I recently spoke with a friend from Philadelphia, who spent three weeks in Thailand. Three weeks? I wondered what all the fuss was about. His excuse was some coveted sun, sand and waves; but if I tell you to visit Thailand to soak up some sun, you’re going to hit back with a speech about how you’ve had enough sun for years to come and if I push it, you’ll pack your bags and run away to Goa – sending me some pictures of you soaking up the sun, just for good measure. But, think tuk tuks, glittering temples, cheap shopping, food and go-go bars and you’ll be out the door in a jiffy.
Where to go in Thailand depends; will you be with kids or alone? Do you want to lounge around a beach searching for the perfect Thai massage (Wat Pho in Bangkok is a good place to start) or see the inside of a temple? Whatever it may be, I’m sure you’re already doing your research, so to help you out (or confuse you just a tiny bit more), here are a few destinations you should add to your list.
Bangkok: It’s a cliché, but can you imagine coming off a trip and not having seen Bangkok? They say you can soak up a lot of Thai culture, but if you’re not motoring through tourists and bargaining over cheap clothes, you’re not in the right place. Shop till you drop by all means, but don’t miss the grandeur of the city because you’re busy looking at shoes. The city has some spectacular temples, the Floating Market and the beautiful Grand Palace, all of which you must see.
Koh Phangan: This one’s for the young and the young at heart. Home to the famous Full Moon Party, Koh Phangan is also a beautiful, beach-y place off-season. It’s not a family destination so avoid it with children. But, it’s great for all-nighters, good music and the sound of waves.
Koh Mak: If you’re tired of running around, have had your fair share of bars and tourist attractions and want some peace and calm, head over to the serene Koh Mak. What’s to see? Stunning stretches of sand, pristine, clear blue waters and coconut plantations.
Kanchanaburi: If you’re a fan of old war movies, you can’t miss seeing the bridge over the river Kwai in person, can you? The famous World War II Bridge, cool weather and museums across the city make it a good place to stop over. If you want to backpack, relax by a river, soak up some historical sights and archeological wonders, this is the place to be.
Krabi: Include a trip to the Phi Phi islands to get your fill of sun and sand when you’re here. However, for lush, verdant hues and a spectacular cave or two, this is the place to be for sanctuaries, national parks, lagoons springs and falls.