Idyllic beaches, breath-taking waterfalls and majestic elephants contrast starkly with Thailand’s bustling cities, the country of contrasts, where gilded temples and Buddhist icons stand alongside huts and skyscrapers. Everywhere you look, there is evidence of a life rich with laughter, sunshine and colour: welcome to Thailand.
For decades, Thailand was the go-to place for intrepid travellers seeking inner peace. However, as the years have progressed and travel has become easier, Thailand has become infinitely more accessible, making it a prime destination for holiday makers seeking the trip of a lifetime. Over 16 million people from across the globe visit Thailand every year, but don’t let that put you off. The beauty of Thailand is that, whether you are on a secluded beach or an overcrowded city, you are able to lose yourself. Feel the stresses and strains of daily life trickle away as you become immersed in the country’s culture, colour and flavours.
Direct flights to Thailand arrive at several international airports, including Suvarnabhumi Airport, Don Mueang International Airport, Chiang Mai International Airport, Phuket International Airport and Hat Yai International Airport.
Thailand enjoys a sub-tropical climate. The weather varies across the country, so when you go to Thailand is dependent on where you are going and what you want to do. In general, Thailand’s dry season is from November to April; June – October see monsoon season. While the wetter months are still hot, torrential downpours can impede your plans, particularly if you are on the west coast of the peninsula, where the monsoon is more extreme. If you want to go to the west cost of Thailand, plan your trip for the winter months, when snorkelling and diving are best. If you are looking for cheap flights to Thailand, plan ahead; flights to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi can be fairly cheap and travel once you are in Thailand is easy, with plenty of planes, trains and busses to get you around. The best bit? You get to spend one night (or more) in Bangkok!
Buddhism is the primary religion of Thailand, and it is not unusual to see Buddhist monks in and around cities and, of course temples. You will never quite get used to seeing a monk at an ATM machine or talking on his mobile phone!Unless you spend your time in Thailand with your eyes closed (which we don’t recommend), it is pretty much impossible to go to Thailand without encountering temples of staggering scale and beauty. The temples offer a dazzling insight into Thailand’s history; most have a story or meaning to them, and many are still active places of worship.
You may be fascinated by temples and want to take in as many as possible – and there are a lot! However, in the heat, traipsing around temples is not everyone’s idea of fun, particularly if you have children in tow. Whether you are a temple enthusiast or a seen-one-seen-them-all kind of person, do a little research to make sure you pick the ones that appeal to you the most. From Bangkok’s What Pho, which houses the world’s largest reclining Buddha, to Wat ThamPhaPlong in Chiang Do, every temple bears its own serenity and beauty as it closely guards whispers and rituals of centuries past. Most temples have stalls selling souvenirs, food and drink within, or near, the grounds, and the bigger ones have toilets. Remember to take a bottle of water and dress respectfully, with knees and shoulders covered.
Many people associate Thailand with its stunning beaches and tropical islands. Your trip to Thailand may be all about the beaches; if this is the case, we recommend you find direct flights to Phuket.From here, you will be perfectly situated to find out just why everyone is talking about Koh Samui and Koh Pangan; discover the near-deserted beaches and clear blue waters of Krabi; or explore the many beautiful beaches of Phuket – from party beaches to family favourites!
It is true that the beaches are simply exquisite, but they form just a small part of Thailand’s allure. Within mainland Thailand, there are some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world, just waiting for you to discover them. Thailand’s largest waterfall is Thi Lo Su, near to the Myanmar border, but in the North, you have a selection of incredible waterfalls including Mae Sa and Mok Fa waterfalls. Erawan falls, to the west of Bangkok are not to be missed – trek through the jungle to see the falls, and swim in crystalline pools: pure bliss.
Whether you are attracted to the pull of the tide or the majesty of waterfalls, you will be spoilt for choice in Thailand, so make sure you leave plenty of space in your itinerary to explore.
Thailand’s cities vary wildly in culture and population. The more tourist-orientated south of Thailand has plenty of cities to choose from, including Phuket on the peninsula and Pattaya on the south coast. However, it is from Bangkok and north that the cities represent true Thai culture.
If you get direct flights to Bangkok, it is a good idea to spend a couple of days exploring and acclimatising. Packed with contrasts and teeming with temples and skyscrapers, Bangkok is an exquisite assault on your senses; there are so many sights, sounds and smells that you will not know where to look next. Bustling markets, ornate temples, busy roads and divine street food combine beautifully, making a trip to Bangkok truly unforgettable. By day, you can take a tour on the river, whizz (or crawl) along the roads via tuk-tuk, and take in a few temples with a bit of shopping en route. By night, you can have a sunset cocktail on one of Bangkok’s many sky bars, or choose from a broad choice of restaurants, from the cheap and cheerful (but delicious) shacks favoured by locals, to more upmarket restaurants; the choice is yours.
If Bangkok is a little too busy for you, Chiang Mai will be a welcome relief from the relentless, yet exhilarating hustle and bustle. Located in the north of Thailand, Chiang Mai is a much more sedate city, packed with ancient culture and, of course, temples. Explore the temples, watch the world go by over a beer and a snack, browse markets and wander through winding streets as you enjoy the slower pace and laid-back vibe of the city.
Whether you visit the city, countryside or islands on your trip to Thailand, one thing is certain: you will be dazzled by the choice and quality of food. In the coastal areas, you will enjoy fresh seafood unlike anything you have ever experienced; noodles, stir-fries, soups, curries and rice that will make your taste buds sing. At virtually every corner, you will encounter food stalls selling delicious bags of soup, tasty kebabs, and fresh coconut. The cuisine varies according to location and availability of food, but the quality is consistently excellent. Spices and coconut feature heavily, but be warned: the Thai people like their food hot! Start “mild” and work your way up to “hot”, if you dare!
If you are planning a trip to South East Asia, don’t be put off by Thailand’s burgeoning tourist trade. Thailand has an area of nearly 200,000 square miles, so if you want to escape the madding crowds, plan your trip wisely and go off the beaten track a little to find the tranquillity that you desire.
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