Thailand is varied and striking, with everything from ancient ruins and busy cities to sandy coastlines and dense forests. Get to know the traditions and cultures of this interesting country and its people, from the hill tribes of the north to the Monks gathering at the Buddhist temples around the country. There truly is something for everyone on a tour of Thailand. Here are just some highlights to look out for.
The bustling city of Bangkok is a medley of markets, temples and tuk tuks. Full of energy and stunning monuments, you can visit the Golden Buddha, check out Wat Pho and admire the golden spires of the Grand Palace, just to name a few. You can also indulge in a traditional Thai massage, devour incredible cuisine, and glide down Bangkok’s canals taking in the city from a new perspective.
Surrounded by the lush jungle of northern Thailand, things slow down a little in Chiang Mai. It has all the offerings of a big city but retains a more laid back feel and boasts ornate temples like Wat Phra Singh and Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. It is the perfect base from which to visit the hilltribe villages of the region, or perhaps get to know the gentle giants that call the nearby Elephant Nature park home.
Chiang Rai is the northernmost city in Thailand and the perfect gateway to the diverse attractions that surround it. From here you can pay a visit to the Golden Triangle, where the borders of Northern Thailand, Laos and Burma intersect, and check out Wat Rong Khun, also known as the White Temple. As the sun sets on a day of sightseeing, the city streets come alive with street stalls and restaurants to satisfy your palate.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Sukhothai Historic Park contains the ruins of 21 historic sites set amidst serene lakes and lush gardens. You can explore to your heart's content by bicycle or wander through the ruins that denote the Golden Age of Thai civilisation with a local guide. You’ll be blown away by the scenery and the intriguing architecture that left a lasting mark on Thailand.
The former capital of Siam is now a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site rich with ruins and stories of a time gone by. There are palaces, temples and rows of headless Buddhas sacked by the Burmese in the 18th century, all a crumbling illustration of former grandeur. One of the most photographed sites at Ayutthaya is a Buddha head entangled in Banyan tree roots – keep your camera ready for Ayutthaya!
A scenic part of Thailand with a dark history, Kanchanaburi is best known for the Bridge over the River Kwai. The bridge is linked to the ‘Death Railway’ which saw Asian labourers and Prisoners of War die during its construction. There are museums and war cemeteries dedicated to their memory which you can visit during your stay in Kanchanaburi, or for a change of pace you can head out to explore the nearby national parks.
Covered by the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world, Khao Sok National Park is an incredible ecosystem worth exploring during your time in Thailand. Limestone rock formations tower over lush valleys, where abundant wildlife flits between the trees. Keep your eye peeled for Langur Monkeys, elephants, and even an elusive tiger.
When it comes to islands, Thailand definitely has some bragging rights. From the busy tourist havens of Phuket and Koh Samui, to the quiet little island of Koh Pitak, there are white sands and crystal waters aplenty to dip your toes in. You can snorkel, dive and kayak your way around the islands and beaches of the East or West Coasts, with every hammock hanging and coconut drinking dream fulfilled.