Going through my memories recently, I became a bit nostalgic about my last trip to Thailand, which happened in October 2015. Initially, I came for TBEX Asia, but eventually, I ended up exploring this country in many different ways. Although I spend only ten days there, it was enough to gather experiences and form an impression of this country. The series of pleasant memories ignited a desire to wrap up a post about the things which I totally loved in Thailand and which I definitely recommend exploring to fellow travelers. We’ll go to the pilgrimage to magnificent temples, explore mouth-watering exotic food, walk the busy Asian markets, and many more! So, make sure to stay with me till the end of the article.
- Temples and palaces. Thailand is the land of Theravada Buddhism, so you can expect to see a lot of temples and palaces, some of which became the hallmark of this country. I recommend you to see Wat Pho, aka The Temple of Reclining Buddha. During my visit, I was fascinated by a 46 m long reclining Buddha statue and the majesty of the complex.
Talking about majesty, the attraction that everyone should visit in Bangkok is The Grande Palace, which is home to the famous Temple of Emerald Buddha regarded as the most sacred Buddhist Temple in Thailand. As we were walking through the Grande Palace, our guide, Ms Thai, explained to us different facts and nuances, which we wouldn’t be able to unearth without her help. One of the most exciting episodes from my visit to the Grande Palace was making the wai phra offering. You can read more about this experience here.
For a similar experience you can book the Flexi Walking Temple Tour: Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun with a local guide.
If you omit visiting temples and palaces while in Thailand, your experience of this country will be incomplete, so make sure to include at least several of them in your list.
2. Islands. When most people think about Thailand, they imagine white sand beaches and coconut trees bending over to the sea. And we have this kind of imagery in our heads for a reason, because you can’t really say that you have experienced Thailand until you see the beauty and serenity of its tropical islands. I’ve been to Koh Samui and absolutely loved this island (‘Koh’ means ‘Island’ in Thai). Koh Samui had been on my bucket list for years. I even had a picture of the Four Seasons Koh Samui set as my screensaver! When I finally got to see the island, I wasn’t disappointed. My dream finally came true. You can read more about my Koh Samui experience here. Of all the great memories that come to my mind, I want to highlight the day I spent at the Briza Beach resort. (You might also want to check this guide how to travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai)
After the TBEX Asia was over, I decided to celebrate life and spend a day on the beach. It’s one of those days which fill you with so much positive energy and impressions that it erases any negative emotion once you think about it. I can’t express what a blessing it was to be there. I spent my last day in Thailand at Sala Samui Resort and Spa, and I can recommend this luxury villa and hotel property to anyone looking for a lovely stay on Koh Samui.
3. Busy streets and markets. To feel the spirit of Thailand, you need to walk the busy streets of its cities and visit a local market at least once. Bangkok has plenty of bustling streets that you can just walk for hours and try to grasp the spirit of this city. As for the markets, there are a lot of them. Personally, I got a chance to visit Chatuchak JJ Market. It’s Bangkok’s most famous weekend market where visitors can find more than 8,000 stalls. The alleys are grouped into sections depending on what they are selling. It’s so big that you should even get a map to get around better. That’s surely an experience that makes you understand Thai culture better.
4. Food. Thailand is considered a heaven for foodies. You can get tasty food both on the street and in luxury restaurants. I experienced both. Although most people in Thailand buy their food from the street stalls, at first I was hesitant to try it. But after several days in Bangkok, I was glad that I changed my mind. (I definitely recommend taking the Bangkok by Night Tuk Tuk Tour)
In the following days, I was able to taste a variety of tasty options both from the street stalls and luxury restaurants. Speaking about the latter, the first place that comes to my mind is Sala Sim Naam restaurant. It offers a unique cultural experience and has an authentic Thai dinner menu accompanied by a traditional Thai dance show. The show was vibrant, and both cuisine and service were excellent.
When it comes to home-style cooking, I’d like to mention Steve Café in Bangkok. I had a chance to visit it after the exploration of the Grande Palace. Steve Café can be found in two locations in Bangkok, one in Sathorn road and another is located in an original 60-year old riverside house with the view of the Chao Praya River. I liked all the food there, but I especially recommend the spicy lemongrass salad.
5. Events. And the last but not least are the events. There are numerous events across the country, but I will focus on the city where I spent most of my time, which is Bangkok. Being Thailand’s business center, Bangkok is also famous for its vibrant nightlife. I had neither time nor desire to explore it, but I can tell you a lot about TBEX Asia. As I mentioned in the beginning, this event was the main reason for my trip to Thailand.
The opening party was excellent. I met so many fellow bloggers there. The event itself was held in the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre and left all the participants satisfied. I have even tried to master the skill of Phetchaburi craftsmen and the gilded black lacquer art with the assistance of Thanin Chuenjai, the master craftsman of 2012.
Even if you have a short stay in Thailand you need to explore old Buddhist temples and majestic Thai palaces, see the coconut palms bending over to the warm and welcoming sea, walk the busy streets, try the street food, and attend some of the local events. This way, you’ll know what Thailand is really about.
Do you have other things to add to the list of the best ways to experience Thailand? Please share in the comments section!