Hello once again to all my fellow travelers. The holiday season is yet upon us and all of us will be looking to book their vacations now. So I thought now would be a right time to give you a brief idea on how to travel Thailand in a completely new and a unique way. Especially for the common Indian traveler.
The way I see it, Thailand has become the most popular destinations for all first time Indian travelers. Traveling abroad can sometimes get intimidating for new travelers. That is why I am here helping you guys to travel to Thailand easily, on a budget and in completely new way. There are lot blogs and videos on how to travel to Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya. But today we are going to discuss unexplored parts of Thailand that Indian travelers ever go to, experience things that Indian travelers hardly ever experience.
First I want to get the basics out-of-the-way so that we can move forward to more important stuff.
Thailand Basics For Indian travelers:
- Visa is on Arrival for Indian travelers is given for 15 days and at a cost of 1000 Baht = 2000 Rs, which has to be paid in local currency, so exchange currency before you arrive !
- You must have proof of accommodation for your stay and rough itinerary
- If you decide to take the visa before hand it is 500 Rs more expensive. It saves time as lines for VOA can get very long. I had to wait 45 mins
- Best time to visit is Mid October to Feb. As there is less rain (except Koh Samui Region) in most parts of the country.
- Bangkok has 2 Airports, just see which airport you are arriving to or using for all your flights
- There are free shuttle buses from both these airports which run every 30 mins, you can ask anyone at the airport they will help you, all you need are your tickets to get on them
- There is an Airport rail link at Suvarnabhumi Airport which takes to you the city center (Phaya Thai) for just 45 Baht = 90 Rs. If you have lots of luggage go for taxi
- Taxis use meters so do not go if the driver is not putting the meter on.
- English is spoken in bits and pieces, so install the google translate app on your phone before you go
- Get a local sim card. AIS is very good cell service company and have network even in the most remote islands.
- Like Uber, Thailand has Grab. So install this app before you go. Grab has 2 wheelers as well which really helps you get from place to place quickly in heavy Bangkok traffic.
BANGKOK ! ! !
Now That the basics are clear, lets talk about the first place that you will be visiting in Thailand. Most of you coming to Thailand will be flying into Bangkok. Bangkok is beautifully chaotic. There is just so much to do and see. But i suggest you spend no more than 3 days here and go to where Thailand really is
Must do unique things in Bangkok:
- If you are a party animal, you have to check Khao San Road. It is backpacker paradise. Cheap drinks, food, shopping and the best thing- Foot massages everywhere.
- Eat Pad Thai at the most popular Pad Thai place in town – Thip Samai Pad Thai
- Stay at a nice party hostel – meet people from all over world and party all night with them
- You must reach Bangkok on the weekend so that you can enjoy the Chatuchak weekend market
- Use public transport – it was very easy to use and can get you places all over Bangkok. Use the Google Maps app for which transport to take
- Must visit rooftop bars like Sky bar, octave and vertigo – All rooftop bars open at 6 PM, make sure you reach there by 5.45 PM otherwise it can get difficult to get in. Wear full pants and shoes. Shorts and slippers are not allowed
- Bangkok is a shopper’s Paradise – Must visit places are MBK mall, Prathunam market, Bobae market and the Siam malls.
- Go to the floating market in the morning time
- Have a drink at the Eagle’s Nest Bar during sunset for amazing views of Chao Phraya river and Wat Arun.
Now that you have explored Bangkok in a completely new way it is time to explore the remaining country. The way I see it Thailand is divided into 3 Major regions. Bangkok, The Islands and The mountains
I like to Divide the Island into 2 groups: The north groups which has the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. The South group of islands, also commonly knows as the Krabi region has Koh Lanta, Koh Phi Phi and Koh Pu
To begin with we’ll start with the north group of Islands
You can reach here via a direct flight to Koh Samui airport. Koh Samui is really a nice place and has a balance of everything. Decent party scenes with amazing natural beauty around. Although it can get too crowded for my liking in peak season.
From Koh samui you can take a boat ride from the ferry terminal to Koh Phangan. Koh Phangan is for party animals. Every Full moon the island hosts one of the most crazy parties all over the world. People literally go crazy on this day here.
The highlight of this area is this area is the small island of Koh Tao. Koh Tao is just like paradise Walk up yo the John suwan lookout point and you will have reached paradise
Koh Tao is also a great place to get you PADI license. For those of you who dont what a PADI license is, basically this 3 days course certifies you as a professional Scuba diver and you cant just easily rent diving equipment anywhere in the world to go scuba diving and will not need a guide with you. This gives you a lot of freedom and decreases the cost of your future dives to upto 75 %. If you do not have a license you pay for the guide/ instructor and the extra equipment when you want to go for a dive. It takes 3 days and will cost you upto 15000 Rs per person including accommodation and the entire course. I highly recommend getting yours here.
Once you are done with the north island fly down to Krabi and take shuttle from the airport at Krabi and will take you across a strait on a ferry to the very laid-back island of Koh lanta. Koh Lanta is a perfect place for couples relax and take a deep breath. It has a very laid back and chilled out feel to it. There are no crazy party scenes. Just beautiful vistas all around. Hire a scooter for 500 Rs per day and drive down to the southern most tip of the island to Mu Koh lanta National park and climb up to the lighthouse. Here you will get 360 degrees views of the ocean and is a great place to check out the sunset. On the way stop at random eateries and bars which are cliff hanging and have beautiful ocean views on the horizon.
Once in Koh Lanta do not forget to go on the 4 island tour, it is a must and i highly recommend it. Kayaking is also a good option and must try for people interested.
You can also take day trip to the island of Koh Phi Phi. Maya bay area in Koh Phi Phi is beautiful but very touristy. when there are too many people around, it just takes away the charm of the place.
Once you are done with islands you must head north to the mountains. Most of the Indian travelers I have come across hardly ever go up North in Thailand. Chiang Mai is the capital of the north and once done with the islands I highly recommend you take a flight to Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai is the cultural hub of Thailand and has so much to offer. There are cool cafes and eateries on every corner, jazz clubs playing music to late night, pubs and lanes filled hostels which have people from all over the world backpacking.
I suggest you stay at hostels as you get to meet so many like minded travelers and get to party with them, share travel experiences and have a blast.
Chiang Mai has a lot of bike rental places and I highly recommend you rent a bike for a couple days and take at least these 2 trips around Chiang Mai. Go to Tony’s Big Bikes. All rental places keep your passport as a deposit so do not hesitate, it is perfectly normal and they return it to you once you return your bike
Pai Canyon – This one day trip to Pai canyon is not for the faint hearted. The road leading up to pai has 762 turns. It is full of twist and turns. Experienced riders will not have a problem here. Leave early in the morning to avoid rush and use google maps to navigate to Pai. Pai is mall farming village and the main highlight here is the Pai canyon. Pai canyon is at its best at sunrise and sunset.
Also on the way to Pai there is Tiger Kingdom where you can get up and close with Tigers. They are domesticated and you get to play with them. It is definitely a worthy experiences
Doi Inthanon National Park – On day 2 you can go to the highest point in Thailand.I suggest you leave early and reach the peak at sunrise. The views are simply stunning. while you are there, you can also check out the numerous waterfall in and around the national park. I recommend going to Mae Yae watefall and Sirithan waterfall.
I hope this gives you a brief idea on how to travel Thailand in a completely new and a unique way. These are just a few suggestions that i recently explores. All of you should feel free to explore other places by yourself as well. You must break free from traditional stereotypical travel itineraries and take the road less traveled. Once you do that i am sure you will not go back and a wanderlust bug will forever be within you.
Check my YouTube video for a more visual experience of my trip to Thailand