Planning a trip to Thailand

When you are planning a trip to Thailand, it can be hard to know where to start. So here are 5 things to have to see whilst you here! 

When you’re heading to beautiful Thailand, it’s important to draw up a thorough itinerary for the trip. This isn’t because you necessarily need to schedule something for each hour, but rather because there’s so much to do around the country, it’s necessary to prioritise.

You probably can’t do everything you want to in one trip, but with the following recommendations you should be able to cross some of the absolute necessities off your list!

P.S. These 10 day Thailand itineraries are a great place to start when planning your Thailand trip.

Planning a trip to Thailand

Explore Phuket

Phuket is known as a party island, with its abundance of beautiful beaches and fantastic nightlife options. It can also be a little on the expensive side compared to some other Thailand destinations. But if a fun island trip is what you’re looking for, then make it a priority to explore Phuket.

Start off on Patong Beach, using our Phuket guide to get you settled with a place to stay. In this area, you’ll be able to enjoy a beach resort setting, hanging out by the water and sampling the various cafés, bars, and late-night hot spots right along the beach.

You should also plan to make a stop in Phuket City (the capital of the province), which is right across the island from Patong Beach, roughly a 25-minute drive away. You can fine lots of things to do in Phuket. You’ll find interesting local shopping opportunities, as well as a nice point from which to head into the rain forest to visit some of the Buddhist temples therein. There’s a lot to explore in this regard, including the Chalong Temple (Wat Chalong), which is just south of the city. You’ll find a famed giant Buddha statue there.

Watch Football

As one of the most popular sports in Thailand, football presents plenty of fun, communal activity to enjoy while you’re in the country. The Thai professional league structure consists of dozens of clubs, with Thai League 1 – the top level – boasting 16 of them. This is the league you should look to first if you want to see a top-quality match live. Any match is fun to see, but if you get a chance to take in one of the top rivalry contests (such as the “Thailand Clasico” between Muangthong United and Chonburi), you should.

The national teams are also, as you would probably guess, tons of fun to see if one of their schedules lines up with your visit. The Thai women’s team is the more successful of the two, with a list of impressive accomplishments in the AFF Championships and Southeast Asian Games, as well as multiple World Cup appearances. But the men’s team is better now than it once was also, and still inspires a great deal of enthusiasm.

Some of that enthusiasm, we should note, is also expressed by way of an active football betting culture that spreads across all matches and leagues. While gambling in person is widely prohibited throughout the country (with a few exceptions), Thai bookmakers on the internet have made it easy for fans to stake their money on outcomes. The betting sites are well known and reviewed online, making this a perfectly acceptable way to augment the football experience.

Planning a trip to Thailand

Have An Adventure At Railay

Railay is one of many peninsulas in Thailand, but one of the biggest and most enjoyable to visit. There’s all kinds of fun to be had in the area, including the simple joy of exploring world-class beaches. But the outdoor rock climbing in Krabi is a huge draw for tourists, thanks to the limestone cliffs the peninsula is famous for. 

Although Railay is part of the mainland of Thailand, you can actually only get there by boat, because of those cliffs. This lends an exclusive air to the place (even if it’s popular among tourists), and only adds to the mystique of the climbing. And have no fear!

Though the rock faces are quite steep and intimidating in places, there are also schools in the area that can provide you with some instruction and assistance with the easier climbing spots. 

For more fun things to do in Railay, try kayaking the beautiful surrounding waters, or hiking up to the lookout spot. (There’s a lagoon at the top, too, if you want to enjoy some warmer water.)

Planning a trip to Thailand

Learn The Basics Of Muay Thai

Muay Thai is one of the Thailand’s proudest traditions: an ancient combat technique-turned-martial art, and now a competitive sport and workout technique alike. It involves using your limbs – arms, legs, shins, and elbows, as opposed to just fists and feet – as weapons and shields in an otherwise boxing-like contest. 

There are countless Muay Thai gyms around the country, as well as competitions every day of the week in Bangkok and other big cities. That means that you’re free to get into the sport either in a hands-on way or as a fan. We’d recommend doing a little bit of both, in fact. When visiting Thailand, watching a fight is a must!

Take a class or two so that you can learn Muay Thai and gain respect for its complexity, and then watch a live competition that you’ll be able to understand, at least a little bit. 

Take A Trip to the Golden Triangle & Chiang Mai

The Golden Triangle is the area where three countries meet: Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand. Once upon a time it was actually a popular spot for drug smuggling, with opium frequently crossing over the various borders. Now, though, the area has turned around and is a beautiful and interesting place to visit (not far from the Thai city of Chiang Mai). 

At the Golden Triangle, you can actually take a boat tour through intersecting waterways and all three connected countries. You can also explore fascinating sights, such as a ship with a massive golden Buddha on it, or the valley in which the Hall Of Opium (an unusual and lovely museum) is located. 

After you explore this area, do save some time to enjoy Chiang Mai as well. You can see stunning temples (arguably more impressive than those in and around Bangkok, from a visual standpoint), take a cooking class, and enjoy a massage that’s great even by Thai standards. But above all else, don’t forget to hang out with elephants! The Elephant Nature Park, a rehabilitation center for these giant, magnificent mammals, may just be your favourite stop in all of Thailand. 

Read here for more information on getting from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. 

Planning a trip to Thailand

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