We give you the itinerary and the necessary tips to undertake the trip to Thailand on your own for 12 days.
We finally made contact with Southeast Asia. The chosen country was Thailand, to which we traveled during the rainy season. Luckily, that didn’t stop us from admiring its temples and other wonders. In this first post of the series of stories we bring you the details of activities, itinerary and the necessary tips to travel to Thailand on your own.
A little bit of history
Thailand, a country formerly known as Siam. The final name change occurred in 1949 and Thailand means “Country of Free People”. This country was never colonized, in part, thanks to the abilities of its monarchs to circumvent the governments of European countries and although they suffered a Japanese invasion during the Second World War, it was not colonization per se.
Thailand is a kingdom and since 1782 the Chakri dynasty has ruled, they began with Rama I and so it has gone until the current Rama X. The kings when they are crowned are known as Rama and the corresponding number, this in addition to their birth name that is not the same.
On the subject of religion, Buddhism is the religion of the monarchy and the one that is practically present throughout the country. In fact, a guide told us that men have to comply with a time of “being monks” (something similar to other countries where you have to do military service). Even kings have to.
But let’s go back to the trip, here we go with the practical data to travel to Thailand on your own ^^
Travel tips: visa for Thailand?
Can Mexicans travel to Thailand without a visa? Can Europeans travel to Thailand without a visa? for the former the answer is no, for the latter yes. The visa has to be processed in the Thai consulates of the country where you live and apart from the normal visa requirements (such as photos, forms, etc) you have to decide if you want a single entry visa or several. Depending on the type of visa that is chosen, the amount required in the bank account will vary, the difference is from 1 to 10 so you have to look closely.
Unfortunately you cannot process the visa on arrival, it has to be done before the trip.
How about the USA? U.S. citizen tourists entering Thailand for fewer than 30 days do not require a visa.
With central Europe the time difference is 5:00 hours. Guaranteed jetlag. From California, USA the difference is 14:00 hours., ENORMOUS.
As always: wherever you come from, the advice on you is to try to adjust as soon as possible to the schedule of the country of arrival.
The official currency is the Baht (BAT).
You have to try to quickly make equivalencies to calculate prices, but generally everything is quite cheap 🙂
Curious: we still find bills that have the figure of the previous king, Rama IX who died in 2016. But bills with the face of the current monarch Rama X are already beginning to circulate. One way to know if the bills are new 🙂 .
To get to Thailand: we traveled by plane arriving at the Bangkok airport (with the Garuda Indonesia airline), in Business class. We left from London and paid 2600 euros for the two of us. Remember, it is in business class and we traveled in August so if we had traveled in Eco it would have been expensive anyway, obviously not that much.
Within Thailand: during our stay we had various means of transportation.
- Plane: we flew with the national airline Thai to go from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, a fairly cheap price considering that we bought the tickets very little in advance.
- Bus: to go from Bangkok airport to Hua Hin we take the bus. Super comfortable and punctual.
- Minivan: to return from Hua Hin to Bangkok we decided to take the minivan due to schedules. Horror, it was uncomfortable and stopped every 20 minutes. We regret not having returned by bus.
- Subway: in Bangkok we took the different subway lines (not all are called subway but to simplify here I call them all the same). Comfortable and practical.
- Urban bus: once we knew the route of a bus line and that we knew that it passed near the monuments that we would visit, without hesitation we took it. It’s cheap and almost always quite comfortable.
- Taxi: for few trips we took the taxi but in situations where the price was fixed (for example to leave the Chiang Mai airport).
- Tuk tuk: we took it only once, in general we avoided it because I had already read stories of scams to tourists and we did not want to be one more in the statistics. Using the metro and urban bus we were able to get around almost always.
Hotels in Thailand
During our trip to Thailand we stayed in several hotels:
Bangkok: Akara Hotel and Lilac Relax Residence
Chiang Mai: BED Chiang Mai Gate Hotel
Hua Hin: Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas
In Thailand you can book very cheap accomodations, we chose to look for a price range that we would pay in a European country knowing that the quality of the accommodation will be much higher, on the luxurious side. In other words, we didn’t save on lodging, but rather we used the usual budget to have something that we couldn’t have in an “expensive” country;) well, it depends on your preferences and possibilities.
What suitcase to bring?
We went in the summer season so we left the jeans at home. It is advisable to wear loose and breathable clothing. But at the same time, covering to avoid mosquitoes as much as possible once the sun goes down. With light clothes and knowing that we would wash during the trip, with two cabin-format suitcases (one for each one) it was enough, so it will probably be enough for your own travel to Thailand.
Tips to travel to Thailand: 12 day Itinerary
We were in the country a total of: 12 days. We minimized hotel changes as much as possible and this was the itinerary we had and that suited us for a first contact with the country.
Note: there were no paradisiacal beach destinations (islands, etc.) since we were traveling in the rainy season and it was not convenient.
1 – Bangkok: Crossing the non-charco and arrival in Bangkok. Baiyoke Tower 2 visit
2 – Bangkok: Wat Phra Kaew Temple (or the emerald buddha temple), Wat Pho
3 – Bangkok: Wat Arun, Wat Suthat (or swing temple), Café de Mei (Totoro)
4 – Ayutthaya: visit of the archaeological sites of Ayutthaya, Siam shopping center and Hello Kitty cafe
5 – Chiang Mai: downtown Chiang Mai temples
6 – Chiang Mai: Doi Suthep, silver temple and walking street market
7 – Chiang Rai: white temple, baan dam museum, blue temple, golden triangle
8 – Going to Hua Hin: Hua Hin railway station
9 – Hua Hin: Ao Manao beach, dusky langur monkeys, Kui Buri park
10 – Hua Hin: Hua Hin beach
11 – Going to Bangkok: Lumpini Park, Erawan Shrine Dancers, Dinner at Neon
12 – Bangkok: Suan Pakkad museum, Bangkok shopping malls
More tips on your travel to Thailand
We were clear that we wanted to see the elephants of Asia but in total freedom, no shows or elephant riding, even sanctuaries were out of our idea. We wanted to see them in their natural state, to see them that way even from afar. I saw some photos of places where people take them for a walk etc and it seemed to me that there was too much human-elephant interaction which I didn’t want to do.
There are several national parks where elephants (and other animals) can be seen in the wild on a classic safari or trek. Because we were going in the rainy season, we opted for a park where we did a classic safari (that is, in a vehicle) and we went to the Kui Buri park, one of the places where there is more probability of seeing them. And indeed it was, we saw them. We will tell you later how the experience was.
Photos of the royal family can be seen all over the city, including in non-government buildings. In Jordan we had already seen something similar but in Thailand it is even more.
We could see them everywhere and we had to be careful not to sit in a place reserved for them (or be ready to give them the place if one appeared). In many places the monks have priority, even over the elderly or pregnant women.
Very tasty and something that may surprise many: Thais eat with a spoon and fork, so don’t think that they don’t give you chopsticks because you are foreigners. There are some dishes, like the pad thai, in which they will take out the chopsticks. And yes, it’s spicy, for people like us who like spicy it’s very nice, but I saw more than one tourist saying please “no spicy“, So, one of the tips on your Thailand travel is to always specify that you cannot eat spicy, don’t be ashamed.
In addition there were many fruits that I did not know, for example the rambutan that is hairy and tastes like grapes or the durian that has a foul smell and a taste that is difficult to describe. By the way, the durian is enormous and in many hotels and taxis it is prohibited due to the ugly and penetrating smell it has.
Many cats in the streets, but they look quite well cared for and in fact in the temples we saw many that had collars which made us think they were the “temple cats” 😀 so if you like cats, you’ll be happy.