A trip to Thailand is traveling to a place like no other.  It is exotic yet familiar. It is bustling cities and small towns; beaches, countryside, and concrete.  Thailand is often high on the bucket list of many travelers. For years it was high on ours.  However, it seemed a little too far; a little to daunting; a little too costly.  That all changed when we finally experienced 10 days in this amazing country.  By embarking on this adventure, Thailand was no longer out of reach.

Disclaimer: We received a discount on this tour from Gate 1 Travel and extend our thanks to them. This post also contains ads and affiliate links.  If you make a purchase, we might make a little extra travel money, at no extra cost to you. We also received a tour discount in exchange for this post. As always, all opinions are our own.

A Trip To Thailand Is Within Reach And Totally Worth It

Our experience was very well-rounded.  This group tour allowed us experienced a bit of everything in Central Thailand.  Selecting this tour was one of the best travel decisions we have made and helped us expand our global views.  No two cities visited were the same. Each stop gave us a different glimpse of how great Thailand is.


Bangkok was the perfect starting point.  It was our first time dipping our toes into Thai culture.  However, it did not feel as foreign as one might expect. Our days here ranged from sightseeing, shopping, eating, and surrounding ourselves with the beautiful local people.  We experienced exciting new foods for the first time, as well as got the first taste of Thai architecture. Seeing the bright, intricate art flanked by gold gave me a new appreciation for the craftsmanship.   

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Being surrounded by the frenzy of daily life and the flood of bright local colors was refreshingly different and enjoyable.  This feeling followed us as we made our way out of Bangkok to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Blasting down the narrow river toward the market in a Thai longtail boat is the only way to get here.  I’m so glad this was part of the tour. Wandering through the market felt like we were worlds away from our life back home. It is also a vibrant reminder of how important tourism is to many local people.  I appreciate that tours with Gate 1 Travel include components like this.

Kanchannaburi/Soi Nok

Moving toward Western Thailand gave us an entirely different perspective on the country’s geography.  We learned about the darker historical side of the region and the landscape that created some of these challenges.  I’m so glad we got to walk across the bridge over the River Kwai. Yes, I did whistle the theme song while doing so. 

The famous bridge over the River Kwai.

I will also never forget the amazing experience of being delivered to our hotel via yet another Thai longtail boat down the River Kwai Noi.  We were also able to top off our experience with a Thai massage. What a perfect way to relieve aches and pains after several long days of travel.  I’m so glad we were able to experience this here too!


Departing for Ayutthaya took us into the heart of old Siam.  While still busy and highly populated, the city felt very different than Bangkok.  The area’s history is fascinating. Here, we were lucky enough to see that magical golden hour light bouncing off ancient ruins.  Strolling through the pristine grounds of the Bang Pa-In Summer Palace gives visitors insight to the finer things Thai royalty enjoys.  


Spending our last few days in Pattaya allowed us to splash in the Gulf of Thailand.  Interestingly, Pattaya allowed us a totally different view of Thailand and it wasn’t always pretty.  We are firm believers in seeing varied aspects of a culture when we travel. We share this with our viewers because we are real travelers.  Here, streets are filthy and sex tourism is very overt. Much more so than places like Las Vegas. Visitors have more than their fair share of rats and prostitutes ushering them along the popular tourist spot, Walking Street.  I think it’s best to know this going in as I’m sure some could be easily offended by the happenings here.  Still, our time in Pattaya was great and our hotel was beautiful.

Throughout our trip, we stayed at beautiful hotels, ate a fantastic variety of food, and obtained a great perspective on a variety of all things Thailand!  We fed monkeys, climbed waterfalls, and meditated in Buddhist temples. Overall this trip was amazing and filled with once-in-a-lifetime experiences! I’m so glad we finally made it happen by taking a chance with this particular tour.  It was well worth the wait! 

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    1. 10 days was enough for these places. We easily could have stayed on longer to visit Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and then gone on down to the beaches in the south too! I think I could stay in Thailand for awhile….

  1. Great post – love the pics, especially the gold statue and the boats with the “wares” presumably for sale. A very interesting post. Thanks.

  2. I have seen so many pictures of Thailand lately and the scenery looks gorgeous. I had no idea about the rats and prostitutes in Pattaya. Even though it sounds creepy it would still be fascinating to see.

    1. Thailand was great and Pattaya was very interesting for sure. We spent about an hour or more at a restaurant just watching the happenings of this city. It was fascinating!!

  3. It’s been many years since I was in Thailand, and the centre partis one I’ve seen before. However, you’ve given me some serious wanderlust after reading this post, as I didn’t actually get to see, or float down the River Kwai!

  4. Wow you guys covered some ground in Thailand! We skipped Ayutthaya to spend more time in Bangkok. As for Pattaya i’ve never read good reviews, there’s an area in Bangkok like that we passed through, hey as least you’re being honest.

  5. It seems like your group tour was a good idea and insulated you from some of the sordid bits. I visited Bangkok with my parents 25 years ago and I loved the shopping, the floating markets and Wat Arun (The Temple of the Dawn). I hated the polluted air, the sex tourism in Bangkok and the criminals that the tour guide on our first day warned us about.

    1. We were glad to see both the good and the bad on this tour – that’s part of what we like about traveling. All the places you visited 25 years ago were some of our favorite features in Bangkok too!

  6. Thailand is one of my favourite SE Asisan countries, I’ve been twice and each time have done a totally different itinerary. Looking through your list there are a few things I’ve not done yet. I’ve not yet been to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market or Pattaya. It looks like I need to plan another trip out there

  7. Sounds like a good trip. The floating market is so intriguing to us! Markets are always a highlight for us, and that one is so unique. Ayutthaya would be high on our list, too, since we love history, and glimpses into that royal lifestyle. Thanks for all the detail!

    1. The floating market was super cool, but alas, it was also quite the tourist trap. Still, we enjoyed our time there. The history in Thailand is just amazing – totally different than anything we’ve experienced before!

  8. I visited Bangkok and Koh Samui around 10 years ago and loved everything about them. I didn’t want to try Patong or Pattaya from bad reviews I had read. I would definitely like to return one day.

    1. I would love to venture down to Ko Samui and some of the other island areas of Thailand if we ever return. But, I’m pretty sure I would be fine if we never went back to Pattaya.

  9. I’ve never been to Thailand or anywhere in Asia for that matter. Such an interesting history! That Buddha in the tree roots is so cool looking! I’ll have to save this post in case I ever go there 🙂

    1. I’m hoping this post helped inspire a little bit of wanderlust for you. Asia is wonderful and I’m so glad we finally took the chance and booked the trip!

  10. We were really disappointed with Pattaya … I think it’s close proximity to Bangkok has ruined the vibe of this area. I’d much rather head down to the islands or inland than visit here.

    1. It is enough time to visit a few places in Thailand, but no where near enough to cover all the major spots in the country. When we return, we would like to travel to Northern Thailand, as well as south towards the islands.

  11. Used to live in Thailand. I miss it especially the fabulous food and massages. Have to say Pattaya was probably my least favourite place.

    1. It’s been nearly a year since our trip and I am really missing the food right now. Can’t seem to recreate anything nearly authentic enough!

  12. I’ve always wanted to travel to Thailand and explore Bangkok and Ayutthaya. Reading this makes me want to visit there even more

  13. You managed to see so much! I loved Thailand, but as you say it does (as a lot of places do) have its seedy side. The food is delicious though! Glad that you managed to have a truly authentic experience!

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