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STA Travel Blog

How to spend 8 days in mainland Thailand

I’m Rachael, certified Netflix binger, beer pong fan, and one of the website guru’s at STA Travel. I recently got back from an Asia trip – and by recently I mean 6 months ago, but I’m in denial. Of the places I visited, I spent 6 weeks in Thailand. As well as eating my body weight in curry and 7-Eleven toasties (if you know, you know) I’d like to think I got to know the place pretty well, so this is what I’d tell travellers to do on a 8 day/7 night trip.

Day one

Fly in to Bangkok, because that’s probably the easiest and cheapest to get to. I spent three weeks in Bangkok (not because I’m crazy, I did a volunteering job) so I’ve done a lot there. You could either spend the day visiting amazing buildings like the Wat Pho/Wat Arun temple and the Grand Palace – all beautiful and worth a look, or if you’re more about the markets, head to one of the many floating markets around the city. We decided to get in a taxi and drive to Talin Chan and Khlong Lat Mayom, which were both really close to each other – we preferred the second one as it had much more of an authentic feel to it (the first one was very touristy).

Floating by without a care in the world #floatingmarket #bangkok #canalboat #thailand #authentic #thaiculture

A post shared by Rachael Porter (@rporter90) on

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48 hours in Bangkok

The city of Bangkok… a chaotic mismatch of old-world and modern metropolis serving up enticing markets, impressive temples and a wild night life to go with it.

With a round the world trip ahead of them, our Blueticket competition winners Sabrina, Dan, Kyle and Charlotte chose here to #StarttheAdventure. Like a lot of backpackers, they had to get real. With 48 hours they were never going to have the pleasure of exploring every single corner. Here’s the cultural juice they managed to squeeze out of their whistle stop tour of charismatic Bangkok.

1. Just touched down in Bangkok town (or Suvarnabhumi airport to be more accurate). Hop on the swanky sky train (for about 30p, whattt?) and make your way to Siam Square in downtown Bangkok.

2. For most backpackers there’s only one place to stay, Khao San Road or nearby at least. Go get yourself some traveller uniform whilst you’re there. Jazzy elephant trousers and a chang vest?

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Beyond the beach: Northern Thailand lust-list

Sawasdee friends! I’m Sasha, an STA Travel intern and self-confessed southeast Asia obsessive, so naturally I just had to share a few of my fave spots in Thailand…

We’ve all heard of the famous Thai beaches – from full moon parties on Koh Phagnan to surreal dive spots on Koh Tao. But what is actually beyond the beautiful beaches? ‘Who cares?! I just want to enjoy my SangSom bucket next to the shimmering sea!’ I hear you shout from behind your device. I feel you…but travelling with a tour group like Contiki ensures you see those beautiful cultural sights without skimping on fun! Let me share some of the best non-beachy destinations.

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10 ways to get the most out of a Southeast Asia tour

So you’re off on a journey around Southeast Asia to soak up the sun, sand, spice and spirituality – what could possibly go wrong?!

Well, you’d be surprised. Our travellers nearly always come home with a few regrets – thankfully not the ‘I crashed my moped, concussed myself, lost all my belongings and then got deported’ sort of regrets, but more the kind that revolve around the things they didn’t see or do – things they could have seen and done if they hadn’t been hungover in bed, or at least could have done better.

So we thought we’d put together a list of travelling do’s and don’ts to ensure you suck every last drop of fun out of your Southeast Asian adventure tour – and some of these are even applicable to those travelling independently…


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Thailand: Beyond Bangkok

Thailand is one of the most popular destinations for those looking to find bliss, but paradise isn’t always found diving head first into an infinity pool. You probably already know all about the beautiful beaches and the electric nightlife of Bangkok, so here are a few experiences to shake things up a bit and make your Thai adventure EVEN more memorable…

1. Caring for rescued elephants

elephant thailand
Whether you’re a volunteering veteran or a first timer, caring for rescued elephants will warm the coldest of hearts. The Thai Elephant Conservation project in Chiang Mai is home to around 30 rescued elephants who have sadly suffered a lifetime of abuse working in the tourist trade before they found their way to this little sanctuary. Help feed and take care of these glorious creatures, conserve their environment and be prepared to get a little wet when it comes to communal bath time!
Interested in this volunteering project? Get in touch with us here.
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