Thailand is a collage of animated scenes that comprise bustling modern cities crowded with motorbikes and tuk-tuks, Buddhist temples tended by orange-robed monks, hill tribes selling handicrafts, lush landscapes dotted with traditional farming villages, ancient ruins and stunning coastlines peppered with gorgeous beaches and blue lagoons. Such a captivating portrait explains why Thailand is Southeast Asia’s most popular travel destination.
Those looking to spend a few weeks exploring tropical islands should head to the picture perfect Thai Islands. If the exciting energy of a capital city is more your style, Bangkok will more than provide an unforgettable experience. For getting to grips with nature and understanding more about the various ethnicities within Thailand, the city of Chiang Mai serves as the perfect jumping off point to the mountainous landscapes of the north.
10. Chiang Rai
The northernmost city in Thailand, Chiang Rai serves as the main commercial hub of the Golden Triangle, which contains the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. A busy town offering something for everyone, Chiang Rai is often used as a base for exploring the surrounding region. The town itself is quiet during the day, when most of its package tourists are out on day trips, but at
Once just a quiet village in northern Thailand, Pai is now a booming town that is part of the Mae Hong Son Loop stretching between Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son. Noted for its picturesque valley and relaxed atmosphere, Pai is a favored destination among backpackers and tourists wishing to explore the region. With Pai’s location in the foothills of the mountains there are several options for trekking and visiting hill tribes. Also just outside the city are elephant camps, hot springs and beautiful waterfalls. Additionally, the Pai River offers tubing and whitewater adventures.
8. Phanom Rung
Sitting on an extinct volcano in northeastern Thailand, Phanom Rung is a Hindu shrine complex regarded for its outstanding architecture. Located near the village of Nang Rong, this temple sanctuary was built by the Khmer culture between the 10th and 13th centuries as a dedication to the Hindu god, Shiva. Constructed of sandstone and laterite, Phanom Rung was built to represent Mount Kailash, the sacred home of Shiva. The complex faces east, and four times a year the sun shines through all 15 sanctuary doorways. During these events the park extends its hours, and locals celebrate the Phanom Rung Festival around the April alignment, with ancient Brahmin ceremonies and modern sound-and-light shows.
Railay (or Rai Leh) is a small peninsula in south Thailand that is only accessible by boat due to the high limestone cliffs cutting off mainland access. These cliffs attract rock climbers from all over the world, but the area is also a popular attraction in Thailand due to its beautiful beaches and quiet relaxing atmosphere. Almost every patch of buildable land fronting in the eastern and western part of the peninsula has been taken over by bungalow resorts, and development is creeping up into the forest behind. But at least there are no high-rise buildings, and much of the construction is hidden among trees or set amid prettily landscaped gardens.
6. Khao Sok National Park
Considered by many to be one of Thailand’s most beautiful wildlife reserves, the Khao Sok National Park covers jungle forests, limestone karsts, rivers and lakes in the Surat Thani province of southern Thailand. The reserve is home to some of the most amazing wildlife in Thailand such as Asian elephants, barking deer, wild boar, bears, Malayan tapirs and various monkeys breeds like gibbons, pig-tailed macaques and langurs. There are several trails in the park from which visitors can choose to enjoy trekking through the jungle to spot wildlife, photograph beautiful waterfalls, swim in natural pools and admire stunning vistas from elevated viewpoints.
Founded in 1350, the city of Ayuthaya is located in the Chao Phraya River valley in Thailand. It sits on an island surrounded by three rivers connecting it to the Gulf of Siam. King U Thong proclaimed it the capital of his kingdom, the Ayuthaya Kingdom, better known as Siam. Once declared the most magnificent city on earth, Ayuthaya was an impressive site, with three palaces, more than 400 temples and a population that reached nearly 1,000,000. In 1767, the Burmese attacked and conquered Ayuthaya however and the capital was moved to Bangkok. The ruins of Ayuthaya are now a major attraction for those visiting Thailand. It is just 80 km (50 miles) north of Bangkok, and is easily reached by train, boat, bus or van.
Located in western Thailand and admired for its beautiful scenery and accessibility to national parks and waterfalls, Kanchanaburi is best known for the Bridge over the River Kwai that is linked with the historic Death Railway to Burma in which thousands of Asian laborers and POWS died during its construction under Japanese occupation during WWII. Several museums and war cemeteries all present information about the city and its bridge during the 1940s Japan occupation. Outside of Kanchanaburi are several national parks, including Erawan and Srinakarind National Parks, which offer beautiful scenery, waterfalls and caves.
3. Chiang Mai
Surrounded by the mountains of northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is a flourishing city often used as a base among both backpackers and tourists wishing to explore the lush landscapes, hill tribes and outdoor adventures of the region. Nevertheless, Chiang Mai itself is a large and culturally important city where historical and modern Thai architecture and traditions coexist. A walk around the historic center bestows views of old city walls and dozens of Buddhist temples. However, the most famous of these temples, Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, lies outside Chiang Mai on a mountainside overlooking the city.
Thailand’s capital city and by far the largest city in the country, Bangkok, is a buzzing cosmopolis of high rise buildings, magnificent palaces, ancient temples, glittering nightclubs, bustling markets and streets lined with vendors hawking souvenirs and tantalizing foods. While the city is sometimes described as a concrete jungle jam-packed with noisy traffic and air pollution, Bangkok is not without its natural beauty that is seen in its remaining canals, green spaces and flowering tropical plants. The famous tourist street, Khao San Road, is a good place to begin with its cheap shopping, dining and nightlife. Also not to be missed is the sacred Wat Phra Kaew temple, which contains the Emerald Buddha.
1. Thailand Islands
The islands off the coast of Thailand are famous throughout the world for their beautiful beaches, others for their gorgeous scenery and some even claim their fame for the party atmosphere. There are three main sets of islands in Thailand. To the east of Bangkok there are Ko Samet and Ko Chang, in the Gulf Ko Samui lie Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Tao, and in the Andaman Phuket and Ko Phi Phi. Phuket is the country’s largest and most developed island, connected to the mainland by two bridges. Ko Phi Phi is famous for the movie “The Beach”, while Ko Tao is Thailand’s diving mecca. But there are many, many more beautiful islands to choose from.
Solo Travel Introvert? 10 Tips to Help You Explore the World
October 2, 2019 by Janice Waugh
I’ve traveled exotic places like India, challenging places like Patagonia, iconic cities like New York and London… and yes, I’m an introvert. Here I’m in Hamburg, Germany.
I am a solo travel introvert.
Being an introvert and being a solo traveler are not mutually exclusive.
There are ways that we introverts can travel, techniques we can use, that help us get past our tendency to solitude so that solo travel can also be a social experience.
Solo travel is perfect for introverts as we need quiet time to reflect and recharge. That time is a natural part of the solo travel experience. But introverts also need the company of others. This can easily be planned into your trip.
At a dinner party not long ago, five long-term women friends and I somehow got onto discussing Myers Briggs assessments. And yes, I mentioned that I was an introvert. Despite having known these women for 10 years and more, a few heads swerved my way. They had become used to my solo travels and had lost their knowledge of me as an introvert. After a short pause they remembered when they first met me and there were nods and “oh ya”.
Solo travel may seem to be for those enormously confident extroverts who would naturally bound out into the world, but there are many, many solo travel introverts as well. In fact, it may be that introverts actually outnumber the extroverts. But in the emails and comments I’ve received, it seems that introverts are also often hesitant to go solo. They are concerned about being too alone.
This is Noemie. I met her on the Navimag ferry to Patagonia. She, along with over 150,000 other solo travelers is a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook – many of whom are introverts.
Traveling Alone as An Introvert Develops Social Skills
Introverts are not necessarily loners. We like social situations. And, to operate comfortably in the world, at home and while traveling, it’s important to develop certain social skills.
Solo travel can help. We can learn and practice skills that are not necessarily natural to us.
It was not until I traveled alone that I discovered that I had taken on some traits of my extroverted late husband. I had developed skills to help me socialize that I didn’t know I had. The more I have traveled solo the better I’ve become at these extroverted skills. Now, they are there to draw upon when needed.
I often check out Meetup.com when I’m visiting a city. In Hong Kong I (temporarily) joined a hiking group.
10 Tips for for Solo Travel Introverts
As an introvert, you will not want to be in social situations all the time. It’s important to note that while the tips below will put you into social situations they are not permanent situations. They may last a day or an hour, it’s up to you. After all, a solo travel introvert needs some time to her or himself as well. But for your social needs, here you go.
Book your accommodation according to how social you want to be. It’s not hard to book a hotel and keep to yourself but to book a place to stay that may introduce you to others takes a little thought. How social do you want to be? Perhaps an independently owned inn is right where you can have some interaction with the owners. Or maybe a B&B or hostel is better where you may have more interaction with other travelers as well. Get the details in advance. Some B&Bs actually operate like inns with separate breakfast tables rather than communal ones. If that’s what you want, great. If not, find another.
Try slow travel. If you stay at the same B&B, inn or hostel for a week rather than a couple of nights, you will find yourself entering into its social scene. As you’re seen again and again, people will naturally start talking with you. They’ll be curious about you, your travels, what you did that day and what you’re planning for the next. It can make for pleasant chats of a few minutes or a companion on a tour.
Learn to talk to strangers. This can be very difficult for an introverted person but it is quite possible. I like to start with an offhand comment. “What a view!” “This is spectacular!” “To bad the weather isn’t with us.” Just about anything might start a conversation. Even a smile. Read Travel Solo and Talk to Strangers
Book a greeter. The Global Greeter Network connects you with locals who volunteer to show off their city. I’ve used this service in Paris, New York, Kyoto, and Chicago and every time it’s been fantastic. Read Friendly Paris: Exploring the Real Paris with a Greeter
Take a class. Classes – cooking, language, art… – will put you in a social situation with a purpose. Everyone attending will have a shared interest. You will have something in common with them making conversation easy as you discuss the whats and whys of the class.
Join a Meetup, even for a day. I’m a member of meetup.com but I don’t use it at home. When I’m going to a city I check out the meetups for that city and join one or two that interest me and have events planned for when I’m there. I did this in Hong Kong and it nearly killed me. Not really. Read: Meetup.com Got me Hiking in Hong Kong: And it was #$@&%*! hard!
5W. This is an international community of 2,400 women in over 80 countries. They are mostly women over 60 who want to travel more often and meet locals, so they host one another for a tea or a stay as they travel. Read Women Welcoming Women: A Gateway to International Friendships.
Take a short tour. Day tours, half or full days, are great ways to get a little social time. But you may also want to consider a short tour of a few days at the beginning of your trip. In addition to putting you in a social situation it can offer an introduction to a new destination. Take a short tour to learn how to navigate the country/city, its culture and currency. It will give you the confidence to then spend more time there on your own.
Make good use of the lobby, common room or lounge. Don’t read while you’re in a common space. That’s like hanging up a sign that says “don’t talk to me.” Instead, people-watch and enjoy the scene. Eventually something will happen that will open up a conversation for you.
Repeat. If you are staying in one place for a while, go to the same coffee shop, green grocers, pub or restaurant consistently. You’ll be noticed as a new regular and people will eventually chat with you. This happened to me in the Lake District of England. I went to the same pub for four nights in a row. It was a really tiny pub. Yes I felt awkward the first night. But less and less so each consecutive night. And then, on the fourth, which happened to be Guy Fawkes Night, I walked into the pub and it erupted to greet me.