3 Weeks Thailand Itinerary, The Land Of The Smiles

Travel is many things to different people. To some travelling might just be a fun adventure, or a chance to visit friends and family.  But for me, its to step out of my comfort zones and embarking on a new journey. So, on the 6th of February 2018 I embarked on a new adventure to travel around Southeast Asia for close to 3 months. And my first stop was Thailand the travel hub of Southeast Asia.

Bangkok 3 nights

Bangkok will always hold a special place in my heart, as this is the first place I visited internationally. It was a good introduction to my Southeast Asia backpacking trip, because everything is cheap, it's easy to explore, its rich in culture, and the food was just amazing.

Bing the capital of Thailand it had plenty of interesting things that kept me busy during my visit. It's home to the famous Khao San Road where you will find cheap drinks and see people selling insects are eating them, to loud music pumping from nearly every bar on the road. Bangkok is also home to a number of places you need to visit such as The Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Lumpini Park, Chatuchak Markets and MBK centre to name just a few.

After eating my heart out in Bangkok, on the 10th I took a 1 hour airconed minibus to Ayutthaya for R35.

Ayutthaya 2 nights

Ayutthaya can be done as a long day-trip from Bangkok or as I did and spend 2 nights. This ancient city, the 2nd capital of Siam was the largest city in the world in the early 18th century with 1 million residents. It is a shadow of its former self now, but the traces of its former glory are still spread across town and can give you a clue as to its former grandeur.

At the centre of Ayutthaya City is Ayutthaya Historical Park – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – the most visited site in the area. There are four spectacular temples of the early Ayutthaya period (1350 – 1529) amongst a dense canopy of ancient trees. West of it is the hi Royal Palace and Royal Chapel (Wat Phra Si Sanphet) – the political and spiritual heart of the lost kingdom.

Apart from touring Ayutthaya’s history and temples, my visit was filled with something more recent in terms of the cultural contexts such as the Ayodha Floating Market, Krirk Yoonpan’s Million Toys Museum, Ayutthaya Boat Museum and the Bang Sai Royal Folk Art and Crafts Center. But I must confess that after spending 2 days exploring different temples, I was ready for something different. So on the 12th  I took a 4 hour airconed minibus to Kanchanaburi for R45.

Kanchanaburi 2 nights

Kanchanaburi is a very chilled riverside town on the west of Thailand, which I absolutely loved and my accommodation at D Hostel was just beautiful. The city of Kanchanaburi is a microcosm of what makes Thailand such an interesting country. There is a blend of historical sightseeing opportunities as well as natural spots to take in the unique beauty of the Land of Smiles as Thailand is called.

The bridge over the River Kwai is the main point of an interest and most of the sights relate to the dark history of the so-called Death Railway to Burma during World War II. There are also several interesting historical sites dotted around the city with highlights including the Hellfire Pass and Erawan National Park.

Hua Hin 2 nights

On the 14 in the morning I took a 3 hour minibus ride from Kanchanaburi to Hua Hin for R60. And I must say Hua Hin is one of the few places in Thailand that I wish I had stayed longer. And since it was valentine's day week I decided to stay at a beach resort just to spoil myself.

What I loved the most about this place is that it's actually not a common and popular tourist spot, however it does attracts many locals who travel there during the weekend and holidays. But it still has diverse tourist spots, such as historical heritage sites, natural beauty, artistic tours and delicious food which surely made me fall in love with this tropical city.

One other thing that I loved was the Night Market. Situated at the intersection of Pecthkasem Road and Dechanuchit Road, this market becomes crowded after 6.30 p.m., and with many handicrafts sold at a cheap price along the streets. Seafood stalls are very popular with their grilled smell penetrating the whole market. I mostly enjoyed the local street dishes like the mini pancakes and mango sticky rice.

Koh Tao 3 nights

It was now time to hit the island, so on the 16th I booked a bus and ferry combo with Lumphany for R250 to Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, Koh Samui and Phuket . Now my initial reason for choosing this island was to get my diving pedi, but after deciding to only stay in Thailand for 3 weeks I had to only stay 3 nights.

Koh Tao – meaning ‘Turtle Island’ – I must say lives up to its name, being the scuba diving destination of choice for many in Thailand,  It is crawling with hippies and divers. But it's also has the perfect white-sand beaches surrounded by crystal-clear waters of the Gulf of Thailand. The vibrant coral reefs there are home to a wide range of exciting and colourful sea creatures, including turtles. Even though I didn't get to dive, I still took a half day snorkeling trip around the island.

Koh Phangan 2 nights

Home of the famous full moon parties. Once a month the travellers flock to Ko PhaNgan’s Haad Rin beach for a night of partying under the moonlight. But what a lot of people don’t know is that there is an equally lovely quiet side of the island that is totally underrated. I purposely choose to stay away from the craziness of the full moon parties and just spend my days laying around the beautiful beach near my hotel.

Because I naturally gravitate towards the sun, watching sunsets in different parts of the world is sort of like a past-time of mine. So believe me when I say that Koh Phangan has beautiful sunsets. One of my favourite spots was by Amsterdam Bar by Ao Playlaaem. The view from the restaurant area is out of this world! I would just relax in their many floor cushions as I enjoy the colours of the sunset unfold in front of me.

Koh Samui 3 nights

My second favourite place in Thailand. Koh Samui (Samui Island) is a cosmopolitan melting pot, attracting budget travellers staying for a month or two in simple beachside bungalows, to the wealthiest holidaymakers dropping in for a weekend at one of the many luxury resort or villa on the many white sand beaches of Koh Samui.

From the hustle and bustle of Chaweng Beach to the lively yet relaxed atmosphere of Lamai Beach to the timeless feel of Bophut's Fisherman's Village to the tropical beach paradise of Maenam, Koh Samui is unique among Thailand's islands in maintaining a broad appeal for everyone. I guess that's what set it apart from all the other islands I been too, but It was one of the only place I got to actually go out at night with local friends.

Phuket 4 nights

From fresh seafood to beautiful weather and friendly locals, Phuket was my Thailand last perfect destination. After being in 3 different islands I choose to stay at The old Phuket Town and explore its beautiful history, culture, and colourful buildings.

In this historically rich part of town you will find shrines, temples (Buddhist and Chinese), ornate and beautifully preserved 'shophouses', quaint cafés, tiny printing shops, impromptu private and public museums and even a mini ex-red light district.

The Phuket Old Town was built on the riches reaped from Phuket's tin boom of the last century, when the metal was an extremely valuable commodity. In this quarter of the town you will see grandiose Sino-colonial mansions, once occupied by Phuket's tin barons of 100 years' ago. The Phuket Old Town is compact enough to stroll around in. The best time to do this I found was early in the morning or after the day has lost its heat.

Travel Days: 21

Accommodation: R4641

Transport: R450

Visa: Free 30 days

Total: 5010