Each year, millions of visitors are drawn to Thailand’s unspoiled beaches and inviting blue waters, as well as its rich culture, fashionable malls and boutiques, and colourful markets crammed with bargains. The country has a diverse mix of cosmopolitan destinations and rustic, out of the way islands. And while the world-famous Thai massage will help you relax, the nightlife – and the shopping – will certainly keep you on your toes. Of course, there are not enough words to describe the many textures and flavours of amazing Thailand. You’ll just have to experience it for yourself.
With its hulking skyscrapers and ultramodern hotels, Bangkok is one of the most contemporary cities in Asia. Thankfully, it never lost its Thai charm, with the museums, temples, food and, of course, people that make Bangkok both quintessentially Thai and culturally diverse. One great way to think about your exploration of Bangkok is to traverse the streets for a taste of the modern, but to get a feel for the historical, more old-style Bangkok, take to the canals.
- The spectacular Grand Palace, home to Thai Royalty.
- Wat Pho, famous for its huge (46 m by 15 m) gold-plated reclining Buddha and renowned massage school, plus 1,000 additional images of Buddha, mostly from the ruins of the former capitals of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai. The traditional Thai massage alone is worth the trip to Wat Pho. Many of the world's celebrities and dignitaries have come here for a break from their hectic lives.
- The private and exclusive Royal Bangkok Sports Club on Henri Dunant Road, open to the public every second Sunday of the month for horse races, where you can bet on a win basis only (not to place or show)
Bangkok (Klong Toey)
Bangkok is a city of contradictions: high-rise buildings and popular clubs abound, but so do golden temples and lively street fairs. A visit to the National Museum is great for history buffs, while shoppers will love the bargains in the Banglamphu district. Klong Toey in central Bangkok features a highly discounted market, offering fresh eel, dried fish and the lively smells, sights and sounds of this waterfront-pier area.
Bangkok (Laem Chabang)
This small tropical paradise, lined with coconut palms and white sand beaches encircled by turquoise water is a perfect place to escape and explore. Gaze up at the Big Buddha, cool off in the natural pool at the base of Na Muang Waterfall and view the astonishing natural rock formations of Hin Ta and Hin Yai. Attractions - The island’s wide, sandy beaches and coral reefs, which are great for aquatic activities including windsurfing, jet skiing, snorkelling and sailing. - An escape from the bustling town to the quiet of the inland waterfalls via bicycle, motorbike or hired driver.
One of the earliest tourist developments in South East Asia and Thailand's largest and most visited island, Phuket boasts amazing palm tree-lined beaches, fabulous coves and bays, plus snorkeling, windsurfing and trekking for the adventurous. Hills dominate this tropical island and the views from the top shouldn’t be missed.
- Haad Nai Yang National Park, the 35-sq. mile protected tropical paradise, where giant leatherback turtles nest between November and February every year (it’s an amazing sight!) The Park also has Phuket's largest coral reef in shallow water, just 460 ft. from the shore.
- A rainforest trek through the Khao Phra Taew National Park, a wild way to see Phuket. Phuket Nature Tour has half-day daily hiking tours (2 1/4 miles) through lush jungles and past crystal-clear waterfalls.
- The Siam Safari Nature Tour for the opportunity of a lifetime: a unique and adrenaline-packed half-day eco-adventure with elephant rides through the jungle, and SUV tours to spot some local wildlife and make an exciting trip down the Chalong Bay on a raft.