We first noticed Jess from her STUNNING Instagram photos (check them out here) whilst travelling on our popular ‘Bangkok to Beaches’ trip. Her drool-worthy snaps were making us incredibly envious of all things Thai, from Chang Beer and elephants, to full moon parties and Khao San Road.
Naturally, we decided to get in touch and ask her to share a few top tips from her travels. So, read on to get insanely travel envious! Here are Jess’s top 10 places to visit in Thailand…
Ahh Thailand... the land of beautiful beaches, golden temples and an ice cold 'Chang'. With such a big country to explore, where do you start? Here are some of the best places to visit that will leave you wishing you'd accidentally missed your flight home because you were too busy buying a toastie in 7-Eleven (hey it happens okay...)
The gateway to Thailand... Bangkok is certainly a city that shouldn't be missed. Drop your bag at the hostel and head down to the infamous Khao San Road for an experience like no other. Brimming with street food and clothes and souvenir stalls, why not try a fried scorpion or indulge in some retail therapy at seriously low prices? Fake Adidas for £4? Yes please! For a truly insane spectacle, head to Thailand mid-April to experience Thai New Year in the capital. Trust me, water fights don't get much bigger than that!
2) Koh Samui
If you follow the standard backpacker trail, the first island you will more than likely hit is Koh Samui. For your first taste of paradise, spend the day sipping cocktails on one of the island's many beautiful beaches and watch the sunset light up the sky in every shade of pink and purple imaginable. At night, head to the backpacker hot spot 'Ark Bar' and dance the night away on the sand with your new travel buddy's!
3) Koh Phangan
Let's be honest, a trip to Thailand isn't complete without that all important night out at the legendary Full Moon Party. Whether you're there for the Full Moon, Half Moon or Jungle Party, grab yourself a bucket and be prepared to party HARD. After all, that's what Koh Phangan is known for! Fancy a Sunday Roast to help fade away the hangover? Yes you heard right... look no further than the island's very own English pub! Keep an eye out for 'The Masons Arms' - it won't disappoint!
4) Koh Tao
It's easy to see why Koh Tao is often named backpackers favourite Thai island. The crystal clear water and gorgeous sunsets are by far the best you'll come across - the way the sea reflects the sky is just mesmerising. Koh Tao is famous for its scuba diving and snorkelling, so be sure to book onto a day trip or two and explore the waters for yourself. If it's a banging night out you're looking for, join the long stream of black vests parading the streets on the islands most popular bar crawl. Trust me, you don't want to miss it!
5) Ao Nang/Railay Beach
Most backpackers will tell you to go to Krabi, but along the way you'll discover that the main place everyone stays is Ao Nang (and for good reason!) Located on the Western Coast of South Thailand, Ao Nang is just a 10 minute taxi boat ride from the famous Railay beach - making it the perfect location for relaxing and partying. Apart from its prime location near Railay, the main draw to the area is 'Slumber Party' which, according to signs all over reception, is named 'the best hostel in Thailand'. Ask anyone who's ever stayed there and I'm sure they'll agree! (FYI: be prepared to stay A LOT longer than you first intended!)
6) Koh Phi Phi
In need of a break from the constant sound of scooters racing along the streets and tuk tuk’s fighting for your attention? Look no further than the motor-less island of Koh Phi Phi! With no choice but to walk everywhere, you’ll soon fall in love with the island’s quaint streets, live music bars and popular party hostels that line the golden beach. For panoramic views overlooking the island, it’s definitely worth climbing to the viewpoint at sunset to watch the day turn into evening (although be sure to get there early as it can get really crowded!)
7) Monkey Beach
From Koh Phi Phi you can book a really fun boat trip that takes you snorkelling and sightseeing around the surrounding islands. The best part? Getting up close and personal with the monkeys at Monkey Beach of course! Don’t forget to bring your camera for the ultimate monkey selfie! We can make #monkeyselfie a ‘thing’ right?!
8) Maya Bay
On the same boat trip from Koh Phi Phi you’ll eventually end up at the one place EVRYONE wants to visit… Maya Bay! Famed for its role in the Leo DiCaprio film ‘The Beach’, the stunning beach and mesmerising scenery is not to be missed (after all, where else can you say you’ve been on the same beach as Leo?!)
Often missed on the traditional backpacker trail, the hidden gem of Kanchanaburi – located just 2 hours West of Bangkok – is definitely worth a visit if you fancy somewhere steeped in history and off the beaten track. With a heavy focus on the town’s war history, there are tons of places to visit including the Bridge on the River Kwai, the JEATH War Museum and an abundance of prisoner of war cemeteries.
10) Chiang Mai
A trip to Thailand isn’t complete without travelling North to everyone’s favourite city… Chiang Mai! Whether you opt for a Thai cooking class, a day with the elephants, a Muay Thai boxing match, zip lining with wild gibbons or trekking in the jungle (or all 5 if you’re feeling adventurous!), one thing you’ll never be in Chiang Mai is bored!
Tempted with a bit of Thailand? Yeah we thought so… head over to the Real Gap Experience website now to check out our range of trips from group experience and island hops, to volunteering and scuba diving.