Everything you’ve heard about Thailand is true. But to validate its authenticity, you have to visit immediately! It’s a perfect getaway from the boring monotony of number crunching and assignments.
The first thing I noticed after landing was the courtesy people greet you with. This land is filled with courteous, sweet, helpful, and fun people. It is the mother of all ‘carefree’ places you could visit.
The best place to stay in Bangkok is the Sukumvit area. It’s the hub of the city and very well connected to every corner. Do not waste money on cabs; traffic is crazy and chances are you’ll blow all your cash trying to commute—the best way to get around is to use the metro route map. The entire city is extremely well connected with the routes, so make use of them.
If this is your first trip, book one full day for a city tour visiting the beautiful architecture of monastery. And don’t forget to see the tiger caves about 60 km away from the main city; it’ll be a once-in-a-lifetime experience you do not want to miss.
Bangkok is well known for its shopping, nightlife, and massages. Take time to explore all three. The exotic street shopping experience near Platinum Mall is a must. A few more places near Platinum mall will allow openly allow you to shop—but only if you know to bargain well. Be sure to visit the Chatuchak market. It’s a weekend market situated near one of the metro stops. From pets to pesto, you name it—they have it. Terminal 21 is a very attractive mall in Sukumvit. It has nearly every brand you’ll find anywhere else, and the architecture is outstanding. It’s an exciting way to spend a lazy evening, gallivanting around.
The nightlife in Bangkok is casual and cool. Hailing from the whole ‘upper east side’ environment, entering clubs in shorts was a breath of fresh air! Don’t miss Sirrocco Bar in Lebua Towers; the open rooftop bar shows you an overview of the entire city in the evening. They serve excellent wine, and the whole feel to the lounge will surely bring you back.
Thai massage was one of the main reasons I visited Thailand, and I was so satisfied. After walking around the whole city the entire day, a foot massage charged me up for the next day. It’s not very expensive and something you’ll remember forever.
Try checking with Groupon for the best deals on body massages and tours. The best time to visit Thailand is in the winter or fall—summers are extremely hot and humid.
Phuket is a paradise, covered with mountains on both sides with blue lagoons welcoming you. I fell in love with the place from the plan, while landing amid the blue water and tiny islands. Take the shuttle bus to the beach. I lived in Karong Beach, but all the fun places are in Patong Beach. Patong is the tourist place, with marketplaces, shopping, and more. But, that’s not what you want to do in Phuket at all.
Head to the much talked about Bazaan Market. It is filled with delicious looking food items, but a word of advice: Be a little careful about the food. If you’re not used to eating street food, you should avoid eating here. As tempting as it looks, it’s cooked in an open area and the smell is very disturbing, so it’s better for you to just avoid the food.
Save the nights and hit the sack early, you’ll want to wake up early to take island tours. The tours take you to Phi Phi Island, James Bond Island, and Krabi Island. You’d need about a week if you wanted to try all the entertainment and adventures in the nearby areas. It’s a beautiful place to explore and I can guarantee you won’t get tired or bored. A piece of advice though—do not go down to Monkey Island to snap pictures. Chances are the monkeys will bite you. A South African couple with me on the boat was bit by a monkey on that island.
Water sports and scuba will take about two days, and rock climbing and island trekking will take a day or two as well. Overall, Phuket should take around one week.
When it’s time to pack your bags, make sure you’ve taken a few precautions beforehand: Take extra care of your passport, as there has been a lot of theft recently. Unless you are absolutely sure your stomach can handle it, pass on the street food completely. Under no condition should you swipe your credit card from any other country in Thailand—the numbers get duplicated in a fraction of a nanosecond and your account will be conked immediately. And remember: Stay safe and have fun!