7 MUST DOS: THAILAND
One of the best things about Thailand is the bounty of tasty food sold on every street corner. Thai street food is usually safe to eat, cheap to buy and tasty to consume. You will be amazed to watch your Pad Thai whipped up in just a few short minutes and come with a 30BHT price tag. Another favourite is the roti pancakes covered in sweetened condensed milk.
If you're heading down south to visit Thailand's face beaches and islands then it's inevitable that you'll do some island hopping. Although a lot of the islands have been overrun thus ruining the atmosphere, there are still plenty of gems. If you're time poor, opt for an island tour that will show you the famous spots. Think about choosing a environmentally friendly and sustainable company, too much damage has already been done due to tourism.
The Loi Krathong Lantern festival is a truly beautiful celebration that showcases Thailand's Northern area. Chiang Mai is a great backdrop for the release of thousands of lanterns into the sky, nothing quite prepares you for the ambience you will witness. Make sure you plan ahead and lock down accommodation, prices rise and options become limited closer to the festival.
Khao San Road is the backpacking hub of Bangkok. It is a cluster of street food, bargain shopping, 20 something fueled bars and plenty of frustrating hawkers. The street starts to come to life around 12 pm and won't die down until 4 am the next morning. Aside from the constant barrage of people trying to sell you stuff, it's fairly safe, just keep an eye out for pickpocketers.
Chiang Mai is Thailand's saving grace; it's relaxed, peaceful and holds a lot of character. With a relatively large expat community, Chiang Mai has a good mix of traditional Thai lifestyle and progressive Western culture. Notice the difference in cuisine and sample all the North has to offer. Chiang Mai's slightly cooler atmosphere makes walking around more bearable.
Bangkok is filled with great shopping options, you really will find everything you're after. If cheap, on trend fashion is your style then head to MBK, the bargain hunter's mecca. If you'd rather a mix of tack and trend, Chatuchak's Weekend market is worth checking out. There is a good amount of imported vintage and local designers that are worth visiting. Khao San Road has a tonne of souvenirs and gimmicks, prices are usually well priced.
Kho Samui is the lesser of all evils when it comes to overrun tourist islands. There are still plenty of quiet and relaxing spots in Koh Samui, to just sit back and unwind. Luxury is very affordable in Thailand; pay a little extra for an impressive view and all the trimmings.