I recently spent a long weekend at The Village Coconut Island in Phuket, Thailand and fell in love with the resort (and its all-inclusive food and drink package!). This place is perfect for a romantic getaway or with a group of friends, and it’s also family-friendly. With fantastic facilities, top-notch food, and great service, there’s no excuse not to go! The Village works wonders if you’re in need of a weekend away and want all of the luxuries of a high-end resort without the massive dent in your wallet.
If you’ve heard of Chiang Rai, it’s likely you’ve heard of the Golden Triangle tour. This tour takes you on a full day excursion to numerous tourist spots (like the White Temple) as well as being able to see where the Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos border all connect. The Golden Triangle tour is great because you’re basically able to cover all of the major sights in Chiang Rai in one day; perfect for those who are on a tight schedule!
A major tourist attraction in Chiang Rai is Wat Rong Khun, better known as the White Temple. I have seen many temples throughout my travels and this is definitely one of the most impressive temples to date. The detail that has been put into creation of the temple is incredible; the all-white exterior makes it an eye-catching and unforgettable piece of art. If you’ve seen any temples in Thailand, you’ll know right away that this temple is drastically different in style, design, and meaning than the others.
Chiang Rai is one of Thailand’s largest cities in the north, aside from well-known Chiang Mai. There are many similarities between the two cities, but I found after spending time in both that they are both fairly similar, aside from Chiang Rai having a much more local feel. Though there may not be as much to see and do in Chiang Rai, it is completely worth the few hours’ drive north. One thing I love about Thailand is how each city/town has its own night market. The Chiang Rai night market has a decent selection of souvenirs that are comparable, if not cheaper, than those in Chiang Mai and a large outdoor seating area surrounded by food stalls to grab some dinner.
Despite its small size, Pai is a must-visit if you’re already traveling throughout Northern Thailand. Besides having some of the greatest street food I’ve had in South East Asia, Pai has quite a few tourist attractions nearby if you’re wanting to do a bit more than be a yogi/hippie for a few days. If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous that’ll take you a few hours outside the town, there are a handful of day tours in Pai (and lots of options for overnight trekking tours!) that you can consider. Most of these day tours involve a visit to the Karen Long Neck Village in Mae Hong Son (of which I wrote about my experience here), as well as a handful of other attractions along the way.
If you grew up glued to the television when National Geographic was on, it’s likely you’ll have seen women and young girls with numerous gold rings piled high around their neck. I was one of those kids, fascinated by different cultures throughout the world and the way their traditions and beliefs had a direct impact on what they wore and what modifications they made to their body. From the moment I found out I was going to be traveling throughout Northern Thailand, I knew that I wanted to visit the Karen Long Neck Village in Mae Hong Son to be able to see these women from T.V up close and in person.
After arriving in Pai, you’ll quickly find that there’s not much to see within walking distance of Pai Walking Street. If you’re looking for other sights to see or things to do in Pai, which I would hope you are if you’ve made the treacherous journey up there, you’re going to need to rent a motorbike or hire a taxi for the day. We decided to hire a taxi, given my lack of enthusiasm for renting a motorbike and my inability to follow directions, to take us around the 22.5 km sightseeing loop. Because Pai is so small, you’re able to see pretty much all that the town has to offer within a day. With that being said, I leave you with a list of 10 things to do in Pai..
When I think about Northern Thailand, the two main cities that come to mind are Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Aside from those, I wasn’t really aware of any other places to visit while up north. Thankfully, as I was planning my trip, I heard from a friend about a place called Pai and how incredible it was. After doing a bit of research, and getting persuaded by all of the ranting and raving from my friend, I decided to put Pai on my itinerary. After all, it was only 3 hours from Chiang Mai (or, as locals like to say, ‘762 curves to Pai’) and I would be heading north to Chiang Rai anyway. After the long trip, we were dropped off in Pai just after lunch, so we hung around for the day and explored Pai Walking Street.
Thailand has increasingly become a tourist hot spot, with more and more people choosing to go there for their next vacation. And what’s not to love? Thailand is cheap (though prices have been steadily increasing over the past few years), tourist friendly (ease of access, language, etc.), and offers something for everyone (beaches, city life, exclusive getaways, elephant encounters, etc.). The food in Chiang Mai, in my ever-so humble opinion, is Thailand’s best for both the quality of food and the price. You’ll find food stalls, local restaurants, and everything in between as you walk down the streets, so you’re sure to find some tasty treats along the way.
If you’ve already seen as many temples as you can handle in Chiang Mai and you’ve spent a day at an elephant center or sanctuary, or have gone ziplining through the jungle, you might be looking for a less busy activity to fill up your day. If that’s the case and you’re looking for a relaxing day while still learning something new about Thailand’s local culture, you should book a cooking class. There are tonnes of cooking schools in Chiang Mai that offer either morning or afternoon cooking classes, which are engaging, informative, and (most of all) fun!