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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phra Nang (Princess) Cave, Railay

The cave above is one of the more unusual sights in Railay…

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What’s amazing about Thailand is how ancient practices blend with the present from animistic to ritualistic. There are fresh flowers and incense is burning in this cave.

In my Chiang Dao cave adventure, our native guide stopped to kneel at the shrine of the hermit who had died in the cave generations ago. And there too, fresh flowers and food offerings.

hermit shrine

Railay Cliffhanger

Of course, I couldn’t resist. Had to choose between the vista point and the lagoon as they were in opposite directions and it was getting dark.

Unfortunately, my videos don’t do justice to the pitch of the ascent and descent. Realize this is nothing to a rock climber, but it got my heart rate going a bit.

Well, it was a cliffhanger for me anyway.

Railay Rocks!

Spectacular scenery, iconic limestone crags of monolithic proportions rising out of the Andaman Sea – that’s Railay.

 

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When I arrived by longtail boat, I checked into my hotel and took a walkabout to stretch my legs after the taxi (half hour), ferry (2hr), bus (2 hr) minivan (half hour with1 hr delay) and longtail boat ride (20 minute) – phew!

Actually, it wasn’t bad at all. It’s extremely easy to get around in Thailand. My full day of travel was coordinated by 1 agency for $33. Travel agencies are almost as ubiquitous as 7-Eleven’s here. Tip: It can be worthwhile to check with different agencies if you are looking for a specific itinerary and time. Some offer more choices than others.

I’ve been touring up and down Thailand for 3 weeks and the only wild things I’ve seen so far are some unruly Americans and Australians, feral cats, bats and myna birds. Accessible only by water, this tiny peninsula is literally crawling with wild things. And I’m not just talking about the rock climbers who flock here from around the world. Here there are macaques running amok, water monitors skulking about, squirrels flying overhead, and apparently some dusky langors in hiding too. You just follow the boardwalk from the pier in East Railay and head for West Railay Beach. When you make that right, you are in what I call monkey alley.

 

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Tip: Pay close attention to your belongings (monkey’s steal) and keep an eye out for movement on the rocks. Monitor lizards blend in well, but you can detect them with a keen eye. They are a bit noisy going over brush, tree limbs or leaves so keep your ears open too.

Awesome, right? I know! And all within the first 20 minutes of my arrival. Next to a conspicuous “Danger” sign was a rope climb / hike to a vista point that beckoned to me. I’m a wee bit leery of heights and hence not the biggest fan of rock climbing though I’ve done it before. This looked a bit sketchy…To be continued…