Hit the ground running! There simply is no other way to experience this amazing country with its incredible sights, sounds and yes, smells too.
Thailand offers a bit of everything to everybody, from the shopaholic to the beach bum to the adventurer. If you’re here on a two-week trip, then you should definitely head north to Chiang Mai in the mountains, where the Lanna tribe offers not only its own language and cultural diversity but also some of the most lip smacking cuisine with pert, spicy tastes. After that, dash down to any of the islands in the south for a dollop of heat and tropical welcome. Spend the last leg of your trip in Bangkok just absorbing the vibrancy of the city and digging a quick hole in your wallet…so much to buy, so little time! If you still find you’re bored, which is a kind of blasphemy in itself, you can play online blackjack from your phone.
Where to go
Chiang Mai: Doi Suthep is the most popular temple here. The Night Bazaar and Sunday Walking Street market are also worth a dekko. Since you’re in Chiang Mai already, why not take a bus two hours away to Chiang Rai, bordering Myanmar and Laos and therefore known as the Golden Triangle. The White Temple or Wat Rong Khun is a definite mustsee here; the most exquisitely crafted temple that is truly man’s imagination come alive. Also worth a visit is the Black House; a little forbidding but nonetheless spectacular in its own right.
Islands: Depending on the time in hand, you can head down south to Phuket, Phi Phi, Samui, Krabi, Lanta or else, stay closer to Bangkok and visit placid Hua Hin to the west or take in Pattaya and Samet in Rayong province to the east. Whichever island you decide on, one thing is for sure – serendipity and fun await.
Bangkok: buzzing, vibrant, the city that never sleeps. Once you’re done with shopping at MBK, Siam Paragon, Central or the newest kid on the block (sic!) EM Quartier, why not take a ferry ride down the Chao Phraya river to China Town, Little India, Wat Po (Temple of the Reclining Buddha) or buy a combined ticket to the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kiew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha.) There are plenty of floating markets around, some, just an hour away from city centre. For the nightlife, there’s the infamous Soi Cowboy in Asoke and of course all the pubs in Nana although the more classier joints are to be found in Thonglor.
Wherever you decide to go in Thailand, do not miss out on the blissful massages! Anywhere from 200 baht upwards.
What to wear
It’s really warm most year around except perhaps in December and January when most Thais bundle up, however, for most visitors, it’s gonna be a breeze (sic!) So yes, shorts and tees will be fine, as long as you’re sensible enough to maintain basic decorum. Do remember that most temples require visitors to be dressed respectfully, so no shorts or sleeveless shirts here.
Songkran, the Thai new year, is played with water and is a three-day festival that traditionally falls from the 13-15 April.
Loy Krathong or ‘Festival of Lights’ is a lunar festival that pays homage to the water goddess. It usually falls around November.