Thailand is a famous digital nomad destination. We don’t have a desire to be digital nomads, but we both love Thai food, and were excited to see Thai culture.Some things on our mental to-do list (besides food) were elephants, ancient Buddhism, and those fancy pillar islands you see in movies all the time. Thailand delivered on all four! We spent time in four areas:
We liked all these areas for different reasons, but we could have skipped Bangkok. It was a modern Asian city, and Chris enjoyed the cooking class there, but other than street food it was little different from a lot of other Asian cities. Don’t get me wrong, there was plenty of Thai culture, just we liked the other 3 regions more.
Our Visit Philisophy
Thailand means a lot of things to different people. It’s famous for it’s Lady-boys and party culture. That’s not our vibe and we stayed away from party districts and sexy districts. In reality I think this is a stereotype perpetuated by movies like Hangover 3. We were in Thailand for 2 weeks and didn’t see a single thing that would have raised an eyebrow in Iowa, other than one night in Chiang Mai, which you can read about below. It’s certainly possible (and recommended!) to visit Thailand for wholesome fun that will still blow your sober and clothed mind.
Bangkok is large Asian City. It has many modern amenities such as transit, shopping, good food, and bad traffic. It’s also a little bit towards the devolving side in that the transit doesn’t seem all that well connected, and you still may get scammed by cab drivers. When we were there I took a cooking course **add link** and we toured the capital. On the whole it’s good for a day or two, but I wouldn’t stay there too long if your goal is to see the wild side of Thailand.
By wild side of course I mean elephants. Chiang Mai has no shortage of elephant tours, and you need to do a little research to make sure you go on an ethical tour that treats the animals properly. This is a little hard because no one in town will have up a sign “Come see our elephants that we mistreat!”, but once you get to the tour you’ll see chains, evidence of hooks, or other poor treatment. The one we took that comes highly recommended was run by the Elephant Nature Park and has a lot of options. All of their elephants are without chains and free roaming. During our tour we came face to trunk with two elephants, and spent most of a day with them.
Northern Phuket Island
Ko Yao is a really nice, chill, island. It’s not a party island, it’s very quiet. Our resort hotel had only couples from their late 20s to 60s, no kids, no party folks. It was really nice. The food was good, the view was excellent. We rented a scooter with a side car which never failed to make others smile when they saw us. We also took a boat ride out into the bay and looked at some of the limestone pillars of the bay.