There is so much to do in Thailand and it would take months to explore it all. If you're only traveling to Southeast Asia for a short period of time, or are looking for some worthwhile activities to try while there, I've provided this list of jewels. Check 'em out!
6 Things You Must Do In Thailand
1. Eat Street Food, Get a Thai Massage, Drink a Chang and Shop at Chatuchak Weekend Market
Upon arriving to Bangkok, be sure not to miss the Chatuchak Weekend Market, which occurs every weekend and is the city's largest market. This is one of the best places to find the cheapest deals on Thailand souvenirs, eat some of its finest street cuisine, drink a refreshing Chang beer, and get a Thai massage while you're at it.
You can literally spend a whole day at the Chatuchak Weekend Market exploring its mazes of shops, restaurants and galleries -- it's that big. Just be sure to keep hydrated and bring sunscreen to bear the heat.
Insider Tip: Pack light on clothes when you travel to Thailand. You'll be able to find amazing deals on beachy, tropical, light-weight fabrics you might just continue to adore past your stay.
2. Sleep in the Jungle
Nested in Southern Thailand, Khao Sok National Park is a sight for sore eyes. The nature reserve is composed of sharp karst limestone formations and is one of the oldest rainforests in the world. All sorts of wildlife trek through the jungle here, from elephants, to tigers, to monkeys that live right outside your sleeping corridors.
While visiting Khao Sok, a visit to Cheow Lan Lake is a must. The manmade lake (also referred to as Rajjaprabha Dam Reservoir) can be toured by long-tail boat.
Insider tip: I definitely recommend booking a treehouse or bungalow at Our Jungle House. It's by far the best place to stay in Khao Sok Nat'l Park. The treehouse resort offers 5-star service for a cheap price ($35+/ night approx.). If they are all booked, you can still camp there for $15 a night.
There are showers on site, a fully stocked bar, and a restaurant with delicious, homemade Thai cuisine. The customer service is top-notch (and they might teach you some Thai while you're at it). You can also book day excursions, as well as book a Thai massage on-sight.
Just be sure to reserve your room far in advance as the bungalows and treehouses fill up during peak vacation time (that is, the non-rainy season, which occurs November-April).
3. Stay on a Remote Beach and Witness Pink Dolphins
Secluded beaches, pink dolphins, magical sunrises...what more do you need? If you want to be mesmerized by beauty (and relax while you're at it), look no further than Khanom, located in the southeastern coast of Thailand in the Nakhon Si Thammarat province.
The small beach town is often overlooked, which is good if you are looking to avoid the masses that flock to Phuket, Krabi and other touristy coastal towns in Thailand.
From Khanom, the popular island of Ko Samui is visible during the day (accessible by ferry), and in between lies the home to pink dolphins, only native to the Gulf of Thailand (not to be confused with Amazon River Dolphins).
If you ever visit Khanom, I highly recommend staying at Jambay Khanom. The hostel-esque bed and breakfast is affordable (around $20/night) and they have staff on-sight to cook meals and make beverages, as well as drive you around town.
You can lounge in a hammock all day and be lazy, or walk the shores in search of unique seashells among the abundance washed up on shore. Pink dolphins can also be spotted right off the shore.
Insider tip: Wake up at 5am for the sunrise. You won't regret it!
4. Enjoy Drinks with a View
A refreshing fruity drink to accompany a foreign view...what's not to love?
Bangkok is known for its many rooftop bars where you can enjoy a number of exotic (and familiar) cocktails. While in Bangkok I paid a visit to Above Eleven, a restaurant and bar serving Peruvian-Japanese cuisine...it was incredibly delicious and not too pricey for being upscale.
Insider Tip: Be sure to review the dress code and make reservations prior to going to any rooftop bar in Bangkok. AND...do consume the fresh fruits available in Thailand. You can consume almost any fresh fruit smoothie your heart desires.
5. Swim with Bioluminescent Plankton
For a long time I thought this was only an occurrence seen in the Maldives off the coast of India. But no, you can see this phenomena in all parts of the world, including Thailand. And it's f*%$!ing amazing!
This was by far one of the coolest occurrences of my life! With each stroke and movement, the ocean water glowed bright and vividly against the darkness. It reminded me of that one scene in "Life of Pi".
It can be somewhat nerve-wracking to swim in the ocean at wee-hours when it's dark out and you can't see what's in the water. But I felt at ease knowing that if there was a shark or jellyfish swimming around, I'd see the water light up by the species's movement.
Insider tip: Wait until early morning (3am-ish) where the bioluminescent plankton will be at peak glow.
6. Take a Thai Cooking Class
What's not better than to take home from a country knowledge of how to cook their cuisine?
Thailand offers many affordable cooking classes all around the country, from the southern coastal towns and islands to the northern countryside.
While in Ao Nang, Krabi I took a class with Thai Charm Cooking School where we prepared five different traditional Thai dishes (we got to pick amongst two to three different options in five different categories), along with two deserts. The green curry, papaya salad, and mango sticky rice were my favorites!
Many ingredients available in Thailand are not available in the US; therefore the course offered tips on substituting ingredients. For a price of only $30 it was an incredible and invaluable deal for the amount of knowledge acquired. Ah...take me back. One day...
And that's a wrap!
I hope this article has given you some ideas on what to do in Thailand to make the best of it. Aside from the numerous amounts of decked-out Buddhist temples to enjoy, Thailand has the unique culture, magical nature, and delicious cuisine to please your soul!
What was your favorite park about traveling to Thailand! Let me know by leaving a comment!
See here for more pics from Thailand.