Thailand is a traveller’s spiritual home and a rite of passage for backpackers. The mantra goes something like this: for trekking, temples, and culture – head north. For beaches, parties, and the ultimate paradise – head south. Ok, it’s not a massively catchy mantra, but it works.
Read on for 5 must dos in Southern Thailand. We’re hitting some of the big highlights here so, if off the beaten path is more your thing, make sure you check out out classic guide to Thailand’s best kept secrets!
Jump head first into southern Thailand
Today’s blog comes from James Greenslade who, after abandoning STA Travel headquarters, has returned to his native Australia to pine for the awful summers and “friendly” locals of the UK. He still writes a bit though.
Lesser known than their Thai neighbours to the east, the Andaman Islands offer visitors destinations just as beautiful, and even quieter. Sitting in the Bay of Bengal – and actually geographically closer to Thailand than India which they are administratively attached to - only a dozen or so of the 300 islands in the archipelago are open to visitors.
But what gems they are. Think pristine beaches, jungles, clear waters and, possibly best of all, hardly any people…
Hong Kong is a crossroads. A metropolitan melting pot where east meets west, island-life meets the mainland and tradition meets modernity. Look hard enough and within the high-rise buildings you’ll find little gems of architecture including Chinese temples, colonial residences and even the odd zoo. Oh and the world’s longest outdoor covered escalator, but more on that in a minute. Then there’s Kowloon, an urban sprawl that seeps out into the New Territories before connecting to Mainland China. There are also over 200 outlying Islands that can only be accessed by boat. Despite all of its diversity many people rush through Hong Kong, spending no more than a couple of days in the city before travelling onward. Take your time, no need to rush.
Here are our top seven things to do in Hong Kong:
Let’s get one thing straight from the start, you’ve got to at least be able to tolerate trains. Preferably, you’ll have a kind of quiet delight for the idea of being gently rocked to sleep while travelling at (slow) speed through the Mongolian steppe. At the thought of having up to 5 days in front of you with nothing to do but read, watch half the world go by out of the window, walk to the dining car, walk back, and repeat.
But, aside from the time on the train, you should also be ready to experience travelling in a whole new way. To take the slow route and have a better trip because of it. Here are just a few reasons we think you should hop on board the Trans-Mongolian railway.
Just one of the routes available for the Trans-Mongolian
Any trip, however far and for however long, can be an adventure. But sometimes a journey is so brilliant, so all-encompassing, so (yes, we’re going to say it) epic, that it crosses over into something else all together.
Overland travel mixes must-see highlights with local, off the beaten track experiences that it’s tough to get by travelling any other way. We’re talking detours to a remote Ethiopian village to meet the Hamar or Mursi tribes, crossing the Bolivian altiplano, learning to cook traditional food and helping out at the local school. You know, those moments you look back on and think “that really made my time there”.