Few travelers will disagree with the notion that Thailand has it all as far as tourist destinations go. With its fascinating beaches, historic landmarks, opportunities for adventure travel, superb climate and the legendary, warm Thai hospitality, Thailand is perfection personified.
Located in Southeast Asia, Bangkok is Thailand’s capital city and the first port of call for the vast majority of visitors. A true urban jungle in every respect, Bangkok showcases perhaps one of the most colorful fusions of tradition and modernity. Monks dressed in saffron robes walk amongst young professionals holding cell phones, sipping a cup of Starbucks coffee. The city is adorned by an assortment of tall skyscrapers and condo buildings side-by-side with historic ancient temples and even the occasional slum. All of this combines to create a fascinating blend of the old and new.
The city itself has a wealth of offerings for tourists. From its fascinating museums and temples that showcase the colorful cultural history of Thailand, to its glitzy shopping malls and sprawling markets, tourists can easily waste a week or two of their time in Bangkok alone. And then of course, there’s Bangkok’s famously ‘edgy’ nightlife, and all of the pubs, clubs, discos and girly bars you’ll ever need.
After spending a few days exploring the capital, most travelers head south to have some fun under the sun at one of Thailand’s famous islands. Thailand is renowned throughout the world for its pristine beaches, world-class dive spots, and the best luxury hotels, and these can be found in plentiful supply at the likes of Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan and various other islands
The island of Phuket, which was struck by a devastating tsunami in 2006, is home to the one of the world’s best white sand beaches. Patong Beach in Phuket is a favorite tourist destination for its high-class hotels, great dining spots, and partying nightlife. But for those looking for a more quiet place, they would better opt for Railey Beach in nearby Krabi.
Railey Beach gives that desert island feel to tourists and nomads, with a great view of majestic cliffs that surround the clear blue waters. Soul-searchers may enjoy rock climbing, snorkeling, and other water sports. But with a book in hand, travelers may choose to just relax and enjoy the scenery.
Of course, the beaches only hold so much appeal, and eventually the time comes to move on. A short, one and a half hour flight north or an overnight bus trip brings us to Chiang Mai, the major city in northern Thailand and a huge tourist attraction in its own right. Home to a staggering amount of temples (even more than Bangkok!), Chiang Mai is a pleasant town in which to explore, but the real appeal lies in its surroundings.
Lush green forests stretch across a mountainous landscape, making the region an ideal place for activities such as trekking, elephant riding, mountain biking and white water rafting. Looming above Chiang Mai itself, the majestic temple of Doi Suthep offers one of the most stunning panoramic views in Asia, while the nearby temple at Doi Inthanon, the highest point in Thailand, ushers in an experience that most travelers will have forgotten – the cold!
Truly, Thailand is an awesome destination.
Main attractions: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan, Koh Phi Phi, Kanchanaburi, Chiang Rai, Pattaya
Budget for one week: €800
Currency: Thai Baht
Taxes and gratuity: Tipping is recommended
Official language: Thai
Area: 198,115 sq mi
- Voltage: 220-240 Volts (U.S./Canada are 110-120 Volts)
- Primary Socket Types: Chinese Grounded, Chinese Non-Grounded
- Others sometimes found: British BS-1363
- Multi-voltage appliances (laptops, etc.): Plug adapter
- 110-120V electronics: Plug adapter + step-down transformer
- Hair dryers, curling irons, etc.: Plug adapter + voltage converter