Thailand - The Land of Smile: Part 2

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Our backpacking trip through SE Asia was almost over and our final destination was Thailand.
In an earlier post I mentioned that we had to divide our Thailand itinerary in two, as being from Romania we only got a 15 days tourist visa. If you have not yet read Part 1 and you feel curious, you can find it here.
On our first visit to Thailand we mainly focused on the amazing islands in the south. The second time around we added a bit more flavor: we got "templed out" in Chiang Mai, got lost on the streets of Bangkok and we still had our share of islands in the Gulf of Thailand.

Our two weeks itinerary

Day 1 - 3 Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is basically the temple hub in Thailand as there is literally a temple at almost every corner. The most honorable mentions are Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Phra Singh and Wat Suan Dok, but you can discover many more beautiful ones by just wandering the streets.

This will basically keep you busy during the day, whereas during the evening you can chill at the night market. Chiang Mai's food night market was the best we've ever seen in all of Thailand. 
It was different from the typical night markets that we got used to in Thailand, mainly because it was well organized with cute little food stalls with traditional Thai food and many more. There was a live band every night playing great covers creating a lovely bohemian atmosphere. Perfect for enjoying your Chang beer.

Day 4 - 6 Koh Samui

The journey from Chiang Mai was quite long and we lost about a day with it. We took a flight to Surat Thani and from there we bought a bus + ferry ticket combo that took us from the airport gates to our hotel in Koh Samui. Total price 600 baht / person.

Although Koh Samui was nice, the highlight was the day trip that we took to the Angthong Marine National Park where we hiked to a gorgeous viewpoint. The hike was pretty hardcore, especially because we did it in flip-flops, nonetheless you need to be really fit to make all the way to the top. We didn't! We stopped at the first viewpoint. The trip also included a short kayak ride to a Blue Lagoon, which was nice as well.
This day trip was around 1000 baht /person + 300 baht / person entrance fee to the national park.

Day 7 - 10 Koh Tao

The ferry trip from Koh Samui to Koh Tao was short and cost 1000 bath / person.
Koh Tao is a very small island that has a very relaxed atmosphere during the day but as usual in Thailand, comes to life at night.

We were not very impressed about Koh Tao however the highlight was the incredible Nang Yuan Island just a few minutes away by boat.

Nang Yuan turned out to be one of the most beautiful islands we visited in Thailand. To get to this amazing island we booked a snorkeling trip for 500 baht/person that initially took us to some incredible snorkeling locations such as Hin Wong.

Nang Yuan is actually comprised of three islands connected by a long stretch of the whitest powdery sand. The view from the top is absolutely breathtaking and is something that you must see. Really now! I cannot explain enough how much I loved this place!

Day 11 - 13 Bangkok

Bangkok is definitely a weird yet very interesting combination. It has the big city charm, with high end shopping centres and skyscrapers, but it also adds the traditional temples, night markets and street food stalls. It is the perfect combination of tradition and decadence.

A1 bus will take you from the airport to the city centre or to a nearby BTS station.
Although it is a huge city, getting around in Bangkok is pretty easy, just make sure you get your accommodation near a BTS line. A BTS day pass is 140 baht/person, which is very cheap.

Top things to see in Bangkok:

  •  The Grand Palace (girls should wear pants or long skirts, otherwise the entrance is prohibited)
  • What Pho - Temple of Reclining Buddha

To be fair there are many other temples to be seen in Bangkok, but how many can one want to see in a day? :)

  • Check out some of the luxurious shopping centres, like Central World, MBK Center, Terminal 21.
  • Khaosan Road - this is the backpackers hideout. Great place for cheap souvenir shopping.
  • Chinatown - a place were you can find all sorts of cheap gadgets and knick knacks for 1$ or under.
  • Patpong market - here you will find a variety of "interesting" bars if you are the curios kind. Beware of scammers though! As well there is a food market every night where you can taste all sorts of traditional stuff.

Rare picture of Chris in the wild

Our top pick in Bangkok: The view from the 84th floor of Baiyoke Sky Hotel! This for sure you cannot miss. Best to be seen at night as the city lights up.

There is a revolving platform giving you a 360 of the city and also a nice bar where you can enjoy a cocktail afterwards.

This was the perfect ending for our 3 months trip to SE Asia and to an amazing and unforgettable experience.

Sawadee khap!

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