Often referred to as the “Land of Smiles”, Thailand is a country that appeals to both backpackers on a budget and travellers with luxurious taste. Explore this Southeast Asian gem and visit some of the most majestic temples in the world, try some of its mouthwatering cuisine, experience its breathtaking scenery and swim in its pristine, turquoise blue waters. Carry on reading to find out more about some of Thailand’s highlights!
First off, let’s head to the bustling, chaotic city of Bangkok. The capital of Thailand is a fascinating place to visit with an incredibly vibrant culture and some of the country’s best historical sites. The first place to go is the Grand Palace. The Grand Palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam (and later Thailand) since 1782. The King, his court and his royal government were based on the grounds of the palace until 1925. This ornate palace complex features several beautifully decorated holy buildings and temples including the temple, Wat Phra Kaew. Wat Phra Kaew is regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand and houses the 15th century Emerald Buddha.
From there, go to Wat Pho. Wat Pho is best known for its famous Reclining Buddha which measures 150 foot long (43 metres) and is housed in its own pavilion building on the western edge of the temple complex.
One of the best things about Bangkok is taking the riverboat to get around. There is no better way to get a full tour of the neighbourhoods than by cruising along the Chao Phraya River on one of the various sightseeing riverboat excursions. Not only do Thai people use the river for transport but they also use canals for floating markets. Go to Khlong Lat Mayom to experience an authentic floating market and have fun buying fruits and other snacks from people on boats along the canals.
Our next stop is Ang Thong National Park in Koh Samui. Ang Thong National Marine Park is an archipelago of 42 islands that feature Thailand’s iconic limestone mountains and its exotic and endangered wildlife. It’s also home to a lush forest full of hidden waterfalls, beautiful white-sand beaches and tons of adventurous activities.
From here, go island hopping around the Phi Phi Islands off Krabi and take your snorkel to see Thailand’s amazing underwater world. You may even be able to visit Maya Beach which was the location of the famous movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, The Beach.
Now it’s time to head north and go to Chiang Mai. Thai cuisine is often hailed as one of the best in the world. Learn how to make your favourite Thai dishes in a hands-on cooking class. You can easily find cooking classes all around the country but Chiang Mai is home to the most (and best) cooking schools in all of Thailand.
Chiang Mai is also home to the Elephant Nature Park. This reputable elephant sanctuary does not allow riding on the back of these wonderful animals but you can still have a memorable elephant encounter by spending time watching these gentle creatures get on with their day!
Finally we go to Chiang Rai and visit one of Thailand’s most prominent contemporary works of art, Wat Rong Khun. Wat Rong Khun, also known as The White Temple, is an ongoing masterpiece – the main temple, bridge and other areas of the temple complex are done but the entire vision won’t be completed until as late as 2070.