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South East Asia: Thailand

South East Asia: Thailand

The tropical climate, beautiful landscapes and amazing culture of Thailand have long made the country a top holiday destination. Whether you love relaxing at luxury spas and resorts, indulging in traditional foods, exploring temples or admiring pristine beaches, your holiday to Thailand can be whatever you want it to be!

From the sparkling azure shores of Phuket to the bustling streets of Bangkok, you’ll be amazed at how different various parts of Thailand are. The country has a rich history that has been greatly influenced by the Buddhist religion and this is reflected in the abundance (more than 40,000) of magnificent temples around the country.
 
When visiting temples or cultural places you should wear clothes that cover your shoulders, knees and tummy, and remember to leave your shoes at the entrance. The Royal Family is incredibly important to the Thai people, and visitors should be respectful towards the royals at all times. It is also important to be courteous and polite to the local people you may meet on your holiday, especially older ones.

So, where should you visit? Here are a few suggestions…

Koh Samui

Koh Samui is a beautiful island off Thailand’s east coast, offering glorious white-sand beaches. You can choose to stay in luxury resorts, bungalows or private and customise your trip to be as relaxing or active as you like.
 
Visitors to Koh Samui can also island hop to Kho Tao for amazing snorkelling and scuba diving, and also to Kho Pha Ngan where exploring via motorbike or moped is a common activity. Although the beaches of Koh Pha Ngan are exceptionally beautiful, the main attraction of Haad Rin Beach, is the full moon parties. For those looking for some peace, avoid the hordes of backpackers at Haad Rin, and stick to the quieter beaches.

Krabi's Islands

Krabi itself is a bustling city, so head across the Strait of Malacca from the mainland to the gorgeous islands. This archipelago is home to over 154 islands with hundreds of beautiful beaches, bays and coral reefs to choose from.

An island holiday should include a visit to Than Bokkhorani National Park, where you can trek through serene forests and glimpse cascading streams. At Hat Rai Leh or Pra Nang, you can also check out the stunning beaches or head to Hat Ton Sai for a spot of rock climbing, if you’re the adventurous type. Don’t forget the famous Phi Phi Islands, which featured in the movie ‘The Beach’.

Phuket

Phuket offers pristine beach scenery, incredible island jungles, and a diverse culture that welcomes all travellers. A holiday to Phuket can be tailored to meet your needs, with flights, accommodation, tours, meals and even massages bundled into one deal. 

Patong Beach is the largest beach in Phuket, and is world famous. It is largely a commercial beach with numerous restaurants and shopping malls dotting the promenade leading to the beach, but with clear blue waters and smooth sand, the beach is a good option for avid swimmers and families.

Chang Mai

North of Bangkok, the mountain city of Chang Mai was founded in around 1296 and the ancient city walls and moats are still visible today. Chang Mai’s many temples - Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, Wat Chiang Man and Wat Phra Singh, to name just a few - date back to the 14th century and are popular attractions for tourists.
 
Other activities in and around Chang Mai include mountain biking, attending a Thai cooking class, visiting the local hill-tribe villages and even riding a flying-fox through the jungle tree tops! Don’t forget to visit Chang Mai’s fabulous night markets, they are perfect for finding unique, handcrafted souvenirs and indulging in a traditional, locally made snack.

The River Kwai

Between Chang Mai and the capital, is the town of Kanchanaburi and the River Kwai area. Occupied by the Japanese during WWII, this location has a tragic history but is today home to many historically and culturally significant sites.
 
Cruises and escorted tours are your best option here, and they can involve a one, two or three-day journey. As part of these, you will take a trip on the Thai-Burma “Death Railway”, built by Allied Prisoners of War, visit the Hellfire Pass Memorial and Museum, and see the infamous bridge over the River Kwai. A must for history buffs!

Bangkok

What better place to start or finish your amazing Thai experience than the bustling, noisy city of Bangkok? Get lost in the expansive Chatuchak weekend market, shop up at storm at the enormous MBK Centre or Central World Plaza, or experience the bizarre and infamous night markets/red light district of Patpong.
 
To make the most of Bangkok, take a long boat tour out to the Floating Markets and ensure that you visit the spectacular Grand Palace (including the Temple of the Emerald Buddha). Other highlights include the Temple of Dawn and the Reclining Buddha - he’s 45 metres long! All these sights are easily accessible via Bangkok’s reliable Sky Train service, and taxis are always available, just in case.

If you want to escape the city for a day, Hua Hin Beach is easy to access as it is just a short distance from the city. It is a popular destination for both international and local visitors, and the flat stretches with gentle waves and shallow waters may not be ideal for swimming, but make it a great place for a family picnic.



When trying to create the perfect holiday to Thailand, your best option is to consult a travel agent. Travellers Choice travel agents have an intimate knowledge of the various areas of Thailand and will advise you on where to stay and what sight-seeing or tour options are available. All you need to do now is decide when you’re going!

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