Thailand is as great as it appears to be.
One of those places that can satisfy the desire of anyone and their traveling needs. A girls trip, a solo backpacker, family, couples, even the elderly. It's such a beautiful place inside and out, that it definitely deserves to be visited for more than two weeks at a time. If not, definitely on several separate occasions.
Before going to Thailand, I had a list of places that I wanted to visit, things that I wanted to see and do. I literally created a chart to help me balance everything out. Talk about obsessively organized, that was me. What I learned is that Thailand is so large, so beautiful and filled with so many options to explore that having an itinerary lasts only but so long. Towards the end of the trip, you'll end up checking off at least half of the things on your list and adding an additional list of things that you did get to see and do.
Within 10 days, I visited Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Phi Phi Islands. Plane to plane. Hotel to hotel. Life of a celebrity! Ha!
Before going, everyone who has ever been to Thailand told me in advance that Bangkok is good for 1 or 2 days. Anything more, you'd become bored of it. Well, to each their own. I originally booked my flight to Chiang Mai in advance, so I had no choice but to spend a little under 2 days in Bangkok. Had I waited to book the flight, I might have stayed another 2 days in Bangkok. It's a busy city. Full of street vendors on every inch of the block, "ladyboys" on every corner, temples every where you look and bright lights along the BTS and MTR--that's their transit system.
I enjoyed riding the sky train. It made me feel like a local. If you do any tours in Bangkok, be aware of the end "treat" at their nearest Jewelry shop. Don't waste your time! The temples were extremely beautiful. I will mention that it's filled with tourists! Like, packed! It takes away from the experience of being in the temple, but its still worth the go. After a while, I grew tired of filling these sacred places with eager tourists and I began to feel like my desire to take photos was a bit disrespectful. But hey, the beauty of the architecture itself was too tempting.
One of my favorite cities! I loved Chiang Mai. It felt more cultural and you really had a chance to interact more with the locals, and even tourists from all around the world. What I loved best was that you had areas where you'd bump into other tourists, but then you can take a bicycle ride away and get lost within the city (which is what I did). The bike rentals (not motor) was like $50 baht a day, which is almost $2 USD. Where do they do that at!?
Chiang Mai felt like home away from home. My hotel was located next to the Night Bazaar. This place was so dope. The vibe was: a market on one side taking up a few blocks. Options to buy things or book your next excursion. Then, within the bazaar area was live music, different food trucks and stands, bars and wine trucks all centered around the seating area. You had the choice to sit on high chairs, or by the little barn-looking area.
Of COURSE, my most favorite part about Chiang Mai was going to see the elephants. UGH! Talk about Love.
If you are a person who loves to party on vacation, this is your spot. For me, it was a bit overwhelming. Especially Bangla road! It was awesome to see all of the lights, the bars, the people all on one long road, but for my purpose of the trip, I didn't spend much time loving this space. Be careful if you visit this area. There are "ping pong" shows and it's pretty much sex shows and a scam for your money. I read about this prior to my trip, so I didn't get caught up! Patong beach is pretty cool, but definitely take a motor ride or a tuk tuk up to Karon beach and it's a lot more calm and scenic.
Phi Phi Islands
A perfect way to wind down. Initially, I did not want to go to the beach. It's weird that I kept telling myself I don't care to see the beach, I just want culture. But this was very much needed.
From the many planes that I had been on and jumping from hotel to hotel, to be able to wind down and take a dip in the beautiful crystal clear water was such a relief! Of course, everyone wants to go to visit the famous Maya Bay which was filmed in the movie "The Beach" and Monkey Island. There are so many islands, it's great to take the time out to do that tour.
I personally didn't care for Maya Bay because they charge an additional fee to go into the "National Park" but it's really just a small mountain area. So myself, along with a few others on my boat, stayed and chatted instead of going to explore the park. My favorite was swimming along Viking Beach and the Monkey Island!
Thailand is absolutely the place to explore, absorb different cultures and meet new people! I met so many people from all over the world. One thing that I learned is that, though we don't all speak the same language, there is one universal language. That's love. Thailand cleanses you. It may not be a trip that removes all adversities that you may be facing back home, but it's absolutely a trip that will cleanse and renew you.