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Every week I’m seeing new deals on flights to Thailand and holding back my fingers from booking. More and more airlines are flying in. While still a hot spot for backpackers there are also plenty of options for those of us who like a good deal but aren’t ready or willing to bunk up with 20-something’s in a hostel. I first went to Thailand with my oldest son. We had an amazing time! He and I put together this list of bucket-list experiences we think you should have in Thailand too.
Stay in a Phuket Villa Rental
Compared to other destinations around the world Thailand is a bargain lovers paradise – even for luxury travelers. You can stay in a gorgeous luxury villa on the island of Phuket for a fraction of the price you would pay at other island destinations. While hotels are nice, apartments and villas are ideal for the convenience and comfort. With your own space you can feel at home and really relax instead of worrying about your hotel neighbors or housekeeping knocking at 9am. A kitchen also allows you to eat whenever you feel like it. We’re a big fan of villa rentals and having your own place in Phuket is ideal. This is also an excellent choice for larger families or groups of people traveling together. Split the costs and enjoy the convenience.
Help with Elephant Rehabilitation in Chiang Mai
Elephants have played an important role in Asian culture for centuries. They are often used in the logging industry but also in the tourism industry to give rides. However, many animals are mistreated and we wanted no part in contributing to that cruelty. Instead, visit somewhere like the Elephant Nature Park in the mountains outside Chiang Mai. Here, elephants are rescued from captivity in Thailand and nearby Burma. They’re given a quieter life, with plenty of space to roam and food to eat. When you visit you can interact gently with the animals and maybe even help bathe them in the river. There are no elephant rides but you can have an experience with these gentle giants.
Do a Street Food Tour in Bangkok
Bangkok is a HUGE city that can very easily feel overwhelming. One of the best experiences you can have with Thai culture is understanding the food. This can be tough if you’re on your own. We love food tours around the world and Thailand is no different. By going on an organized tour you’ll be able to experience authentic and unique food experiences all under the guidance of someone local. If you have food allergies or restrictions this is also an ideal way to try new things while still being safe with what you’re eating. Afterwards you’ll have the confidence and experience to go out to eat on your own. Street food in Thailand is a bargain, so paying for one tour will easily repay the cost of admission when you’re eating well and saving big in days to come. If food isn’t your thing here are some ideas for eight other things to do in Bangkok.
Chill Out in Koh Lanta
This is actually a series of small islands that are ideal for travelers that are a little bit older and looking to relax away from the backpacking crowd. When you book your stay you’ll want to stay for awhile because it will take some effort to reach the area. But, when you do you’ll see the effort was worth it. Koh Lanta is also good for families with clean beaches and calm waters. Take out a boat and kayak through the mangrove forests or just relax in a hammock and read. For halal travelers you’ll also be at ease as this part of the country is primarily Muslim so you’ll have all the desirable amenities (halal food, mosques, etc) at your disposal.
Take the Train from the top to bottom of Thailand
Do you want a real adventure? Then this train ride is for you! There are different classes of train cars but don’t expect anything too grand. Trains in Thailand move people and goods around the country and you can join the movement! Do a little research to determine which route and class of travel is best for you and even if you do select first class don’t expect five-star luxury. However, if you want to really see the country in a way that is difficult by plane or even car then a train ride is ideal. Wind your way up or down the country with the cities and villages passing you by. Share a meal with your fellow passengers and trade travel tales too.
Thailand really is a fantastic travel destination and I could add twenty or more things to this list of experiences you should have when you visit but some adventures you’ll need to discover on your own! Start with this great guide to things to do in Thailand and discover what to pack for Thailand too.