Thailand

Capital:
Bangkok

Currency
Baht

Best time to visit:
The ideal season for a trip to Thailand is from November to April, a period in which the heat is not excessive and the rains are less frequent. It is also the one where the greatest number of parties are concentrated. March, April, May, July and August are the best months to travel to the mountainous regions of the north. As you rise in altitude, temperatures are milder.

In a word:
Sawadee (good morning)

Vaccines
Malaria is present all year round, especially in forests, in the mountains and in border areas. There is no risk of contracting it in cities and major tourist resorts.

Warnings:
- Traffic in Bangkok is particularly dangerous.
- Do not feed the monkeys and do not try to touch them: they can be aggressive and carriers of anger.
- For security reasons, caution is recommended in areas bordering Myanmar

At the table:
Thai cuisine is exquisite but often spicy. Fortunately, in restaurants it is possible to ask for dishes that are slightly spicy and slightly spicy. Try grilled chicken (gai yahng), fried (gai tort), or stir-fried with peanuts (gai pat met ma-moo-ang) chicken dishes. A local delicacy is mango with glutinous rice (kow nee-o ma-moo-ang). And then street food in every sauce and every way, here we are in its world capital!

Essential experiences:
Rent a bike and get lost in the timeless streets of Sukhothai among ancient ruins and picturesque Buddhist temples; Take a Thai massage course in one of Chiang Mai's many schools; Attending a Muay Thai match in a Chiang Rai stadium; Go shopping directly from your boat in the atmospheric floating markets not far from Bangkok.

We never get tired of hearing it: Sawadee!

From Bangkok to the north… further and further north… between Buddhist temples, floating markets, muay thai fights, massages and street food, of all kinds.

Thailand, the Land of Smiles (this is what “Thai” means), is a destination that attracts many travelers, from those looking for relaxation on the marvelous paradisiacal beaches, to the more adventurous backpackers who love trekking and excursions.
It is a land full of contrasts and wonders that never ceases to amaze!

Royal palaces, dream beaches and golden temples will allow you to immerse yourself in a fascinating and ancient culture and make you live an unforgettable journey.

And then Bangkok, the "city of angels", a favorite destination for young backpackers, a dream for lovers of history, the ancient and glorious one of the Kingdom of Siam.  

We toured it far and wide traveling with comfortable local buses.
We started from the capital Bangkok and, slowly, to better enjoy its beauties, we have reached the northern border with Laos. From there we embarked and along the Mekong reached Luang Prabang for our Laotian adventure.
But the Thai lure is too strong, with an internal flight from Udon Thani, we flew to Phuket, Phi Phi Island and our magical Koh Lanta!

What more can we say about a land we love madly and where would we move immediately?

Here is our story!

Our suggested itinerary (30 days)

six days:

Bangkok, Ayutthaia

four days:

Kanchanaburi, (visit Bridge over the River Kwai and excursion to Erawan NP), Ratchaburi (floating market)

twelve days:

Sukhothai (visit to the Historic Park by bike), Chiang Mai (Thai massage course and muay thai stadium visit), Chiang Mai, Chiang Khong (boarding the Mekong for Laos

ten days:

Udon Thani, Phuket, Phi Phi Island, Koh Lanta (relax by the sea)

18 december Bangkok (Thailand)

One of the first attractions you visit in Thailand, thanks to the plane stop, is Bangkok.
We have been there more than once and we love to spend as much time as possible because we are in love with it! When you arrive here, you will be immediately overwhelmed by the noises, smells, tuk tuk traffic jams and crowds, you will find yourself totally immersed in the atmosphere of an incredibly dynamic and lively city!

Street food lovers will not be disappointed also because Thailand is the world capital of street food, since you are there: why not take advantage of it and take a local cooking class? We did it and it was so much fun! 

The Thais call it "Krung Thep", the "city of angels", for us it is the gateway to the East, because from Bangkok it is possible to reach every place in Thailand and the rest of Asia with short cheap flights.
Bangkok is a city that develops along the river Chao Phraya so why not live it on the water? Let's take a ferry and observe the city from another perspective!

The old city, Rattanakosin, is a treasure chest: here is the Grand Palace, one of the holiest places in the nation, where you can meet golden temples and Buddhas of all shapes and colors such as the emerald one inside Wat Phra Kaeo , to quote the most revered of all.

From there we reach the Wat Po, a group of Buddhist monks is preparing for a religious festival to be held the next day. Here you will see the famous 45 meter long reclining Buddha statue.
We stop to chat with them for a while.  

20 december Bangkok (Thailand)

At sunset we reach Wat Tramit and a bustling Chinatown, everywhere there are stalls that roast everything or prepare offal soups, some fruit salads, some noodles ... everywhere you cook and eat ...

Spirituality gives way to the vitality of Siam Square, with the sky train that whizzes everywhere and lets you comfortably explore the crowded streets of this Asian shopping metropolis, full of smog and chaos but at the same time of life.

21 December Bangkok (Thailand)

By boat, we approach the famous Khao San Road, the traveller's route par excellence!
Really lively with colorful shops, bars, restaurants and guesthouses where you can sleep really cheaply.
 A street full of advertising signs, all in English, advertising: "massage, free wi-fi, travel agency, laundry service”, In short, everything a backpacker needs.

Too bad that the hippies spirit that gave life to this old street is now only a distant memory.

Before leaving the capital make sure you have enjoyed the 15 most interesting experiences to live in Bangkok!

22 december Ayutthaia (Thailand)

Ayutthaya is the ancient capital of Thailand. Ayutthaya Park has been officially recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

As Ayutthaya is easily accessible from Bangkok by bus (1h 30), train (2 h) or car (45 min), it is the perfect destination for a day trip from the capital.

It contains within it some unmissable places including Wat Pra Si Sanphet, the important complex of temples that originally housed the statue of Buddha covered with 250 kg of gold. In addition, the park includes the ancient temple of Wat Ratcha Burana, Wat Phra Ram and much more!
Among the things not to be missed: the Wat Phra Mahathat temple from which the Buddha's head stands out inserted between the roots of the sacred tree.

When surrounded by these ruins, it is not difficult to imagine the grandeur and magnificence that once characterized the kingdom of Ayutthaya.

If you want to visit Ayutthaya, you can also rent bicycles (for 50 baht a day), one motorbike or take a tour by tuk-tuk or even by boat as several rivers cross in Ayutthaya.
The best time to do this is definitely at sunset!

Keep in mind that some temples are very far from each other, I don't recommend walking to reach the sites.

23 december Kanchanaburi (Thailand)

In two hours by minivan we reach the town of Kanchanaburi, we stay at the "Sugar Cane Guest House": a beautiful wooden bungalow surrounded by greenery just a few steps from the "Bridge over the River Kwai".
In this oasis of peace where after 7pm they recommend "whispering" we breathe a little healthy peace!

Kanchanaburi is not part of the classic tourist itinerary and is mainly visited by backpackers looking for a place to spend a few relaxing days. The city itself is nothing exceptional, the main attraction is certainly the bridge over the River Kwai made famous by the film of the same name.

Here the Japanese army held thousands of prisoners of war in slavery in order to build over 400 km of railway line between Thailand and Myanmar. Between disease, brutality and malnutrition, over 16,000 people died during its construction and their bodies were buried along the railway. 

If you are interested in history, here are the main places of interest:

  • The railway museum,dedicated to the history of the "railway of death" and the difficult living conditions of the prisoners
  • The Allied Military Cemetery,in which the graves of nearly 7,000 soldiers are found
  • The Jeath War Museum,where you can see letters and personal items of the prisoners
  • The World War II Museum and its view of the famous bridge
    … Of course, don't forget to cross the bridge in question!

24 december Kanchanaburi (Thailand)

In addition to the Bridge over the River Kwai, there is another (more cheerful) place to visit around Kanchanaburi: the Erawan National Park.
Famous for its waterfalls, considered among the most beautiful in Thailand, there are seven levels in total and it takes at least a couple of hours to explore them all, admission costs 300 THB.

Here, you can take a dip (but the water was freezing!), Have the fish in the pond do a pedicure, walk on a botanical path along the river, a crossing of bridges, stone steps, lianas, green pools of water, waterfalls, trunks that serve as bridges that lead you to see some natural caves.

To reach them there is the public bus 8170 which leaves from the Kanchanaburi terminal (you can take the bus along the main road) every 50-60 minutes approximately from 8:00 to 17:00, 50 THB, approximately 90 minutes. We recommend that you leave early to avoid the numerous tourist groups.

25 december Ratchaburi (Thailand)

Ratchaburi, a town famous for its “floating market”.
A day trip that we recommend to do from Kanchanaburi!
It is characteristic to see how in a place submerged by water it is possible to engineer and organize.
All life takes place on the classic canoes. You buy, sell, eat on small boats!

26 december Sukhothai (Thailand)

Sukhothai, like Ayutthaya, is also a UNESCO site. It is located halfway between Chaing Mai and Bangkok so if you are driving between the two cities it is worth a stop. In one day you will have enough time to visit the best of the temples and remains of the ancient lost city. 

We liked Old Sukhothai right away, right from the first night approach, after a full day of travel by bus from Kanchanaburi via Bangkok.
The street food along the main road, our beloved 7eleven, everywhere peace, silence and tranquility ...

I don't have time to leave the backpacks in our "Old City Guesthouse" that we are out and about enjoying the many skewers of chicken, pork, crab or coconut sweets!

This morning, rent the bikes, we go through the gate of the “Sukhothai Historical Park”.

The park is large and collects temples and stupas of the sixteenth century distributed over 3 areas:

  • The Central Area (admission at a price of 100 Baht): it is the most interesting, here you will find the largest and best preserved temples. On foot, it takes about 2 hours to visit the temples.
  • The North Zone (admission cost 100 Baht) mainly comprises 2 temples, the most famous of which is the one with a seated Buddha 15 meters high. To get there from the central area, you will need a bike or a car.
  • The West Zone (admission cost 100 Baht): since the ruins are quite far from each other, it is best to visit by car. But honestly, apart from Wat Saphan Hin and its Buddha statue on the top of the hill, there isn't much to see.

It will take around 4 hours to visit the 3 areas by car and a full day by bike.  

It's late morning when we decide to go eat something ... where to go? Of course! To the city market. A few rides later we are already blissfully seated on an abandoned stall enjoying some excellent spit-roasted chicken and two platters of pineapple and watermelon!

28 december Chiang Mai (Thailand)

Comfortably, by bus, we reach what is considered the most important city in northern Thailand as well as the most visited: Chiang Mai.
With over 1 million inhabitants within the metropolitan area, it is the fifth largest city in the country. Surrounded by forests and mountains, it is the home of many expats and digital nomads who prefer it to the more chaotic Bangkok.

Chiang Mai is particularly famous for its gigantic night market which takes place every evening and where you can find literally anything. 

Thanks to "couchsurfing“, we are guests of  David, a 70-year-old Welsh man, and his wife Fern (Thai) and our massage teacher: yes, we decided to sign up for a Thai massage course, full immersion!

29 december Chiang Mai (Thailand)

In less than thirty minutes we will begin the first day of the massage course. They just handed us our uniforms and notebook for notes

Full immersion of three hours in the morning and four in the afternoon ... shortly after: here I am, doubled over, with Fern jumping on me, pulling me on one side, squeezing me on the other, pressing points she knew, blocking my pulsation and then slowly release it I thought to myself: “but who made me do it? I just wanted to relax a bit! "

In the afternoon break, while we enjoy a cup of tea and freshly peeled papaya, comfortably spread out on two armchairs: Fern, we were thinking of having a relaxing oil massage after class "-" Ok, I'll go and book it for you now! "

30 december Chiang Mai (Thailand)

One of the activities we recommend is to attend some Muay Thai match: the infamous Thai boxing, one of the fiercest and toughest martial arts. Here we are, sitting in jubilant "Thapae Boxing Stadium," we await this great event.

Muay Thai, the national sport of Thailand, is more than just a sport, it is a real philosophy. I am delighted to observe all the pre-match preparation, the various sacred or just propitiatory rites. The prayers, the dances, the rounds of the ring ... and then the gong ... a music of cobra charmers that resounds throughout the stadium as if to hypnotize the same fighters who study each other by swinging in the ring and lightly touch each other with some soccer ...

The rounds pass ... the winners triumph ... the losers run away with their heads bowed ... there are those who end up on the mat and complain ... those who pose for a photo after the victory ...  

31 december Chiang Mai (Thailand)

Today is the last day of the year and we wander around in a tank top and short shorts.
In the evening, before reaching the central square full of people, we stop at a temple to buy a Chinese lantern to fly in the sky to wish us a good start to the year ...
We wrote our wish on one of the sides ... it was also exciting because a Buddhist monk helped us to light it ... just long enough for the flame to burn the oxygen and 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... our beautiful lantern had taken off ...
With his head turned towards the sky, his eyes filled with wonder ... You could only see the moon and hundreds of lanterns ...

01 january Chiang Mai (Thailand)

The ancient city is easily explored on foot and - for a change! - there are numerous temples that can be visited (over 300 between Chiang Mai and its surroundings). The most popular are Wat Phra Singh and Wat Chiang Man but there are many others scattered in and around the city.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

This is considered the symbolic temple of the city and is located on top of a hill, about 15km outside the city. You can reach it by scooter, taxi or even aboard a Songthaew (the red pick ups with the benches at the back)

Entrance to the temple costs only 30 THB and is open to the public from 8:30 to 15:30. The temple itself is truly impressive as is the view over the city.

02 january Chiang Mai (Thailand)

After three hours and twenty by bus we arrive in Chiang Mai. We decide to stop for a couple of days in order to organize the long crossing on the Mekong to Laos!

We reach the islet of Dusit on the Mae Nam Kok River.
Along the way we are struck by the splendor of the many pagodas that embellish this town.

03 january Chiang Mai (Thailand)

What to visit in Chiang Mai:

  • The White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) is definitely the symbol of Chiang Rai, it is a modern temple covered with thousands of pieces of glass that give it a truly unique appearance. What makes it extremely special is the presence of some murals with images of "Hello Kitty" and "Neo" from the Matrix just to name a few ... The temple is open every day from 8:00 to 17:00, admission costs 100 THB and to reach it just take the public bus from platform 8 of the station, about 30 minutes, 20 THB.
  • The Blue Temple is still under construction but has the main span completed. It is another example of contemporary art with a more sober style than the White Temple.
    Admission is free but it is not possible to reach it by public transport, you have to rent a scooter or go there by tuk tuk.
  • Night Bazaar: this night market is the perfect place to buy all kinds of souvenirs. It is cheaper than the one in Bangkok and nicer.
  • Go to Singha Park to take the classic photo of the great golden lion found at the entrance.  
  • The Black House Museum or Baandam Museum: a rather unusual place with small houses decorated with crocodile skins and other objects that are rather "dark" and original.
  • Khun Korn Waterfall, the largest waterfall in the Chiang Rai area, is easily accessible and can be reached on foot in about 30 minutes from the parking lot.
  • Huai Pla Kang / Wat Huai Pla Kank / The great pagoda: a group of 3 gigantic and completely different monuments all located in the same place. It is very particular to look at and quite nice.

But our target today is the ticket for Luang Prabang, in Laos.
We wander around the city in search of useful information and in the end we manage to buy a ride in a minivan to Chiang Khong, the last Thai city, from there we will embark and in two days, along the famous Mekong river, we will reach our first Laotian destination!
We will spend a couple of weeks exploring this other wonderful Nation, Laos ... but that's another story ... before returning to Thailand, in Udon Thani to take a flight to Phuket to discover some of its most beautiful islands! 

15 january Udon Thani (Thailand)

Left Laos behind us, we enter the quiet Udon Thani, a town that has little to offer except a convenient airport served by the cheap flights of the beloved Air Asia that will take us to southern Thailand! First stop: Phuket.

Given that a trip to Thailand cannot be considered complete if you do not live days in absolute relaxation in one of its countless islands ... We have opted for Phuket, Phi Phi and above all Koh Lanta but here, really, you are spoiled for choice and wherever you go you will not regret it.

16 january Phuket (Thailand)

Here we are in the famous Phuket after a comfortable flight of an hour!

Located in the south of the country, in the Andaman Sea, it is the largest island in Thailand and certainly one of the most touristy. Phuket Town is pretty, a pleasant old town with pretty Chinese-Portuguese style buildings and a main street lined with trendy cafes and boutiques.

In Phuket, all activities are concentrated on the west side of the island, particularly near Patong.

Here you will also find a very popular beach, as well as a range of hotels to suit all budgets, from large resorts to small guesthouses and if you like to party and party, this is the perfect place!

Would you rather relax and enjoy the calm? No problem, there are also quieter beaches on the island, such as Kata Beach or Nai Harn Beach. However, don't expect to have the beach all to yourself!

In Phuket it is possible to do many activities: rock climbing, kite-surfing, paragliding, inner tubing, 4 × 4, bungie jumping, zip lining, high rope courses and scuba diving.

An important tip: pay attention to the quality of the equipment and always try to find out about the reliability of the agency you are contacting. Several accidents occur every year due to non-compliance with safety regulations.

Day trip suggested? Definitely Phi Phi Island!

17 january Phi Phi Island (Thailand)

These islands are famous thanks to the film “The Beach”, with Leonardo Di Caprio. The famous Maya Bay beach on Koh Phi Phi Leh has quickly become the most important place to see on a tour in southern Thailand, maybe a day trip from Phuket!

For several years, this beach has been besieged by over 5,000 visitors a day who have walked the length and breadth of this area.

As you can imagine, this mass tourism has had disastrous consequences for the local ecosystem and for corals. The situation became so serious that Thai authorities had to intervene, and therefore the beach has been closed to the public since 2018.

But fear not, you will still be able to see the beach from the boat on your day trip!

Plus, you'll have no problem finding places to go out and party.
Koh Phi Phi is very lively and its nightlife is one of the best in all of Thailand!

18 january Koh Lanta (Thailand)

Koh Lanta, located about 70 km south of Krabi, in the Andaman Sea, is easily reached by boat from Krabi or Phuket, as we did.
Koh Lanta is probably not as photogenic as the other islands in the region (limestone monoliths and cliffs overlooking the sea are missing) but it undoubtedly has beautiful beaches, lower prices and a decidedly relaxed atmosphere.

We stay at the Coral Beach Resort, simple bungalows that overlook the beach.
Waking up to the sweet sound of the sea, having breakfast with an excellent mango accompanied by tasty bananas on the stuffed veranda… well it's priceless!
This place is really relaxing. Along the beach there are several open huts, hammocks where you can swing in the shade of huge coconut palms ...  

19 january Koh Lanta (Thailand)

The island is quite large and I would recommend exploring it by scooter and discovering its beaches and the Old Town, the small, colorful, quiet town characterized by wooden houses on stilts, boats covered by fishermen's nets and in the air a feeling of peace.

 Here are my 3 favorites on the island:

  • Khantiang Beach: a very nice beach topped by the Diamond Cliff bar / restaurant, one of the best places to watch the sunset.
  • Phra Ae Beach: a smaller and more intimate sandy beach.
  • Bamboo Beach: a large and wild sandy beach bordering the jungle.

In the evening, after buying a lot of fruit, we returned to our huts to admire one of the most beautiful sunsets ever seen; the sea was pink, the sky tinged with red, the clouds floated in a thousand warm colors.
It is nice to remain open-mouthed, with the nose up and remain speechless while the eyes are filled with the gifts that Nature offers us!

21 january Koh Lanta (Thailand)

From Koh Lanta, you really have to consider the 4 island tour.

Over the course of a day you will be able to visit the islands of Koh Chueak, Koh Ma, Koh Mok and Koh Ngai.

You will depart by boat in the morning and stop several times to snorkel and explore the beach on the four islands, before returning to Koh Lanta in the afternoon.

After an hour at sea we reach Koh Ma, a large rocky spur, equipped with a mask and snorkel, we immediately dive for our first snorkeling ...

While we were sailing on those crystalline waters on which small virgin islands sprouted from time to time ... I thought that these were the scenarios that the brave navigators of the 1500s will have admired when they landed here for the first time.

Koh Mook, also called the emerald cave.
We wear life jackets because the cave is dark and could create claustrophobic problems.
In single file, like little dogs soaking in water, a little frightened we swim in the dark, illuminated only by the dim light of our Thai guide's torch ...
Suddenly a curve and here appear before our eyes one of the most beautiful spectacles I have ever seen!
It seems to be inside a volcanic crater.
This little oasis, once used by pirates to hide their treasures, literally dazzled me!
I turned around and around with my mouth open. Where we are?

An hour later, a little reluctantly, we dive back into those black waters to reach our boat while our minds flew and fantasized about corsair galleons, pirate battles, black flags with white skulls waving, chests of gold and lost treasures!

We land in yet another earthly paradise: Koh Ngai.
A long strip of white sand that surrounded a Maldivian sea….

We immerse ourselves in a sea of colorful fish of the most disparate shapes ... our Thai friends throw pieces of pineapple and watermelon while the little fish flock regardless of our presence.

What an exciting day… one you can say you have really lived!

23 january Koh Lanta (Thailand)

This place is magical. It is enchanting and enchanted.
This break week is giving me immense energy.
I feel that my whole body, my mind, my thoughts are softening, calming ...

It is a place that we recommend everyone to live, but to experience it without schemes or programs to enjoy it to the fullest!
Tomorrow we leave and return, by bus, to the cosmopolitan capital!

25 january Bangkok (Thailand)

After three buses, 14 hours on the road we arrive in the tourist Khao San Road of Bangkok at 05.30 in the morning.
A little break before leaving beloved Thailand ...  

Leaving our backpacks in the reception of our New Joe Guesthouse, we decide to experience this famous street for a while but soon we end up in a tattoo parlor ... you can imagine the rest ... a perpetual memory ...

From Bangkok you can reach all over the world! We recommend, if you have a few days left, to take a bus to the border with the Cambodia and from there, in a couple of hours, reach Siem Reap, the ruins of Angkor Wat but this is really another story!

2 Responses

    1. Grazie di cuore Danilo, felici che ti sia piaciuto e speriamo che sia utile per chi si appresta ad organizzare un viaggio fai da te in questa meravigliosa terra!

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