My next trip won’t be for another week and I’m too excited, so I’ll distract myself by writing a proper Thailand post since I’ve been feeling TH-nostalgic lately.
Also, I’ve been putting off writing about it for months so it’s probably just right to stop procrastinating and check this off my to-do list before the year ends.
The last time I wrote about the land of Cha Yen, I actually was still IN Thailand – running around for about two weeks and still had a few places left to visit. But that was more of a personal blog entry.
So… here are the places in Thailand I’d love to see again: A more concise post.
The photos aren’t as high-res as my more recent posts as this trip was months ago, but please bear with it, thanks.
It’s a cute, dainty, silent cafe along Khao San Rd. This road is famously known as home of the backpackers since this is where you’ll find a lot of cheap hostels and bars. Amidst the loud noise of Khao San, Passport Bookshop serves as an introvert’s oasis. Here, you’ll find an assortment of coffee and tea (they have a shelf-full), books (both foreign and local), journals, and the most-artsy-yet-affordable postcards (around 5-20 baht / 7-25 php).
Monkey Temple (Phra Prang Sam Yot), Lopburi
Lopburi is a small town, 2-3 hours away from Bangkok. Here, is where you can find the famous and bad-ass monkeys of Phra Prang Sam Yot.
The monkeys don’t just live at the temple though, they roam around the whole town so be mindful of your belongings. There’s also a museum showcasing the town’s history nearby, so check that out if you are into it.
Entrace to the temple is around 30-50 baht for tourists and around 10-15 baht for locals. I looked really Thai (hahahaha for real), and came with Thai friends and was only asked to pay the local price. So, come with your Thai friends if you could.
If you’ve ever played Ragnarok, you probably know that the places were based from real life.
Ayothaya in Ragnarok was actually based from this place.
I don’t know what it is, there’s just an air of the past in this place. The ruins, the floating market, elephants… it just feels like I’m back in time somehow. I had a really peaceful afternoon spent here shopping around through a boat ride.
I know that one of the reasons why Ayutthaya is visited by tourists is because of the elephants. But, I don’t know. I couldn’t get myself to ride one. Taking a photo already made me feel extremely guilty. So… I feel like if you’d like to see elephants, visit an elephant sanctuary instead. Don’t worry, there are lots of those, mostly in Chiang Rai.
Chiang Rai is an hour (or two) away from Chiang Mai and is high above the mountains. I went to this town to visit the three famous temples representing Heaven, Earth, and the Underworld (it’s probably representing something more profound than that but that’s how I understood it with my limited knowledge of Thailand’s culture and religion.)
1. Wat Rong Kun (The White Temple)
This temple used to be in such bad shape due to being underfunded, but a local visual artist, Chalermchai Kositpipat, decided to rebuild the place so the Wat Rong Kun at present is actually his vision.
There’s a museum as well housing
Chalermchai Kositpipat’s masterpieces. That small museum is also something else! I think, to be honest, I enjoyed that as much as I enjoyed looking at the actual temple. This guy is a genius, in my opinion, and I’m bummed that I can’t show you what was displayed inside as taking photos is strictly prohibited. But I bought so many postcards because they were of his paintings!!!
2. Wat Rong Suea Ten (The Blue Temple)
This one was still under renovation when I visited but it was like visiting Buddha in his underwater kingdom. This was built by a student of Mr. Chalermchai Kositpipat (the guy I was raving about earlier). I feel so bad that I don’t know his name. I will try to Google it and update this afterwards.
3. Baan Dam (The Black House)
It’s an art gallery of Thawan Duchanee – the visual artist who designed and opened the place to the public. I don’t think anyone really considers it as a temple. It houses odd, medieval, and viking-like artworks, furniture, and houses.
They also have dance and music performances showcasing Chiang Rai’s traditions and folklore. And a souvenir shop where you can buy preserved insects and penis key chains, in case you were looking for those. Yep.
4. Choui Fong Tea Plantation
Matcha lovers, rejoice. If you are into all things tea, why not go to a tea house overlooking the plantation where those tea leaves were harvested?
Choui Fong Tea Plantation is high above the mountains and it may be best to rent a motorbike (which will also give you a thrill going through the mountain slopes). You can buy lots of tea-related products to bring back home and chill at the tea house.
4.5 Cat ‘n a Cup Cafe
I mean.. I know we have loads of cat cafes here in the PH, but since you’re already in Chiang Rai, check this place out to relax. Because, duh, kitties.
Night Markets are also not to be missed. Not just in Chiang Rai but also around Bangkok. You can buy lots of artsy, kpop, hipster, instagramm-able stuff for extremely low prices.
I’m placing Bangkok last as, to be honest, I enjoyed the rural parts of Thailand more. Bangkok is definitely THE city.
It has that fast-paced, tourist-y city vibe but of course, it houses places you can only experience there.
My advice is go to the Central Pier and try to visit every station along the river.
If you are planning to do that, then don’t buy the tourist boat pass which will only take you to the few stations where the popular tourist spots are.
But if you only have time for the usual places, then the pass will be worth it.
Visit the Wats (Wat Po, Wat Arun, etc.) and the Grand Palace.
Because it’s the city, expect that entrance fees are a bit pricier (and that the places are a bit overcrowded). For example, going inside the Grand Palace already costs 500baht (it’s expensive, I know!) so expect an entrance fee of around 100-500 baht per place.
If you are on a tight budget though, I suggest going to the Grand Palace as it already houses a lot of temples and Thai-styled buildings. But Wat Arun also is not to be missed… so aim for those two!
There’s a well-known scam wherein as you are heading to, say, the Grand Palace, a hustler will tell you that unfortunately, the place is closed that day and will offer you a private tour of the city instead for a fee. Politely decline these offers. If someone tells you that a place is closed, it most likely isn’t, and they are simply hoping you’d hire them as a tour guide because they seem to know so much. Always check the place out yourself or ask Google.
By the way, if you’re into the unusual or just want to try something exotic, visit Siriraj Medical Museum in Bangkok. I don’t have pictures since taking photos is strictly prohibited – plus, even if it weren’t, I wouldn’t be able to get myself to stare long enough at each piece displayed, because this is where you can find preserved corpses of people who died from, well… different reasons. There’s just lots of dead bodies, guys!
Yep, it’s definitely creepy. I went with a Romanian guy and he walked out as soon as he walked in. Hahahahaha. It’s definitely something you can only experience in Bangkok though. Here, I’m grabbing this photo from Google Images with the watermark to show you what it’s like: (credits to the owner)
Ughhhh, just remembering it gives me the creeps. PS: that’s a real corpse!
Dumping unrelated, happier, Bangkok photos now.
I almost forgot! Let’s not forget to visit Ang Thong! I spent a lot of time here with an awesome family – my Thai fam. *remembers fondly*
It’s an hour or two away from Bangkok and it was my first rural experience since arriving. It’s a quiet town that feels like it’s siesta time all the time.
Also, you can find LOTS of temples here and the biggest Buddhas, so if you are like me who wanted to do a Temple Run, you’ll love it here. I was extremely fortunate to spend the Sogkran Festival (Thai New Year) here with great people.
Overall, if you are planning your first solo backpacking trip like I was, Thailand is definitely the place to go, simply because it’s not as expensive as other places. Hostels go for as low as 200php a night and a meal costs around 50php. It’s a way for you to experience a completely different culture and way of life without being too far away from home.
With fondness and nostalgia,