As Ko Chang Island  is fast becoming the target of many tourists and I received quite a few requests to write an article about it, I decided to write a general article about this island at this time, and elaborate more about it in a different article later on.
Generally speaking, as Ko Chang island is undergoing a fast development period nowadays, I prefer to visit it again, in order to write an updated article about it.
I visited Ko Chang a number of times in the past few years. You will find my opinion about the island, based on these visits, at the end of this article.
Some background on the island: Ko Chang, (the elephant island), is the second-largest island in Thailand, (only Phuket is bigger than Ko Chang island). The island is located in Trat province about a 6-hour drive from Bangkok. It is estimated that 5000 people leave on it in a few villages found mainly on its east side which is not a tourist area.
The island, which not long ago was the target of backpackers and had only simple huts, is fast-changing and many resorts are being built on it.
At this point in time, the island is still relaxing so anyone interested in visiting it is better off doing it soon before the island becomes as crowded as Phuket and Ko Sumoi.
Ko Chang Geography: the island is mostly a combination of mountains and forests. There is a single circular road along the beaches. Despite its size there are only a few beaches on the island. Most of the beaches are rocky and the sandy beaches are mainly found on the island’s west coast.
This is the place to warn you that the circular road, (which can be seen in the picture), can be very steep and narrow with dangerous curves at times so it is not especially recommended to anyone… not even to those who want to exercise their driving in Thailand!!!
For this reason, most of the resorts are located on the island’s west coast and this is the part of the island where most tourists visit. You will hardly see any tourist on the island’s east coast, the side facing the main land. The east coast is slowly developing and mostly targets the local people.
The beaches: there are a number of beaches on the island’s west coast. The central most visited beach is White Sand, (Had Sai Khao). This beach is the first beach you will see when you arrive on the ferry and drive south on the island’s west coast.
The beaches in White sand are considered the best on the island but I would say that in comparison to other beaches in Thailand, such as Hua Hin, Koh Lhak and other islands beaches they are mediocre.
On this beach, there are many resorts, shops, massages, etc. This is the most vibrant beach in Ko Chang, but it is not as good as other beaches, beginning with the high quality ones such as Koh Lak and Hua Hin and ending with the lower quality beaches – Chaweng beach in Ko Sumoi or Patong beach in Phuket.
During the evening you can see a fire show and there are a number of pubs or you can enjoy dinner on the beach at one of the resorts. It is nice but not unusual.
Even on the White Sand beach, there is not much to do during the evening. You can sit on the beach, walk around a little or go to one of the simple pubs along the main street (which is the only street).
Down the road to the south, you can find other beaches. The next beach on your way is Klong Prao beach – looks much like White Sand beach but a little less developed. On your way south you will find Kai Bae beach and after it Tha Nam beach which is also known as Lonely beach. The famous Lonely beach is not lonely for many years now. This is the beach where young tourist go and it has plenty of cheap resorts. The beach itself is rocky but the parties during the night probably make up for it.
You can travel from beach to beach in a Songato, which is basically a kind of a pickup truck going back and forth on the circular road, (their drivers can be pretty wild at times), beginning at the ferry stop and all the way up to the island’s south coast. The tickets cost 50-100 Baht depending on how far you want to go.
Bang Bao Bay: you can’t write about Ko Chang without mentioning one of its greatest attractions – Bang Bao bay and the fisherman village there, baring the same name.
Bang Bao bay is located on the south end of Ko Chang west coast. It is situated at the beginning point of the different agency tours – fishing, snorkeling, visiting other islands. There is a long pier there going into the bay and at its end you will find a lighthouse.
There are many buildings on both sides of the pier, built on posts on the sea. You will find a lot of shops, travel agencies, plenty of restaurants and guesthouses for overnight stay.
Ko Chang attractions: It is hard to say that there are plenty of attractions on Ko Chang. Nowadays you can find zip lines from tree to tree like the ones you can find in Chiang Mai area and in Chonburi province. I did not visit there and hope that next time I’ll be there I can look into that and write about it.
In addition, there are mountain tours and tracks as well as some waterfalls on the island. The waterfalls are not as impressing as Arawan waterfalls at Chonburi or Pala-U waterfalls at Hua Hin area.
Apart from that you can also take a fishing boat or a snorkeling cruise and visit the nearby islands – which I did but found it mediocre and not half as good as similar attractions in south Thailand. My feeling is that the attractions you can find on Ko Chang are not so great – a small stream is called a waterfall and a few small fish are considered snorkeling. In other words, the attractions at Ko Chang are simply not the best.
Summary: Ko Chang is a nice island, it is very quiet in comparison to other crowded islands such as Ko Sumoi or Phuket.
How to get to Ko Chang: there are a few ways to get to Ko Chang. The simple way is to take a van from the Bangkok Central Van Station. There is one leaving every hour on the hour, not far from Victory Monument in the center of Bangkok.
If you are driving to the island, you can easily take a ferry, (with your car), from one of the piers. The best pier is Tammachat, which is the nearest to the island, so that the ferry is short, only 25 minutes.
Recommendations and Conclusions: As I wrote in the beginning of this article, here are my recommendations and conclusions from many visits to Ko Chang. I must say this is my personal opinion after comparing Ko Chang to other beaches and resort areas and Islands I have been to.
By itself, Ko Chang island is OK. The beaches, even its best beach, White Sand, are mediocre. They are not as good as you can find on other islands and cannot even begin to be compared to resorts such as Koh Lak or Hua Hin or the wonderful beaches you can find in Krabi and other places in southern Thailand. Ko Chang nature is pretty but not as breathtaking as in Krabi and other islands in south Thailand. You won’t find good quality on Ko Chang as found in other islands and resorts such as Hua Hin or Koh Lak and the nightlife are also not as good as in these two places. The number of attractions on the island is limited and there is not much to do there.
The island has two significant disadvantages:
• The long travel to it – it is more than 6 hours each way from Bangkok without considering the way to the pick-up location and the drive from the ferry to the resort – in short, it takes almost a day each way! To those driving to the island, it’s a boring drive with no attractions on the way, (apart from Chantaburi Cathedral).
• Prices – in my opinion the resorts and hotels there charge much more than you’d expect. Places such as Ko Sumoi and Phuket have turned into a money machine after they have been developed but in Ko Chang this has happened even before development has reached its full extension.

Summary of my recommendations and conclusions: I emphasize again, this in my own personal opinion – if Ko Chang was a couple of hours drive from Bangkok – it would have been an island worth traveling to for a short holiday. The thing is that spending 12-15 hours on the way for a short holiday – is not worth it and for a long holiday – the island does not have sufficient qualities, attractions and activities to justify such a holiday and that even before considering the high resort prices. It’s possible that Ko Chang can replace Ko Sumoi, especially for tourists who do not consider nightlife as important.
Those of you who simply want a good quality holiday with wonderful beaches and lots of attractions – Hua Hin is much closer to Bangkok and offers much better beaches, magnificent wild nature, and many attractions. If you are willing to do the long travel – you are much better off choosing south Thailand – Krabi, Koh Lak and other places which surpass Ko Chang in every possible way you can think of.

Note: During some month the quantity of rain in Ko Chang is the biggest in Thailand – 1000 mm a month.

Also Check: Lampang – Ban Sao Nak 

Ban Sao Nak is an impressive teak-wood structure on pillars, which is more than 100 years old. The house was built in 1985, and today serves as a museum exhibiting many products that provide a glimpse into the local life and culture of the time.

Ban Sao Nak means the house on many pillars; the building integrates Ban Sao NakLanna and Burmese styles as the house is made entirely of teak wood and its foundations and roof are supported by 116 pillars.

The terrace design is Burmese and the roof as well as the rest of the structure are Lanna styled.




The structure was built back in the days of king Rama 5 by a wealthy Ban Sao NakBurmese merchant named Maung Chan Ong. Today, it functions as a private museum that educates visitors of the local art and culture that was typical of the time.  





Inside the structure you’ll find various exhibits representing the time – Ban Sao Nakceramics, furniture, pictures, tools, fabrics and more.

In the entrance to the main building there’s a lovely little garden along with a smaller structure that once served as a barn. In between the wooden pillars supporting the house, there are carriages of the time.




Lampang – Ban Sao Nak  – Thailand

Dr. David

Also Check: Ko Chang Island

The Golden Triangle is located in the northern part of Chiang Rai. This is where the borders of 3 countries meet – Thailand, Laos and Myanmar (Burma); it is known to locals as “Sop Ruak”, as this is also the meeting point of 2 rivers: the first, Ruak, separates Thailand from Myanmar (Burma) and pours into Mae Kong river.

Golden TriangleA long time ago, the area was famous for its opium crops, the production and distribution by the villagers to western countries. However, due to the royal family and Thai government’s operations, this is all in the distant past. The only link to opium that remains is 2 museums.

Many tourists visit the Golden Triangle, particularly in organized day trips. Personally, I prefer other locations in Thailand – and specifically the north – that are more to my liking. However, I would describe the area as follows:

Some 15 minuets from a small town called Chiang Saen, there are few local attractions: a temple on the river, a nearby market and small park overlooking the area, 2 opium museums and a pier, from which you can take a longtail boat for a short river cruise and a visit to the market located on an island – which formally belongs to Laos.



Most tourists (many Chinese) visit the exact same places and I will elaborate on that:

Large Golden Buddha Statue – located on the riverbank, sitting on a boat, and next to it 2 giant elephant statues. The site features a small market, souvenir stalls, small coffee shops and food stands. Next to it there are piers, from which you sail across the river and of course, to the market in” Laos” that I will describe later on.

Golden TriangleOpium Museums – the large, impressive museum is called Hall of Opium and the small one is called House of Opium”. Both museums provide a glimpse into the history of the local opium industry, display processing and smoking tools and offer information on the dangers of drug addiction and the suffering of addicts.

The “Laos” Market – In the Mae Mae Kong river, on a small island called “Don Sao”, there’s a small market which mostly offers knickknacks, cigarette packs and the local highlight – alcohol bottles with snakes and/or scorpions that you can taste if you’d like. While the island officially belongs to Laos, there’s no need of visa/passport to visit there.

Wat Phatat Sam Mum Muang – if you are already in the area, I highly recommend visiting the small temple that offers a lovely viewpoint of the Golden Triangle area, and the meeting point of Ruak and Mekong rivers.

Lodging: most tourists who arrive to this area belong to organized groups and are here on their day-tours from Chiang Rai. There are few hotels of various classes in the area, including humble lodgings and guesthouses in the nearby town of Chiang Saen, on the riverbank.

My Opinion: I’ve been to more interesting spots and impressive locations in the north and of course other parts of Thailand.

Conclusion: The Golden Triangle is an area in Chiang Rai where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet. Many years ago, the area was famous for the opium crops industry, but nowadays its only link to opium is thematic museums. There’s a market and some landscape – but I’ve seen better in the north – in this day-tour destination.

Please note: I’ve intentionally excluded the Golden Triangle area from our private luxury tour plans to northern Thailand, but if you’d like to visit there, I can easily combine it in Chiang Rai tour plans.

Also Check: Chiang Mai (city) – a concluding review 

Chiang Mai, which is also called “The rose of the North” is the fifth largest city in Thailand. Its atmosphere is cosmopolitan, lively and bubbly and it is often used as a base from which tourists venture to explore the north. The city is located on a plain, some 300 meters above the sea level, surrounded by mountains. Chiang Mae functions as the gate to northern Thailand with an international airport, and millions of incoming tourists every year.

Chiang Mae means ‘the new city’. It was built in 1296 and previously known as the capital of the ancient Lanna kingdom. The original city was crowned by a wall and a canal (moat), whose relics can still be seen today. Up until the early 19th century, it took a long, tedious river cruise (on Ping river) or elephant ride to get to the city.


A lot has changed since then and the city has evolved and grown towards all directions. It became cosmopolitan, lively and colorful, and now features multiple markets, several shopping centers and lively, bubbly nightlife. The recent years also saw a significant – and sometimes wild – building wave, and the enhanced development also brought various implications – traffic jams, air pollution etc.

Inside and around Chiang Mae city there’s much to see and do, and I don’t presume to cover all the options. Rather, I’d like to briefly review a few famous attractions in the city and its surroundings – and more material will be added here in the future.




Nimman Rd.

Its full name is Nimmanhemin, but almost everyone refers to it as Nimman Rd. The street and alleys branching out of it have rapidly evolved over recent years, and the entire area is now modern, trendy and stylish. Many universities are located here which also contributed significantly to the area’s development.

An extended review of Nimman Rd. will be posted soon.

My Opinion: Nimman area provides a different view of the city, which I personally like. It’s different than the sight of multiple hotels next to each other, all near the night bazaar and in the old town area. Another bonus point for Nimman, is that the area is close to Chiang Mae’s international airport.


Chiang Mae Markets

Chiang Mae night bazaar has gained much fame, and I’ve already heard some stories about families that just landed in the city after a long flight, immediately checked in the hotel and left their luggage there, and ran to the night bazaar right away. Well, personally I think this is one of the disappointing night bazaars you can find in Thailand so don’t get your hopes up.

An extended review of Chiang Mae night bazaar will be posted soon.

My Opinion: a tacky, disappointing market with nothing special to offer; the commodity is low quality, redundant and common and the atmosphere is hardly unique or even pleasant. Across Thailand – and in Chiang Mae – you’ll find much better markets elsewhere!!



Sunday Market is in the old city area, and it stretches from Tha Pae Gate to Wat Phra Singh, along Ratchadamnoen Road and the nearby streets (a very large area). On Sunday, the entire area is closed for vehicles, so this is a real walking street.

An extended review of the Sunday Market will be posted soon.

My Opinion: a lovely, bubbly, entertaining market but sometimes overcrowded and too large for visitors. Still, if you happen to be in Chiang Mae on Sunday – don’t miss it!!


Saturday Market is also known as Wui Lai market or Saturday Walking Street. This is the ‘little brother’ of Sunday market; it resembles the larger market in its atmosphere and ‘character’ but it is much smaller and less crowded. Here too, you’ll find souvenirs of mountain tribes etc., but also local designer clothes, handicrafts and arts, and of course, many food and drink stalls alongside coffee shops. The Saturday market is located south west of the old town (Chiang Mai Gate) and on Wui Lai Rd.

An extended review of the Saturday Market will be posted soon.

My Opinion: both the Sunday and Saturday markets are great, pleasant and fun, so it’s hard to pick between the two. If you prefer a smaller, less crowded market – you should visit the Saturday market.


Warorot Market is the place for you if you’d like to get a real sense of Chiang Mae as a city, not just a tourist destination. The market is famous and well known to locals, and set at the heart of the Chinese quarter, a short walk away from the night bazaar and next to the river. The market is also called Kad Luang, which means “the big market” in the Lanna language.

An extended review of Warorot Market will be posted soon.

My Opinion: Unique, interesting and worth your time, if you’d like to experience the authentic, un-toured Thailand.


Evening Shows and Attractions for Tourists

Kanthoke Dinner Show is a local folklore experience for travelers, Chiang Maiwhich includes a dance show of the northern tribes followed by a nice dinner.

There are several companies that offer a similar experience and the price usually includes transportation from and to your hotel. When it comes to the site I visited, the dinner was reasonable, and so was the show. It was nothing special or spectacular, but it was nice – certainly if your expectations aren’t too high.




An extended review of Kanthoke Dinner Show will be posted soon.Chiang Mai

My Opinion: a nice, heavily toured experience, which you will enjoy – certainly if you have nothing special to do during the evening.




Around Chiang Mae City

Doi Suthep temple is a very impressive site, overlooking the city Chiang Maiof Chiang Mai, and one of the most sacred temples in northern Thailand. The temple is very close to the Suthep mountain top, some 15 km west of Chiang Mai. A winding road will bring you to the foot of the temple; from there, it’s possible to climb up 300 stairs (if you insist) – but fear not – we will use an elevator/cable car which will take you up to the highest level where the temple is located.

An extended review of the temple will be posted soon.

My Opinion: The place is recommended to temple lovers AND those who aren’t temple enthusiasts. The visit in this beautiful, colorful site will take you about an hour– including an overview of the city Chiang Mai- will appeal to kids and adults alike.



Paper Umbrellas and Handicrafts VillagesChiang Maisome 13 km east of Chiang Mai city, you’ll find Bo Sang & Sankampaeng Villages – the center for the famous, local handicrafts of the area. In these villages, you can visit a wide variety of handicraft factories and shops – paper umbrellas/parasols, hand-held fans, carved wood, silk, gems, ceramics, bronze etc. The area is rather commercialized, yet offers a nice experience – especially for kids.

An extended review of the site is available here => click the link

My opinion: the place is commercialized and packed full of tourists, but it’s still a lovely attraction, so you should stop there for a short visit, especially for the kids.



Sankampaeng Hot SpringsChiang Mai

A short ride past the Paper Umbrellas and Handicrafts Villages, you’ll find Sankampaeng hot springs. There’s not too much to say about this place: it’s just a display of water jet streams bursting out of some tubes; a few canals to dip your feet in, and a mediocre swimming pool – you’ll find nicer pools in average, 3-star hotels.

An extended review of the site is available here => click the link

My Opinion: boring and redundant, don’t waste your time!!

Mae Taeng is a district in Chiang Mae province, about an hour and a half away from Chiang Mai city. On its western side, Mae Tang borders with Pai (which belongs to Mae Hong Son province) and the road leading to the town of Pai. On its northern side, Mae Tang borders with Chiang Dao district and the way leading north towards Chiang Rai.

The excellent geographical location of Mae Tang area, it’s various attractions and diverse activities, make it a significant point in all our luxury tour routes through northern Thailand. Therefore, I’ve chosen Mae Tang as the branching spot for these routes.



After you’ve enjoyed various attractions and fun activities in the area, and stayed in a lovely local resort – you can either continue your journey to the north through Chiang Dao and up to Chiang Rai, or head west towards the lovely town of Pai and then continue to Mae Hong Son – while exploring wonderful sites along the way and in the region, including UNSEEN, unique places.

Most of the tourist activities in Chiang Mae area are based in Taeng Mae and its vicinity – many elephant farms, zip lines, rafting, ATV tours and more; everything is available in a rather small area.




Unfortunately, you’ll also find here extremely commercialized sites with a disgraceful exploitation of elephants, animal shows of all sorts, ox carriages etc. – that I strongly recommend you avoid.

An important note: animal shows and commercialized animal-related activities are excluded from our private luxury tours across Thailand. We refuse to include commercialized animal shows, as we believe that animals belong in their natural habitat or in decent farms where they are treated and rehabilitated appropriately. We make sure to double check every site that involves animals, while consulting authorized professionals in the area.

Here is a brief summary of the main attractions and activities in Mae Taeng area

Various activities in Mae Taeng area:

Elephant rides and horse carriages

This poor “attraction” refers to 2-3 local ‘factories’ for elephant rides and ox carriages, ‘entertaining’ hundreds and possibly thousands of tourists who come here as part of their travels or day-tours. They come in dozens of busses, and the poor elephants must constantly carry a heavy bench on their backs to ‘entertain’ them, as the tourists sit on the animal’s back and go for a ride. The site features a wooden ramp that stands between the “elephant riding industry” and the “ox carriage industry”. In between, there are also “elephant shows” presenting “drawing elephants” etc.

In my opinion, such activities pertain to the poorest part of the “tourism industry” and I pity the poor animals and tourists who spend their time on this redundant ‘attraction’. When I inquired on site why do so many tourists come here, I found out that this is simply the cheapest activity in the area, and that high commissions are given to those who bring the tourists to the site.

My Opinion: a poor experience that I suggest you avoid.

Such activities are excluded from our luxury tour plans.

ATV Tours

This area features many companies that provide ATV tours, but the quality of equipment, safety procedures and standards may vary from one company to another, and the tour routes are different too. The season is also a factor you should consider as not all seasons are suitable for the ATV experience.

  • To read an extended review and watch a clip about ATV tours follow this link => to be posted soon

My Opinion: a great experience if your visit takes place in a suitable season, and you have chosen a good route and a decent, reliable company to provide the tour.

A quality ATV tour is included as part of our private luxury tour plans in the north of Thailand, without any extra charge.  



Here too, the route location, quality and safety varies from one company to another, so make sure you are using a reliable, organized company with quality equipment and properly trained, experienced instructors that guide you.

  • To watch a clip about the ziplines that I’ve taken follow this link => click and watch

My Opinion: an excellent and fun experience.

Quality zip-lines are included as part of our private luxury tour plans in the north of Thailand, without any extra charge.  


The local rafting experience depends on picking the right company – Mae Taengsince Mae Taeng area is packed full of tourists, many companies provide similar services and activities. Some of them are hardly professional and offer low prices – so don’t be tempted by their cheap deals. In our tours, we’ve picked a high quality, experienced company with a good reputation, high quality equipment and most of all – qualified, trained and experienced guides with international rafting certificates – certainly don’t settle on this factor and consider the season; there is a big difference in rafting during different times of the year.

My opinion: a great experience if you choose a good, reliable company, in the right season.

  • To read an extended review of rafting and watch a clip about it, follow this link => click here

♥ Rafting is included in our private quality tours to northern Thailand without any extra cost.

“Being Mahout for a day” is a Mae Taengpositive elephant experience, that distinctly contrasts the negative elephant rides/ox carriages industry that I mentioned earlier. As I wrote in the introduction – you can find decent, worthy elephant farms that care for the animals, and here I’d like to suggest this lovely activity with elephants – “Being Mahout for a day”.

  • To watch a clip of the unique elephant experience which I’ve taken on site, => click the link.

My Opinion: a unique, exciting and fun experience.

You can enjoy the experience as part of our private luxury tour plans in the north of Thailand.


Attractions in Mae Taeng area

Ban Den TempleMae Taeng

You don’t have to be a temple enthusiast to fall for this wonderful place, that seems to come out of a Disney animated movie.

  • To read an extended review of Ban Den and watch a clip about it, follow this link => click here

My Opinion: a unique, magical place. Don’t miss it!!!

♥ Ban Den is included in our private quality tours to northern Thailand.


“The Geyser”

“The Geyser”, or in its full name Pong Dueat Hot Spring, Mae Taengsomehow became famous, from a reason that’s certainly a mystery to me. I find this ‘attraction’ very mediocre and redundant.

My opinion: a mediocre attraction; certainly not worth a special trip to the place.

  • To read an extended review of the ‘Geyser’ and watch a clip about it, follow this link => click here

♥ The site is not included in our private quality tours to northern Thailand because of its mediocre quality, but since our tour route to Mae Hong Son passes close by, we will stop there, if you still wish to do so.


Mork Fa waterfall

This attraction is located on the way from Mae Taeng to the town ofMae Taeng Pai in Mae Hong Son. The waterfall is not particularly high or large, but certainly impressive and beautiful; it is one of the finest, most pleasant waterfalls in northern Thailand.

Mork Fa waterfall have several advantages beyond their natural beauty – easy arrival, comfortable bathing possibilities (remember to bring your bathing suits and towels) and most importantly – a waterflow that persists throughout the year, even during the hot, dry months, in the unpleasant weather conditions of the northern summer.

My opinion: among the most beautiful and pleasant waterfalls in the north. Highly recommended!!

  • To read an extended review of the Mork Fa waterfall and watch a clip about it, follow this link => click here

♥ Visiting and bathing in Mork Fa waterfall is included in our private luxury tour plans in northern Thailand, as part of the Pai and Mae Hong Son route.


Resorts and restaurants in the area

To complete the luxury tour experience, you’ll need an excellent resort as well as quality restaurants, that are clean, hospitable, and offer rich, diverse and delicious cuisines. Thus, we have ‘scanned’ and searched thoroughly across the area, to find the best resorts and restaurants for our travelers. I’m happy to say that we have succeeded.

The resort in Mae Taeng area which was chosen to host our travelers after an eventful day of fun and excitement is an excellent place. We visited there several times, and I am positive that you’ll love it as I do.

As for restaurants – it’s not always easy to find a good, decent place to eat in rural and village areas, but I’m happy to say we’ve succeeded in that as well. We found a beautiful, clean restaurant with a delicious, rich and diverse menu.


Dr. David

Kanchanaburi / The Tiger Cave Temple , Some 20 km away from the town of Kanchanaburi, on a hilltop overlooking spectacular landscape, you’ll find one of the most beautiful temples in Thailand – Wat Tham Sua. The spectacular and colorful temple provides you with an observation point for marvelous scenery. I’m positive that even children, and those of you who aren’t temple enthusiasts will love it.

Wat Tham Sua means the Tiger Cave Temple. The title stems from the caves at the foot of the hill, where tigers used to live in the past, and tiger statues are located nowadays.

An important note: do not mistake this temple for Wat Pa Luang Ta Bua, which was known as “the Tigers’ Temple”, where herds of tourists used to take photos with drugged tigers. That temple was closed a long time ago by the Thai authorities.

Next to Wat Tham Sua, there’s a Chinese temple called Wat Tham Khao Noi, and though it seems part of the same complex, these are two distinct and unique temples. Their Pagodas can be seen from afar, on a hill not too far from Mae Khlong river.

You can get to the temple from the parking area by climbing the stairs with the snake-shaped banister or take the cable-car next to the stairs to save the climbing.  Once you reach the hilltop, on your left – you’ll see the Chinese temple, Wat Tham Khao Noi, and heading to the right will bring you to the large square of Wat Tham Sua.

The square features a giant, marvelous, 19-meter-high statue of Buddha. The towering statue is entirely covered with golden mosaic and sits in a structure that resembles a shell. You’ll see many locals who come here to pray, bring offering and burn incense (don’t forget to take off your shoes in the area next to the Buddha temple).

The site features several impressive structures, including a pagoda which towers to dozens of meters high, with stairs you can climb. Right next to the spectacular pagoda there’s a Chinese one, which towers to 9-floors height. The complex also features smaller yet marvelous structures, along with colorful animal statues such as peacocks and birds.

The temple is built on a spacious surface overlooking a spectacular view of the entire area – wide rice fields stretching far up to the mountain-chain on the horizon – certainly a wonderful sight.

Tiger Cave Temple Opening Hours – 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM

In conclusion: One of the most beautiful temples in Thailand, and a wonderful observation point for a spectacular view. The temple is colorful and impressive, so even if you’re not a fan of temples, surely you will love it, and so will the kids.

My Opinion: Highly recommended!

♣ Feel free to check out the clip I took on site… Enjoy!!

Also Check: Mae Taeng – A concluding article 

Upside Down House
Pattaya The Upside Down House

The Pattaya Upside Down House is a nice little attraction for kids, located south of Pattaya city in Sattahip area (very close to the Buddha Mountain).

The house is built upside down, which allows you to take funny pictures and enjoy some additional small attractions.

Upside Down House

The European styled house has all the ordinary rooms – a living room, kitchen, bedrooms, bathroom etc.

Yet all things are built upside down, including the furniture, which you’ll find on the ceiling. When you take your pictures then rotate them, it looks as though you are on the ceiling, which makes a very amusing image.

Outside the house itself, you’ll find some small attractions such as a gyroscope, maze and bicycle which move in the opposite direction.

Entrance Fee: 300 baht per adult, 150 baht for a 90-140 cm tall kid

In conclusion: a nice, fun attraction for children. The staff is very kind and helpful in taking the pictures.

My Opinion: Worth a short visit if you are visiting the area


Links to other articles and tour plans

For our tour plans

For Tiptop Travel private tour plans in Pattaya area => to be posted soon

For Tiptop Travel private tour plans across Thailand => click here

For more articles and Information

For more articles on Pattaya area => click here

For more articles on all the regions across Thailand => click here

♣ Here is a video I took on Koh Larn Beaches … Enjoy!

Pattaya / Baan Sukhawadee ,  Sukhawadee is a complex of gardens and European-styled palaces, which was established by a Thai billionaire near the shore in Naklua region, north of the city of Pattaya. The place is pastoral and spectacular (though too kitschy for me) and stands in complete contrast to the unpleasant scenery and atmosphere of Pattaya city.

The Baan Sukhawadee site was set in 2000, by a Thai billionaire named Mr. Panya Chotitawan – who owns one of the biggest companies in Thailand that export agricultural products.  Sukhawadee was established almost two decades ago, at a time of a severe financial crisis for Thailand. The extravagant site was built to display national harmony and respect, even in such difficult times.

Sukhawadee means ‘the paradise’ and the place aims to give visitors a sense of unity, an atmosphere of truth-discovery alongside respect for Buddha and other important figures in the Thai and East Asian History and belief: the goddess of mercy (Guan Yin), king Taksin, king Chulalongkorn and more.

You’ll find here several impressive structures that are built as European-designed palaces and painted in blue and pink, as the pink represents love, which is essential for success, and the blue symbolizes water – a vital element for the development of life. Inside the palaces you’ll find lavishing halls with a wide variety of arts – pictures, statues and illustrations which represent Thai culture as well as the culture of its neighboring countries.

Outside of the palaces there are spectacular botanical gardens featuring various sculptures, and you can either explore this large site by foot or take the local cable-car. You’ll also find here a restaurant and souvenir shop, as well as Thai folklore shows for Tourists.

Opening Hours: daily between 8:30 AM to 6 PM

Entrance Fee: rather expensive!! There is a different entrance fee for locals and foreigners. These are the prices for foreigners (updated for February 2018): 500 baht per adult; children up to the height of 100 cm – free entrance; children from 100-120 cm – 300 baht

In conclusion: Baan Sukhawadee a beautiful, pleasant place that stands in direct contrast with Pattaya city, however it abounds with Chinese tourists and personally I find it a bit kitschy.

My Opinion: Considering the above description, it’s beautiful yet a matter of personal taste.

♣ Here is a video I took on Koh Larn Beaches … Enjoy!

Also Check: Pattaya Baan Sukhawadee 

The Sanctuary of Truth in Nakluea area (the northern part of Pattaya) is one of the prominent quality attractions in the area. The sanctuary is an all-wood, hand-made building which was engraved without using nails. It is a must-see attraction for all those who visit the area.

The site is known as ‘Sanctuary of Truth’ which many translate to “Temple of Truth”. In my opinion however, the right translation should be ‘the hall of truth’ or ‘residence of truth’, since this is not a temple for Thai and Buddhist people who wish to pray, but rather a structure built to convey and display local philosophies and beliefs, based on Thai, Hindu, Cambodian and Chinese cultures. In Thai, it is titled Prasat Sat-Cha.

The Sanctuary of Truth structure is a marvelous peace, made entirely of hand-carved wood, with no metal nails. The building towers higher than 100 meters and spreads across some 4,000 sqm. It is located on a cliff overlooking the sea in Nakluea area, in the northern part of Pattaya.

The wood carving craft began some 20 years ago, and even though visitors arrive at a complete structure – the work continues, and dozens of wood-carving artists work there daily; you are welcome to observe them do so, which is an interesting experience. There is no deadline to complete the work on site; it is expected to continue for many more years, and there’s no wonder – as every piece of wood which is added to the structure is hand carved and attached to perfectly fit the building, using wooden connections.

The Sanctuary of Truth was born because of the private initiative of a local multibillionaire called Lek Viriyaphant who also initiated, established and built Erawan Museum, the Three-Headed Elephant Temple and the ancient city of Muang Boran near Bangkok.

The Sanctuary of Truth structure features 4 corners, and each of them contains a Gopura (tower) which functions as the entrance gate, adorned with sculptures and wooden carvings from the Thai, Hindu, Cambodian and Chinese culture and mythology. According to the website of “The Sanctuary of Truth” – the amazing structure aims to use arts and culture to convey and display east-Asian knowledge and philosophy, thus allowing visitors to observe and understand life in the past, comprehend the human responsibility, the circle of life and the relation between life and the universe, to achieve Utopia.

Outside of the giant, impressive structure – you’ll find a workshop where wood artists (both male and female) practice wood carving of pieces that will be attached to the structure later. I highly recommend visiting the workshop, which is right by the Sanctuary building, to watch the artists during their work.

At 11:30 AM and 3:30 PM, a very nice show takes place in the square by the building, displaying Thai folklore and dance. There’s also a restaurant, and some food and drink stalls available for visitors.

The entrance is conducted in groups; every 30 minutes a new group is allowed in. From the entrance to the building itself there is some walking distance which includes going down the stairways, so for the spoiled or lazy visitors, there’s a decorated carriage with a horse, which will take you from the entrance area to the structure itself and back, for an extra charge.

The Sanctuary of Truthentrance fee is hardly low – some 500 baht per adult and 250 per child, to prevent the place from becoming yet another overcrowded tourist destination and keep its unique, pleasant atmosphere; such prices also prevent unnecessary interference with the work on site.

Sanctuary of Truth Opening Hours: daily between 8 AM to 5 PM

In conclusion: this is a beautiful and unique place, which – unlike other attractions in the area – is yet to be filled with herds of Chinese tourists, so the atmosphere here is very pleasant and a perfect match to the nature of the site.

My Opinion: I highly recommend visiting here, don’t miss it!

♣ Here is a video I took on Koh Larn Beaches … Enjoy!

Also Check: Kanchanaburi The Tiger Cave Temple – Wat Tham Sua 

Pattaya View Point, The phrase beautiful from afar – and far from beautiful, fits the city of Pattaya perfectly. From up close, the beaches and streets are hardly pleasing (to say the least), yet from a distance, Pattaya bay is certainly beautiful. This review covers the best observation post in Pattaya, overlooking the entire bay.

Between the city of Pattaya and Jomtien beach, there’s a large hill called Phra Tumnak Hill. In this calm, quiet area you’ll find residence houses, lots of hotels, restaurants, shops and more. You’ll also find here the best view point which provides you with a beautiful overview of Pattaya city and bay.

The Pattaya View Point is rather large and spacious; although it is often packed full of tourists – along with peddlers of all sorts – it doesn’t interfere or prevent visitors from enjoying the beautiful landscape. Most of the tourist groups complete their visit after several minutes, so even if the place is packed full upon your arrival – there’s no need to leave, as in a few minutes some of them will leave, and the atmosphere will be pleasant again.

The observation post features a statue of the admiral prince Abhakara Kiartivongse, the adored son of king Rama 5, who was known as Sadej Tia (the royal father), Doctor Phon or Prince of Chumpon. The admiral prince studied in England and specialized in maritime subjects and naval battles; he is the father and founder of the modern Thai navy. He has also completed his medical studies, and since he is adored by the Thai people, many of the locals come here to pay their respect.

Opposite the Pattaya View Point entrance to the observation area, there’s a small temple called Wat Khao Phra Bat. There are no hermits, but the site is worth a short visit, as it features many beautiful statues.

In conclusion: Phra Tumnak Hi View Point is the best observation point on Pattaya bay and in the city area. Although it is heavily crowded by tourists at certain hours, this is still ‘a must’ for those visiting Pattaya, as it overlooks the spectacular bay view.

My Opinion: Highly recommended!

♣ Here is a video I took on Koh Larn Beaches … Enjoy!



Also Check: Pattaya / Nong Nooch Gardens