There are no shortage of things to do in Thailand, and you can definitely knock off a few of those bucket list items without breaking the bank. After spending two weeks in Thailand, here’s my recommendation for 5 things to do in Thailand that you shouldn’t miss.
1. Visit an Elephant Sanctuary in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is rife with Elephant Sanctuaries and a visit is one of top things to do in Thailand – for good reason. Many sanctuaries allow you to get up-close-and-personal with these majestic mammals, but make sure you do some research before hand as many ‘sanctuaries’ aren’t sanctuaries at all, but rather make the claim to boost business. If a ‘sanctuary’ allows you to ride the elephants, then it’s a huge red flag – Elephants should not be ridden.
I visited the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary and while I had my doubts given the mixed reviews online, the camp we visited were very attentive to the needs of the elephants and took obvious pride in their care of these loving creatures.
2. Try Scuba Diving in Ko Tao
The island of Ko Tao is one of the cheapest places in the world to scuba dive, and as a result there’s no shortage of scuba schools on the island. Whether you’re a complete beginner or a pro, there’s something for everyone.
As a complete beginner, I enrolled on Crystal Dive’s one-day PADI Discover Scuba Diving course that offered the chance to test and use the scuba equipment – with a fully-trained instructor – on a full ocean dive. This was perfect for me as I wasn’t making a commitment to a full PADI Open Water course but I also had the option to credit the experience towards the PADI Open Water Course.
3. Shop til you Drop in a Market
Bangkok is home to Chatuchak Weekend Market, a 35-acre area home to more than 8,000 market stalls. And whether you’re in Chiang Mai or island hopping you’re bound to find a local market – big or small – selling souvenirs and the like. Get lost between the sheer variety of merchandise on offer, and be sure to haggle down!
4. Trek to a View Point
One of the most enjoyable things to do in Thailand for me was hiking to the numerous view points. The majority of these were on the islands of Koh Tao, Koh Phi Phi and Koh Phangan, but Chiang Mai is also home to the highest point in Thailand. A little tedious in places, the uphill climbs can be a little cumbersome, but you’ll be rewarded with plush views like this one.
5. Eat Street Food
Thailand is said to be home to some of the best street food in the world, in fact Raan Jay Fai recently became Bangkok’s only Michelin-Starred street food vendor! As a general rule, if it’s busy with locals, it’s good to eat. And my goodness, some of the best Thai food cost less than £1 at a street food market. And over the course of two weeks I didn’t once get struck with travellers diarrhoea or any food-related illnesses.