**This is a Guest Post**
Thailand is considered to be one of the top destinations in Asia, and one of the most cost-effective for visitors due to its plethora of budget-friendly activities, attractions, and shopping opportunities. Here, you can spend many a day surrounded by turquoise waters and warm beach sand, or take to the cities and explore the local culture.
1. Market Mayhem
The busy markets of Thailand are well-known, and you can get almost anything under the sun from within one. Items on sale vary from fresh fruit and toys, to a three-piece formal suit that’s tailored to fit – and it’s free to wander around and watch others bargain. One note to those who are new to haggling – do some research on the average sales price of certain items, so you don’t get ripped off, and so you don’t rip off the stall owner – they’re trying to make a living after all. If you’re after a unique market destination, take a water taxi to the Taling Chan Floating Market. A word of caution is that the Thai’s will vary their asking price, depending on which nationality you are – so if they think you’re from Australia, they’ll usually charge you double, whereas if they think you’re South African, the price is usually halved.
2. Beach Baby
The beach of Maya Bay. By ccdoh1 (Flickr)
With such a vast variety of beaches to go to, it can be hard to decide which you’d like to set foot on first. One of the most lauded areas to head to, which was shown in the film “The Beach” with Leonardo Di Caprio in the early 2000s, is Maya Bay in Phi Phi. It’s one of the best diving sites available in Thailand and the crystal waters, snow white sand, and some sunblock, are all you need for a great day out. There are three beaches here, with the longest being 200m. You may have to pay a small entrance fee as this is a National Park, which you are then welcome to wander through.
Wat Mahathat in Sukhothai Historical Park. By Paulrudd (Creative Commons)
Within the Sukothai Historic Park, visitors will get the chance to view a variety of ruins from the original capital city of Sukhothai, which was the Siamese seat of power in the 13th century. Sukothai translated means “Dawn of Happiness”. The slowly crumbling architecture showcases the start of the Thai style, and the various carved pillars, ornate friezes, and Buddha’s are still in a good condition, many still bearing traces of the original brightly-coloured paint flecks. The admission price to the park costs a mere $2, and you can spend a full day exploring on foot or biking between,the numerous points of interest.
4. Head to the Top
The western parts of Thailand, like Kanchanaburi Province, are an outdoor paradise characterised by lush forests, waterfalls, streams, and hiking trails. For those who are looking for a full-day trip, the Erawan Waterfall and Srinakarin Lake Tour are recommended. Here, you can swim in clear waters to revive yourself after a tiring hike through the jungle, as the sound of the waterfall echoes around you and lulls you back into a state of calm.
5. Cultural Stops
The Wat Chiang Man temple is the oldest Buddhist temple in the city. By Adam Carr (Creative Commons)
For those looking to enter one of the gorgeously ornate Buddhist temples, head to Chiang Mai where there are over 300 shrines and temples. Most are free of charge, provided you stay quiet and respectful of the monks – you’re entering their holy space after all. While here, take some time to appreciate the gorgeous gildings and decorations as you walk through the various rooms and chambers.
Author Bio: Roseanna McBain is a writer for TravelGround. She enjoys learning about the fascinating cultures around the world, along with their beliefs and myths. In summer you’ll find her out and about in Cape Town, likely along one of the numerous hiking trails.