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Traveling in Northern Thailand: Highlights & Travel Tips

Thailand has become an absolute hot spot among backpackers. So we couldn’t miss this beautiful country either and traveled through the north of Thailand for one month. There you can find lots of cultural sights, but also beautiful nature and an impressive lantern festival in Chiang Mai.

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Bangkok

Golden Buddha Statue in Bangkok
Golden Buddha Statue in Bangkok
  • Our hostel tip for Bangkok: The Once Again Hostel, a modern hostel with good breakfast located in the middle of Bangkok
  • Restaurant tip for Bangkok: The Lueng Pha Pad Thai near the Golden Mountain
  • Our highlight in Bangkok: For the first two nights in Bangkok, we had an apartment with a rooftop pool on the 38th floor
  • Our flop: The traffic in Bangkok! We have hardly seen a city that is so close to a “traffic super disaster” as Bangkok.
  • Travel tip for Bangkok: Take the Skytrain to avoid the traffic jams! There are also many buses in Bangkok, but you have to plan enough time because of the traffic.

Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya historical park in Thailand
The Ayutthaya historical park
  • Our hostel tip for Ayutthaya: The Il Treno Hostel, cheap hostel also with private rooms, directly at the station and delicious restaurant
  • Restaurant tip for Ayutthaya: At the Il Treno Hostel you get delicious local and international dishes (but the breakfast is nothing special)
  • The highlight of Ayutthaya: The city center with many temples.
  • Our flop: The Floating Market, very touristic.
  • 2 travel tips for Ayutthaya: 1. women need shoulder- and knee-length clothing for the temples! 2. we suggest renting a scooter (for about 200 Baht/day) to explore Ayutthaya.

Chiang Mai

Coloful lanterns of the Loy Krathong and Yi Peng festival in Chiang Mai
Lanterns at the Loy Krathong and Yi Peng Festival in Chiang Mai
  • Our hostel tip for Chiang Mai: Sclass the Posthel is a super nice hostel, beautifully furnished, modern and with lots of common spaces
  • Unser Frühstücks-Tipp für Chiang Mai: We were totally crazy about the breakfast waffles in our hostel!
  • The highlight of Chiang Mai: The Yi Peng and Loy Krathong Festival
  • Our flop: The 500 Baht fine for not having an international driver’s license at the police control.
  • Our best travel tip for Chiang Mai: Take your international driving license with you because we had traffic stops!

Pai

White Big Buddha Pai Meditation statue by Mongkhol
The white Buddha of Pai at sunset
  • Our hostel tip for Pai: The La Mom Hostelo is a very cute hostel with a nice owner and very clean
  • Our favorite place to eat in Pai: You can eat very expensive and very cheap. In the evening there are many street stalls with Pad Thai, crepes, wraps, tacos and much more. During the day we recommend “The House Restaurant” in “Walking Street“.
  • Our travel highlight of Pai: The sunset at White Buddha.
  • Our flop: The stinking sulfur springs are relatively seen completely overpriced with 300 Baht admission per person.
  • Travel tip for Pai: At the canyons of Pai walk a little further than most tourists. Down at the foot there is a beautiful river bed with sandy ground, which you can walk along on dry days.

Chiang Rai

White Temple of Chiang Rai aka Wat Rong Khun temple
The White Temple of Chiang Rai, also known as “Wat Rong Khun Temple”
  • Our hostel tip for Chiang Rai: The Mercy Hostel, cheap hostel in the middle of Chiang Rai with pool, billiards, TV room and gym
  • Our tip for eating in Chiang Rai: Near bus terminal 1 there is a small Thai restaurant with cheap and very tasty Pad Thai (unfortunately it has no name and no address but here are the approximate coordinates for Google Maps: WR4M+3W Chiang Rai, Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai, Thailand))
  • Our highlight of Chiang Rai: The White Temple and (our highlight) the mountain at Wat Phrathat Tham Doi Kong Khao – a rock formerly used for cultural and touristic purposes, which is however no longer in use. Nevertheless, we climbed up the already overgrown path and were rewarded with a beautiful view over the surrounding lowlands
  • Our flops: We had a flat tire on our scooter and Anni lost her glasses.
  • General travel tip (learned in Chiang Rai): If you ever have a flat tire in Thailand, try to have the tire changed/repaired on site (probably cheaper than at your rental).

Sukhothai

Sukhothai historical park
The Historical Park of Sukhothai
  • Our hotel tip for Sukhothai: The Rueangsrisiri Guesthouse 2
  • Our tip for street food in Sukhothai: The street food in Old Sukhothai at the roadside.
  • Our highlight of Sukhothai: The temple ruins of the Historical Park of Sukhothai!
  • Our flop: An almost hospital stay after a toxic centipede attack.
  • Out travel Tip for Sukhothai: Book a hostel directly at the bus terminal for easy connection (both to New Sukhothai and for onward travel).

Summary

We liked the north of Thailand very much. Our absolute favorite places are Chiang Rai, Pai and Chiang Mai (especially at the time of Loy Krathong and the lantern festival Yi Peng).

If you have any questions about the hotels, eating places or anything else, just write it down in the comments. We will do our best to help you. We also welcome any criticism or any other notes. Only with your feedback we can improve our blog! 🙂

More articles about northern Thailand on our blog:

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