Thailand Shot by You Sweepstakes Winner Interview

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Our winners of the Thailand Shot by You sweepstakes, Cara and Steph Bono, are here to showcase all the highlights from their time in Thailand after taking part in a shoestring tour in classic Thailand and soaking up all that What Thailand has to offer.

1. How was your itinerary and where did you land?

With STA we travel on a shoestring tour through Thailand, which starts in Bangkok and ends in Koh Tao. During the 15 days of this trip we got to know the best highlights of Thailand. Our first days were spent exploring Bangkok's bustling streets, enjoying incredible street food, visiting beautiful temples and experiencing the vibrant nightlife.

Our next stop was Chang Mai, which feels much more relaxed than the Thai capital. We visited the Doi Suthep and Wat Chedi Luang temples for two days and walked up the monk's path to Wat Pha Lat, hidden in the jungle. The evenings here we spent trying local street food markets, strolling through the night bazaars and celebrating at Chang Mai's bunk point.

Next up was our jungle tour north of Chang Mai, where we stayed overnight with host families in the hill tribes. This was one of the coolest and most unique experiences of our previous trips. We attended cookery classes, learned how to weave bamboo baskets, spent time with locals in the village, and spent the evenings sharing great food and watching the night sky. We left the villages with a bamboo raft and had a three-hour expedition through the jungle. This afternoon we drove to Khao Sok National Park and had a day of swimming and boating in some beautiful scenery.

Next we made our way to the islands. We spent two nights in a fantastic party hostel on Koh Pangan, spent our days in hammocks and enjoyed the beautiful beaches. Finally, we landed in Koh Tao, a much smaller island with a more local and relaxed atmosphere. It is also known to be one of the best marine areas in Thailand, which is why we spent most of our time exploring the vibrant underwater world around the coast.

2. What is the best of culture in Thailand?

Our favorite feature of Thai culture should be how friendly and open people are. Everywhere you go, many people will try to help you and they will always try to communicate in a way that you will understand. We also love how the Buddhist religion is intertwined with the entire lifestyle of the Thai people. They radiate a deeper understanding and understanding of the simple things in life and everyone is extremely respectful. And known as the "Land of Smiles," it's true that her smile is contagious.

3. What was something completely unexpected that you saw / experienced in Thailand?

What I did not expect from Thailand is how much people here believe in magic. In stores and many tuk-tuks, they have embroidered protective Yantran patterns high on the walls or on the roof to protect them from traffic accidents and protect their homes from negative energies. Many Thais also firmly believe in the magic of Sak Yant tattoos and use them to stay safe, healthy and achieve their life goals.

4. What was your favorite place to see and capture content?

Our favorite place on this trip would be Koh Tao. The island was stunning and had a great energy. We spent most of the day taking underwater shots of all coral reefs and marine life, and came back just in time to catch the vibrant sunsets over the water. In spite of everything, Koh Tao was the best snorkeling experience we have had so far. The water was clear and there were so many beautiful shoals of fish.

We never tire of photographing and taking content from Bangkok! The number of unique places you can go to is endless. From street photography on local markets, alleys of Chinatown to extravagant golden temples, we never got bored exploring this city. At night, the city lights up with life. The night photography is just as exciting as the nightlife.

5. Recommendations for Future Travelers to Thailand

  • Here are our key tips for future travelers planning their first trip to Thailand:
  • Pack very light clothes as it gets very wet and hot. Make sure you have some light pants and cover-ups to visit the temples.
  • Pack insect repellent and sunscreen for coral reefs. • After spending a night on Koh San Road, you can visit the many other beautiful bars Bangkok has to offer. Our favorite was the Iron Fairies.
  • Always acting, as foreigners double or triple many people their prices, trade in half.
  • Buy a sim card, it makes your travel much smoother.
  • The prices in northern Thailand are much cheaper than on the southern islands. If you want to shop, try to do the most in Chaing Mai.
  • Always carry cash, as most places do not take a card.
  • Be a responsible and ethical visitor, do not ride the elephant and do not spend money on tourist attractions that treat animals badly.
  • Do not be afraid to walk instead of always taking tuk tuks. You will pass a lot off the beaten path and in interesting places.

6. Describe Thailand with a word or phrase.

It enlivens your senses.

Looking for more? Check out the Bono twins on Instagram, @thebonotwins, and drop by our raffle page to win an epic journey!

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