Thailand is hard to get around. The distances are huge, and the more interesting places are scattered on the map in all sorts of directions. And since not everyone has unlimited travel time, it is necessary to choose a route in which it is clear that many of the originally planned cities and islands will be dropped. Our goal is to have as few domestic flights as possible, so we choose a few days in Bangkok with the idea of day trips to nearby places such as Ayutthaya and the floating market in Rachaburi, combined with a few days to relax on the beaches of Krabi, in total with 1 domestic flight Bangkok – Krabi.
Since Thailand is a different world from the one we know in Europe, and photos and videos usually show even the most beautiful places in an idealized way, you should know that traveling to this distant destination is accompanied by inconveniences – starting with the long and tiring intercontinental flight. The jet lag is guaranteed and it is good in the program to provide enough time for relaxation and recovery on arrival, and not to run on sightseeing tours immediately.
Everyone has heard other people’s impressions of Bangkok. We already have an attitude about some of the shortcomings – about street food, traffic and dirty air, but others surprise us – for example, that in “The Land of Smiles” people are not very smiling. We also find that English is widely spoken here with an incomprehensible accent and a scarce vocabulary, which makes the probability of having a more complex conversation than ordering a restaurant close to zero. We consider it incredibly lucky that in one of the tours (from Bangkok to Ayutthaya) our guide speaks English at a super high level and is very smiling. We get rid of all the unjustified expectations and exaggerations for this most visited city in the world for the last few years and until the end of the trip we focus only on the positive experiences.
1) The temples and the Grand Royal Palace .
The Grand Palace, which also houses the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, is definitely the most impressive landmark in Bangkok. The Temple of the Fallen Buddha (Wat Pho) is also on the list of top attractions. The Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun), which is mostly presented on the Internet in night photos (not without the help of photoshop), is actually beautiful in daylight, and he does not need Photoshop!
2) Sky bars and gourmet restaurants on the roofs of 5-star hotels combined with the lights of night Bangkok are some of the most enjoyable places in this noisy and crowded city. The kitchen is on a high level, and among the chill-out music on the open roof one can feel the illusion that it is in a Lux TV show, but sooner or later it is time to pay the bill and go down to earth again (or in this case on the streets of Bangkok) ?We recommend Zoom Rooftop Bar & Restaurant on the 40th floor of the Anantara Sathorn Hotel, as well as the iconic Bangkok Vertigo Restaurant on the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree Hotel – both located in the modern Sathorn area.
3) The old capital of Siam – Ayutthaya. From our point of view, the nights in Bangkok are worth it just because of the proximity to Ayutthaya. It is 70 km north of Bangkok, and the temples are innumerable and exceptional. The tour to Ayutthaya is perfect – by bus on the way, and on the way back from Nontaburi we take a cruise on Chao Phraya with lunch (very good buffet), with transfers to and from the hotel, a total of 10 hours. The place that impresses us the most is the historical park Ayutthaya (UNESCO) with the ruins of several temples. One of them – Wat MahaThat is one of the oldest temples in Thailand, built in Khmer style in the 13-14 century. In the same complex is the famous Buddha Tree. We have time to see more in Ayutthaya Wat Na Phramane, Wat Lokayasutharam with the giant statue of the Reclining Buddha and the King’s Summer Palace (Bang Pa-In Royal Palace).
4) The SeaLife Aquarium at the Siam Paragon Mall in Bangkok. The whole area of Siam Paragon looks great against the rest of the city, with some of the most expensive hotels in the city.
5) Damnoen Saduak Floating Market , 120 km southwest of Bangkok – a rather controversial attraction from travelers, which we like mostly because of the colorful and exotic views. The goods themselves on the market are not of interest, but the boats on the canals are a remarkable picture in which colors and shapes are constantly changing. We can definitely say that the floating market in Rachaburi province together with the old capital Ayutthaya is closest to our preliminary ideas and attitudes about Thailand.
What do we like about Krabi
We choose Krabi as calmer, quieter and less populated in similar natural conditions with nearby Phuket and because of its proximity to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Andaman Sea – Reilly, Pra Nang, the beaches of Phi Phi, Ko Yao Noi, Ko Yao Yai, Hong Island and others that remain far away from Ko Samui, for example. The flight from Bangkok is about 75 minutes.
Precisely because of the difficult moment of choice and the desire to see everything, some travelers (especially the 20-30 year old group) choose the option of island-hopping or in Bulgarian they are transferred from island to island mostly by water, spending a maximum of 1 night. 2 dinners in the same place. Since we decide that this would be a stressful rather than relaxing experience given the long flights to Thailand, we prefer the classic option to spend the night in one place and, if desired, to organize day trips. We stop at a resort with land access. Some of the hotels even on Krabi itself are accessible only by water, which means that the transfer from the airport is first by minivan, then continues by boat and finally ends with a tractor (yes, you read that right) – people and suitcases get on in an open wagon towed by a tractor, so as not to get wet when getting off the boat. We choose the quietest possible beach and away from the tourist center of Ao Nang with many tourists, hotels, hostels and noisy restaurants.
Completely different from the metropolis of Bangkok, the green Krabi seems to live in the 60s of last century. The whole strip is dotted with small islands that make the views from the coast unique. Reilly Beach is considered to be the most beautiful of Krabi’s beaches and we are convinced on the spot that this is completely true. Reilly can be reached in 10 minutes by longtail boat from Ao Nang, and around the beach there are several hotel complexes where you can stay for the entire stay. The disadvantage is that during the day tourists come non-stop, whether with organized tours or alone with taxi boats from Ao Nang, but the beaches are crowded at least until 5-6 o’clock in the afternoon.
Below Reilly Beach is the other most beautiful and interesting beach in Krabi – Phra Nang Beach near the cave of the same name. The famous The Grotto Cave Restaurant overlooks Pra Nang and the nearby islands . The food is great and the views are unparalleled. While we are in the restaurant, we count at least a dozen motor boats with 30-40 people – from various day tours, with which the already crowded beach becomes crowded with tourists eager for new views, snapping selfies like crazy. We go the other way – past the cave. Numerous adrenaline seekers climb the outer wall of the Phra Nang cave, despite signs that they are taking their own risk due to the possibility of collapsing. The area is full of monkeys and is dotted with signs forbidding them to be given food.
Fortunately, there are no such problems on our beach. ? Tub Kaek Beach is calm and almost deserted all day, as it is one of the most remote and occupied mainly by hotels with private lanes. There is also no noise from boats, which is constantly heard in Ao Nang and Reilly. And the sunset over Tub Kaek is one of the most romantic sights since we were in Thailand.