One Week around Thailand

Thailand is one of those countries that will not leave you indifferent. A mandatory stop in any travel destination, for easy, versatile and incredible to visit. The ideal country to get into your backpacking adventures. Enjoy crazy Bangkok while eating insects contemplating a Buddhist temple next to a skyscraper. Escape to an eternal night at the Koh Tao and Koh Phangan parties or venture into the more rural Thailand in Chiang Mai.

Although highly exploited for tourism, it still preserves its origins and strong culture. Local people who will take you on their boats to cross the river, heavy Tuk-Tuk drivers who will want to show you the city and street food stalls on every corner where you can taste traditional Thai food.

Everything you need to know for your trip to Thailand:

  1. Best time of year to visit Thailand
  2. Basic tips for Thailand
  3. 8-Day Itinerary In Thailand
    1. Days 1 and 2: Bangkok
    2. Day 3: Ayutthaya
    3. Days 4 to 8: Krabi Province (Ao Nang)
  4. Budget for backpacking Thailand
  5. Where to stay in Thailand
  6. What to do in Thailand if you have more time

Official exchange rate 1EUR = 36.8 THB (baht)

Best time of year to visit Thailand

Having toured various South-East Asian countries at different times of the year, I can attest that there are neither better nor worse times to visit them. Always at one time or another it will rain on you. Of course, what seasons does Thailand have and what are the theoretically driest months?

  • Wet season: The theoretically rainy season, extends between July and October in most of the country.
  • Dry season: This runs from November to April, and you should have drier weather.

The bridge months between seasons are usually low season, you will find fewer tourists and better prices everywhere. Both dry and wet season, one for good weather and the other for coinciding with the European summer are “peak” times in which the country is in full tourist effervescence. In my case, I traveled at the beginning of May and I can attest that most hotels were at half capacity and that was noticeable in the pace of the people.

Basic tips for Thailand

Aquí van algunos consejos que pueden resultarte útiles en tu primera visita al país:

  • The south (area of ​​beaches and islands): You must be aware that everything is set up to go on tours, any island or place that has water in between, most likely you will not be able to get there on your own by renting a boat (everything has a price)
  • Set up a group and rent a longtail: If you are lucky enough to go in a large group or make a group of friends in the country, renting a longtail to take you to a nearby island can be very well priced and you can avoid the daytrips and have your own party.
  • Grab: As in many countries, taxis take advantage of tourists, so take advantage of technology and use Grab, it costs half that of Uber and less than a taxi. If for whatever reason you cannot take a Grab, always agree on the price with the taxi drivers, they will tell you << Put, put … >> Ignore them, always agree on the price even in the Tuk-Tuk.
  • Use the train: Even just once, to go to Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai or wherever you feel like going. I always recommend using the train at least once in these types of countries. They are not made for everyone, but although inexpensive they are a mixture of smells and flavors (they usually sell food) that will not leave you indifferent.
  • Travel at night: Like many of its neighbors, Thailand has a wonderful night transportation system, trains and sleeping buses. Not only will you save money but you will also avoid wasting time.
  • No sexy inside: This is what they told us in more than one temple … Whether you are a man or a woman, cover your legs and shoulders! You must always wear long pants to enter the temples.

8-Day Itinerary In Thailand

Someone may stop reading from this point on, what this crazy man is doing by literally taking a plane to the other side of the world to spend only 9 days in Thailand and return home. Well, that, spend 8 days away from home, eat Pad Thai, get to know a different culture and enjoy the wonders of Thailand. I admit, I had a lot to discover, especially in the north and 6 more days would have been good for me. So I already have an excuse to go back and finish what I started =).

Days 1 and 2: Bangkok

Most cities or capitals of South-East Asian countries can be visited in one day. Bangkok is the exception. Exception at all levels, leisure, gastronomy, culture and shopping. Every corner you turn in the city has something to see, don’t be afraid to reserve several days for the bustling capital, in our case we stayed for two whole days. Looking back and going early is a city that easily deserves four days, so do not skimp on time. The bad part, the high prices for Westerners of its main temples.

Spend time in bustling Bangkok, it is a city where you can explore for days.

A mighty storm welcomes us in Bangkok just as we step off the Skytrain. In the 5 seconds that we walked between the station and the taxi, we were totally blown away. I had never seen such intensity when it rained before, it was my first visit to the region and it was as if someone had turned on the shower tap. After having to give the taxi driver instructions (he wanted to take us a longer way) we managed to get to the hotel. We changed and got comfortable to start exploring. It was a totally different day, the storm had subsided and an imposing sun illuminated Bangkok.

We took the 15 baht bus, or else we jumped onto a moving bus that almost ran us over, to head west of the city. There we were visiting the 100 baht Wat Pho (Wat means temple) where the popular reclining Buddha is. This one is 46 meters long and 15 meters high, it is really impressive. Although you can wear shoes around the site, every time you enter and leave a temple you must take off your shoes as a token of respect.

The next stop was the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew 500 baht, as we anticipated compared to other temples it is very expensive (there are tickets for locals and tickets for tourists). But IMHO it’s worth paying for it. It is probably one of the most imposing temples in Asia characterized by its golden pagodas and pointed temples, its shapes will remind you of dragons. You may not wear long pants or a shirt that covers the shoulders, you can buy them in front of the temple itself.

The Grand Palace area is full of small restaurants where you can eat for 80 baht

On the opposite side of the river you will find the temple of Wat Arun, perhaps more spectacular at night and by far than you were once there. Admission is free, we were very shocked to see children as young as 7-8 years old who were already preparing to be monks. You can cross the river by boat for 8 baht y / v.

One of the things that I liked the most about Bangkok is that not only are there buses that go along the road, but there are boats that circulate through the canals and are part of the city’s public transport. So we took a boat to go to Wat Saket 20 baht, also known as Golden temple. The climb to the mountain is not complicated but the terrifying heat will make you reach the top drenched, from there you will enjoy one of the best views of the city.

There are three sculptures of the funny monkeys from whatsapp at the entrance of the temple

Then we continue our march through the center towards Khao San Road, losing ourselves through the alleys, entering and leaving the temples until we reach Wat Ratchanatdaram. One of the main temples of the city, its visit is free and is similar in style to the Grand Palace.

Wat Ratchanatdaram

To eat, I recommend that you go to the MBK shopping mall area, when we were there it had set up a Street Food Market, with a lot of variety and very high quality.

Day 3: Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya may not sound familiar to you, for me it was totally unknown until just before arriving in Thailand, in fact it was not in the plans. But wanting to get out and explore a little more outside of Bangkok, we headed to Hualamphong station and bought the ticket for Ayutthaya. To give you an idea, the skytrain ticket costs 33 baht more than the 2-hour ticket to Ayutthaya is 20 baht (€ 1).

As soon as we entered the train, we met a Spanish couple who had been traveling through Asia for four months and doing some work to earn money, although the trip was not treating them very well in that regard. So since we thought they were very nice, we decided to spend the whole day with them.

Ayutthaya is a very large set of temples north of Bangkok, at the time it was the capital of the Siam empire, but it was razed by Burma. In a style very similar to Angkor Wat, although of other dimensions, it is a visit that you should not miss.

The temples are quite scattered among them, there are 3 or 4 that are more or less central and then others that require you to go with Tuk-Tuk or cross rivers. As we weren’t in a hurry, we walked through the main archaeological zone.

You cannot walk around all the temples on your own, some require 50 baht entrance and others you simply have to see them from a distance. Perhaps one of the most recognizable features of the archaeological site is the Buddha’s head trapped between the roots of a Banyan. Among the stories behind this event, one stands out, a thief hid it there during the war with Siam and then the tree ended up seizing it.

Buddha head in Ayutthaya

On our way to discover all the temples in Ayutthaya we were caught by a storm after crossing the river with the longtail of a nice farmer. As you already know, it is not a time of storms and although they exist, they are short but intense. We had 30 minutes of universal flood until the storm subsided and we were able to continue, this time with Tuk-Tuk until the next stop and finally the train station to return to Bangkok.

In 2016 the King of Thailand died and for a year there was official mourning, from time to time a chant would sound over the loudspeaker in all places and people would stop in their tracks and begin to pray. When this first happened we were stumped.

Days 4 to 8: Krabi Province (Ao Nang)

Many are the options that are open to you when deciding your destination of paradisiacal beaches in Thailand, the main ones are usually Phuket, Koh Tao and Koh Phangan in the Gulf of Thailand and the Krabi region. We decided on this one. They all have their what, Koh Tao and Koh Phangan are perhaps more geared towards a young and party crowd while Phuket and Krabi are more family or couples destinations.

What you must be clear about is what was highlighted in the first section, to go to visit any island you will have to pay high prices either for the fees in the National Parks or for them to take you on tours to the remote islands. Looking back, having to do this type of activity on tour is what I liked the least, although it is the only way to get to these places and 30 boats arriving at the same beach makes it lose its appeal.

We hired a couple of excursions Koh Phi Phi and Koh Hong among other places for about 1,400 baht + 400 and 300 baht respectively as a fee for being natural parks. As you will see, the prices are exorbitant, you can go looking in several places, but the prices are agreed and it is like a large lobby in which everyone sells the same thing at the same price.

These are the essentials:

Phi Phi Islands, an archipelago of islands located between Phuket and Krabi, takes about 1:30 hours to reach them with speedboats. The day we went, the captain already warned us that the sea was rough or, as he said, “Rocky Water” we laughed and thought that there was no problem. It was literally like hitting speed bumps for 90 minutes. Once you get there the beaches are dreamy, hidden beaches behind large rock formations, hidden beaches and even the popular Maya Bay made world famous with the Leonardo DiCaprio movie “the Beach”.

Koh Hong, another set of islands near Krabi. In this case, due to the distance, we did not go by speedboat but by longtail with a super nice group. The storm caught us halfway through, despite lowering the awnings the water was entering everywhere, we ended up drenched. When we arrived at Koh Hong the storm had already ended, it was a beautiful island, with much less people than the previous day due to its lower demand, we were jumping from beach to beach during the day and snorkelling.

Another must-do is Railay Beach, just 20-30 minutes by longtail from Ao Nang. It is not an island but a beach which, due to its difficult access, can only be reached with a longtail. We were doing a couple of walks in the area and resting in front of the sea. We found a small place where we could eat the typical Pad Thai.

Railay Beach

The next day we took a shuttle for 150 baht per person to return to Krabi airport to return to Barcelona.

Budget for backpacking Thailand

To be totally frank, this is one of the trips that I have spent the most in terms of accommodation, we stayed in really good hotels and we did not skimp on expenses. Despite these for € 56 a day it is super good. If you are looking for a tighter budget you can go down to € 35 a day without any problem. There are many hostels that you can pay € 10 a day.

Budget for backpacking Thailand

On the other hand, flights within the country are very cheap. Keep in mind that between and / v from Bangkok to Krabi it cost € 25 one way so fear not. Look for flights with Air Asia and Thai Lion Air, they are the two low cost companies in the country. Withdraw cash for free with N26. If you don’t have an N26 card register and earn 25€ of free credit.

Where to stay in Thailand

This time I am going to tell you about the two hotels in which I stayed, both very well priced, since we traveled in low season.

  • Citrus Sukhumvit 11 // Bangkok: 3-star hotel in the center of Bangkok, very clean and very well soundproofed, no noise from the street can be heard from the room. The bad part is that the next room made a lot of noise one night and the staff didn’t do much about it despite our repeated requests. It is in the middle of Sukhumvit and 5 minutes from the Skytrain.
  • Ao Nang Phu Pi Maan Resort and Spa // Ao Nang (Krabi): The good part about traveling in low season is that you find authentic luxury hotels at a low price. Magnificent 4-star hotel, with buffet breakfast and decoration and wooden style super integrated with nature. The perhaps not so good part is that it has a mosque next to it and the songs can be heard from very early, it is a bit far from the beach but very close to one of the main streets.

Whoever is looking for a more backpacker style, right next to the hotel where we stayed there was a hostel, Pop In Hostel, it had a very good atmosphere and a lot of young people around. Without a doubt, if you had to go alone, that is one of the places that had the most atmosphere in the area.

What to do if you have more time in Thailand

Without a doubt, what I am going to visit the next time I go to Thailand and should not have missed my first visit is the following:

  • Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai: The north of Thailand is something that I have sooo pending, I can’t wait to go back to be able to complete my experience 100% in Thailand. Amount of temples, nature and especially responsible elephant tourism, there are a lot of places where you can see it, but before you go make sure that they are not treated as tourist elements. Thailand is one of the countries with the most elephants, but also the one that treats these animals the worst, so be responsible when going to an elephant recovery center.
  • Kho Tao and Kho Phangan: On every trip apart from culture you have to dedicate a good time to leisure, and without a doubt these two islands are the place to be, try to coincide with the full moon party to enjoy one of the best parties what’s up.

As I have already commented repeatedly, Thailand is a place that I have been waiting for so without a doubt I will visit it again in the next few years, either specifically Thailand or passing through the north when I visit Laos or Myanmar. I hope that if you have already visited the country or have it in mind, you agree with me and take some advice.

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