely one of my top trips. Highly recommend Thailand as a destination. If you’re thinking about it, do it! My blog covers all the places I went and most of my activities – just use the search tool to get the scoop on the areas that interest you or do a browse and select Thailand for an overview of all the posts. There’s plenty more to see and explore there, but this was all I could pack into my trip. Let me know what spot is your favorite so I can check it out next time. If you have any questions, just send me a note.

Where I went

Bangkok

Chiang Mai

Mae Wang

Chiang Dao

Thaton

Chang Rai

Sukhothai

Ayutthaya

Koh Samui

Koh Phangan

Railay, Krabi

Phuket

What I did

These are my top picks from my month-long adventures

Best active tours: ActiveThailand

Best beach with restaurants, live music & mellow nightlife: Chaloklum Bay, Koh Samui

Best beach resort:  White House, Koh Samui

Best experience: Trekking and mountain biking remote areas of northern Thailand and homestaying with the Karen Hill Tribe

Best food: Chiang Dao Restaurant near the cave  – Chicken Tumeric, Chiang Mai & Bangkok Street Food – pork on a stick

Best health & Fitness Resort: Thanyapura Health & Sports Resort See post.

Best nature preserve island: Naugyuan

Best ruins: Sukkhothai

Best scenery: Railay, Krabi

Best town: Thaton

Best view from the room: Cocohut Beach Resort & Spa, Koh Phangan

Best wildlife: Railay, Krabi

 

Here are some scenes from my last night in Thailand, near the Bangkok airport:

 

Tip: The Paragon Inn is a basic, but decent airport hotel. It’s minutes from the airport and walking distance from the mall and street market. Super convenient for getting those last minute gifts and for catching those early AM flights.

 

 

Can’t emphasize enough how easy and inexpensive it is to tour around Thailand and have an exceptional time.  I’ll share more about what makes it so easy in an upcoming blog post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ayutthaya is for the bats

From Sukhothai, Ayutthaya is an 8 hour bus ride. Feels like another déjà vu travel day, except this time I made the trip in the luxury of the VIP bus. (About $12 – AC, roomy seats with legroom, a stewardess and wifi.) Well wifi was the promise – it was spotty at best so I caught up on my photo sorting and editing. I was heading South so a stop in Ayutthaya was on the way.

Also, did I mention that the open air bus terminals are clean and quiet and don’t allow smoking? Very civilized indeed.

About Ayutthaya

The ancient city of Ayutthaya, or Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, is a former capital of Thailand and the ruins there are designated as an UNESCO world heritage historical park. Ayutthaya was founded in 1350 by King U-Thong when the Thais were forced southwards by northern neighbors. Over the next 417 years, 33 Kings of different dynasties ruled the kingdom until it was sacked by the Burmese in 1767.

Note: This is also a good place to rent a bike to tour around the park.

I must say, after the immaculate splendor of Sukhothai Historical Park, Ayutthaya was a big letdown. Felt like  a déjà vu too with similar ruins as Sukhothai, but Ayutthaya Historical Park is in ruin itself. Unkempt grounds with overgrown weeds, graffiti and litter. Perhaps its close proximity to Bangkok has made it suffer or maybe the community has not made preserving it a priority, who knows?

Tip: Sukhothai is my pick if you have to choose between the 2 historical parks. That being said many of the ruins at Sukhothai have signs that they have been reconstructed so it may be that Ayutthaya is more authentic.

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Had a close encounter with some bats in the belfries of one of the temples – hence my post title.