13 things you NEED to do in Thailand

As i’m sure you’ve already noticed, Thailand is my favorite place ever! Check out my 8 Reasons you should visit Thailand.

I hope you have a snack, some coffee, and a notebook because this is going to be a long one!

The culture, adventure and Elephants are some of my favorite things about Thailand. There are so many things to do in Thailand! Between visiting all of the markets Thailand has to offer and Touring Watts its hard to decide what you should actually do. There are so many lists outlining super touristy things to do. Sometimes touristy things are important but sometimes its just too much.

Here are 13 Things I urge anyone going to Thailand to do in no particular order!

หนึ่ง•One•H̄nụ̀ng

Go to a weekend/night market

Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok is one of the largest markets in Asia. With over 15,000 stalls anything you can imagine is sold here. Food, Drinks, Elephant pants, Home Decor, Coconut Ice Cream, Watermelon Juice you name it. As you can tell in the name, Chatuchak is only a weekend market but they do have certain sections open during the week.

Plants and flowers are sold Wednesday and Thursday, Wholesale on Friday, but EVERYTHING imaginable is sold over the weekend.

Bangkok isn’t the only city with a great market. There is also the Night Bazaar Market in Chiang Mai, The Thepprasit Night Market in Pattaya and so many more! I popped in to a new market in every city we visited and each one had its own personality and a wide variety of shops and entertainment.

สอง•Two•S̄xng

Ride in a Tuk-Tuk

The Tuk Tuk is an open air 3-wheel vehicle. A common mode of transportation in Bangkok. The name “Tuk Tuk” was originally given by mimicking the noise of the engines. Now that you know what it is and why it is, I can tell you why you should ride in a Tuk-Tuk. First and foremost, it’s fun, Some are decked out in lights, stereo systems and fuzzy dice. The ride is also more cost efficient than a taxi as the price is generally agreed upon rather than metered.

สาม•Three•S̄ām

Visit as many Wats (Temples) as you can

Wat Phra Kaew

Buddhism is one of the most important things in Thailand. You can’t visit Thailand and expect to get a sense of the culture without actually submerging yourself into it. Wats are the best way to get a feel for the spirituality in this country.

There are HUGE temples like Wat Phra Kaew with the most magnificent structures and design. There is gold everywhere, even on paintings. As beautiful as it may be it and as amazing as it is to visit, if you are looking to really delve into the culture this may not be the best place, It is crowded with tourists constantly.

Gold details in Wat Phra Kaew
Painting in Wat Phra Kaew

There are SO many smaller wats like Wat Rajapradit throughout the country that you can visit that aren’t very congested at all.

In smaller Temples you have the opportunity to participate in prayers and if you’re a male you can even interact with the Monks. There is such a clean, healing, spiritual feeling inside of every Wat, weather you’re spiritual/religious or not.

สี่•Four•S̄ī̀

Drink Thai beer

Singha is my personal fave but Chang, Leo Super and Amarit are other options. Thai water isn’t the Best for you, so when you can’t get your hands on a bottle of water this is your next best bet.

I don’t know much about beer or how to describe it so I won’t pretend to be an expert, but here’s my opinion. I didn’t drink too much of anything but Singha, like I said it’s my fave. Singha was pretty light, not as light as a corona but also not as heavy as an IPA. Pretty well balanced I think.

Singha is considered a pale lager beer with 5% abv.

ห้า•Five•H̄̂ā

Buy food from street vendors

About half way into my trip I found out that many restaurant ‘dumb down’ the meals for tourists. I wasn’t a fan of that, I want all of the flavors and spices please. I found that the food at the street vendors had just a bit more flavor and spice (if you ask for it).

My favorite dish was of course Pad Thai and I’ll be honest, it’s probably the only thing I tried aside from fruit, juices and snacks.

I urge you to wait a few days into your trip before you eat anything from the street vendors or small restaurants. Food isn’t ‘treated’ the same as the U.S. and if you don’t wait until your tummy gets comfortable with the change you’ll end up being very good friends with your hotel room’s toilet.

หก•Six•H̄k

Visit the Elephants

While on my trip I bathed, rode and watched Elephants do tricks!

As amazing as these experiences were, I wouldn’t recommend riding the Elephants or supporting the shows. I now know how cruel Elephants are treated at places like the ones we visited. They are not meant to be ridden or employed. There are plenty of Elephant Sanctuaries that rescue their Elephants and treat them well, while allowing them to be Elephants.

เจ็ด•Seven•Cĕd

Go Swimming

You’re in Thailand, It’s most likely HOT. I highly, highly recommend finding a river with a few waterfalls to go swimming. It is such an amazing experience and soooo fun! There are also beaches and hotel pools galore, especially if you go to Phuket or Phi Phi.

แปด•Eight•Pæd

Visit Chiang Mai

Truth be told, Bangkok was NOT my favorite destination. I would have been happy spending only 2 or 3 days there. I would have easily traded the time in for Chiang Mai, It has everything from mountains and hill top tribes to nightlife and adventures.

เก้า•Nine•Kêā

Khao San Road

Khao San was made infamous by The Hangover Part 2. In the movie Khao San road is burnt down. On the contrary, it is ‘lit’, filled with bars, shops and solo vendors. Of course, due to being so popular it is packed with people.

Here you can find fried scorpions, street food, beer towers and slogan bracelets.The street has an all around great feel and can be fun for all ages.

สิบ•Ten•S̄ib

Floating Market

It’s just another market. Isn’t it?

No Honey, Sweetie, Darling it is not!

First of all, you need to take a james bond type of boat to get there. These little boats go fast and are so fun. Then the market itself is basically a bunch of anchored floating rafts.

You can find Thai crafted items and so much food. One of my favorite things I found at the market was small fried bananas.

สิบเอ็ด•Eleven•S̄ib xĕd

Get a Massage

I bet you’re wondering if you should get a chair or table massage.

Neither, It’s Thailand Darling… A mat on the floor kind of a massage is what you need! A head to toe Thai Massage cost only about 200 Baht which is $7 USD if that doesn’t sell you i don’t know what will!

Maybe the fact that you will leave more sore than you go in because they work you so well! Give it an hour and you will feel as limber as a brand new baby!

สิบสอง•Twelve•S̄ib s̄xng

Explore Bangkok

What’s NY without the City, California without LA, France without Paris.

It is not everything the State or Country has to offer but it sure is a nice big chunk. Culture, Fun, Beauty, Concrete, Grunge, Luxury are words that come to mind when i think of Bangkok. This is where the weekend market lives and where you can find ladyboys galore.

สิบสาม•Thirteen•S̄ib s̄ām

Go Rafting

A huge bamboo raft big enough to fit 12 people. Moved by 1 person with a huge stick. They take the stick and push off of the ground underneath. All while wearing traditional Thai rain hats (shaped as a triangle so the water falls off). This isn’t a crazy adventure it’s also not just sitting on a beach. The views you see are beautiful all while being relaxing and entertaining (unless you’re the one maneuvering the raft.)

*Fun Fact: As Buddha is such an important figure in Thai culture, it is important not to stand above any image of the Buddha. The same is true for images of the king! This is also the reason why Buddha statues are so grandiose.

That is it for now!

Have you been to Thailand? Is there anything that you recommend?

Are you planning a trip to Thailand? I’d love to answer any questions in the comments below!

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