I have seen my share of beautiful temples when travelling South East Asia, so when I was in Chiang Mai I figured renting bicycles for the day and exploring the many temples found around the Old City would be a good day spent. I have always been fascinated by the intricate detail and effort that went into the construction of these temples. Chiang Mai offers its visitors an impressive array of Buddhist temples; some looking quite different than the temples I saw when I traveled to Bangkok a few years back. Grab a map, a bike, your camera, and you’re good to go and check out the temples in Chiang Mai!
One of many common tourist activities to do in Thailand is to ride an elephant. Unfortunately, many of these elephant camps found throughout the country treat the elephants very poorly – I had a horrible experience two years ago when I was in Bangkok and I swore I would never go to an “elephant camp” again. Thankfully, however, there are also many Mahout elephant training centers, mainly found in Northern Thailand, that provide a much better experience. I had heard about how great these elephant encounters were in Chiang Mai, so on my trip to the north, I figured I would splurge (because these proper camps and sanctuaries sure aren’t cheap) and spend the day with some elephants in a safe, friendly, and comfortable environment. Our guesthouse recommended Chiang Mai Mahout Elephant Training Center and it turned out to be a great day!
After you’ve done a 4 Island Tour on Koh Lanta and have spent a bizarre evening at the night market, you should take some time to explore the island and just relax. Koh Lanta has various beaches along its west side that are all unique from each other and worth at least a half-day trip. If you’re not in the mood to bask in the sun for the day, you can travel back up to the north of the island where the ferry pier is and have lunch or dinner at one of the local restaurants on the water. Just be sure you head to Long Beach to catch some killer views of the sunset before you leave the island!
Koh Lanta is a very relaxed island where you can spend your days island hopping, lounging on the beach, diving, volunteering at Lanta Animal Welfare, or slinging back a beer while watching the sunset. This island is the perfect getaway if you’ve just spent a few crazy nights on neighbouring Koh Phi Phi. You might be able to easily keep yourself busy during the day, but at night the island really winds down (unless, to your surprise, you stumble upon a “half moon” party on the beach!). When we were staying close to the ferry pier in the northern part of the island, we were wandering about the town one night after yet another delicious dinner of Pad Thai and we found a night market. Now, this wasn’t just any market – the Koh Lanta night market is going down in the books as one of the most bizarre markets I have ever come across during my travels..
This is the third island hopping tour I went on during this trip to Thailand and it was by far the best. The first island hopping tour I went on was in Aonang/Krabi and it was far too touristy. The next was in Koh Phi Phi, which was much better, but still not as great as it could have been. Thankfully, the best was saved for last, as the Koh Lanta 4 Island Tour was not only absolutely breathtaking and with far less tourists on the islands we stopped at, but it was a much higher quality tour than the previous ones we went on. This was largely due to the fact that we paid extra for us to go on a speedboat, but it was totally worth it.
Though the island itself may be quite small, there are actually lots of things to do on Phi Phi Island to make the most of your time there. From activities during the day involving the sun and sand, to nighttime adventures involving fire shows and dancing on the beach, Phi Phi Island has something for everyone. After staying here for three days, and instantly regretting not spending more time on the island, I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 things to do in Phi Phi Island!
As I mentioned in my previous post, there’s a lot more to Koh Phi Phi than sleeping on the beach all day and partying all night. One of the day activities you should do, besides climbing up to the viewpoint, is to go on a Phi Phi Island hopping tour. There are a variety of tours that are offered throughout the island, however the most popular tour takes you cliff jumping, snorkeling (both during the day and at night to see plankton), to Monkey Bay (watch out for those sneaky monkeys!) and Maya Bay (where Leonardo DiCaprio filmed The Beach), and then you end the tour with an incredible view of the sun setting. Overall, there were some really great highlights of the day-long tour, but there were also some drawbacks that had me wishing we booked a private tour.
The majority of people who travel to Phi Phi Island are young backpackers ready for a good party. While it’s true you will likely have some wild nights (think fire dancers, music vibrating throughout the island, and dancing on the beach until the sun begins to rise), Phi Phi is also an absolutely gorgeous little island that is best appreciated during the day with (mostly) sober vision. Besides bumming out on some lounge chairs on the beach, perfecting your tan by the pool, or aimlessly wandering – and inevitably getting lost – the alleyways filled with restaurants and shops, you hands-down need to climb up to the Phi Phi Viewpoint!
In my last post I wrote about escaping the town of Aonang and going on a 4 Island Tour (which, unfortunately, wasn’t that great). If you’d much rather put your butt on one beach for an entire day instead of hopping around, a sure-fire bet is taking a short longtail boat ride to Railay Beach from Aonang. This beach is a popular destination for those travelling around the Krabi area, either just as a day trip or to spend a few nights on one of Railay’s beach-front hotels. Regardless of how long you spend on Railay, you’ll be whisked away by the beauty of the beach, surrounding cliffs, and relaxed vibe.. so long as you can pretend that all the other tourists scattered about aren’t actually there.
If you find yourself in Krabi/Aonang, it’s likely that you’re en route to a different island and are just taking a break from your tedious journey from point A to point B to explore the small town for a day or two. It’s also likely that you’ll want to get away from the town, which is surprisingly crowded and has a less-than-stellar beach, and go on a tour of the outlying islands. One of the most popular tours on offer is the 4 Island Tour in Aonang. As the name blatantly suggests, you’ll be heading on a full day tour to see -you guessed it- 4 islands that are only a short boat ride away from shore. I’m usually a huge fan of island tours, since they’re a great way to explore a range of nearby islands (like the incredible ones I went on when I was in El Nido, Philippines), however I really would not recommend this tour to anyone. Here’s why..