Thailand, often referred to as "The Land of Smiles," is renowned for its warm and welcoming hospitality, making it a beloved destination for travelers. With its diverse landscapes and a robust tourism infrastructure, visitors are drawn to Thailand time and again, whether to discover ancient ruins, embark on treks through remote villages, or indulge in snorkeling adventures in crystal-clear waters. Thailand offers a wide range of experiences for every type of traveler.
Bangkok, a city of stark contrasts, blends towering skyscrapers with Chinese shop-houses and buzzing markets. Culture enthusiasts can explore the dazzling Royal Palace and numerous pagodas, while shoppers can navigate malls and open-air markets. The entertainment scene ranges from classical Thai music concerts to vibrant go-go bars. Dining options vary from plush hotel restaurants serving French cuisine to roadside stalls offering fried crickets, engaging all senses in a diverse culinary experience.
Ayutthaya, once the capital of Siam, showcased grandeur with a 12-kilometer wall, 99 gates, and a bustling trade scene with visitors from Europe. Today, its historical ruins, including Wat Chaiwattanaram, Wat Na Phra Meru, and Wat Yai, offer glimpses of its glorious past, despite destruction by the Burmese in 1767.
Sukhothai, the "dawn of happiness," was Thailand's first capital in the 13th century. Its 45-square kilometer historical park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, features unique Buddhist art. Visitors can explore the ruins, including Wat Mahathat and Sra Si Wat, by bicycle, immersing themselves in the city's golden age.
Chiang Mai, surrounded by mountains, seamlessly blends history with modernity. With over 300 temples, it's a hub for meditation retreats and cultural exploration. Adventurous travelers can trek through lush countryside, raft down jungle rivers, and visit hilltribe villages. The Night Bazaar offers a vibrant atmosphere and handcrafted products.
Chiang Rai, a quieter version of Chiang Mai, serves as a base for exploring hilltribe villages near the Golden Triangle. Ethnic villages like Karen, Akha, and Yao showcase handmade products, sustaining themselves through tourism.
Koh Samui, in the Gulf of Thailand, provides a perfect beach retreat with white sand beaches, coconut palms, and clear waters. It's the largest island in an archipelago of around 80 islands, attracting visitors seeking both relaxation and adventure.
Phuket, Thailand's largest island in the Andaman Sea, boasts magnificent coastal scenery, tropical rainforests, and stunning beaches. Clear waters and vibrant coral reefs make it a popular diving destination.
Krabi province, known for its 130 islands, is a resort hotspot with white-sand beaches and limestone karsts. Popular destinations include Phi Phi, famous for "The Beach" movie, and Railay Beach, known for rock climbing. The Than Bokkharani National Park, 30 minutes north of Krabi town, features a primary rainforest.
When to go / useful information
When to go
Thailand is renowned for its hot and sunny weather, but it's important to note that the climate varies throughout the year and across different regions. To make the most of your visit, it's crucial to plan accordingly and avoid arriving during the rainy season.
Traditionally, the best time to visit Thailand is from November to February. This period is known as the cool season, characterized by minimal rainfall and lower humidity levels. It's an excellent time for enjoying the beaches and outdoor activities, although daytime temperatures often exceed 30 degrees Celsius. Keep in mind that this is also the peak tourist season in Thailand, so popular destinations can get crowded.
Currency Thai Baht
Language The official language is Thai, but staff at most resorts and hotels speak English.
What makes it special: Thailand is beloved for its relaxed way of life, exquisite cuisine, stunning beaches, and accessibility.
Weather: The best time to visit Thailand is typically from November to February during the cool season. This period offers minimal rainfall and lower humidity, making it perfect for beach relaxation and outdoor activities. However, do expect temperatures to regularly exceed 30 degrees Celsius. It's worth noting that this is also the peak tourist season in Thailand.
Social customs: Buddhism is prevalent throughout the country, except for the predominantly Muslim-influenced southern regions. It is crucial to show respect for the monarchy, and any negative talk about the King or the royal family is strictly forbidden. Thais also consider it impolite to touch another person's head or point their feet at someone. Fair skin is a symbol of wealth, leading to the popularity of whitening salons and creams. Belief in spirits is widespread, with spirit houses commonly found outside residences and office buildings. When shopping at markets, bargaining with vendors is customary, so be prepared to negotiate while maintaining a friendly attitude.