During my student days I made several trips through Europe. Then it was time for me to do the “bigger work”: making a long journey. I quickly chose the continent: Asia. Buddhas, fresh curries, golden temples, chaotic cities… this was my view of Asia and I couldn’t wait to admire this continent.
It became Thailand, just like for many first-timers in Asia. The friendly population, accessibility and versatility of this country already attracted me at that time and this is no different years later. Combine famous sights with walking rough and local paths. That’s how I prefer to discover Thailand. I have been lucky enough to have visited this country online with Thailand several times and I am happy to share my travel experiences.
1. Bangkok – boat trip on the Chao Phraya River
A trip through Thailand often starts in the capital Bangkok. Once arrived, a warm, fragrant blanket falls over me. Every continent smells and feels different, I learned then. The next morning I buy a ticket for a few euros, with which I can get on and off the boat unlimited for a few days. This is how I see local life from the water: large business hotels and wooden houses on stilts in the water alternate.
The boat takes you to the sights of Bangkok, my favorite: Wat Pho. I’ve seen this golden, reclining Buddha three times now and .. it doesn’t get old. Before entering the temple I take off my shoes and walk barefoot over the soft cloth, to the left of me the Buddha. This is the calling card of Bangkok for me and when I return to this metropolis, I keep visiting Wat Pho again and again. This is coming home to a city far from home.
2. Night train Bangkok – Chiang Mai
A night train; a cheap alternative to a domestic flight and a comfortable alternative to a night bus. As a travel fanatic with a fear of flying (well…) I like to use local land transport. Seats convert into bunk beds in no time. The train buzzes over the tracks, I am slowly lulled to sleep. The next morning I wake up in a completely different world. I exchanged the busy city of Bangkok for the countryside.
Through the window I see mountains, plantations, small villages and vistas.
3. Chiang Mai – Sunday market
Since the train runs at night, I don’t lose a travel day. Tourists and locals come together in the sections. It should of course fit into your travel schedule, but if possible, stay in Chiang Mai on a Sunday. The Sunday market is an authentic alternative to the Chiang Mai night market, which is every night.
The Sunday market starts in the afternoon: the market is displayed and the street, which is car-free for a few hours, is slowly filled with locals and tourists. Here you will find local snacks, sculptures, clothing, paintings and natural products such as soap and massage oil. The atmosphere is pleasant. At dusk I look for a restaurant where I enjoy Pad Thai, with a view over the street. Night falls, the street is slowly emptying and I have passed: I take home a bag full of souvenirs.
4. Khao Sok – pizzeria
I hardly dare to say it: as a lover of Thai food, after two weeks of traveling, I secretly get an appetite for something Western. A pizza for example. My journey continues to the jungle Khao Sok, in the south of Thailand. Once here I stay in jungle lodges on the river. There are not many restaurants in the area, many travelers eat at the accommodation. On the bus trip to the lodges, I saw in the corner of my eye a sign with “pizzeria” on it.
How good can pizzas be in the middle of the jungle? The trek overcame the doubts and in the evening I walk to the pizzeria in a few minutes. Plastic cloths are on the tables and the decoration consists of empty soda cans hanging from the ceiling. In the middle of the store I see a brick oven. Pizza it is! It tasted wonderful. What I learned in Asia is: the simpler a restaurant looks, the better the food tastes.
5. Ko Phangan – feet in the sand
An ideal tour ends for me with my feet in the sand. I prefer to leave a tourist beach for what it is and look for an idyllic paradise. The island of Ko Phangan is known by many travelers for the Full Moon parties, in the busy south of the island. However, if you travel north, you will discover small bays and deserted beaches.
The accommodations can be counted on one hand and the activities of the following days can be counted on a finger for me: relaxation. This is Thailand from the books, this is enjoyment, this is – unfortunately – the end of the journey. I take the memories (and hundreds of photos) home. As I write this I think: Thailand, see you soon!