Within the travel section of the blog I will be inviting people to come and share their travel stories with me. I love looking at holiday snaps I always have done, so this seems like the perfect place to share other people’s holiday experiences. It helps when your friends are professional photographers! and when my good friend Shelly from Toast of Leeds told me about her holiday to Thailand I knew I had to share the photos with you all. Thailand is somewhere I have always wanted to go and these photos make me want to go even more. As Shelly went with her 7 year old it also shows that you can go to these sorts of places with children, Thailand dosn’t just have to be for the young travels, there is a Thailand for everyone!
For years it’s been known for its’ Full Moon parties, buckets of booze and backpackers… but there’s more to Thailand than cheap hostels and pad thai.
This year we headed over to it’s beautiful white beaches with our 7-year-old for a family expedition to the backpackers paradise.
First stop was Bangkok. A bustling capital city with a ton of culture to experience. Whether you’re drinking buckets of cheap booze with ten straws, eating street food with two lanes of traffic speeding by your shoulder or getting all posh at one of the Michelin starred restaurants, Bangkok has something for everyone.
There is so much to see and do in Bangkok that it needs more than one visit. Splendid fragrant open air markets, golden temples and of course, the eponymous Khao San Road.
There are over 400 temples (or wats) around Bangkok and you should at least go and see some of the main ones. You can visit the Grand Palace where you can see the Emerald Buddha and next door is the Wat Mahatat which is one of the ten Royal temples. And no visit to Thailand would be complete without seeing the great big golden Reclining Buddha. Wat Pho has a 15 meter high, 43 meter long Buddha covered with gold leaf and whilst you’re there, don’t forget to buy a bowl of coins to drop into the 108 little bowls for good luck. We travelled on the river boats and by tuktuk to get around but keep the sightseeing for the mornings when it’s a bit cooler and spend the afternoon lazing by the pool.
We were fortunate to have planned our visit to coincide with Songkran – the celebration of the Thai New Year in the middle of April. This celebration first started as a way to gently wash away your sins but has evolved into the world’s largest water fight. Buy a water pistol on the street and prepare for three days of very wet water madness. If you’re under 35, head to the Khao San Road which will be jam packed full of party goers covered in tiger balm and throwing buckets of water at each other. We hired a tuktuk and raced round the streets firing on victims who got their revenge with super soakers. I have fond memories of sitting on a plastic chair in soaking wet clothes in the middle of the city under fairy lights eating spicy noodles bought for 40p at midnight. Great fun and the best New Year I’ve ever had.
After a few days in the city, we grabbed a flight down to Khao Lak. Known as the gateway to the Similan Islands, Khao Lak was hard hit by the 2004 tsunami but has recovered well… although you can visit a boat that was washed a mile inland which has now become a shrine to the disaster.
With miles of beautiful coastline and white sandy beaches, it is quiet and perfect for couples and families who want to relax. We stayed in a garden villa at the La Flora Resort , where the staff were endlessly helpful and always smiling.
As well as lounging by the pool and frequenting the swim up bar for excellent Margueritas, we also managed to do some elephant trekking, swam in beautiful waterfalls and visited local markets where we gorged ourselves on chicken satay.
Whilst in Thailand, you would be nuts not to take advantage of the fantastic massage therapy offered just about everywhere. Nothing beats getting a great massage on the beach whilst listening to the sea for less than £8 quid. Sheer relaxation.
The Similan islands are well known for being a divers paradise. And if you don’t dive, you can snorkel. took my seven year old snorkelling for an hour and saw a turtle, a ray and a million other multi coloured fish. If you are going to dive, book yourself an overnight stay on a Live-a-Board boat.
We also hopped up the coast to Phuket where the old town is home to beautiful old Portugese style architecture and some of the most jaw-dropping scenery I’ve ever seen. However, it is also home to some of the trashier, brassy, tourist hotspots… not the kind of place I want to visit with my family, but if you;re looking for a lads holiday, that’s the place.
One of the main things about Thailand however is the cuisine. Surely it has to be some of the best in the world… all those fragrant herbs like lemon grass and coriander, and a little bit of spice… awesome. As well as eating on the beach, we also munched on some great local delicacies bought from someone’s front room (whilst at least ten kids huddled round a television watching the football) and even had a little Thai cookery lesson which was lots of fun … plus we got to eat everything at the end.
And once you’ve done Thailand, you are a hop skip and a jump away from Laos and Cambodia…..
- If you have been away on holiday and would like to share your experience on the blog please email me [email protected]
All Photos by Shelly