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Chiang Mai

Thailand is unlike anywhere else in the world. With breathtaking beaches, golden ancient temples, lush hiking and wild life, there are affordable options for every traveler. Lively towns are littered with street food and live music. You'll be as entertained in the northern mountains as the heavenly beaches of the south. From the moment you depart, you'll begin planning your return  to this unforgettable country.

Pai

 

BANGKOK

Things to Do

Ghost Tower: Come for the sunset. Ask around your hostel for someone who can give you exact instructions how to get there. 

Grand Palace: Awe-inspiring architecture and museum. Can easily spend an afternoon exploring the expansive grounds. In summer months, make sure to go early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid heat/tourists.

Wat Arun: Buddhist temple right on the river. Amazing views of the river and the city, don't skip this temple. 

Lumphini Park: Urban park for walking and biking, can rent boats to take on man-made lake. 

Siam Park City: Amusement park with huge roller coasters and other rides. 

Terminal 21: Giant mall featuring shops with internationally themed floors. If bartering and cheap shopping tickles your fancy make sure to put this on your list. Just visiting the mall is an experience in itself. 

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market: Lively market full of boats. Selling food, fruits and trinkets -- make sure to barter. 

Jim Thompson House: Known for reviving the Thai silk trade before mysteriously vanishing. His house is really interesting, built in the  Traiditonal-Thai style.

Artist Village: Pleasant to walk around.  Good energy, friendly people and you can have a nice meal or massage. 

House of Taste Thai Cooking School: Take a traditional Thai cooking class! The food is delicious and the classes are cheap. 

Places to Eat

Le Du: Taste their Tom Yum soup with thick noodles; worth writing home about. 

Perhaps RabbitsAlice and Wonderland themed cafe with amazing desserts. Unique atmosphere and an experience to remember. Often crowded by tourists for a one time visit. 

Condoms & CabbagesFun food and decor, great for a meal any time of the day. Beautiful outdoor seating. 

Places to Drink

Khao San Road: Nightlife, shopping, and best beer for late-night partying. Beware of the bucket drinks: they are on special in almost every bar, but the alcohol is unregulated. Drink responsibly. 

SO Sofitel Bangkok: Grab a drink by the pool to get a personal view of the beautiful Bangkok skyline. 

Insanity: Crazy nightclub, the name is fitting. 

Teens of Thailand: High-energy bar in Chinatown. Great for some afternoon beers or a wild night out. 

Places to Stay

Khaosan Palace Hotel:  Great pool on the roof, perfect after a long day of exploring.

Hostels

Krit Hostel: Close to Khao San Road, very comfortable. Be aware staying near Khao San Road, close proximity to partying.

Onion Hostel: Beautiful, reasonably priced and right beside the flower market. Walking distance to Wat Pho.

Rainbow Hostel: In the middle of all the action, party hostel but comfortable and clean.

Transportation

Tuk Tuk: Fastest way to get around town. Make sure to have cash.

Water taxi: A great way to see the city. Take them to the floating markets or on a tour along the river. 

General Tips

Bangkok is a relatively safe city. Just keep your personal belongings near you at all times and try to not carry valuables if possible. 

Bangkok

Bangkok

Grand Temple, Bangkok

Sofitel, Bangkok

Koh Tao

Railay Beach

Koh Tao

 

CHIANG MAI

Things to Do

 

Art in Paradise: Super cool, interactive 3D museum. 

Chiang Mai Canyon: Premier cliff-jumping spot! Go right before sunset for a few launches and stay for sunset. 

Doi Inthanon National Park: Take a day trip out to this beautiful park to trek & explore.

Night markets and weekend markets: Bring cash! Lots of unique items you can't find elsewhere in Asia.

Thai Farm Cooking School: Take a cooking class. Flavorful recipes, helpful staff, and offers an authentic experience in understanding a huge component of Thai culture. 

Tao Garden: Serene resort half an hour outside the city. Provides a variety of holistic treatments and opportunities to learn about eastern healing medicine.

Temples: Chiang Mai has over 300, so it's hard not to run into one around every corner. Our favorites are Wat Phra Singh and Wat Phra That Doi Suthep - which you'll need to arrange for transportation out of town to see it (and the outstanding views from the top!

Places to Eat

Blue DiamondVegetarian friendly and crisp, a prime casual spot. 

Ginger & Kafe: Great cocktails, laid-back and cozy. Vast menu. 

Krua Dabb Lob: Honestly the best fried wide noodles we had in all of Thailand. 

Woo Cafe-Art Gallery-Lifestyle Shop: Cute spot with delightful food and decor. They also have many trinkets and specialty items for sale.

Places to Drink

North Gate Jazz Club: Live music and refreshing drinks.

The Writers’ Club & Wine Bar: Wine and appetizing food specials.

The UN Irish Pub: Get great pub food and atmosphere to enjoy a range of local and international beers

Roots Rock Reggae Bar: Center of the old city. Live bands perform nightly and provide great entertainment.  

THC Rooftop Bar: Hippy vibes, DJ playing groovy music, with tasty drinks and cushions to chill on. 

Places to Stay

AirbnbCheap and safe option. Can find reasonably-priced places in town, some even with pools. Stay on the lookout for options at Astra Condos - good location, rooftop pool, a gym and more. 

Hostels:

Green Tiger Vegetarian House: Best hostel meals and provides cheap accommodations. Very close to markets.

S*Trips The Poshtel: Five minute walk to night markets and hundreds of restaurants. Good central location.

Mad Monkey: Fun pool, phenomenal pub crawl, and great vibe. Close walk to the main street.

Transportation

Tuk tuk: Use cash and bargain.

Red Songthaews: Keep an eye out for these red trucks that you pile in the back of. You can often get from point A to B for 30 Baht. If you see one of these outside of the airport, it's your cheapest option!

Chiang Mai

Thailand

Bangkok

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai

 

KOH TAO

Things to Do

Diving: Trek the waters through either company: La Bambona or Mojo Divers.

Snorkeling: Will have stands by the waterfronts of: Au Luk Beach, Mango Bay Beach, Freedom Beach. 

Places to Drink

Sarri Beach: Coast town with various clubs and bars. Any hostel can get you signed up for Sarri Beach Bar Crawl, which happens a few nights a week.


High Bar: Unique and beautiful tree house bar. A bit out of town, but well-worth the trek. This gorgeous wooden tree house is a perfect place to unwind. 

Places to Stay

Koh Tao Loft: Centrally located and comfortable, the food at the bar is also delicious.

  

Central Hostel: Comfortable and clean.

Naung Yuan

 

Chiang Mai Canyon

Chiang Mai

La Bambona Divers, Koh Tao

Mango Bay, Koh Tao

 

PAI

Things to Do

Bamboo Bridge: Long bamboo bridge that takes you through rice fields.

Rent bikes: Take them for a spin around town and check some sights!

Temple on the Hill: Hosts a giant white marble Buddha overlooking the canyon, very beautiful.

Waterfalls: Can slide down them, tables near by for picnics. Ask local hostel where nearest are located.

Pai Canyon: Great hiking. Not too challenging, but just enough to feel like you're putting in work. 

Hot springs: Don't go to the ones that charge. There are free ones, just ask around.

Places to Eat

Art in Chai: Great coffee and teas. Perfect place to kick back and relax on any day in Pai.  

Air Restaurant: Great, authentic Thai food.

Coffee in Love: Hit it on your way in or out of town, and sit in their fun hanging basket chairs while overlooking Pai's beautiful mountains. Get a coconut smoothie or Thai tea.

Ganesh: Some of the best Khao Soi we had in Thailand. 

Good Life: Lip-smacking, healthy food. Fair prices, long tea list, and homemade kombuchas.

Fat Cat Restaurant: The breakfast bowl with coconut milk, fruit and dried fruits is incredible. Offers a wide range of salads, soups, sandwiches. 

Pens Kitchen: Phenomenal penang curry. Get it. 

Treehouse Cafe and Restaurant : Restaurant looks out over a beautiful green vista. Serves fresh, local food. 

 

Street food: Sample all the delicious stand on main market street - this night market is up every night! 

Places to Drink

Cha Bar: Always a BOGO happy hour for Mojitos. First round comes with a shot.

Don't Cry Bar: Often has live music or DJs.  Quality, cheap drinks. Great place to meet locals and fellow travelers alike.

Edible Jazz: See live jazz and bands, great drinks. 

Hakuna Matata: Not lion king themed, but definitely bright and loud. 

Sunset Bar: Local scene, live music.

Thien Art Space: A hip, artsy bar with incredible decoration on the road that leads to Sunset Bar.

 

Why Not Bar: Huge outdoor space, they often host events DJs and bands for entertainment. 

Places to Stay

Oasis Pai: Find Connor. He owns it and will help you with everything.

Grounds Hostel: Clean, has AC, and is right in town. 

Suandoi Hostel: Beautiful grounds overlooking the mountains with plenty of hammocks to hang out, free breakfast, and a bar. 

Treehouse Resort: A bit out of town, but haven't you always wanted to stay in a treehouse? Very affordable, clean, and such a romantic landscape. 

General Tips

The easiest way to get around is by scooter - many sites are a bit further out of town. 

If you decide to take a scooter from Pai to Chiang Mai and back, make sure you're comfortable riding on windy mountain roads. There's 762 turns, and you'll most likely encounter cops. And don't forget your helmet!

Scooter tips:

We recommend using Aya Service. Aya will actually take your bags for free if you use them, or for 150 baht if you use another service. They also have a location in both cities, so if you decide to only drive on direction, you can drop it off.

Make sure to take photos and videos of your bike before leaving to document damage (or lake thereof) so the shop can't say you wrecked it.

Never give anyone your passport. It's very popular for companies to keep tourists passports and hold them until they pay a hefty fine. Cops are in on this scam too, so calling them won't help. Only give copies! 

There's almost always traffic stops leaving Chiang Mai and Pai, and they're tourist shake downs. Even if you have an international driver's license, they'll probably find something wrong with it and still fine you. Only carry some Baht on you (no more than 500), and never give them your passport or license - only give them copies. 

Pai

Koh Lanta

 

Astra Condos

Coffee in Love

Temple on the Hill

Bamboo Bridge

KRABI / AO NANG

Things to Do

Boat tours: There's tons of boat tour options (both ferries and long tail) to other islands. Don't miss the island hopping tour or the Phi Phi Islands. 

Krabi Elephant Sanctuary: An ethical elephant retirement center where you can feed, walk, and bathe the elephants. Remember - riding elephants is harmful to their backs! Stick to ethical sanctuaries only. 

Railay Beaches & Caves: Just a short boat ride from the main beach in Krabi, this is one of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand. See more below about Railay! 

Snorkle/SCUBA tours: You'll see travel agencies all over town. 

Tab Kak Hang: Challenging hike with expansive views of Krabi. Ask a tuk tuk to take you there from town - locals should know the spot. 

  

Tiger Cave Temple: Temple at the top of many, many steps, that warrants amazing views. Go at sunset! 

Thung Teao Forest Natural Park: Make sure to check out Crystal Lagoon.

Places to Eat

Iku Iku Don: Super fresh Japanese - get the shashimi. 

Govindas: International vegetarian foods. Great place to grab a salad or sandwich.

Places to Drink

Walk around the main strip in Ao Nang to see which bars are busiest.

Raggaetown: Live music and happy hour deals on draft beers and food. 

Places to Stay

GLUR hostel: Clean, well-kept, affordable.

The Moment Hostel: Very clean, and located right outside of tons of street food vendors so you can grab a bite to eat at night. 

Transportation 

You can pretty much walk everywhere, but if you want to get out of town, ask a driver. 

Getting to and from the airport expect to pay around 150 Baht per person for a mini bus. 

RAILAY

Things to Do

Beach activities: Whether you want to lay around and have a lazy day, paddle board, kayak, or swim, there's plenty of stands on the beach with tours and rentals. 

Hike to Tonsai: You can trek through the jungle from East Railay to Tonsai Beach. Ask a local, they'll know where to start. 

Railay ViewPoint: Straight up rope climbing hike in the beginning, but worth a beautiful view on Railay beaches. If you head onto the Blue Lagoon, it's worth it, but note there might be a 1,000 Baht fine and it is super dangerous - just take it slow!

Rock Climbing: Railay is famous for amazing rock climbing. It's such a thrill! We did it through Hot Rock and had a blast, but there's schools all over to choose from. If you're a beginner they all start at the same places. 

Places to Eat

Joy: Two locations. The one closest to West Railay has the best pizza.

Kohinoor Indian: Great Indian food. 

Leks: Our favorite Pad Thai in all of Thailand, and fresh sushi. 

Various Restaurant: It's actually multiple resturants combined (including Joy). They have some of the best fresh fish.

Places to Drink

Last Bar: Literally the Last Bar on East Railay beach, and tons of fun.

Beyond Last Bar, East Railay has many affordable bars. 

Places to Stay

Blanco Hideout Railay: Railay's first and only hostel. They've got a beautiful view from their pool area, and have tons of events (like Muy Thai, buffet dinners, pub crawls) so you can get to know others. 

Treehouse Resort

Railay Beach

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