I was only in Thailand for five days, which compared to many long-term travelers around Southeast Asia, is practically no time at all. In my limited experience, the best thing to do in Thailand is to get a local tour guide. Because not only will you get a new perspective from someone who knows the area really well, but you will also get yourself a personal photographer.
I found the company TakeMeTour through Where Goes Rose–they came with the highest recommendation from one of my favorite travel bloggers. I got a little carried away and booked 3 tours for my 5-day stay in Bangkok, but each one of them was so worth it!
Our first two tours with Mai took us all over the area around Suphan Buri. We went to visit dams and waterfalls and temples and pottery workshops. We were supposed to go on a boat ride but since it was February (the dry season) the water was too low, so Mai found other stuff for us to do as appropriate, such as river rafting!
But the most important part of Mai’s tours–the food! Mai is amazing cook, and she made us some absolutely mind-blowing meals, not to mention stoping at every market or food stall along the way that sold something she wanted us to try.
Mai also took us to her shrimp farm (where we ate the meals pictured above) and got to get our feet sucked into the mud as people drained a pond to catch fish.
The next day our tour was more focused on temples–we went to two temples in Ayutthaya, which actually used to be the capital of Thailand. We learned how the Cambodians invaded and cut off the Buddhas’ heads because gold was hidden inside. One of the heads must fallen down someone, and tree roots have grown around it, making it the famous attraction it is today.
After a huge bowl of beef noodles and more Thai iced tea for lunch, we went to a pottery workshop where we learned how famous Thai pottery is made.
Throughout the whole tour, Mai and her husband religiously photographed everything we did. Obviously a good habit for guides to give you something tangible to show your friends back home. But they even encouraged our more conceited sides, happily spending a half an hour taking silly pictures of us, encouraging us to try the silliest poses we could. I think they truly understand the need for validation via social media.
Our third tour with Nok also featured many temples (there is, obviously, no shortage in Thailand) and some great food at a floating market, as well as a trip to a coconut farm!
The coconut farm was such a random thing, just some canals amongst the grooves of coconut trees where you can order coconut drinks and relax. We were the only Westerners there, and I don’t think I ever would’ve found it (or bothered with it) if it hadn’t been for this tour.
These tours were all outside of Bangkok, so they cost included transport in the guide’s private vehicle. All food was included in the price as well. The only thing not included was the admission to the temples (if there was one) or offerings, if you wanted to give one. And obviously, all photo services included.
So if you’re in Thailand (all parts of Thailand, not just Bangkok!) and you’re looking for a unique experience with locals who know the most random spots you could never find, look through the tours and find something all your other friends backpacking Southeast Asia have never done!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you book a tour through my link you won’t be charged but I will get a small commission. Yes, I finally got that commission money!$!$