This country has it all – sensational cities, idyllic beaches, remote rainforests, excellent cuisine and inspiring temples. Let’s look at four of its finest spots.
Up in the north, this city is filled with over 100 Buddhist temples and stupas, the most important in the region being Wat Phra Thad Doi Suthep, which houses a relic of Buddha and is thus a major pilgrimage site. It’s stunning golden temple mount, statues of Buddha, sacred stupa, nagas or dragon carvings, inherent serenity and location at over 1,000 metres high, make it a uniquely glorious site with views over Chaing Mai. Saffron robed monks wander through the shrines amongst the visitors.
In total contrast, the city’s night market, not to be missed, is bustling and loud, with stalls selling everything from jewellery to street food, a bowl of khao soi, curried noodles, is highly recommended.
Khao Sok National Park
This southern region became a National Park in 1980 and consists of dense native rainforest, waterfalls, majestic limestone cliffs or karsts and Cheow Larn Lake, dotted with islands. The park is said to be the oldest rainforest on earth, never having experienced climate extremes that other such rainforests have. As a result, it is home to a hugely diverse range of flora and fauna, including tigers, endangered Asian elephants, lesser mouse deer and gibbons, plus over 300 species of birds and around 1,000 types of orchids. Conservation is a top priority here so trekking, visiting elephants and activities on the lake are carefully monitored. An overnight or two in the jungle is highly recommended.
An island paradise with beaches that draw in visitors from around the worldwide, although astonishingly, only 50 years ago it was totally undiscovered. The interior is mostly tropical jungle, including its highest, Khao Pom, which rises to 635 metres. It’s the perfect place to spend a few laid- back days after exploring Thailand.
Located on the Chao Phraya river, this is a fast and colourful city, known as the Venice of the East due to the Klongs, canals, where weekend boat markets draw locals and tourists alike. Bangkok has many other exciting districts – Chinatown for restaurants, bars and gold shops; the Chatuchak Weekend Market and the famous Khao San Road for clubs and cabarets.
Be sure to visit the vast Grand Palace, formerly lived in by the royal family until the revolution of 1932. Within the complex, Wat Phra Kaew has housed the much-revered Emerald Buddha statue since 1784.
Indus Experiences offer a 16-day tour of Memories of Thailand tour taking in all these sights and more. Call 0800 412 5678 to find out more and book.