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.










Photo Post 1: Little girl carrying her baby brother, Karen Hill Tribe

This might be my favorite photo of my entire Thailand trip. In one of my trek posts, I mentioned the big hill climb up to the Karen Hill Tribe village.  The morning we departed, this 5-year old girl was walking up the steep, long hill with the umbrella in one hand shielding her 2-week old brother whom she was carrying in her other.

little girl with baby
Big sister

She wasn’t alone. Her mom was by  her side.

Karen hill tribe girl carrying litte bro and Mom

Mae Wang Trek: Karen Hill Tribe Homestay

It’s only appropriate that there be a rather long, steep climb into the village of the Karen Hill Tribe. It is here that we joined in a family’s dinner preparations, enjoyed a sumptuous feast and spent the night in a bamboo hut.

Since 1949, the Karen people have been migrating to Thailand from Myanmar due to conflicts with the Burmese government. Approximately 400,000 Karen have made Northern Thailand their home. Their villages are scattered through the mountain and lowland regions bordering Myanmar. You’ll notice some of the women in the pictures wearing their traditional colorful, embroidered smocks and skirts. This is what married women wear; single girls wear white frocks. We did not see any as the younger generation has gotten away from this and other traditions.  Now, they only wear white on Sundays, In these villages, most marry by their early twenties and traditionally it’s the mothers who chose their children’s spouses. This is still true for ~50% percent of marriages though for some it’s a choice the child makes with his / her mother. Our guide, Tui, is Karen and he and his mother will agree on his future wife.

The village where we stayed has had electricity for about a year. It’s fairly limited though with a lightbulb here and there. Some homes are open air huts, others are concrete with tile roofs. It’s a place in transition. The people are warm and friendly. Every house has a pig, several chickens, roosters, dogs, and a wealthy few have cattle too. All seem to cohabit peacefully with the exception of the flash dog fight over scraps.

Speaking of cohabitate, in a village of 130 people, 4 religions are peacefully represented: Animism (an ancient belief system before organized religion that non-human entities—such as animals, plants, and inanimate objects—possess a spiritual essence) Buddhism, Christianity, and Catholicism.

Food preparation is arduous and everyone lends a hand. Multiple dishes with multiple ingredients are made in a wok using just 1 fire source.

Famished from our full day (~2 hour bike, 3.5 hour hike), we relished this royal feast! (It included a pumpkin, garlic dish, curry potatoes and chicken, a scallion and veggie dish – oh my!)

We slept well that night!

Next up, I will share some of my favorite pics!

Mae Wang 3 Day Bike & Trek: Day 1 Cont…

So after a steep climb up a dirt road towards the end of our 3 and a half hour hike, we turned a corner into this elephant sanctuary. It was a complete bonus surprise -not mentioned in the trek description or foreshadowed by our guide.

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Giddy from these new sights, I was energized to make the last push up the steep, long hill to the  village.  The plan was to participate in the communal food preparation and then spend the night with a family of the Karen Hill Tribe…To be continued…