Thailand is nestled between the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, bordering Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. It is exotic yet accessible, with something for every visitor. Relax on white sand beaches, hike through vast areas of tropical forest, or live it up in the humming capital of Bangkok.
There is much for you to discover in Thailand. The country offers a huge range of new experiences in sights, sounds, tastes, and outlook. But different as it may be from your home, Thailand is probably the easiest exotic country for visitors. The people are friendly, leisure activities are well organized, the food is great and you receive excellent value for money.
Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)
Newcomers to Thailand sometimes overlook the kingdom’s rich geographical and cultural diversity. After all, one week in a five-star hotel in Bangkok or Phuket is unlikely to give a proper insight to a realm with so much to experience. But compared to the subtle variations found in many western countries, the people, culture and food of Thailand’s regions are strikingly different.
North of Thailand
In the north, with its exquisite temples and handicrafts, the rugged, forested mountains contrast with the fertile central plains, where rice is grown in paddies that stretch to the horizon. The northeast, known locally as Isan and punished by alternate drought and flooding, has some of the finest Khmer ruins beyond Cambodia’s Angkor Wat. Though less developed than Thailand’s other regions, Isan offers a lot. Its food, dialect and music are easily discernible, and northeasterners possess a character all of their own. To the south are what sun seekers consider Thailand’s glory: stunning beaches, lush green islands and azure seas.
Visitors’ reactions to Bangkok, Thailand’s bustling capital city, vary as much as everything it has to offer; some say you either love it or you hate it. Traffic, pollution, heat and noise are compensated by countless restaurants, historical and cultural treasures and exotic curiosities. Shopping facilities rival those of neighboring countries, and bargain hunting is the sole purpose of many trips to Thailand. Glitzy malls or crowded markets, the choice is yours.
Getting around the city is easy. Metered taxis are everywhere, as are tuk-tuks; three-wheeled buggies that constitute the city’s unique novelty ride. Local buses offer an interesting experience, and adventurers can take motorcycle taxis. The sky train offers a limited but scenic alternative.
Snorkeling in Thailand
Lasting impressions of any trip depend largely upon a person’s experience with the local people. Bangkok folk deal admirably with hectic city life, but it is in the provinces that real Thai warmth, charm and personality are found. The Thais possess an innate friendliness and are hospitable to all who pass through. To take it all in, a trip upcountry is a must for anyone wishing to see for themselves the true face of Thailand and all its treasures.