Hi, I’m Steph
What started as a four month excursion launched me 8,015km through nine countries in Western Europe. I left my bike in Switzerland and continued my travels with boots and a backpack. Since then I’ve sailed, backpacked, hiked, motorcycled and road tripped through Croatia, the majority of South East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, the States, England, a few sporadic countries in Eastern Europe, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, most of the Stans, Russia and India.
It’s not a trip, a break or a vacation. It’s just a mission to develop a world view by the simplest and most effective means possible: see the world. To follow my mission, you can keep up to date on my blog, Steph Goes Global, but for now, enjoy my 5 destinations you can not miss in Thailand!
1. Chiang Mai’s Old Town
Temples on temples on temples. Chiang Mai has a walled Old Town surrounded by a moat, and inside it are more temples than you’ll have time to see. After a while they might start looking the same. Old Town isn’t that large and it’s a great place to be based out of when exploring Chiang Mai.
Remember your temple etiquette! If you have no idea what this entails, better read Thailand 101!
2. Khao San Road, Bangkok
This is arguably Thailand’s most famous stretch of road. It’s where the first few scenes of The Beach take place. During the day it’s a great place for cheap food, cheap beer and cheap shopping. During the night it’s a great place for a lot of cheap beer until the small hours of the morning, getting dragged to shows, dancing, strange foods (scorpions on sticks, anyone?) and live music. If you’re a backpacker staying in Bangkok, you should aim to stay near Khao San Road. Feel free to stay on Khao San Road, but the place can stay pretty loud and light until very late in the night. Most attractions are reachable from it or a short tuk-tuk ride away.
3. An island
A few days on a tropical beach chasing Nemo in the corals and drinking a ton of Tigers should be on your list. Thailand has good (cheap) diving, and the islands are geared heavily towards tourists, so it doesn’t matter if you’re a backpacker or on a 2-week honeymoon, there’s something to suit you.
Popular islands are Koh Phi Phi & Koh Phi Phi Don, Koh Tao, Koh Samui, Koh Lipe and Koh Chang
4. Yi Peng/Loy Krathong
This isn’t that fair for me to put on this list, but if you are in Southeast Asia while this festival is taking place, you should make it a priority. Loy Krathong is celebrated all over South East Asia, but in northern Thailand it’s combined with Yi Peng. Loy Krathong is celebrated by lighting lanterns and sending them floating on the water. Yi Peng is celebrated by sending flying lanterns into the sky. It’s known as the “The Festival of Lights”. The largest celebration is in Chiang Mai where lanterns are released both onto the water and into the sky. Thousands and thousands of people pack the streets, lanterns fill the sky and the ladyboys come out in full force. There’re parades and way more street food than usual. The festival goes on for a few days.
There are a few different types of lantern releases – some are for “tourists” and require extortionate fees, and the festival is for everyone. Here you can get a lantern for 50 baht (about 2USD). The tourist releases take place at different times than the actual ceremony.
The dates of this festival change yearly, so look this up prior to going and don’t assume that just because they were November 23-27, 2015 that they will be the same in 2016.
Get your accommodation in Chiang Mai a few weeks in advance – hostels get very busy during this time!
5. Pai, Northern Thailand
Once a little known backpacker paradise, Pai is now “that place we all go after we hit Chiang Mai”. But despite its popularity, it’s an incredibly laid back little town. There are hot springs (both expensive and very cheap) to find, waterfalls to slide down, trekking trails, winding roads to scoot down, way too many cafes to hang out in and a delicious Walking Street every night (Pad Thai, baked potatoes with toppings, bakery goodies, BBQ’d sweet corn on the cob, ice cream, salted & sugared strawberries, popcorn, bruschetta, spring rolls and samosas) – food from all over the world pops up here and it’s delicious.
The one drawback of Pai is that there aren’t really any tuk-tuks and you really do need to rent a scooter to get anywhere. This leads to a lot of newbie-riders on scooters driving on a side of the road they aren’t used to. Lots of people get into scooter crashes in Pai (just something to be aware of! If you ride smart you’ll be fine!).
If you loved my post about Thailand, make sure to follow my blog as I continue to explore the world!