Category Archives: Thailand

5 Best Things to Do in Koh Samui

Sunset Koh Samui Thailand_

With its dancing girls and fast food joints of Chaweng, it easy to call Koh Samui in Thailand slightly tacky. However, in comparison, the sunsets and less crowded beaches of Lamai lets the island regain that paradise Thai title again! Here are the best things to do in Koh Samui, with the aid of a scooter hire.

Bailing on Bangkok for Koh Samui

After much deliberation (train, boat or plane?) we decided to fly to Koh Samui with Air Asia, the cheapest of Koh Samui flights. It was like flying into a Disney version of Thailand with Big Buddha and Guan Yin taking over the skyline (we met a Hell’s Angel’s Thai girlfriend who told us that these statues don’t mean much to the locals, they are just for the tourists). 

If you are keeping costs down, do consider the bus and ferry option. You can check out times and prices here

What to do in Koh Samui 

1. Big Buddha and Guan Yin

These massive and colourful statues are located at Koh Samui’s Wat Plai Laem in the Northeast of the island. Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion and the Buddha highlight the influence of China on Koh Samui and make for some pretty cool shots.

Cundi Guanyin Koh Samui Thailand_

18 armed Guan Yin

2. Beach Party, Koh Samui

Chaweng is the Koh Samui nightlife! We, however, opted for the quieter side of the island, Lamai, choosing to taxi to Chaweng.

This gave us the chance to drink ourselves silly with our Irish friends who were staying at Arc, an impressive Ibiza style hostel for the party backpacker with a bit of cash, but return home to nurse our hangovers in peace.

Amazing fact – we saw a rainbow around the moon in Chaweng! Now I know what you thinking re packing – surely we just take our bikinis and shorts, yes?

Not quite, the north is cooler (do not miss Pai in the mountains!) but fear not, here’s a Thailand packing list by our fellow British pal, Tom, at Adventure in You.

3. Lamai Lazing

We spent the next few days sunbathing by the pool, buzzing about on the moped, eating (expensive) French breakfasts and drinking at Dave the Rave’s Cocktail Caravan which is actually called Samui I am. This van sells stupidly cheap cocktails (65 baht) and has a light show Chemical Brothers would be jealous of.

It’s about a five -minute walk from Samui Beach Resort (turn left) just before Rocky’s Hotel. I’d love to know if it is still there! We also met a Hell’s Angel on the run with his Thai girlfriend who served us lunch. Just a typical day in Thailand!

There is a variety of Koh Samui hotels, we chose Samui Beach Resort as it was cheap and had a swimming pool. We enjoyed our stay but had friends he tried before us and check our early. Snorkelling in the Gulf of Thailand is also recommended.

I recommend making the effort to get up at 5am a visit the beach for the sunrise…

Sunset Koh Samui Thailand_

4. Phallic Rock in Koh Samui

One of Koh Samui’s popular tourist spots is the Grandmother and Grandfather rock (Hin Ta and Hin Yai), mainly down to their phallic aesthetics!

Grandmother and Grandfather Rock Koh Samui Thailand_

5. Na Muang Waterfalls

Na Muang Waterfalls, two waterfalls located in the south of the island are popular Koh Samui attractions. We hired a scooter to get around Koh Samui, which is recommended.

Na Muang Waterfall 1 (18 metres high) is the closest to the entrance, the second (80 metres high) is a 20 – 30 min walk or alternatively, you can pay to arrive by 4×4 (safety not included). Warning – these do not compare to the waterfall we experienced in the north of the country on the way to northern Pai!

Please, please, please do not ride the elephants here (or anywhere in Thailand). Visit the Elephant Nature Park to see elephants humanely, you can even wash and feed them there!

Koh Samui is definitely more of beach bum type of holiday, which isn’t massively up our street but was appreciated after four and half weeks of intense backpacking around South East Asia.

I wouldn’t rush back to Thailand’s second-biggest island, Koh Samui, or Thailand for that matter. It’s just a tad too touristy!

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5 Things to do on Koh Samui, Thailand

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What to do in Pai, Thailand: Temples, Waterfalls + Hot Springs

Hot springs | Pai, Thailand

Pai is a cool town in the hills north of Chiang Mai in Thailand. This place is a hippy haven and the journey to get there is lush. You can expect a wildly different experience from the likes of Thailand’s islands or energetic Bangkok. Some visit Pai on a day trip from Chiang Mai by bus or a scooter, others visit for a couple of days, a few never return. Let’s take a look at what to do in Pai, Thailand. 

» Don’t miss our ultimate guide to Thailand«

Things to do in Pai, Thailand

1. Hot for Hot Springs

What is the best remedy after 5 hours, legs akimbo, scooter ride from Chiang Mai to Pai? Hot springs!

Surrounded by gorgeous green growth, Pai’s hot springs have varying levels of temperature (30-37 degrees), most are comfortable but one is too hot for bods. 

This one is saved for locals who want to boil their eggs… 

  • Entrance: 300 Baht for tourists
  • Pai to hot springs: 15 mins

Hot Springs | Pai, Thailand

Boiling Eggs Hot Springs | Pai, Thailand

2. Waterfalls

Mok-fa-waterfall is found on the north side of Doi Suthep–Pui National Park. Visitors can park up and then walk the easy 10-minute (slippy) path to the falls.

The biggest fall is deafening and you can swim behind it. Just hold on to your swimsuit when you are under it!

Wear sensible shoes for the short hike and don’t forget to pack your swimming gear and towel. A perfect attraction for a hot Thai day. 

  • Entrance: 100 Baht (plus parking)
  • Pai to Mok-fa-waterfall: 40 minutes

Waterfalls in Pai, Thailand

3. Pai Memorial Bridge

As you enter Pai, you may cross the Pai Memorial Bridge which was reconstructed after WWII. It connects the road over Pai River. 

4. Get Pie-Eyed in Pai

After a day a relaxing you need a bit of balance! Bar hopping in Pai is fully encouraged and visitors follow the same bar crawl, as one closes they all hop to the next. 

5. Feed the Hangover 

Grab breakfast bowl at the likes of FatCat vegan-friendly cafe. Nearly all of the ingredients used come from their own garden.   

6. Cakes!

Pai has a selection of relaxed dining opportunities but Cake Go “O” is the most Instagrammed. Find the cakes nestled between the flowers in this not so hidden anymore gem. 

7. Pai Walking Street

Pedestrianised street market serving upmarket foods from around the world. Lots of seating areas so you can enjoy your meal while people watching. 

Decent bars with live music too. 

8. White Buddha/Wat Phra That Mae Yen

Climb the (many) steps to see not only the White Buddha in Pai but also glorious views of the village itself.

Something to consider doing at sunrise maximum zen as it gets quite busy at sunset, as to be expected. 

  • 25 min scooter ride
  • Tuk Tuk from downtown Pai will take to you the base of the Buddha
  • Address: Mae Hi, Pai District, Mae Hong Son 58130

Scooter Riding Pai, Thailand

 

9. Pai Canyon 

A testing hike with worthwhile views. Trainers or hiking boots recommended as the path can get slippy. 

  • Entrance: Free
  • 15 min scooter ride
  • Address: Pai Canyon, ตำบลแม่ฮี้ Amphoe Pai, Chang Wat Mae Hong Son

10. Love Strawberry Pai

Alison in Wonderland/acid trip vibes at Love Strawberry Pai (see what they did there?) Everything is Strawb themed so you can enjoy a strawberry shake and take in the views. 

Oversized strawberries and trinks for your Instagram pics too. 

  • Address: 80 Moo 10, Thung Yao

https://www.instagram.com/p/BUHDuf3Fzb_/

How to get to Pai from Chiang Mai 

There are buses which take on the winding road from Chiang Mai to Pai. The journey lasts around 3 hours. Check out times and prices here.

If daring, you can hire a moped and drive the 3.5 hour trip along the testing road. 

You must fill up with petrol when you see a gas station. Blink and you’ll miss it.

Scooter Hire | Pai, ThailandOlive Oil? Here is the future!

 

What to See in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is a city in Thailand’s northern mountains. It is very lush with nature and you are never far from a Buddhist temple – there are over 300 in this small city. One of the main reasons travellers visit Chiang Mai is to get out, the city is a hotspot for activities on the outskirts. Thailand was our final country of this five-week South East Asia backpacking holiday. Let’s check out what to see in Chiang Mai. 

 » » Don’t miss our jam-packed Thailand itinerary « « 

1. The Night Market Bazaar

Busy Chiang Mai’s Night Market Bazaar is streets of stalls selling a whole manner of tat. Get your souvenirs, presents, genuine fakes and replenish those clothes here.

Budget visitors can enjoy affordable meals and drinks too. Check out my good friend, Emily’s article which details what things cost in Chiang Mai

  • Address: Tha Phae Rd, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai, Thailand

2. Chiang Mai Cooking Classes

There are several Thai cooking classes in Chiang Mai so choosing can be difficult!

Most commonly, schools will collect you from your accommodation and stuff you full of seven courses, which you make of course! 

Our class, Basic Cooking School, took us on a market tour first to discuss the ingredients important for Thai meals. 

Meals included spring roll type starter, two curry/soup mains and my favourite, mango and sticky coconut rice.

I was ready to burst!

The class takes place in a house and after each meal is cooked you dine with the other chefs at a sit-down meal.

Delicious! I’m salivating at the thought of it.

3. Elephant Nature Park – Elephant Sanctuary

Take an hour drive trip out of Chiang Mai to the home of The Elephant Whisperer, Lek, or “Tiny” Sangduen Chailert, and her herd of elephants.

On the way there you will see tourists sit on top of elephants for a trek, you may (like us) think this is pretty normal behaviour.

However, on the drive home, you will be very disappointed in them. During the day you feed the elephants, feed yourself and also wash the beautiful beasts.

There are lots of dogs at the sanctuary, one of which put an entertaining display on during the documentary feature. It’s a day well spent – turns out you don’t feed elephants by putting fruit up their trunks, who knew?…

It is really difficult to find acceptable elephant parks. Kavey Eats reviews ethical Elephant Hills here

  • Address: Elephant Nature Park Office, Tambon Kuet Chang, Amphoe Mae Taeng, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand

 

Don't Leave Chiang Mai Without Trying I Elephant Nature Park I 5 Unique Things to do in Chiang Mai

4. Massage by Thai Prisoners

I exaggerate!

Lila Thai Massage is a professionally run beauty therapy house, the beauty therapists just happen to be prisoners who are near the end of their term and have been trained in the art of massage.

It’s a dry massage so no need to get naked, appropriate clothing is provided. 

  • Address: 37 Rachadamnoen Rd Soi 7, พระสิงห์ เมือง Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

5 Unique Things to do in Chiang Mai

5. Temples in Chiang Mai

There are over 300 temples in the city and some you will discover by chance on foot. Others you have to visit via scooter or by tour. Remember to cover up where possible. 

Here are some of the more popular temples:

  • Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
  • Wat Chedi Luang
  • Wat Chiang Man
  • Wat Suan Dok
  • Wat Chet Yot
  • Wat Rong Khun

 » » You might also like our Thailand packing list guide « « 

Temple I Chiang Mai Thailand

6. Art in Paradise, Chiang Mai 3D Museum

Breathe fire, jump into sinkholes and fight giant cats! Welcome to Chiang Mai’s interactive art gallery. The jury is out if it is worth the money but an option for a rainy day? Download the AR app for an enhanced experience. I’m just scratching the surface here, check out more even more activities to do in Chiang Mai!

  • Address: 199/9 Chang khlan Rd

7. Leave Chiang Mai!

Head to the hills on a day trip or extended stay in experience the hot springs and see the waterfalls at Pai. Read our guide of the best things to do here

Hot springs | Pai, Thailand

 


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5 unique things to do in Chiang Mai - the gateway to adventure. Elephants, massages, and mopeds. Do not leave Chiang Mai without trying...

 

 


Where We Stayed

We stayed at MD House which was affordable but very basic.

We end up regrettably staying for five nights, by day four they hadn’t bothered cleaning the bathroom but it had Wi-Fi, breakfast, and two pools.

Chiang Mai is like a hub for going places anyway so you’re never there that long. 

There are heaps of things to do in Chiang Mai, it really is a decent base for the lots of activities around the area.

Planning a trip to Thailand? Check out this article on where to go in Thailand. Check out Bookaway for public transport options in Thailand and neighbouring countries. 

Have you been to Chiang Mai?