Typically you will want to hit the big 4.
Chang Mai – North Thailand, featuring beautiful, lush manicured rice patties field on topographic landscapes that stretch as far as the eye can see.
Bangkok – Needs no introduction, I dive deeper below
SouthEast Coast – Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, Koh Sumai
SouthWest Coast – Phuket, Krabi, Koh Phi Phi
Hard to choose right? Well, it comes down to what you are looking for. If you want to live a “Hangover 2” fantasy and sip vodka at the Ice Bar. Buy extremely affordable knock off beats headphones at Khao Son road and have your mind blown regarding the extended abilities of the female body at something called a “Ping Pong show” then Bangkok is the place for you.
All kidding aside Bangkok is a stark contrast from most of SouthEast Asia with its SkyScraper Buildings and sophistication compared to the rest of country. It really is the New York of SouthEast Asia. Littered with Tuk-Tuk in lieu of Taxis. Flashbacks of drivers always shouting “TUK TUK” rings in my ears. Like New York, Bangkok doesn’t seem to sleep and is what many would consider a “BeeHive” of activity and entertainment.
What you’ll find:
Tourists, Night Life, Cheap food, Great Hostels, Amazing Bars, Luxury, Excitement, Oddities, Pingpong Show, Ice Bar, Cosawn Road, Old crumbling Temples in the middle of the city.
I can’t speak at great length about Chang Mai since I have not personally been there, the matter has always left a hole in my heart. People typically make an effort to travel Chang Mai to embrace the serenity and seclusion. If you are looking for a getaway… the other side of the coin from a place like Bangkok, then this is your refuge.
The Islands – MY FAVORITE
SouthEast Coast of Thailand (Thailand Gulf)
Koh Phangan – The party island
Howl at the Full Moon Party. This island is the mecca of all sorts of insanity and mischieve. Made popular in a movie called “The Beach” featuring Leonardo DiCaprio in the early 90’s. Where a group of teens finds a map to a hidden island in Koh Phangan.
What makes Koh Phangan so fun is the people it attracts. I describe it as the “The Cancun of that side of the planet”. Between the recent “Uni” graduates and traditional vacation time of certain countries, you will find plenty of English speaking people to talk to.
Said to be the “The Most affordable place to become a certified diver in ideal Paradise”.
I paid roughly $680 I believe (in 2015) That included a free stay for 4 nights and my open water training and Certification. Below is a video of my Dive and the experience you can expect diving in Koh Tao.
Koh Phi Phi
I spent almost 2 weeks in Koh Phi Phi. I look back on it as the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. The place is my idea of paradise. A roll-a-dex of pleasant memories come flashing to my head. This island is SO SMALL that you won’t find a motorbike on it. The accommodations are surprising, there is a variety of food from all cultures. As a picky eater, I never had a hard time finding a great meal here, pasta, American breakfast (or English), and tacos were easy enough to find.
If it were up to me, I say don’t dare leave Thailand without checking out the beautiful islands. Bangkok is great for 3-7 days. Chang Mai is good for a little longer. The islands will make you consider never leaving. Every year that goes by Thailand will become more industrialized and inflate in price. Right now I would have to say it’s still a hidden Gem.
I intend on adding an in-depth blog post regarding places I stayed, restaurants I enjoyed and the things I enjoyed the most about each of the islands in future posts. Please let me know what you would like to know more below.