'The land of smiles' as Thailand is affectionately known, is quickly becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and with good reason. Thailand is one of the hubs of Southeast Asia, both for business and leisure, making for a bustling, multi cultural, and ethnically very diverse country.
From beaches to dramatic mountains, from holy temples to sweaty nightclubs, Thailand has an amazingly diverse offering of attractions for travellers. Get your passport ready, organise travel insurance for Thailand, and see for yourself why Thailand is so popular.
Travel Highlights of Thailand:
Bangkok is the nation's capital and the hub where everyone arrives. Many people immediately choose to head on to their destinations, but Bangkok itself actually has a lot to offer, if you know where to look. Khao San Road in the Old City is perhaps Thailand's most famous road, with cocktail bars, backpackers, clubs, and markets everywhere. It’s a wonderful place to head to meet fellow travellers and share stories from the road, but isn’t terribly representative of the city.
|The temples along Bangkok's rivers are absolutely spectacular and a great way of seeing them is by heading down to the harbor and jumping on to a water taxi. They stop at various locations and the end point is usually the Grand Palace and Wat Prakeaw, but you can jump off pretty much wherever you want.|
The Grand Palace is probably Bangkok's most famous tourist monument, and is well worth visiting. Be aware that there are quite a few scam artists around who will try to tell you the Palace is closed and that he will take you to some place better - it usually isn’t, you just happen to be at the wrong gate! The Palace is impressive to say the least, and the world famous Emerald Buddha oozes spirituality.
The red light district in Bangkok is home to many good street food vendors during the day, and turns into a really interesting place to explore in the evenings. Particularly famous is a road known as Soi Cowboy, where you will find an interesting mix of expats, Japanese and Western tourists and obviously many girls and many bars. However, it all feels very relaxed and if you’re just out for a drink and a spell of people watching, no one will bother you.
|When it comes to leaving Bangkok, you have a tough decision to make: head north to Chiang Mai and its spectacular hills and treks, or head south toward Phuket and the islands? Chiang Mai is the northern province of Thailand, bordering on Myanmar and Laos and it is here that you will find the famous ruins of Sukhotahi, Thailand's first capital.|
Otherwise, this area is known for some spectacular trekking routes, as well as the possibility to meet the quickly disappearing hill tribes of the area. The Golden Triangle, where Laos, Myanmar and Thailand meet is also there, but really not worth the trip. As always for any overseas trip, organise travel insurance for Thailand before you set off.
|The south of Thailand offers a very different experience from the north. As you head to the beaches and island resorts, you’ll see more and more backpackers and beach resorts, and the parties tend to become more raucous the further south you go. Phuket is the original Thai paradise island and a great place to spend a few days, or perhaps more.|
Ko Pha Ngan hosts the famous full moon parties, which are well worth attending if you happen to be in the area. Diving is offered here too and there are some very nice sites, just make sure you go at the right time of year to have the best visibility and that you have travel insurance for Thailand.
The south is also where you will find what is considered to be one of the most beautiful jungle reserves in Thailand: Khao Sok National Park. This jungle park is also home to many endangered species, most famously Tigers! There are nine trails that go through the reserve, the shortest being 2.8 kms and the longest 7 kms. If you do decide to walk any of them, make sure you have closed shoes and watch out for leeches – they’re almost everywhere and will be very interested in you! But in case you don’t feel like walking, you can go zip lining over the forest canopy, cave, kayak, or go tubing down the river.
|Thailand is generally very safe for travellers. Watch out for small-scale scammers and annoyances around the bigger cities, otherwise there is little to worry about. Just arrange travel insurance for Thailand before starting your trip though.|
For more information on Thailand, visit the Thailand Tourism Website.