Credit: Franny The Traveler
1. Take part in religious tradition at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep in Bangkok
A hidden treasure, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is a temple that is less featured on social media. However, in my opinion, the temple is quite an impressive one as everything is practically decorated in gold. With Buddhas everywhere, the emerald one is the most unique. To get there, you have to ride an elevator or climb long, steep flights of steps.
Visiting this temple was quite the spiritual experience. My friend and I partook in the tradition of walking around the large gold structure three times while holding flowers and reciting a long prayer. Although the prayer was written out phonetically, I could not read Thai. Hence, my friend and I just walked. However, as you walk in complete silence, you notice the extensive amount of Buddhas that surround the temple.
Afterwards, a candle can be lit as an offering to the Buddha. I actually preferred this temple over any of the other ones I saw in Bangkok for its simplicity and lack of crowds, which might explain why I spotted many Buddhist monks.
2. Visit the temples and watch changing of the guards
Although I found part of the experience to be overwhelming (because of the crazy amount of crowds), it is still worth checking out the typical tourist attractions: The Grand Palace, The Royal Temple as well as Wat Po – where you will find the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. There are so many temples, and each one is intricately, colorfully, and ornately detailed. Upon visiting, you start to wonder who took the time to build all of these places of worship and what inspired such beautiful temples.
Watch Changing of the Guards here:
3. Check out a Thai Dinner Dance show
The setting is very laid back. While sitting on cushions in an outdoor space, you eat and are entertained. What better combination? You get to experience a different aspect of Thai culture: dance and music. In addition, you are served DELICIOUS appetizers that are shared with the table.
4. Visit an Elephant Sanctuary
For a more detailed story on my experience, check out my blog post, “Protect Thy Elephant: Visit to the Elephant Sanctuary.” In short, it is a transformational experience that allows you to have an up close and personal experience with these majestic animals. Not only do you get to feed and bathe them, but you also get to learn about animal care and ethics. Snag an animal selfie while you are there, I surely did!
5. Shop at the Night Bazaar
If you need to purchase souvenirs for people, come here! It is definitely the place to bargain as they will try to rack up the price. You can get some customized items right on the street. The bazaar extends for blocks in multiple directions.
6. Ride a Tuk Tuk
The tuk tuk is a Thai mode of transportation that can be found in any city. It is definitely fast and able to maneuver around cars. In fact, we took it to make our way back to the hotel from the Bazaar.
7. Visit a remote island
Phuket is the connecting port to many remote islands, just as Miami is the connecting port to many Caribbean islands. It definitely takes time and effort to get yourself to an island, but the views and calmness is very worth it. Since you already trekked to Thailand, you might as well make the extra effort to go. You will not be disappointed. There are many other islands in addition to Ko Phi Phi island, so do your research before deciding which floats your boat best. Yes, I used this cliche because we ARE talking about boats to islands!
8. Ride on a canoe
Riding on a canoe provides a unique view. It was in doing this that I felt I had truly experienced the vastness of Thailand’s waters and felt at peace with nature.
9. Check out views from a sky lounge
Checking out views from a sky lounge is the best way to get a panoramic view of the city, especially if your hotel balcony does not provide you with the best views. It is even more amazing to experience views from atop as the sun is setting!
10. Watch a show at Fantasea
Fantasea is an impressive place to be, period. While there, I felt as if I was in Asia’s version of Disney world with decked out banquet halls, from head to toe. There are lots of different activities to check out including a mini zoo with an all white tiger. The most impressive things of the show are the features, which contain lots of elephants and lights! Photographing during the show was strictly prohibited. As a way to strictly enforce this policy, phones were collected and light detectors – which detected when a phone screen was turned on, were in place.
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