Hey there! My name is Napat. I’m 25 years old and I am a travel photographer based in Thailand. Welcome to my article on how to experience the best of Thailand. I was actually born in Bangkok but moved to the UK to study and work for almost ten years.
Thailand has some of the most amazing culture and nature in the world. If you’re into temples, then there are thousands of them to explore. Some are tucked away in caves while others are literally built on top of mountains.
If you love beaches, you can head south where you’ll find a crazy selection of breathtaking islands. If it’s mountains that tickle your fancy, the north is the place to be. Of course there’s the amazing Bangkok – the buzzing capital city of Thailand where all the action is at! Armed with countless rooftop bars with mind-blowing views, you’ll never get bored here.
It was in Thailand that I discovered my passion for photography. I think it started when I watched The Beach. This movie inspired me to start taking adventures. In 2016, I took my first solo backpacking trip in Vietnam. I didn’t actually take any photos on this trip but my love of travel and adventure was well and truly established.
Then, one day somewhere in the ocean, I was stand-up paddle boarding during a beautiful sunset. I thought to myself that it would be cool to somehow relive that moment. So I decided to get myself a waterproof GoPro camera and began to fall in love with travel photography.
My photography style has changed a lot over the years. My tone used to be rather moody and dark, but has now shifted to something bright and warm. Plus I try to shoot only during golden hours if possible which gives my photography a totally different feel.
Why Krabi is the Best Place to Visit in Thailand
I’ve spent the past few months exploring the north and south of Thailand. I recently came back from a one-week road trip in the north. This trip really got me off the beaten path – exploring Mae Hong Son and connecting with locals for advice. We ended up going to places that we couldn’t even find on Google Maps but which were completely out of this world!
Normally, I am a mountain guy so I do find myself circling back to the north of Thailand quite a lot. When I’m not traveling, I can be found in Bangkok planning my next trip or doing some day trips close to Bangkok. Northeast is still an untouched territory for me (and for the majority of tourists too). But it’s definitely on my list for future trips!
My favourite place in Thailand would have to be Krabi. This beautiful destination has both beaches and mountains. Railay Beach has to be my favourite beach in all of Thailand. The whole place looks like it comes straight out of a fairy-tale.
Krabi is like one of those places where you’d expect to see Dinosaurs roaming around! Besides the mind-blowing landscapes, the place holds a lot of special memories for me that I have shared with some of my closest friends.
Hiking the Dragon Crest Mountain is one of the best things to do in Krabi! I remember I had always wanted to check it out and when I finally found myself in Krabi I decided to get the best possible shot at sunrise. We got up at 3.30am in the morning and started hiking at 4am. We were the only people on the mountain and the entire place was pitch black.
Using nothing but our iPhone torches to guide us, we finally arrived at the summit two hours later. It was right before sunset and the views were incredible. For me, this whole experience was absolutely mental. It was kinda scary but we didn’t let that stop us from doing it anyway. We had the whole summit to ourselves and we enjoyed an early breakfast with a view!
Another one of my favourite islands has to be Phi Phi Islands. It has been years since I last went, but from what I can remember we didn’t actually do much. We were following in the footsteps of Leonardo DiCaprio from The Beach movie and spent most of our time admiring nature. It was a lovely break from work and the chaos of the city life.
Given more time, I would have loved to do more snorkelling and diving in the Phi Phi Islands!
Best Cultural and Food Experiences in Thailand
I think the best experiences in Thailand revolve around food and culture. Trying street food in Thailand is a must! It’s how the majority of the population eats. I’m a little unsophisticated when it comes to Thai food, but my go-to choice is Pad Thai! Such a comfort food.
Alternatively, I may go for Pad Kra Pao Kai or Thai Basil Chicken with rice – topped with a crispy fried egg. I can’t handle spice so I always have to ask them to tone it down! Never go full Thai when it comes to spice! Unless you’re brave and have a high toleration of spicy food.
When it comes to Thai culture, make sure you go to see a few temples in the morning and see how Thai people make merits and do their religious morning rituals. Buddhism is a big part of Thai culture, so it pays to understand and see this for yourself. Just be in the moment here and don’t forget to put your phone or camera away from time to time.
The people of Thailand are generally very kind. Many would be willing to go the extra mile to help you out when you are lost or in trouble. The only thing they would expect of you is that you respect Thai culture and their way of life. Learning to say “hello” in Thai and following the code of conduct while in temples are just a couple of examples.
What You Need to Know Before You Go
First thing is to be open-minded. Thai people have their way of doing things – many of which are ingrained in history. One thing that comes to my mind is the way food is served. In Thailand, the notion of doing courses or serving starters first and so on is still foreign to many.
That means you may get your main before your starter, and believe it or not I have seen too many people complain to the restaurant about this. So yup – do stay open-minded.
Another important thing to keep in mind is – don’t forget about your own safety. While it’s awesome to step out of your comfort zone, I have seen too many backpackers, especially in the north, getting into road accidents.
Mountain roads can be extremely long and winding. So if you really want to be adventurous, take some precautions. Never rush or allow yourself to be peer pressured. Stick to the speed you are comfortable with and give yourself plenty of time to complete the journey.
That’s it from me 🙂 Thanks for reading my article on how to experience the best of Thailand!