When people think of Thailand, they immediately tend to conjure up images of gorgeous beaches, sunsets and perhaps the famous ladyboys. I think of elephants! Infact, such is my pachydermal love, that I took a course in training to be a mahut! While my Thai adventure was mostly dry ( no beaches, no lack of beer), I did have an amazing time in Bangkok ( whoa, Khao San Road for the win!) and Chiang Mai ( a historic little town in the north of Thailand). I’d absolutely love to go back for the beaches, though.
Here’s my Photo diary about the things I did, loved and will always cherish! Hit me up if you’re headed there and need any info at all!
Where to stay:
While in Bangkok, stay at Bodega Bangkok- a very fun, casual and friendly hostel-cum-bar. I spent two nights there before my friends joined me but I met truck-loads of other backpackers and can safely say there wasn’t a single dull minute in my 48 hours there. My average bedtime was 6 am at Bodega! Enough said, I guess.
Where to party:
Check out the road that runs parallel to Khao San, filled with LIVE bands that play anything from Latino to bhangra pop ( Yes, we were serenaded with a Thai version of ‘Mundiya te bachke Raheen’ which amused us to no end). Once you’re way up there in the clouds so much so you can’t see 1 foot away, only then you’re ready for Khao San Road. Let the madness begin.
Known as the ‘Temple of Dawn’, the ancient Wat Arun (constructed before 1656 BC!) is simply not to be missed on your trip to Bangkok. Accessible by ferries, this temple lies on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River and has a beautiful façade. One can even climb the very steep staircase to the top of the temple, for a spectacular view of the riverside and Bangkok city.
Chanel your inner Masterchef and spend the day at Silom Thai Cooking school – a fantastic experience and a lovely way to embrace the local culture. I can now proudly brandish my Pad Thai, Tom Yum soup and Mango sticky rice at a day’s notice. Bring it on, dinner-party-with-judgemental-people-who-think-I’m-a-terrible-cook!
Spend a day with the gentle giants!
At Chiang Mai, take off to an elephant camp or rescue center and get to know these beautiful animals. Do your research before you go and make sure you choose the ethical ones which do not overwork or mistreat the elephants. A day spent with them is truly a day spent well. Best Christmas day ever!
What to skip:
The Chatachuk market. There’s so much hype about this place but I fail to see why. This flea market sells everything from T-shirts to puppies (!) to fake leather goods. Just avoid it, not worth your time.
Oh and I was advised against going to see the famous ‘ping pong show’ in Bangkok but I did it anyway, just out of curiosity… and totally regretted it! It’s simply depraved and pitiful- I just ended up feeling terrible for the ‘performers’. Avoid this completely, unless you don’t mind feeling like you need a hug from mom in the middle of Bangkok.
I feel like I need to do Thailand again though- if only just for the beaches! Soon, Inshallah.