January 2014 Thailand Fan of the Month Katy Barnes with her fiancé Ste at Maya Beach, Phi Phi Lee.

60 seconds with… Katy Barnes, Our Amazing Fan of the Month January 2014

We are so lucky to have brilliant fans who regularly share their knowledge of travelling in Thailand on our Facebook page – Thailand Fan Club: UK & Ireland. To encourage even more people to share their experiences of Thailand and help others who are planning a holiday to the Land of Smiles, we’ve set up a Fan of the Month campaign. Each month we’ll celebrate an individual who has made an outstanding contribution – whether it’s a great recommendation, a photo, or ideas for a travel itinerary – to the Facebook page, via Instagram, or the Thailand Reunited app.

60 seconds with … Katy Barnes, Our Amazing Fan of the Month January 2014

Katy Barnes was chosen as the Fan of the Month for January 2014 thanks to some great travel advice she posted in answer to a request from another fan (Nikki Howells) who is planning a trip to Thailand in August.

January 2014 – Image of Thailand Fan of the Month Katy Barnes with her fiancé Ste at Maya Beach, Phi Phi Lee.

Tell us where you’ve travelled in Thailand:

I’ve been to Thailand three times with my now fiancé and on our most recent trip in 2012, we went with four of our friends. We’ve always flown through Bangkok and spent a few nights in the city before flying out to Phuket, Krabi or Chiang Mai. During a stay in Bangkok we also spent a day in Ayutthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

What are your favourite places?

It’s so hard to choose a favourite place in Thailand because I like each place for such different reasons.  I love Bangkok for its craziness, the bright lights, amazing street food, magical temples and white-knuckle tuk-tuk rides! It’s an eye opener – anything goes and you’ll either love it or hate it.

Phuket is very touristy but great for boat trips to the stunning islands. We hired a scooter to help us explore and went to Phromthep Cape, Big Buddha, Kata Viewpoint stopping at secluded beaches along the way.

Krabi’s sheer limestone cliffs make the scenery breathtaking and I really enjoyed Railay Beach and Hong Island. Chiang Mai was a favourite too for adventure and white-water rafting down the Mae Tang River.  

What and where was your most delicious meal in Thailand?

I’ve eaten the best food ever in Thailand but one of the most memorable was at Bangkok’s Chatuchak market on our first trip to Thailand in 2006. It was a bowl of duck soup from a stall and we sat at a plastic table on tiny chairs to eat it. It cost about 50p (with a bottle of Coke) and I still remember the taste to this day.

Would you rather be on the beach or by a pool?

Thailand has the prettiest and most dramatic beaches I’ve ever seen. You’d be mad to sit by the hotel pool and miss out on the picture-postcard views and tropical seas.

What are you top 3 must-sees/do in Thailand?

The Grand Palace in Bangkok, sea kayaking in Phang Nga Bay on the way to James Bond Island and a white water rafting/quad biking trip in Chiang Mai.

Your perfect holiday in Thailand would be…?

Spending a couple of months travelling around the country and seeing different places a bit more off the beaten track.

What’s your top tip for first-time travellers to Thailand?

Rather than staying in one place, try and mix your trip up a little to experience all the wonders of Thailand – the city, the jungle and the beaches.  I’d always recommend stopping off in Bangkok too for a few nights. Some people seem a bit nervous about visiting Bangkok but if you stay in the right places and plan where you want to go, you’ll have a fantastic time! Think about going out of season too. We’ve always been Aug -Sept time. The weather is still lovely, it’s less busy, cheaper and sometimes you’ll have the beach to yourself.

If you could go to Thailand with anyone, who would it be? (friends, family or famous person)

I’d really love to go with my family to show them how amazing it is. They’ve never been to Asia and I think it’d be a great place for them to start exploring this part of the world.

Share a favourite photo from your recent holiday in Thailand (preferably with you in it!)

See above – Me and my fiancé Ste at Maya Beach, Phi Phi Islands during our first holiday to Thailand. A busy tourist spot but a must see.

What’s the one thing that makes you want to go back to Thailand again

For me, it’s magical and so chilled out. The people, the food and the culture are what make it. I’ve been to a few countries in South East Asia but Thailand was my first. It’ll always be a special place to me and my fiancé so much so that we thought about getting married there. Instead, we’re thinking of bringing a bit of Thailand to our wedding in England later this year.

Read other travellers stories and travel tips for inspiration and advice and share your own at Thailand Reunited.