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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Post 5: Chiang Dao’s ancient ruins and temples

The Chiang Dao Cave adventure is not to be missed, but its spectacular setting is worth a thorough exploration as well…

Doi Chiang Dao, the mountain that you see rising out of the mist in a couple of the pictures below is Thailand’s 2nd highest at 7,135 feet. (No, I didn’t get to climb it on this trip, perhaps next…)

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The story of  dragons and temples: Myth has it that a dragon approached a monk and about his desire to worship with him in the temple. The monk told him that dragons weren’t allowed inside the temple, but they are welcome to guard the temples. Throughout Thailand you’ll see dragons guarding temples.

 

Chiang Dao Cave Adventure

This amazing cave excursion was included as part of our 3 day cycle adventure from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai with ActiveThailand. (We lucked out on another “private” tour as there were no other takers in this hottest, off season month. It was AWESOME, highly recommend – more later.)

The story behind this massive limestone cave (penetrating 8 miles into the Doi Chiang Dao mountain) is that a Buddhist monk discovered it 1,000 years ago and decided that it was the perfect place for meditation…Since then, people have been coming to honor the monk and the hermit that lived and died in the cave.

Cave warning signs
Even the disclaimers are so polite here: Dear all tourists….

I felt like I was in Raiders of the Lost Ark in the vast subterranean network of dripping stalacites and other stalagmite formations. I’ve never seen anything like this. If my voice sounds a bit tense, it’s because I’m a bit claustrophobic and not so fond of bats, especially when they are in large quantities…

 

 

 

Everyday has been an amazing adventure here. Some days so packed with spectacular sights and experiences it’s difficult to capture them all. Focus on the highlights you say – they are all highlights I say!

Postscript: After what happened to the Thai soccer team and their coach in the caves of Northern Thailand, I’m not sure I would opt for another cave adventure if I was there again (at least not in the rainy season)…Would you still go?