07 October 2016
With mouthwatering cuisine, fabulous beaches and beautiful scenery, it’s no wonder that Travel Counsellor Richard Harbourne has visited Thailand 13 times!
Keen to discover some of his favourite places, we chatted with Richard and found out his top six experiences for first-time visitors to Thailand…
“From frenetic towns to jungle wildernesses, Thailand is a country full of variety for anyone looking to indulge their inner explorer. There’s so much to love about this incredibly diverse destination. Wherever your interests lie, you’ll create experiences to last a lifetime but there are some essentials you should try to fit into your Thai adventure if at all possible
Visit a street market
Whether it’s food, clothing or electronics, the street markets of Thailand are a must. Get ready to haggle, and throw yourself into the unique mix of sights, sounds and smells!
Chatuchak Market is the largest outdoor market in the world, and you’ll join more than 200,000 visitors wandering over 8,000 stalls across 35 acres. The stock is incredibly diverse - if you can imagine it, Catauchak Market most likely sells it!
Don’t miss the chance to visit a floating market. Watch as boats are piled high with local, cooked food and fruit, all prepared and sold on-board. Walk along the riverside or take your own boat tour. Some of the most popular floating markets include Khlong Lat Mayom and Amphawa.
If you’re searching for that perfect Pad Thai, the nightly food markets are always worth a wander. Yom Jinda Road in Old Town Rayong is highly rated, with Silom Road in Bangkok’s business district always full of great tasting options for busy workers.
Go ziplining in Chiang Mai
What better way to see the jungle than on a zipline? Chiang Mai boasts the longest ziplines in Thailand, with some reaching over 600 metres!
With the help of expert instructors, it generally takes two to three hours to complete a full course. It’s a fun, physical way to explore the jungle canopies of Thailand. Don’t forget to invest in a GoPro camera to avoid missing out on capturing nature as it flies past your eyes!
Experience Buddhist Temples
Thailand is famous for its temples, and with over 40,000 temples across the country, you’ll never have to go far from your path to visit one during your travels.
Wat Arun, or the ‘Temple of Dawn’, is famed for its eye-catching 230-foot spire. Arrive at sunset to see the temple begin to light up at night, looking out over the Chao Praya River.
Wat Pho is the home of the emerald Buddha, intricately carved to immense detail from one single block of jade. Or, while you’re in Bangkok, visit one of its oldest temples at Wat Pura Kaew. The 160-foot-long reclining Buddha is one of the temple’s highlights.
Visit an Elephant Conservation Centre
Come face to face with one of the world’s most magnificent animals with a visit to an elephant rescue centre in Thailand.
Most of the centres offer day visits or a tour of the grounds, where you’ll be able to observe the elephants in their natural environment. You’ll also be able to learn about the lives of elephants in Thailand and how their habitats are being managed and protected.
If you’re lucky enough to be staying in Thailand for a longer period of time, you might also want to explore the opportunity of volunteering at one of these centres, and contributing directly to the welfare of elephants in Thailand.
Laze on paradise beaches
Thailand has an extraordinary diversity in its natural beauty, highlighted perfectly in Thailand’s selection of stunning beaches. With soft white sands and clear seas framed by coconut groves – and plenty of opportunity to island hop – you’ll find it easy to discover your own vision of the perfect beach.
Koh Phi Phi Lee was made famous as the location for the film The Beach, and today is a national park but open to tourists. Fans of the film can also head to Haew Suat, the spectacular waterfall which featured as the entrance to their paradise.
Ko Samui is always a popular choice for backpackers seeking adventure in a breathtakingly beautiful location. Those seeking the quieter life will find the Ko Lanta district has plenty of spots to be alone.
Go on a mountain trek
Perhaps not the most relaxing of ways to explore Thailand, but certainly one of the most rewarding! And for those who challenge themselves by strapping on their hiking boots, they will be rewarded with majestic views over Thailand’s mountainous inland terrain.
While up in the hills, don’t miss the chance to take a tour and visit local tribes, giving you a window into authentic village life in Thailand. One popular choice is Chiang Mai as a base for visiting the Karen tribe, with lots of opportunity to see the wildlife up close while ascending ancient trails.”
Inspired to visit those crystal clear waters, lush forests and bustling markets? Get in touch with your Travel Counsellor to create your adventure to Thailand!