As former Miss Canada and Top 10 in Miss Universe 2017, Lauren Howe has done her fair share of travelling, and when we asked her to join us on a journey to Thailand, she happily and excitedly said yes.
Lauren’s adventure began in the bustling city of Bangkok and ended in the pristine beaches of Koh Samui. In between that, she journeyed beyond these popular regions and made her way to some of Thailand’s hidden gems.
Planning a trip to Thailand? Let’s go over her itinerary, so you can check off the places you can visit too!
Our first stop: Bangkok.
One of the first things that come to mind when visitors think of Thailand is Bangkok – and understandably so. Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand and one of the largest cities in Southeast Asia. From historical temples, lively street markets, and modern architecture, it’s a vibrant metropolis consisting of both old and new.
Lauren’s trip started off at the Grand Palace, a 237-year old complex of royal buildings and temples. One of the most popular attractions inside is Wat Phra Kaew, also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. It contains a famous bright green jade Buddha that dates back all the way to the 14th century.
Near the Grand Palace is the Chao Phraya River where visitors can hop on a long-tail boat and go on a Klong Tour. Thailand is known as the Venice of the East for its canals, so this is a great way to experience the local way of life back when the canals were considered one of the main arteries of transportation.
Biking by the Chao Phraya River
If boats aren’t your thing, then try biking by the Chao Phraya River instead. In the evenings, visitors can catch Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn) and the Grand Palace light up as the sun retreats into the night sky.
After exploring Bangkok, Lauren traded in the sky scrapers for the lush mountains in Northern Thailand’s largest city: Chiang Mai. This region is known for it’s relaxing vibe and unspoiled nature – a true contrast from the busy streets of Bangkok.
Wat Chedi Luang
One of Lauren’s first stops in Chiang Mai was Wat Chedi Luang. Remember the Emerald Buddha from the Grand Palace? Well, before it was in Bangkok, it was actually housed here. This Lanna-style temple endured an earthquake in the 1500’s but was restored in 1992. Despite being reduced to half it’s height, the temple remains an impressive and striking piece of architecture.
Sankamphang Silk Museum
Thai silk is one of the most sought-after luxury souvenirs in Thailand. Each piece of silk is always unique and traditionally hand woven, and depending on the design, some intricate patterns can take weeks to complete. Lauren got the chance to learn the process of making silk first-hand at this museum.
A visit to Chiang Mai isn’t complete without a visit to Doi Suthep. Lauren ventured about 40 minutes from the old town to visit this temple, undoubtedly one of Chiang Mai’s most famous sites. The temple is located at the top of the mountain offering a stunning view of the city and surrounding mountains.
Thung Roeng Royal Project Development
This Royal Project was established to encourage opium farmers to change their crops to organic fruit and vegetables. Lauren toured the farm to meet the local farmers, explore the area, and learn about this great initiative.
Lauren’s Journey continued on to an elephant sanctuary called Patara Elephant Farm. Here she got to spend the day with the gentle giants as an elephant caretaker, a truly unique and memorable experience for anyone who is able to do this.
Mae Hong Son
Known as ‘the City of Three Mists’, Lauren continued her journey to the province of Mae Hong Son. It was given that nickname for the mists that covered its valleys during each season (Thailand only has three seasons). The mists are especially visible after the rain.
Wat Chong Kham & Wat Chong Klang
Lauren headed to the centre of the city to explore two Burmese-style temples call Wat Chong Kham and Wat Chong Klang. The temples are right by a lake and inside Wat Chong Klang is an impressive Buddha made out of woven twigs, a must-see for visitors.
Su Tong Pae Bridge
Lauren also visited Su Tong Pae Bridge, the longest bamboo bridge in Thailand. It connects the village to a temple, and many locals walk over the long bridge to give alms to monks in the mornings.
Black Lahu Hilltribe Village
For those looking for a more local experience, we recommend visiting the Black Lahu Hilltribe Village. Here, Lauren was able to spend the day cooking, making traditional garments, and enjoying a fresh cup of local brewed coffee while overlooking the scenic mountains.
The last leg of the trip is in Koh Samui in the Southern region of Thailand. Measuring 229 km², Koh Samui is the 2nd largest island in the country. Its stunning beaches make it the perfect place for visitors to wrap-up a long and exciting journey.
Superpro Muay Thai
Muay Thai is the national sport of Thailand and have been practiced for hundreds of years. Visitors who want to try a new workout like Muay Thai can take a group class, or even a private one like Lauren, and learn some new defensive moves.
Health & Wellness
Thailand is a place with so much to see and do, but it’s also one of the best places to refresh and relax. In Koh Samui, Lauren ended the last leg of her trip with some well-deserved downtime, relaxing and unwinding by the ocean.
Check out the video below to watch Lauren’s entire journey.