It’s one of the world’s most popular destinations for backpackers, and one that we talk to travellers about 100s of times a day.
Thailand is almost a rite of passage for travellers of every kind; whether you’re shuffling along the street stalls, saving dimes where you can, or rising the elevators to the upper floors of a palatial Bangkok hotel, Thailand has you covered.
This week on the STA Travel Blog, we’re taking a closer look at Thailand, and uncovering some alternative ways to get to grips with this incredible destination.
We’ll be introducing you to exciting regions, often overlooked by moonstruck travellers, and opening your eyes to myriad experiences to be enjoyed in the Kingdom of Thailand. What are you waiting for?
Alternative Thailand Holidays
Whether you’re travelling to Bangkok on a stopover, or you’re making a beeline for the beaches, be sure to consider every available option to you for your time in Thailand. This is just the start!
1. Learn a little Thai
Ask any Thailand travel veteran what could enrich your time in the country, and most of them will concur that learning Thai, will go a long way to enriching your experience. It’s an enjoyable experience, that could open up an endless number of doors to the incredible cultures that combine to make Thailand such a special country.
2. Volunteer on a tiny island
There are heaps of opportunities to roll back the sleeves and get stuck in, for many of Thailand’s island communities. The country has been through a lot in recent times, not least the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004 that devastated much of the coastal communities. Commit some time to volunteering in Thailand, to learn about the resilience of the Thai people, and to help rebuild their villages.
3. Go native in Chiang Mai
Not content with a quick yarn on the street? Get completely immersed in north Thailand culture, by committing to live like a local in Chiang Mai! This unique experience takes you beyond the highlights, and takes you up river, and via tricycle to the bustling town markets and solemn temples; pop in for a chat with the local monks, before whipping up a storm in the kitchen!
4. Sail through Paradise
Sleep moored under the stars and explore untouched beaches on remote islands, as you seek out adventures far beyond the famous shorelines of Thailand. There are a few options to try your hand at sailing in Thailand, including firm favourite Koh Samui and friendly Phuket.
5. Journey by Rice Barge
Leave Bangkok in style, as you jump board one of the country’s more traditional forms of transport: a rice barge. Weave your way through the central plains, and journey into the unknown as you slowly switch the din of the city, for the squawks of the wild echoing through hidden temples. Look out for the 3-day River Life Cruise.
6. Tight lines in Thailand
Seafood is big business in Thailand. It’s never far from the menu, and as a result, you’ll sample some of the world’s most delicious food, fresh from the sparkling oceans that surround Thailand. For an alternative trip, why not get to the source of the action, and take a fishing trip off beautiful Koh Samui?
7. Learn to cook some Thai
Thai cuisine is one of the best loved in the world, so it makes sense that if you can cook Thai food, then you will become one of the best loved people in the world. So, when looking for alternative experiences in Thailand, there can only be one thing to do: learn to cook Thai!
8. Kayak over the Andaman
Kayak the turquoise waters of the Andaman and discover coral coves and white-sand beaches. Not only that, but kayaking in Thailand gives you the perfect way to score the best snorkel spots in southern Thailand, and an experience not to be missed.
9. Go scuba diving in Koh Tao
Thailand isn’t the first place most people think of when they consider learning to scuba dive; but guess what: it’s a world class destination. The island of Koh Tao provides an idyllic backdrop, with a wide range of PADI courses on offer.
10. Go tribal in the hills
Visiting the hill tribes of Northern Thailand is an excellent alternative to the standard itinerary. Get face to face with some of the world’s most enigmatic people, ride atop elephants and travel downstream on a bamboo raft for a full experience off the beaten track (quite literally!)