Did all those Instagram and Facebook posts inspire you to visit Chiang Mai? Are you desperately waiting to experience and admire the beauty of those lush forests, vibrant culture, historic temples and adventurous activities? Well, wait no more and visit the land of elephants, learn some authentic Thai cooking, and visit historic temples! Chiang Mai, located in North of Thailand, is known as the city of contrasts where several Buddhist temples shine bright all day long. It is a journey into the city of winding streets, past the ancient buildings and walls of old city of Chiang Mai. So, let’s look at some of the things you must know before you set on your journey to discover Chiang Mai.
A little knowledge of Thai language can go a long way
Although English is widely spoken in the city, it is always good to know a few basic Thai words to communicate well with the locals, tuk tuk drivers, hotel staff and while ordering food. In general also, it is always good to know a few local phrases to show some respect to the locals. What you would find interesting about Thai language is that the men and women use some different words at the end of sentences. While males generally use the word krap, females use kap. Some of the commonly and widely used words are – Sawadee (krap or Kap) which means Hello, Khopkhun (krap or kap) for Thank you, Mai as in No and so on.
Dress appropriately in Chiang Mai
Since Chiang Mai is the home of several monks and takes pride to have around 300 temples, show respect by dressing up appropriately. It is always good to wear clothes that cover your knees and shoulders as Northern part of Thailand is little conservative as compared to other cities of Thailand. It is best to carry loose fitting, decent clothes as wearing skirts and shorts might even burn your body. So, cover yourself from the sun and keep sweat at bay by wearing breathable outfits. Check the complete post n what to wear in Thailand here.
Best time to visit the city of temples
The peak season starts in November when the weather of Chiang Mai is at its best. Tourists from all over the world travel to the city in the months of November, December and January. However, it is best to avoid a visit during March as that’s when the farmers burn their crop and the city gets covered with a thick blanket of smoke, which is unbearable and terrible.
Don’t hesitate to haggle
When out shopping, do not think twice before haggling with the shopkeepers. While the street markets of Chiang Mai has some of the great stuff to offer, the vendors try to fool the tourists to earn a little extra money. So, offer them a price you feel is the most suitable for an item and walk away if they don’t agree to it. They might call you back with a smile!
Ko Samui or Koh Samui City is a self-sufficient island which means the big source of business in itself. It has been taking care of the tourism infrastructure like a well – oiled machine. Indeed, the Island continues to work tirelessly day and night to earn far more revenues than any other cities or islands of Thailand.
Koh Samui today has become far more from the tiny fishing village of the 1940’s and is frequented by hippies and backpackers. The powdery white stretches of its amazing beaches are now transformed into premier holiday destinations especially on the entire Western Gulf coast. These retreats cater majorly to a new generation of revelers, with a majority of them being scaled up to the luxury retreats.
To take in the sights of the city, which is approximately half the size of Phuket, one just needs the better part of a day to go around the whole island. We say Koh Samui can be best experienced by taking a slow and casual approach, and the Koh Samui city guide given here will clearly explain the character of the different spots. It will help one to find what could be just right for his/her Ko Samui / Koh Samui vacations.
WHERE TO EAT IN KOH SAMUI CITY
Chez François, Fisherman’s Village, Bophut
There has never been a bad word uttered for this restaurant, and it has earned a lot of universal acclaims. Diners, here are welcomed through a large and beautiful ornate doorway which opens to a street in Fisherman’s Village. The place has a quaint small bar, while the menu keeps changing daily depending on the market availability of a product. Guests are advised to book the table well in advance.
Barracuda, the Wharf, Bophut
Situated inside the 24,000 sq km open-air mall called, The Wharf, the Barracuda lies at the western portion of the popular walking street of Bophut. This is the most noticeable restaurant here and it is run by a German. They serve one of the best Mediterranean food using local ingredients. The food is fresh, simple and the service is just impeccable at all times.
Stacked, Chaweng Beach, Bophut
We advise you not to get fooled by the simple design of Stacked at Chaweng Beach, Boput. Right from their open kitchen to the lighting theme, the place is extremely comfortable and contemporary. The selection of steaks and salads here is wonderful. However, the real challenge at Stacked is eating the famous Stacked Burger. This burger here is out of the world, and if one can finish the monster within 20 minutes, it is free; else you need to pay 1000 bahts for it. Bon appetite!
NIGHTLIFE IN KOH SAMUI CITY
9Gems, 141/190 Moo 6, Bophut
Relax by the side of a hill, enjoying fusion food and cocktails overlooking Chaweng. The 9 Gems, an upscale lounge, located in a classy villa, is the perfect place to splash your cash in Koh Samui.
Air Bar, Moo 3, Taling Ngam
Air Bar is considered to be the only place from where one can view a stunning sunset. The Air Bar lies at the top of Intercontinental Samui Baan Resort. Their stylish bar extends well over the cliffside and offers great views of the ocean. It is advisable to grab the prominent view seats as early as 5 pm. The bar has an excellent cocktail menu, created by a famous mixologist.
Woo Bar, W Retreat, Mae Nam
Have you imagined ever, having a drink at late evenings in the round lounges, set within an infinity pool? The Woo Bar has a large shaped W at one end reflecting into the water. As dusk falls and the sound of the Dj and the lights come on, guests can marvel at the amazing views of Koh Phang. A free flow of 10 signature cocktails is available for about 1200 bahts to while away the hours.
WHERE TO KEEP FIT IN KOH SAMUI CITY
Samahita Retreat, Namuang, Taling Ngam
The Samahita, or ‘balanced’ as translated in Sanskrit, is a wellness retreat located in the quieter southern part of Koh Samui. Guests of all levels of abilities are encouraged to partake in the various stress-reducing programmes, through a wide range of yoga and meditation techniques.
The Spa Samui Beach Resort, Lamai Beach
This exceptional beachfront resort has been attracting guests for decades, especially those looking for specialized treatment for healing and hypnotherapy. The atmosphere at the resort is very calm and peaceful and it encourages guests to bond and vibe with each other.
The Sanctuary, Koh Phangan
This magical piece of paradise is situated not so distant from Koh Samui, albeit a short boat rides away to the charming isle of Koh Phangan. There are no communication channels here, and the electricity is extremely erratic, which means no ATM’s either. This is incidentally the plus point here as all the action here takes place under the stars.
WHERE TO STAY IN KOH SAMUI CITY
Amari Koh Samui
Accommodation forms an important part of any holiday. And the Amari beach resort offers the best of both worlds to the guests since it is located by the sea in Chaweng. From Beach King rooms to Family villas this 4-star property is ideal for everyone looking for a luxury vacation in Thailand.
With a location, bang on Chaweng beach, OZO is perfect for those seeking uninterrupted bliss on the golden sands. The plethora of bars and clubs, for which Chaweng has a reputation, allows the guests to party away after sunset.
Banana Fan Sea Resort
The Banana Fan Sea Resort located on the beach has 73 rooms and is situated near the Phetch Buncha Thai Boxing Stadium. The rooms are simple, but lavishly appointed and have all the basic amenities and much more.
It is highly recommended that prior visiting Koh Samui City/ Island, gather as much information as you can, in order to get the best out of your valuable time and money. The short guide compiled here by us is just a small attempt to give you the local information on the island which was once just a tiny coconut plantation and an erstwhile the most famous backpacking destination.
Thailand has been a bucket list destination for travellers across the world. It’s not at all surprising, and its popularity is quite understandable because of the bustling Bangkok city, rich history of Chiang Mai, walking street of Phuket and parties of Koh Samui. But, if you are an offbeat destination lovers like us; then how about discovering the lesser known Thai destinations; which many tourists are yet to discover. Here are the six hidden treasures of Thailand which can inspire your next getaway.
Six Hidden treasures of Thailand
If you want the feel of Krabi but aren’t keen on the crowds flocking there with each other and every day, consider visiting Trang instead. It parallels and perhaps even exceeds Krabi in many ways – the limestone cliffs and emerald waters here are more magnificent than any other. Many tourists pass Trang, en route to another destination. So, you’ll pretty much have Trang to yourself.
Consider checking Trang town too, where you can discover an authentic and unique blend of Thai, Chinese and Muslim culture. It’s reflected in everything from their architecture to the food. Be sure to sample the diverse cuisine on offer, described as a bastion of curry, kopi and cake.
Ayutthaya is Recommended as one of the best ancient ruins on offer in Thailand. It has a fascinating and rich history that many travellers aren’t even aware of. Once the place also boasted the title of the biggest and most populated city in the world, but the Burmese invasion in the 18th century left it burnt to the ground. And the result is? A dilapidated yet still magnificent complex of temples and ruins. The intricate details of temples and sculptures beckon you to explore further. Hints of white and gold architecture can be found throughout. With hardly any tourists here, Ayutthaya remains undisturbed and quiet as ever.
It seems like a dream to have your own personal deserted island, but a visit to Koh Lanta will give you just that feel. Beautiful beaches and waters are absolutely unfrequented means you’ll be left to your own devices in one of the most beautiful settings in the entirety of Thailand.
Head inland to the Koh Lanta town and you’ll be greeted by welcoming smiling locals. Here too, you’ll find a mix of cultures, in a similar vein to Trang. There are also some beautiful and extravagant resorts on the island for accommodation, and many of these lie only a stone’s throw from the deserted beaches.
Lampang lies quite close to the wildly popular Chiang Mai and is much quieter and rewarding. The city is famed for its majestic temples and was once part of the Lanna Kingdom. Now, only the temples remain standing tall and beautiful throughout.
Visit the Temple of Lampang’s Great Buddha Relic to discover some beautiful ancient Buddha artefacts. Also, explore Chalermprakiat Temple atop Pu Yak Mountain. It is one of the most incredible sights in the entire world, even if many say the journey there is terrifying.
Chiang Rai, a sleepy city in Northern Thailand is often overlooked in favour of the aforementioned Chiang Mai. But, truth is, Chiang Rai offers even more than its counterpart. Take the example of famed White Temple, a majestic and beautiful architectural marvel which is hard to find anywhere elsewhere in the country.
Foodie Lovers, make sure to visit the Chiang Rai Night Bazaar. The food court here serves the most delectable dishes, from traditional Thai to a unique spin on Western cuisine. Also, do snap a picture of the famed Clock Tower, where light shows take place every evening.
Koh Khai can be recognised by its stone arch jutting into the water. Many travellers already have their dream pictures with it but still many tourists skip this tiny, deserted island while travelling to Thailand. There is only a beach and a small forest, but it is the perfect place to unwind away from the civilisation.
Although; many locals do flock to the island, so try to be there at the right time to have a feel of whole place belonging to you. There are no options for the night stay at KohKai, and a day trip is enough too. One can even take private speedboat tours that allow to stop off and get mesmerized by the luscious scenery.
These six hidden treasures of Thailand are the perfect mix of tradition, culture and natural beauty. We are sure they will leave you stunned and speechless.
If you liked them do share these hidden Treasures of Thailand with your family and friends.
Beach: Best Escape Anyone Can Have – is what it stands for. Yes, and this is true for me too. I love beaches, not only for their vivid colors, views or waves but they help me get back to “me”. I can sit for hours, admiring and getting lost in the waves. Each coming wave tells me to come out of my comfort shell, expand the horizon and not to get tied away. They tell me that let the worries drift away and think deep. Beaches make me feel heaven is much closer. Ya Ya! A lot of philosophies. Let’s come straight to Patong town & the beaches in Phuket Thailand.
Patong town is the center of attraction of Phuket and is famous for tourist nightlife and shopping. In fact, people often describe Patong town as a quiet relaxing place during the day which becomes a huge party town during nights. So, here in this post, I have listed the activities to do during day and night, which I explored recently.
Activities during Daytime at Patong Town
Hop over to Beaches
I explored that in and around Patong Village there are many beaches. In fact, the whole of the Patong village is built around beaches. So you can spend days relaxing, sunbathing, taking views and enjoying water sports at beaches. The nearby ones are Patong beach, Freedom Beach, Kalim Beach etc.
The Patong beach is widest of all the beaches here. It spreads over 3 km with a wide strip of golden sand around it. At the beach, one can explore parasailing, speed boating, cable skiing, target shooting etc and on the other side of the road, there are lots of vibrant shops which lure you to shop and restaurants to chill out.
Just next, to the Patong beach is the Kalim beach. It is an extension of the Patong beach and is rockier and surrounded by hills. No water sports or activities happen on Kalim beach. You can just take awesome views from here.
The freedom beach lies on Phuket’s west coast. It is difficult to access and is very quiet as compared to other beaches. There is hardly any noise except that of long tail boats. One can enjoy beach soccer, beach volleyball, and snorkeling here.
Phuket is rich in waterfalls too. Few of them are Bang Pae, Tonsai, Layan Bay and Kathu Waterfall. I suggest you ride to Kathu Waterfall as it is near to Patong town. From Patong head towards Phuket town, then turn left at the traffic lights next to the Caltex gas station, pass the local Kathu market and you will reach the road following Kathu waterfall. There is a climb before you get to see the magnificent views. But I am sure, once you reach and see the view you will forget everything and will say it is worth climbing.
Explore Historic Old Phuket Town
Explore the 18th century old Phuket town on foot to take an authentic feel. Here, click pictures and admire lots of colorful buildings influenced by Sino- Portuguese architecture. Many of the old buildings have now been converted to hotels, restaurants, coffee shops etc. Besides this, you can explore nearby Chinese temple. The vegetarian festival happens in September – October. During this festival, people refrain themselves from meat and other stimulants to obtain good health and peace of mind. Meat dishes are replaced by soya and protein substitutes.
Thailand trip is incomplete without Thai massage and Patong is a hub for the same. There are many small and large establishments offering various types of massage package which eases your aching foot and relax the body, mind, and soul. If you get a chance, also try an ancient massage at Temples such as at Wat Pho in Bangkok. (You can read my post on Bangkok here – 10 places not to miss during Bangkok trip).
Activities during Night time at Patong Town
Bangla Road/ Walking Street
The Bangla Road is the lifeline of Patong and it gets a life when the sun goes down. I mean it’s quiet and just like a normal road during the daytime and the actual activities come into action only during the evening. The road on both sides gets packed with bars, restaurants, clubs, and shops. The walking street gets colorful and flashy. Late night bars pump out music at full volumes and many places host live music. The touts are seen everywhere selling services of ping pong and strip shows. Strip poles are placed on the club edge and many pole dancers are seen dancing on the road itself. The best part of this place is – it is safe and you can hop to a party any time at night.
Boxing is a famous sport of Thailand. You will find many small and big fight rings in the town. But for a real experience, see Muay Thai Boxing at Bangla Boxing Stadium. There is a huge advertisement for the fight through loudspeakers and sometimes fighters themselves promote the event. The fight happens thrice a week from 9:00 pm – 11:30 pm on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. Ticket for the boxing is priced between 1700 THB – 2500 THB.
Simon Cabaret Show
The Simon Cabaret located around the Patong beach hosts most respected and famous Lady Boy cabaret show in Phuket. The show hosts spectacular musical floor with impressive sets and ladyboys dressed in beautiful costumes. All the performances are well choreographed and songs are in Thai, Japanese, and Korean. The show has fixed timings and it happens for 70 minutes. The ticket costs for Simon Cabaret costs around 800 THB – 1000 THB. After the show members of cabaret pose outside for a photograph with the audience for a fee.
Phuket Fantasea is a night theme park complex which features circus performers and a large number of animals to depict the traditional Thai story. Space encompasses games, shopping village, bird cave and floating village. The dinner buffet is served before the show. The show happens for 1 -1:30 hrs and costs around 188 THB.
Siam Niramit also hosts another spectacular show on the world’s highest stage. The whole show is a delightful picture of Thai culture and beliefs mixed with humor, dazzling costumes, and spirituality. There are lots of incredible dancers giving their best. Here also enjoy Thai buffet dinner is served before the show. The show timings are from 5 pm – 10 pm and ticket costs between 1500- 2350 THB.
So, let us know which one of these you included in your Patong town, Phuket trip.