Places to visit and to avoid in Thailand

Steve lives and works in Thailand. He is English but his knowledge of the country is as good as a local, mixed with a touch of British humour and lashings of common sense. Read his recommendations of where to go and where to give a miss.

Wat Pho (Reclining Budha) - Bangkok •  Temples – It's easy to get templed out as they are numerous, very numerous. The reclining Bhudda in Bangkok is a collection of seven temples and worth a visit, you can get a guide as you enter. To get there take the Skytrain to Thaksin pier and a fast boat up the river. The people are very helpful and speak English.

•  Skybar for expensive evening drinks but what a view, worth the money just for that, trousers and shoes required. Free kick boxing at MBK Centre next to Siam station on Skytrain on Wednesday nights. MBK worth a visit for cheap everything.

•  Travelling around. As you will find out, using the Skytrain or metro is the easiest way to get around as the traffic is horrendous. The free Bangkok maps show the transport system and it's signed in English.

•  I don't take night buses anywhere as the drivers fall asleep and this happens far too frequently. The daytime ones are OK.

•  The main line trains are great fun and the night ones are sleepers. Go third class and take the aircon carriage. Brilliant buffet car that's worth eating/ drinking in although the polo shirted attendants will tell you they are closed to get tips from you, those who know go to the buffet car, they close at 10pm as the staff sleep on the tables but open at 5.30am and nothing can beat sitting by the open window with the startup hot drink.

•  Flying is cheap and frequent, I use NokAir.

•  For a tropical island go to Koh Chang , Siam Bay resort (book online), buses run from Bangkok hourly. It's near the Cambodian border.

•  The north is beautiful but a car or motorcycle is necessary to see it properly. Avoid Chiang Mai but go to its smaller sister Chiang Rai and drive to the Mekon river or try Nan and Mai Hong Son as they are relatively unspoilt.

Burma railway •  The Kwai valley with its famous bridge, tiger temple, elephant trekking and death railway museum is really worth a visit. The valley is nearly three hundred kilometers long and beautiful. You could spend a week there seeing it all.

•  The rainy season means being prepared for the short heavy warm rain downpours.

•  For proper Thailand the North East or Issan is the place but very basic except for the resorts (a collection of six or so chalets), restaurants are far between and bars non existent.

•  Places I don't take people to are Pattaya, sex capital of Thailand. Phuket westernised to a point it's ruined it although Krabi seemed to be going that way.The far south , it's dangerous.

•  Chiang Mai is only worth staying inside the old city as the outside is ruined. The main attraction here is a temple overlooking city or Thailand’s highest mountain a bit south of the city. At the moment air pollution from crop burning is bad with visibility from high places very limited. Not worth going until it has rained for a while.

Read Steve’s Tips for travelling to Thailand

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Steve Francis

Thailand tour guide

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