Research Report: Frances’ Trip to Thailand

Research Report: Frances’ Trip to Thailand

On a research trip to Thailand, our Asia specialist Frances had the enviable task of sampling some seriously cool traditional Thai experiences. From staying on a working farm in the mountains to cheffing it up at a Thai cookery class, she got to grips with what holidays in Thailand offer. She also took note of top tips for anyone eager to visit the country. Read on for the lowdown on her trip...


  1. Where did you visit?
  2. What did you get up to?
  3. Did you learn about any hidden gems?
  4. What's your favourite thing you ate?
  5. What new things did you learn?
  6. What was something you'd never done before?
  7. What's one thing that can't be missed?
  8. Did anything surprise you about the destination?
  9. What's a top tip you'd give to clients?


Where did you visit?

I went all over Thailand during my 16 days there: the islands of Koh Yao Noi and Phuket in the south; Khao Sok National Park and the nearby Cheow Lan Lake; the lovely coastal spot of Khao Lak; the cities of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in the North; and in central Thailand I visited Bangkok and Khao Yai National Park.


What did you get up to?

I got to try out lots of traditional Thai experiences – I walked with and fed elephants, visited temples like Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai, swam in Cheow Lan Lake, attended a pottery and cookery class and explored the khlongs (Thai canals).


Khlongs in Thailand


Did you learn about any hidden gems?

Absolutely! Near Chiang Rai I stayed at Ahsa Farm Stay, the most amazing accommodation set on a working farm in the mountains. It offers the chance to learn all about local farming practices and get a taste of traditional life in Thailand beyond the tourist trail.


What’s your favourite thing you ate?

I loved the classic pad Thai (stir-fried rice or noodles with bean sprouts, scrambled egg and either chicken, shrimps or vegetables) and mango sticky rice. Now I’m completely obsessed! To be honest, everything I ate was insanely delicious – Tom Yum Gai (hot and sour chicken soup) and Tom Kha Gai (coconut chicken soup) are now dishes that I want to add to my standard soup repertoire.


What new things did you learn?

I learnt how to plant rice, a tradition that Thai farmers have passed down through centuries, and how to make a proper pad Thai during my cooking class. I also found out I’m a terrible pottery maker.


Rice Fields in Thailand


What was something you’d never done before?

I tried a chicken coop sauna for the first time. It’s essentially a dome-shaped pen used for keeping chickens overnight, but they’ve cut a hole in the top for your head to pop through. Inside the coop, you sit on a little stool, and a rice cooker filled with herbs blows out steam. It felt equally strange and wonderful with my body sweating inside and head out in the open!


What’s one thing that can’t be missed?

Staying at Ahsa Farm Stay. It gives you invaluable time to breathe, relax and see something a little different (just don’t expect your mattress to be the most comfortable!).


Did anything surprise you about the destination?

Just how good the food is. I knew it was tasty, but it was somehow even better than I remembered.


What’s a top tip you’d give to clients?

Don’t rush! Make sure you have time for a day at leisure somewhere like Chiang Mai so you can explore independently, wander around and simply soak it all in.


Header Image by Olivier Romano.