The diverse regions in Thailand are as interesting as they are beautiful. Thailand offers travelers a wide array of options on all levels of affordability and caters to all kinds of travel experiences. I have visited the country twice and I can’t wait to go back again, each visit feels completely different from the last.
If you are thinking of a beach vacation, the islands surrounding Phuket have some of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand. To me Phuket is all about the laid back, read a book and sip on a cocktail life but the island has more to offer in terms of exposure to aspects of Thai culture, partying and adventure. Phuket is certainly one of the most popular places in Thailand and the large influx of tourists in my opinion, has watered down aspects of traditional Thai life and culture that I appreciate experiencing. Phuket is also more pricey compared to some other popular parts of Thailand and South East Asia. All in all, traveling to Phuket should not be missed, the scenic boat rides alone are worth the trip but planning ahead and knowing exactly what to expect in terms of atmosphere, budgeting and activities is necessary.
I consider Chiang Mai to be the silent gem of Thailand, If you enjoy adventure, nature, culture, historical influences, ethnic hill tribes and great food Chiang Mai is a no brainer. Compared to Phuket, Chiang Mai boasts a much lower cost of living making it a great place to do and see more with your money. Aside from being a great budget option Chiang Mai is significantly less crowded than Phuket and is less centered around tourists. Chiang Mai has very distinctive culture, art, and traditions, it offers a better immersion into the various aspects of Thai life. Though it does not have a beach you can find stunning landscape, waterfalls, intricately designed temples and much more.