From previously undiscovered summit panoramas, over jungle hikes where we almost got lost, to discovering abandoned temples. The north of Thailand really has a lot to offer and surprised us from one time to the next.
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Thailand was going to have a fantastic start because Anni had planned a little birthday surprise for Timo.
We landed at 6 am in the “Land of Smiles” and were picked up directly by a private airport shuttle. The aim was the surprise, a mind-drum roll please… a whole apartment in a skyscraper with infinity pool and gym over the roofs of Bangkok!
The most important sights in the middle of Bangkok
Well recovered we visited Bangkok and immersed ourselves in the pulsating life of the city. But since Bangkok is really huge, we chose some of the most important sights in the city centre:
- The Grand Palace (the former royal residence)
- Wat Phra Kaeo (Buddhist temple beside the Grand Palace)
- The world famous Khaosan Road (backpacking hotspot and party mile in Bangkok)
- Giant Swing: Sao Ching Cha (the big red swing)
- Wat Suthat Thepwararam (Buddhist temple beside the Giant Swing)
- Wat Saket (the golden mountain with a great view over downtown Bangkok)
- The Democracy Monument of Bangkok (most likely you will pass it automatically when you visit the city centre)
- Bangkok City Park: Rommaninat Park (good for sports)
- Pak Khlong Flower Market
Sights further outside Bangkok
- Big Buddha
- China Town
- the famous Chatuchak-Weekend market
- City Park: Wachirabenchatchat Park (adjacent to the Chatuchak Weekend Market)
Also recommendable in Bangkok:
- Wat Arun (temple)
- Sanam Luan (temple)
- Boat tour on the Chao Phraya River
- Golden Buddha (Wat Traimit Withayaram Worawihan)
- the Bangkok Arts and Culture Centre
Our Hostel Tip for Bangkok: The Once Again Hostel, a modern hostel with good breakfast located in the middle of Bangkok
The tour continued from the current capital to the former capital of Thailand, Ayutthaya. A city with historical ruins from the Khmer era that attracts many culture-loving tourists.
We booked a private room in a nice hostel. For the first time on our trip we rented a scooter and rode it for two days through the old town, visited markets and drove to nearby lakes – there is not much more to see there.
Our hostel tip for Ayutthaya: The Il Treno Hostel, cheap hostel also with private rooms, directly at the train station and delicious restaurant
From Ayutthaya, it took about nine hours by train to Chiang Mai, which is especially known for its annual light festivals Loy Krathong and Yi Peng.
Loy Krathong und Yi Peng
On the following days, we were able to experience a very special flair in Chiang Mai. Loy Krathong and Yi-Peng are probably the two most important festivals in Thailand and are therefore celebrated on a grand scale over several days.
The two festivals take place at the same time. Colourful lanterns were hung all over the city and handmade little boats (the krathongs) made of banana leaves and flowers were sold. The boats were placed in the river with candles and incense sticks. At the same time, thousands of lanterns were released into the night sky.
Trip to the Monthathan Waterfall
The next day we went by scooter to the Monthathan Waterfall in the adjacent mountains.
But the most exciting was our little jungle hike on the Montha Than Waterfall Trailhead. The small path, which was advertised as a circular trail, led deeper and deeper into the jungle.
After about half an hour without a shield or a sign of civilization, doubts crept over us whether we would make it back before sunset. We decided not to turn back and after an additional 20 minutes this decision turned out to be the right one.
The Montha Than Waterfall Trailhead is actually a circular trail and one comes out again at the road below the waterfall.
So it was not that bad, but it would not have hurt to put up a few signs on the way.
Our hotel tip for Chiang Mai: Sclass the Posthel, super super gorgeous hostel, nicely furnished, modern and with lots of places to relax
Our next destination led us deeper into the Tenasserim Mountains. A three-hour drive and 700 curves later we finally arrived in the valley of Pai with its identically named hippie town.
That same afternoon we rented a scooter – for an affordable 2,50$ – and set off with coke and beer to Yun Lai Viewpoint for the sunset.
With full throttle and full program we went on to the most beautiful sights of Pai…
We drove to the Buddha Bamboo Bridge, which leads across rice fields to temples. Then we went to the “Grand Canyons of Pai” with picturesque dried up river beds and to the historic bridge from the Second World War (the Pai Historical Bridge). The crowning finale was the big white Buddha of Pai (Big Buddha Pai Meditation) at sunset!
What more could you want in a day?
Our hotel tip for Pai: The La Mom Hostelo, very cute hostel with nice owner and very clean
The following day we had to master the 700 curves again. From the bus terminal in Chiang Mai we originally planned to take a connecting bus to Chiang Rai. Unfortunately, all buses for this day were fully booked.
In the end, we had to take a shared taxi, which even turned out to be the better option. The taxis do not have a freezing air con.
Scooter Trip in Chiang Rai
In Chiang mai we rented a scooter again and headed for the mountains again. On the way, we discovered an abandoned mini-mountain or big rock, which must have been a spiritual place in former times. We believe it was the Wat Phrathat Tham Doi Kong Khao.
The ascent turned out to be extremely difficult, as the path was almost completely taken up by flora and was extremely steep in places. In addition, there were many mosquitoes (of course we didn’t take any spray with us) and the extreme heat. We arrived at the top, bathed in sweat: The view was breathtaking! We had a wonderful 360° view. Granted: We felt a bit like in an Indiana Jones movie 😉
Afterwards we drove on towards the mountains and discovered the Huay Keaw Waterfall with a cool trekking route through a bamboo forest leading up to a hill with a tea plantation.
The Golden Triangle
The following day we ventured on a somewhat further road trip – to the Golden Triangle. At this place, the countries Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet. But all in all, it can be said that the journey there was more beautiful than the destination itself.
On the last morning we had to make the obligatory detour to the White Temple of Chiang Rai 😉
Our hotel tip for Chiang Rai: Das Mercy Hostel, cheap hostel in the middle of Chiang Rai with pool, billiard, TV room and gym
On our way back to Bangkok we made a stop in Sukhothai. We arrived late in the evening at the bus terminal. But luckily we booked an accommodation directly next to the bus stop.
The historical park of Sukhothai
The next morning we went to the “Historical Park of Sukhothai“, a complex with ruins of the original city of Sukhothai. We decided not to take the tourist train but explored the ruins of the huge temples and castle walls on foot.
Our hotel tip forSukhothai: Das Rueangsrisiri Guesthouse 2
Extra: Plastic in Thailand
No matter where we went, whether on the way to a waterfall or into the mountains, on the beach or in a small town in the middle of the country, one thing caught our eye everywhere: plastic garbage!
It is truly no secret that our earth is slowly suffocating from the immense plastic consumption of the population, but on an untouched white sandy beach or in the jungle the garbage deeply burns into consciousness.
Since the beginning of our trip, we tried to use as little plastic as possible and from week to week we got better at it.
When we buy a coconut, we do it without a straw, when we buy fruits, we do it with a backpack and not with a plastic bag, for breakfast we do not eat yogurt and butter from small plastic packages and we always have our to-go food filled into our lunch boxes.
One of the most important things for us is our water purifier. We use it every day to filter tap water and fill it into our bottles. So we don’t have to use up about six plastic bottles every day.
As you can see, even as a tourist it is possible (and absolutely necessary!) to pay attention to the garbage/plastic consumption. Especially holiday countries do not have a reasonable waste disposal system. Most of the time the garbage is either burned or ends up directly behind the next hill and sooner or later it ends up in the sea.
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