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


Chiang Mai

Mae Wang

Chiang Dao


Chang Rai



Koh Samui

Koh Phangan

Railay, Krabi


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.










Bangkok: Wat Pho, Grand Palace, Wat Arun

Not a city girl so only 1 day in Bangkok before I take off for the mountains of Chang Mai. My day’s agenda in Bangkok is Wat Pho, The Grand Palace and Wat Arun. After a not so refreshing 5 hours of sleep and a buffet breakfast at my hotel, I hit pavement for the 5k stroll to Wat Pho.

While walking provides great perspective of the area, I quickly learned that it does not provide the best experience here.


It’s SWELTERING here! 96 degrees plus “big league” humidity. (The pool at my hotel is bath temperature.)

The sidewalks are crowded minefields of obstacles, uneven pavement and unpredictable curb heights. Must be very alert, which is tough when you’re sleep deprived. The air quality is poor  – heavy with vehicle exhaust, industrial and cooking fumes.

It was fascinating to be up with the locals, getting a glimpse into their morning routines as they opened up their storefronts, walked to school in their blue skirts and pigtails, or to their jobs in various work attire. (Strange, just realized schoolgirls present, but no school boys.) There are thin feral cats running amok, experts at dodging the traffic and darting here and there.

A typical storefront and living quarters as well…

Wat Pho is one of the oldest, largest temples in Bangkok and also one of the most significant temples. Best known for its 51 yard long Reclining Buddha which is composed of a brick core, plaster covering and gold leaf finish. The buildings are spectacular as well with their ornate, detail of typical Thai temple architecture.


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Having read all about the various tourist scams in Thailand, I wasn’t entirely surprised when a helpful, friendly Thai man struck up a convo and told my travel buddy and I that the palace wouldn’t be open until 1:30 PM due to Songkran, the New Year Holiday underway and a special Buddhist ceremony. It seemed plausible though. It was a holiday. He took out a map and described other attractions where his friend could take us instead. (Typical scenario where a tourist gets hijacked and financially extorted for the day.) There were many religious groups dressed in black around, which supported his story and he had no trouble looking us in the eyes as he pitched us. The palace compound is surrounded by a high wall  so it’s difficult to ascertain what is going on unless you walk around the perimeter, which we did. Guess what? It was open. So we dodged our first scam bullet.  The Grand Palace was a bit of a mob scene. Too hot and crowded for this semi-agoraphobic so I made a quick escape and headed for Wat Arun instead.


Next we picked up a Chao Phraya Tourist Boat Day Pass and headed to Wat Arun. As reported by others, the Tourist Boat is a great way to see the area. It’s only about $5 and you can hop on and hop off as many as 13 stops in different districts. Plus you get a little breeze on the boat. Tip: The boat runs every half hour, but you must stand on the dock and wave it in if it is not dropping passengers. Lesson learned. (They don’t mention it when you buy your ticket.

The iconic Khmer style tower of Wat Arun (temple of dawn)was under construction, but it was still worth a stop as you can see. The 76 meters high tower is decorated by thousands of tiny seashells and porcelain, I’ve added some pics from the boat ride and various other stops, including the a flower market. i don’t think it’s the famous one (Pak Klong Tald), but it was spectacular in it’s own right.


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After 6 hours of walking around on 5 hours a sleep, I saluted the day with an early margie. Returned to the hotel, solved some tech issues with the blog and got a quick gym workout in. (Bike & some weight.) With plans to bike and trek in Chang Mai, I need to make sure I can workout in these conditions. The gym was minimally air conditioned at best so it simulated real conditions…