So you’ve partied hard at the Full Moon, Black Moon, Blue Moon*, Jungle Moon, Half Moon, and you’re starting to think, well what else is there left to do in Thailand?
Well stop right there. We’ve found five Thai experiences that will make you put your neon paint into semi-retirement. We’ll guarantee you’ll meet locals like never before, work with remote hilltribes, become an expert tightrope walker and chef extraordinaire all at the same time.
*think this is actually a beer not a moon-related party.
1. Lend a helping hand to the hilltribes
Escape the crazy neon lights and boozy bars of the south for something a little more wholesome. ‘Hill Tribe Helping Hands Adventure’ takes you to the cultural-rich, northern city of Chiang Rai, from where you’ll work with the Akha hilltribe people. Take your pick from either teaching or manual labour. You’ll provide the locals with vital skills, training and education whilst helping them maintain their cultural identity.
2. A massage parlour that only employs ex-con women
You’re getting a Thai massage in Thailand, obviously. But before you get comfortable, what about giving something back while someone massages your back? The ‘Chiang Mai Women’s Massage Centre by Ex-Prisoners’ (their title needs a bit of work) is a massage parlour that helps Thai women released from prison reintegrate back into society and find employment. At 200 baht (just under a fiver) for a full body massage, you’ll experience the cheapest and probably best massage in the country. Not only is it good for the mind, body and soul, it’s good for society.
Where to find this little gem: Women’s Ex-Prisoner Massage Centre, Jhaban Rd, Chiang Mai (bit of a mouthful)
3. Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School
Put down the Big Mac and throw away that pizza, you’re in Thailand. Don your apron and get ready to learn all about Thai cooking. Start the day buying fresh ingredients from the local market and learning traditional recipes. Later, get stuck into making spring rolls, Thai green curry, Pad Thai, mango sticky rice and deep fried bananas. Everything tastes that little bit better because you’ve made it from scratch. Tip: DON’T eat beforehand.
Where to find this little gem: Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School, Mu Ban Chiang Mai Flora Ville, Chang Wat, Chiang Mai
(also a bit of a mouthful)
4. Famous Pai Circus School
For a hostel with an ‘acrobatic vibe’ head to the Pai Circus School. Stunning panoramic views, cheap rooms, an infinity pool, friendly folk and random circus acts. You’ll get a bed for the night and leave with new, improved tightrope walking skills. What more could you honestly want?
Where to find this little gem: Famous Pai Circus Hostel, Mae Hi, Pai District
5. Phetchabun Province
Fancy some fresh air and wildlife spotting? Us too. Head to Phetchabun Province for stunning waterfalls, mountain ranges and wide rivers. This province is home to two national parks. In Khao Kho National Park you’ll find slow loris, mouse deer, porcupines, big Asian cats and wild elephants and in Nam Nao National Park it’s all about sun bears (NEED to see these), black bears, leopards and tigers. Now, how many of your mates have been here?
Where to find this little gem: Phetchabun Province. You can’t miss it.