Thailand: nature, culture, and beach!

Thailand: nature, culture, and beach!

written by: Fabio Brunello

Thailand trip

Hey, how are you doing? Did you know that since August, I have moved to Phuket?”

“Truly?!? So, let us come and see you!”

Our trip to Thailand was born like this: the excuse of meeting up with an old friend – makes us discover a fascinating country, unique in its kind of synthesis between different cultures.

We did not know much about Thailand, so the first stops were in the library, bookstore, and YouTube to read up on it and figure out which itinerary to choose.

For the whole trip, we will have only ten days, including intercontinental travel, taking advantage of the children’s holidays (10 and 12 years old). We cater to everyone’s preferences and compose the trip into three stages: culture, nature, and beach.

We have a day and a half in Bangkok, we concentrate on visiting the historical part; we would have needed another day to experience modern Bangkok as well.

2 days in Bangkok 

We arrive in the afternoon and – after the train from the airport and a quick check-in at the hotel – we are immediately out for a walk to take advantage of the time available and get used to the local time zone.

The first stop is Khaosan road, a maze of very touristy narrow streets full of Westerners, but which allows a passage between European and Thai life. On this street there are dozens of shops, mainly restaurants, massage parlours, boozy night clubs, marijuana shops, and souvenir shops, to which are added dozens of itinerant stalls selling mainly local foods and fruits, but also oddities such as scorpions and crocodile skewers, which are more successful as souvenir photos than as food (fortunately!).

We tasted our first pad Thai (rice noodles with vegetables and meat or fish), which will prove to be my favourite dish. We had the first massage, Thai for my wife Elisabetta, and a foot massage for me: the massages are at truly negligible costs (5/6 euros for 30 minutes) and will therefore become a desired daily routine in this stay!

The following day is dedicated to the monuments: we start from the National Museum, where an excellent guided tour (free, in French or in English) allows us to have a complete overview of the Siamese civilization of the last millennia.

Bangkok temples

Wat Pho Buddhist Temple in Bangkok Thailand

Then, we see the complex of Buddhist Temples of Wat Arun – lying on the river and very scenic – and Wat Pho, where there is the enormous statue of the reclining Buddha, over forty meters long, contained in a temple too small for the tonnage of this statue! It seems that the monks of Wat Pho have invented the traditional Thai massage, so we do not miss the opportunity to have one directly in the school within the sacred perimeter.

There are many other temples in Bangkok – we would have liked to visit the royal palace with the Emerald Buddha – but we are a bit tired from the heat, and the call of the hotel swimming pool is like the song of the siren…

In the evening, we go to Chinatown, but it does not impress us much compared to other Chinese neighbourhoods in big cities.

Useful links:

Some of the places described above can be visited with tour guided trips.

Khao Sok National Park

The “nature” stage is at the Khao Sok National Park, which is in the middle of the country’s Southern landmass. We arrive after a short internal flight to Surat Thani and a couple of hours of transfer by car.

On the website of the Khao Sok National Park, we can find the below statement.  “Khao Sok National Park in Southern Thailand is an amazing place. It is covered by the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world, huge limestone mountains shooting straight up in the air, deep valleys, breathtaking lakes, exciting caves, wild animals and much more”.

A brief history of this park: at the beginning of the twentieth century, it was an area with strong demographic growth, like many others. However, an epidemic decimated a significant part of the population, and the remainder moved elsewhere. Thus, nature regained the upper hand and in the 1930s the national park was established. The second major event was the construction of a big dam, with the consequent flooding of the park’s large area. These events have created a lush jungle and stunning lake landscape, with plenty of native plants and animals.

We stay in a tree house and in the morning, we have breakfast watching the monkeys playing a few steps away, jumping from one branch to another: beautiful!

With a visit to the jungle and a boat trip

Thailand Khao Sok National Park
Khao Sok National Park

Mr Tee, the owner of our Khao Sok Nature Resort, organizes excursions for us, which are fixed prices throughout the park.

We venture into the jungle on foot: the route is simple, but never let a tiger sneak out! The guide makes us appreciate many small animals, from lizards with wings to spiders, that we would not have spotted on our own.



Dinner is a great moment because it is based on a bamboo theme. Thailand Khao Sok National ParkThe guide cuts a couple of these trees and with a few skilful moves transforms them into our plates and glasses; the dinner, based on chicken and vegetables, is cooked inside bamboo trunks, on a bonfire made from … bamboo wood, of course! It was among the most delicious meals of the entire holiday.

Even the return from the walk is a small adventure, because it takes place in the dark, illuminated only by the headlamps. The emotion of the silence of the jungle, combined with the loud and frightened heartbeats of my better half, make the atmosphere unique.

Our second day, on the other hand, is entirely on the Cheow Lan Lake, where the typical “long-tailed” boat takes us for a stroll between a visit to a cave, a walk in the jungle, and a short kayak trip.


Thailand Cheow Lan Lake
Cheow Lan Lake, Thailand
Thailand, Cheow Lan Lake
Cheow Lan Lake, Thailand

Our second day, on the other hand, is entirely on the Cheow Lan Lake, where the typical “long-tailed” boat takes us for a stroll between a visit to a cave, a walk in the jungle, and a short kayak trip.

The true beauty, however, is all in the landscape: rocky spurs and inlets sink vertically into the green water of the lake, with breathtaking landscapes.

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Phuket Island

The final leg of our journey is at Phuket, the biggest Island in Thailand that sits on the Andaman Sea. It was one of the first places discovered by mass tourism, which brought great urbanization and related problems. However, there are still some amazing beaches and the possibility of enjoying a relaxing stay. Among the beaches visited, Surin Beach deserves a mention, pretty, where we alternated swimming, sumptuous lunches from the stalls by the sea and massages cheered by a pleasant breeze: a true paradise.

Surin Beach, Phuket Thailand
Surin Beach, Phuket, Thailand

With my friend (do you remember the initial phone call?!) and together with their respective families, we organised an outing to the Phi Phi Islands, about an hour away by speed boat. Although they are very tourist places, some beaches are gorgeous (Maya Bay above all), and the bottom of the sea, can be admired even with a simple snorkel mask.

Phi Phi Island, Thailand
Phi Phi Island, Thailand
Useful links

Thai cuisine

I cannot finish without talking about Thai cuisine: a real delight, for ten days we ate only local dishes and everyone – including the children – fell in love with it.

*Small tip: the various street vendors sell, on average, products of excellent taste at ridiculously low prices, so there is no need to go to big restaurants.

Thailand is truly a pleasant discovery!

Thailand: nature, culture, and beach!


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