Exploring Thailand’s Contrasting Landscapes: A Journey from Tropical Lowlands to Majestic Mountains

Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. With islands, modern cities, and historical or nature parks that are a must-see. You could spend months traveling throughout the country but if you only have a short holiday this article will show you how to travel to Thailand and get the most out of your time.

Chiang Mai

Doi Suthep

There are various ways to visit this temple on the mountaintop, Doi Suthep. A package tour is available at your hotel desk in Chaing Mai and most tour agencies with various options. Join the tour for half of a day or one full day. Choices include shared mini red cars (called red tuk-tuk), a private taxi, or even having your own scooter. The best way to explore the mountain is by hiking for half an hour to the temple on the top.


Once I got back in town, rented a bike and explored pagodas in the old town of Chiang Mai. Most of the temples don’t require a ticket, only at Wat Chedi Luang which costs 40 baht for adults, 30 Baht for children, and free for locals. Other places are just so easy to get in, park and lock your bike then enjoy your visit.

Doi Inthanon National Park

Doi Inthanon National Park

The most popular thing to do in Chiang Mai, a full-day tour to the National Park of Doi Inthanon, the highest mountain range of Thailand. The tour costs between 1200 baht to 1500 baht depending on the company and type of the trip. Visit the highest point in Thailand, hiking, and trekking at Angkha Nature trail for half an hour, the best part. Then back to visit Twin Pagoda, Wachirathan waterfall, village, and market, lunch, and entrance fee tickets are included. You will be dropped off at your hotel around 5 pm.


There are a number of temples in Chiang Mai and they are very alluring so I need a second day to explore before just the sunsets until after dark. Some of them might be too dark to see but a few of them with the light still on are just so sparkling with its golden glitter.

Bus to Chiang Rai

The most recommended one is the Green Bus company. You can get a ticket from the station or at the travel agency and can be booked online with no cost service charge but make sure you got it printed at your hotel to show them at the station. Your drop-off must be at Chiang Rai Bus Terminal 1 because it is inside downtown, only a few minutes walk from the hotel. It takes approximately around 4 hours and it costs about 7-9 dollars depending on the timetable schedule.

Chiang Rai

Visited Temples by Bike

It was lunchtime when we arrived, got checked in, and rented a scooter to visit Wat Huai Pla Kang, Chiang Rai’s landmark, and places nearby the town from the late afternoon until the sun went down. Then we wait at the Blue Temple until everybody is out.

A full-day tour in Chiang Rai

This joining tour is very popular and recommended because you get to visit and see all the highlight landmarks in Chiang Rai in a day but there are many options to choose from. Renting a motorbike to explore is a fun way if only you have an international driving license. Hire a car or minivan if you are in a group of friends or family. The joining tour is very suitable for solo and couples travelers, to meet new people and share their travel experiences with each other.

Flight to Koh Samui

Flight to Koh Samui

The airport on the island is very small so most flights are connected to Bangkok to reach your destinations. The transfer from the airport to downtown is very expensive, so make sure that you include the pick-up with your hotel, it is easier and less time. There are also tickets available, shared minibusses around 200 Baht each or a Taxi around 500-600 Baht.


On arrival, get to the hotel, check-in, and get a scooter to explore the beaches on the island. Chaweng Yai Beach, where I stayed, is the longest and the most popular one on the island. Coral Cove Beach, the smallest one, has free parking inside the restaurant area, free seats if you buy a drink, or just stay on the beach and have a swim.  Silver Beach, is very crowded with its own guests at the hotel and other visitors. Nipa Noi Beach, drove back and forth many times to find it, a long distance from the hotel for the best sunset view. Very disappointed, the beach is not clean and very narrow, plus it’s the port area with so many boats all over the place.


We drove to the top of the mountain for the view of the sea and visited Namuang 1 waterfall. At 20 Baht for the parking and walking around 300 meters to the waterfall, not many tourists at all make you feel that you are at an unfindable waterfall. 

Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park

Island Tour to Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park

A marine national park around Samui island in the Gulf of Thailand with more than forty islands. A one-day tour starts at 8 am in the morning until 5 pm, approximately. The tour costs between 1500 to 2000 baht depending on the agents or hotel sales. It included pick up and drop off, local dessert for breakfast, coffee or tea lunch juice, and water. Visited three different islands for the best viewpoint, swimming, and kayaking around the island. 


Having a scooter in Chiang Mai just makes it so easy to find your favorite restaurant downtown. We ate every evening at Chiang Rai Night Bazaar and the Weekend street market. Some people most likely to eat and drink at the hotel for their beach time but during the evening they go out to explore the area and find their favorite cuisine.


Asa Hotel in Chiang Mai, located outside the old town. I love my stay there, almost everything is excellent, the room, pool, breakfast, and staff are super friendly and helpful. In Chiang Rai, I had a Sleeping House Chiang Rai, a great location, and a very amazing decorated kitty style. I had a very Comfy stay, breakfast was okay. I stayed at Banana Fan Sea Resort on Samui Island. The best customer service, comfortable, cozy, fancy, and private bungalow. Many choices on breakfast and they are very caring of guests.

Want to read more about Thailand?

Travel Northern Thailand | Chiang Mai & Chiang Rai | What To See In Chiang Rai? | How To Explore Chiang Mai In A Day | Top Cycling Destinations In Southeast Asia | Top 8 Things To Do In Bangkok | Things To Do in Bangkok | Activities To Do in Phuket, Thailand

Watch an interesting video about my trip to North and South Thailand. Youtube

References: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thailand


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