When people think of Thailand, they either think of the loud and colorful city of Bangkok OR the beautiful white sand beaches of Phuket. While I’ve personally experienced the former, and still have yet to see the latter, I can honestly say that there’s a whole lot more to this beautiful country.
Here are some interesting destinations that you can go to on your next visit to Thailand:
1. Damnoensaduak Floating Market
Located in the Raijburi (aka Ratchaburi) province, the Damnoensaduak floating market is a very popular tourist destination. Here you can have a glimpse of their old provincial life where business transactions are mostly done on boats floating along the rivers and canals. Be mindful that the paddle boat rides are not free. You have to pay around 120THB/head if I remember correctly.
Below is the cute lady who was maneuvering our paddle boat.
Food is cooked on boats too! :)
Another tip, I highly suggest that you try the boat rides BUT refrain from buying anything. Why? Because the goods and souvenirs here are super overpriced. But if you’re stubborn, and find something you really like, make sure to haggle because the original price is likely only 1/3 of what the vendors are offering. Believe me when I say though that for souvenirs, you’re better off shopping at MBK or Pratunam.
2. Bang Pa-In Summer Palace
The Bang Pa-In Summer Palace is basically one large estate where Thailand’s king leisurely spends his summer. You’ll find various royal buildings here built in contrasting architectural styles such as Thai, Chinese, Italian and Victorian. If you ask me, it feels a little like Nayong Pilipino. Be mindful that the property is huge so if you’re not into walking, you can opt to rent one of the golf carts by the entrance.
I prefer to walk though. Exercise is always good. Just make sure to bring an umbrella. :)
Here’s a tip, be on your best behavior here because there are a lot of royal guards (soldiers) wandering about. :)
NOTE: Entrance is 100THB.
3. Temples like the Wihan Phramongkhon Bophit
It felt surreal to even glance at this gigantic statue. I actually felt chills when I looked at its eyes. 0_o
Here’s a monk who was blessing the people…
4. Elephant Rides
Of course, a trip to Thailand wouldn’t be complete without an elephant ride. For the faint-hearted you can just have your photo taken beside the gentle giants. This one’s located at the Rachaburi Province.
I think these guys are still baby elephants. The big ones are those which you can actually ride.
5. Wat Yai Chaimongkhon / Phra Chedi Chaimongkol
Located in the Ayuhtthaya Province is another great place to visit- the Wat Yai Chaimongkhon. Here you’ll find large pagodas, that were built in 1592 to celebrate the victory of Thailand against their enemies from Laos.
6. Wat Phra Si Sanphet
The Wat Phra Si Sanphet is one of the most important temples in Thailand. It’s located at what originally was the Grand Palace (in Ayutthaya) during the reign of King Ramathibodi I. It was a sacred temple used for important royal ceremonies such as swearing allegiance to the king. It also served as the royal family’s private chapel and the place where the royal family’s ashes were preserved.
Walking around this place felt like stepping back into history. I could imagine monks and royal guards walking about…
It’s actually pretty amazing that even if war and extreme weather conditions have taken their toll on these buildings, the Thai government is still able to preserve what’s left.
You’ll find a lot of Buddha statues here. Some are still intact but most have been decapitated by their religious enemies from the past (Burmese I think).
TIP: I highly suggest that you book a guided tour (with a bus or rental van) if you want to visit these places because they are far apart and a bit hard to reach for commuters.
Anyway, it was truly an honor to have visited these iconic spots. The reverence that the Thai people give to their history and culture is truly admirable. It’s something that I think, we Filipinos should try to emulate. :)
After seeing these places, I now understand why so many tourists from all over the globe flock to Thailand.
Check out other articles from the Thailand Adventure series: