With most English teachers in Thailand on summer holiday right now, I imagine that many of you are out and about travelling, looking for cool and interesting things to do. I also, imagine, however, that many of you are trying to do so while sticking to a fairly tight budget. Take a look at our list of 11 travel ideas that won’t drive you to bankruptcy!
1. The Samoeng Loop – Chiang Mai Province:
If you enjoy long, scenic rides through the mountains, then this is the perfect destination! Rent a bicycle or motorbike and spend all day cruising along this beautiful route, stopping at tons of attractions along the way. Hiking trails, gorgeous views, orchid farms, crocodile shows, and bungee jumping are just a few of the things that the route has to offer. If you’re interested, check out the useful links below.
– http://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Samoeng_Loop – A nice overview of the loop and its various attractions.
– http://aminearlythereyet.com/riding-the-samoeng-loop-chiang-mai/ – A blogger’s recount of their day riding along the Samoeng Loop. Lots of good information and pictures.
2. Khao Yai National Park – Issan:
Khao Yai is Thailand’s oldest and second largest national park. Although it’s a very popular travel destination, the park is so vast that you may go the entire day without seeing a tourist. The park is known as one of the best places to see Elephants in their natural habitat, along with a huge range of other wild fauna. Other attractions include its numerous waterfalls, hiking trails, caves, and kayaking and rafting trips.
As a foreigner, 400 Baht will get you a day pass into the park. From there, you have a variety of options for exploring the park depending on your aims and budget: on foot (with or without a tour guide), by bicycle, by motorbike, by car, with a safari, etc. If you do choose to venture out without a guide, just make sure you are careful; you don’t want to get lost!
– http://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Khao_Yai_National_Park – overview /general info
– http://www.travelfish.org/feature/252 – useful information on different means of exploring the park
– http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/khao-yai-national-park-thailand/ – A bloggers recount of their day in the park
3. Khao Sok National Park – Surat Thani
Considered by many to be one of the top national parks in the country, exploring Khao Sok is a must do for anybody who enjoys jungle trekking. We recommend that you get a guide to aid you in your exploration, as many of the trails aren’t marked, and trekking around with an expert can seriously enhance your experience. And rest assured, if you’re up for it, they can lead you on some intense hikes which are by no means “a walk in the park” (I hate myself for that one).
– http://www.khaosok.com/ – official website
– http://wikitravel.org/en/Khao_Sok_National_Park – overview/general info
– http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/jungle-trekking-and-leeches-in-khao-sok/ – A blogger’s recount of their day in the park
4. Organic Farm Stays – throughout Thailand
Many organic farms throughout Thailand will provide travelers with meals and accommodation in exchange for a few hours help per day, and sometimes a small fee. This is a great way to break away from urban life and experience a totally different, much simpler lifestyle.
– http://www.wwoof.net/ – network of host farms
– http://www.mindfulfarmers.org/ – A reputable farm near Chiang Mai
5. Sunflower field – Lop Buri
If you’re one of those people who loves flowers (a.k.a. every girl ever) then look no further for your next destination. Lop Buri farmers grow sunflower crops to be harvested for a number of industries, and the giant fields of flowers are absolutely beautiful.
– http://www.bangkokpost.com/travel/20668_info_the-sunflower-field.html – overview and map
– http://glamouroustraveller.com/2013/08/21/chasing-a-field-of-sunflowers-lopburi-thailand/ – blog about the field
6. Wat Hunting – Ayutthaya
Ayutthaya, the former capital of Thailand, is littered with countless ancient Wats dating back to the 18th century. A great (and essentially free) way to spend your day is to walk or grab a bike and aimlessly wander the remains of this ancient city, exploring its many temples.
7. Wat Rong Khun – Chiang Rai
While Ayutthaya is home to many incredible ancient Wats, Chiang Rai is home to one of Thailand’s most breathtaking modern Buddhist temples – Wat Rong Khun. The temple is known for its white color, its beautifully ornate architecture, and for the illustrations of contemporary pop culture that you’ll find within. The temple is free to enter, and should definitely make your list of places to go.
– http://www.amusingplanet.com/2013/02/wat-rong-khun-buddhist-temple-inspired.html – Pictures and information
8. Take the train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
While flying between these two cities may be quicker and more convenient, taking the train is far cheaper and will allow you to take in the sights as you pass through the gorgeous countryside. Plus, you’re more likely to meet interesting Thai characters on a train than you are on a plane. If the 12 -14 hour journey sounds like a little too much, you can get a sleeper on the night train, and wake up in time for the beautiful sunrise as you near Chiang Mai.
– http://www.seat61.com/Thailand.htm#.UyAJNvmSxu4 – everything you need to know about trains in Thailand
9. Take part in local festivals
Thai festivals are a famously good time, and to take part in them is totally free. The most notable upcoming festivals are Songkran and the Rocket Festival. Songkran is the celebration of the Thai new year, and it is celebrated all over the country in the form of a giant water fight. The Rocket Festival takes place primarily in Issan, and Thai and Lao people celebrate by singing, dancing, throwing parades, and launching massive homemade rockets into the sky.
– http://www.chictravelthailand.com/content_a.php?id=508&t=attraction&mode&title=Top+10+Places+to+Celebrate+Songkran+Outside+Bangkok – top 10 places to celebrate Songkran
– http://chiangmaibest.com/thailand-rocket-festival-isaan/ – information for the 2014 rocket festival
10. Surin Islands – Khuraburi
The Surin Islands are considered to be one of the best snorkeling destinations in Thailand. The islands are all protected by the Surin National Park, so a majority of the landscape and ocean remain pristine and untouched. If you want to stay on the islands, you can bring your own tent and camp for 80 baht per night, or rent a tent for only 400 baht. If you want to enjoy Thailand’s gorgeous beaches without high prices and the in-your-face tourism industry, this may be the perfect place for you.
– http://surinislands.com/index.html – official website
11. Mae Fah Luang Botanical Garden – Chiang Rai Province
This enormous garden is grown and maintained entirely by local villagers, bringing substantial income to the area, directly via job opportunities for the locals, and indirectly via tourism. Even if you aren’t a flower lover, this breathtaking garden is worth a visit for only 90 baht – especially in Marh and April when the flowers are in full bloom!