Traveler's Guide to Thailand

Authored by:
Arayna W.

Arayna W.

I have been home for five months now, and I was planning on writing a post about adjusting back to life in the U.S. But, since I will be leaving shortly for another teach abroad through CIEE, I thought it might be more fun to reminisce on my time in Thailand.

The main reasons for teaching abroad are obviously teaching students, involving yourself in your community and absorbing a new culture. After that though, is the amazing opportunity to travel and explore your new home in your free time.

During my time in Thailand, I was able to travel to 14 provinces throughout each region and I wanted to give some info/highlights from each. Hope you enjoy my mini journal entries:

  1. Bangkok - This was my first destination as this is where I had my orientation. I had seven very long days of quarantining, but after that I was able to meet people face to face and do cultural activities organized by OEG. We went on a canal tour of Bangkok followed by a traditional Thai lunch. The next day we participated in a Thai boxing (Muay Thai) class, Thai cooking class and a Thai dancing class. Each of these helped me know more about the culture throughout my time in Thailand. I even joined a Muay Thai gym in my town. We ended off the activities with a ceremony and dinner and we were given free time to explore Bangkok.
  2. Nan - My town that I grew to love. Nan was just the right size for my first home abroad, I knew my way around and I was able to get a motorbike which I absolutely loved. I was a regular at a few restaurants and frequented the markets.
    • Pua - This town is inside the province of Nan, but it is so beautiful and breathtaking I wanted to throw it in there. We went swimming and camping here and it was very peaceful.
  3. Chiang Mai - I believe this is the only province I visited twice. The first time a group of us from CIEE/OEG all met up and spent a long weekend here. We got a 12 bunk hostel together and it felt like a big sleepover. Night one we went to dinner and a drag show which was very fun. The next day we woke up early to go to an elephant sanctuary which was incredible, we also explored and went to temples in the afternoon. On our last day we went to an inflatable water park which reminded me of wipe out and I went on my first zipline. The second time was during my backpacking trip, we stayed at the same hostel. I went white water rafting and then a group of us went to the movies and the bar.
  4. Krabi - My first Thailand beach and it did not disappoint. Again a group of us from CIEE/OEG met up for new years. We ate dinner right on the beach and danced at a bar until the new year came. The next day we started off the morning at our private beach (our airbnb had access to a private beach!!!!) before heading to Railay beach which we had to get to by speedboat. We hung out there for most of the day just relaxing. Our last day we did a four island boat tour that included monkey sightings, caves and snorkeling. After getting back to the mainland, we had tacos and margs and went back to the bar from night 1 to meet up with the big group again. The night ended with showing my friend twilight for the first time.
  5. Phrae - This was a nice little weekend getaway to visit a friend in our neighboring province. We went to the night market and talked at her apartment courtyard for hours. The next morning we rented motorbikes and went to breakfast and a pottery painting shop. After that we went and got Thai massages before getting Shabu for dinner. We ended the night with a movie in our hostel room (which we had to ourselves). In the morning before leaving we ate at a cute cafe for breakfast.
  6. Lampang - This weekend trip was so fun, we rented a car and drove through Phrae to pick up our friend and headed to Lampang. It was nice to have a road trip and sing-along to music we hadn't heard in a while. We went to this amazing pizza place that was owned by an American man who has lived in Thailand for over a decade. The next day we made a quick stop at Starbucks (only larger towns have these) and drove an hour to this temple in the mountains. We hiked to the top and took in the views, after that we went to lunch and took naps. Later we went to the mall and the market before buying wine and having movie night. The next morning we went to this brunch spot that just so happened to be owned by the same guy who owned the pizza place. On the way home we stopped by another temple.
  7. Pattaya - This province was the one that reminded me the most of the US, you can decide if that's a good or bad thing haha. Day one was mostly traveling and at night we went to dinner and watched another twilight movie :). In the morning we had brunch before heading to the island of Koh Larn, which was really nice. We had lunch, played soccer and laid out at the beach. After we found out there was a Hooters we had to go so that was dinner and after that we went to the walking street and bar hopped. Before leaving in the morning, we hung out on the rooftop pool.
  8. Chiang Rai - This was the first step on my two and a half week backpacking trip. We visited the Golden Triangle which is where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet. We visited the infamous white temple and went to a tea plantation. Later we went to a park and drove a car in Thailand for the first time.
  9. Khon Kaen - The next three are kind of short because we stayed at each one for a day because they were close. We explored the town and went to a 50's style diner.
  10. Udon Thani - We woke up early to go an hour and a half boat ride on the lotus lake. It was peaceful, quiet and beautiful.
  11. Nong Khai - This province bordered Laos and we could see it across the river for most of our trip. We stayed at a beautiful hotel and went to a brewery.
  12. Khao Yai - This was a touristy town and you could tell, it was pretty but very expensive. We went to a chocolate factory, vineyard and wine tasting, went to a tuscany inspired petting zoo and had a lovely dinner at the Witches Brew. We rented a car here but had some issues with return time and bus time so we ended up having to buy a new bus to get to the next destination.
  13. Phuket - We ended our trip down south. I had my first surfing lesson and fell many times, after that we hung out on the beach and got food. The next day we went on a boat tour where I went snorkeling for the second time and we had a buffet lunch on the beach. Later we walked around the town and had dinner at a nice restaurant before heading back to our airbnb.
  14. Koh Samui - Our last stop. This island was beautiful. Our hotel was connected to a restaurant so we ate there after checking in and relaxed in our room. I showed my travel buddies RuPaul’s Drag Race and they loved it. The next day we had a jungle tour on a rigged out jeep, and I got to ride on the top. We explored the island, swam in a watering hole, hiked and explored some temples. I also got to hold a snake.

Even Though I was lucky enough to see so much of Thailand, there is still so much to see and some spots I was unable to go to. I guess that's my excuse to go back in the future :)

Happy Traveling,

Arayna

 

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