When you have limited time each year for a vacation, it can be difficult to choose where to go. But if you love the beach, crave exotic food, or want to get off the beaten track and experience some up-close and intimate animal encounters, Thailand is your solution. You can do it all and spend less than you think. We combed through a few potential recommendations in conjunction with travel experts, Expedia.com, and came up a few suggestions to help plan the perfect winter get-away.
Get the Best of Bangkok
Bangkok is Thailand’s major hub and the most likely place where you will enter Thailand. Here you can visit some of the best sites, including the Grand Palace, Wat Arun, and the National Museum, to name a few. All are accessible via ferry on The Chao Phraya Express Boat for about $5 US. I’d also recommend going deeper into Bangkok and visiting some of the evening markets where you can sample some of the best street food in Thailand. While all of this is accessible using public transportation, but why not take an evening Tuk-Tuk Tour? The experts will bring you to the best food stalls and help you discover more of Bangkok’s hidden gems.
Lounge on Some of the Best Beaches in the World
Once you have reached Thailand, airfare is relatively inexpensive, with round trip fares within the country often running less than $100. This allows you to quickly hop out of the urban jungle and land on one of Thailand’s beautiful white sandy beaches. Krabi’s Railay beach is one such location. You can arrive here by longtail boat while enjoying views of the iconic limestone formations that dot the shoreline. Other island locations, such as Phuket, are an easy boat ride from here.
One of my favorite things is to walk through the jungle catching glimpses of monkeys before coming out onto Railay beach. On the beach itself you can grab a snack from a floating snack bar that arrives each day to satisfy the cravings of hungry beach goers.
Thailand Animal and Cultural Encounters
After a few days of lounging, it’s time to change up the scenery and find your way to Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. The center of Chiang Mai is a mini version of Bangkok’s bustling markets. But if you travel a little into the countryside you will be able to hike into the jungle or take a tour and visit some of Thailand’s Hill Tribes. Even more awe inspiring is to find your way to an elephant sanctuary where you can spend a day walking with and bathing elephants.
The Tong-Bai Foundation is one of the camps that does not allow elephant riding and will only host a maximum of nine visitors at a time. This ensures the elephants are not stressed and have not endured harsh training practices. A visit there will touch your heart and your visit will also help the foundation sustain its efforts to care for the elephants.
Best of all Thailand has options for all budgets. You can confidently eat at food stalls and fill up for a few dollars. Or you can splurge and find a roof top bar in Bangkok with sweeping views of the city. With all of the choices, it’s easy to craft your own dream vacation. Maybe that’s one of the reasons they call Thailand the land of 1000 smiles. Maybe it’s time to add yours?
Inspired to start some travel planning?
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