Planning a Thailand holiday? You’ll want to add these to your itinerary.
If you’ve never been to Thailand before, it can seem like a buffet with too many options to choose from… Because it’s such a rand-friendly destination, many South Africans choose a Thailand holiday for a taste of South-East Asia. But what kind of Thailand holiday are you looking for? Shopping up a storm in Bangkok, lounging on the beaches of one of the islands, or visiting hundreds of Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai? There are so many options.
Here are five ingredients you’ll definitely want to include in your Thailand holiday.
1. A massage a day
One of the things that makes Thailand holidays famous among South Africans – and rightly so – are the Thai massages. They are unbelievably cheap by South African standards (between 200 and 350 Thai Baht, which is approximately R70 – R150). Of course, you have to pick your preferred style of massage: some find the traditional Thai massage too hard and strenuous, but there are also foot massages, head massages and much more to choose from. Find your perfect massage and be sure to book one a day while you’re on holiday.
2. Street food is the best food
Once you arrive in Bangkok, you might be tempted to eat in the many restaurants you’ll find dotting every corner. While a special meal out is definitely something worth spending on, for everyday meals you can’t do better than street food. You’ll be able to sample all the flavours of Thailand and you’ll quickly figure out which are your favourite dishes. At around 100 THB (Thai Baht) – R40 – for a plate of noodles or a basic curry, there’s no excuse not to taste your way through Thailand. Popular dishes include Pad Thai (stirfried rice noodles), Thai curry (red or green, usually with vegetables or chicken), Tom Yum soup (hot and sour soup, traditionally with shrimp) and Tom Kha Kai (Thai coconut soup). Just be sure to finish off your meal with Kao Niew Ma Muang (sticky rice and mango) for dessert. Yum!
3. Island-hopping off the beaten track
There are a number of islands to choose from in Thailand – Phuket, Phi Phi, Ko Samui and more. But there’s one that’s particularly special: off the beaten track, giving a taste of turquoise water, palm fringed beaches and amazing snorkelling and diving without all the tourists… Koh Talu island. It has the most complete fringing reef in the Gulf of Thailand, which means you can walk directly from the beach into a snorkelling paradise. And they’re actively involved in ocean conservation. In their own words: “At Koh Talu, from sunrise to sunset, all time is fun time with weariless happiness….”
4. Visit Chiang Mai’s little sister
An overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is on everyone’s list… But don’t hop off the train just yet. If you travel just a little bit further you’ll come to Chiang Dao and more specifically, Chiang Dao Nest – a blissfully secluded resort surrounded by forest and only a five minute walk from the Chiang Dao Nature trail in Chiang Dao National Park. Surrounded by rice fields, forests, mountains and natural beauty, you’ll feel a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city. And with prices from only 945 THB (R370) for a double cabin, you can afford to spend some time in the area, exploring the local temples and soaking up the culture off the beaten path.
5. Make time to chill
It can be tempting to get caught up in the whirlwind of Bangkok shopping and sightseeing, temple visits and island hopping. There is so much to see and never enough time to see it all… But remember that this is supposed to be a holiday, and make time to relax and unwind. You can do that on the beaches of an island like Koh Phayam – one of the most laidback islands to unwind and forget about real life (where rooms cost between R200 and R450 a night). Or choose one of the many peaceful resorts of Khao Lak. You can do that in the peaceful mountains around Chiang Mai. Or splash out for a 5 star inner-city retreat in Bangkok like Chakrabongse Villas and experience extraordinary luxury for 5600THB (about R2100 per double room). Travel outside of peak season and you’ll be able to take a luxury trip for a fraction of what this kind of experience would cost in South Africa.
Whichever flavour holiday you choose, a Thailand holiday can be one of the most relaxing and rejuvenating trips you’ll ever take…
The best city to fly into for a Thailand holiday is Bangkok. Book flights to Bangkok now.
Have you been to Thailand? What were your favourite things to do? Let us know in the comments below!
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