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About Thailand
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About Thailand
The Kingdom of Thailand draws more visitors than any other country in southeast Asia with its irresistible combination of breathtaking natural beauty, inspiring temples, renowned hospitality, robust cuisine and ruins of fabulous ancient kingdoms.

From the stupa-studded mountains of Mae Hong Son and the verdant limestone islands of the Andaman Sea, to the pulse-pounding dance clubs of Bangkok and the tranquil villages moored along the Mekong River, Thailand offers something for every type of traveller.

Facts for the Traveler

Visas:
Most visitors can stay for 30 days without a visa.

Health risks: malaria (This serious and potentially fatal disease is spread by mosquito bites symptoms range from fever, chills and sweating, headache, diarrhoea and abdominal pains to a vague feeling of ill-health. Seek medical help immediately if malaria is suspected. Without treatment malaria can rapidly become more serious and can be fatal. If medical care is not available, malaria tablets can be used for treatment. If you do contract malaria, be sure to be re-tested once you return home as you can harbour malaria parasites even if you are symptom free.  

Time Zone: GMT/UTC +7

Dialling Code: 66

When to Go


Thailand's monsoons arrive around July and last into November (the 'rainy season') and can be quite uncomfortable to deal with. This is followed by a dry, cool period from November to mid-February, followed by much higher relative temperatures from March to June.

Thailand Attractions

Bangkok
Bangkok is one of the most unique cities in the world. It started as a city of canals and elephant paths and has developed into a mixture of old and new! East and West, peace and chaos, exotic and common, totally mixed in a uniquely Thai fashion. Being in the city for a short period is an insight to the importance of the calm Thai nature. Bangkok is one of the most fascinating cities in Asia. Love it or hate it you just can't miss it. There are many reasons why people come to Bangkok some of those being- Superb hotels and hospitality, Buddhist temples (wats), glittering palaces, floating markets, food, nightlife and shopping.

Grand Palace
The 1.5 square kilometre grounds of the Grand Palace, open to visitors who are dressed properly occupy part of a compound that also includes the royal chapel, the Royal Collection of Weapons, the Coin Pavilion and a small museum. The buildings within this compound are simply magnificent and never fail to impress.

Buddhist Temples
It is extremely difficult to credit any one temple (wat) in Thailand as being the best, however Wat Phra Keow is certainly the most famous as it houses the Emerald Buddha (the most revered and holiest of religious object in Thailand). There are over 400 temples in Bangkok and over 30,000 in Thailand, each one impressive in its own way.

Chao Phraya & Waterways
A trip along the rivers or canals (khlongs) of Thailand will offer a totally different perspective than that of the city. It seems as though the 20th century has somehow forgotten these areas. In Bangkok the waterways are often referred to as "The Venice of the East".

Markets / Shopping
Bangkok is a Mecca for all shopping fans and for many people their main reason for visiting the city. In addition to the many shopping malls Bangkok has great markets such as the notorious Patpong Night Market (which extends itself over half of Silom road also!) and the weekend market at Chatuchak.

Thai Boxing
This is the national sport of Thailand. A visit to a local stadium can be an exciting experience.

Traditional Thai Massage
The ancient art of Thai massage may not be suitable for everyone! It is certainly worth a try during your visit or maybe even learn it yourself at Wat Po which is considered the centre for traditional medicine.

Districts / Places Reached By Road From Bangkok

Kanchanaburi
Is located west of Bangkok and is the home to the famous bridge on the river Kwai.

Damnern Saduak
This may not be a familiar name to most but it is in fact the location for the famous floating market! There are smaller versions of this in and around the Bangkok waterways but they are certainly not as impressive.

Hua Hin & Cha-Am

Hua Hin is a beach resort situated some 3.5 hours southwest from Bangkok by car. It was once a sleepy fishing village with just one upmarket hotel! Although it has grown considerably since those days, it still retains a flavour of the laid back village it once was. Cha-am is a similar resort on the same coastline whose development has been less rapid. It remains a favourite weekend retreat for Bangkok residents, so still holds a real Thai feel, unusually in today's tourist orientated world. The two resorts are some 25 kilometres apart. Movement between the two can be by local bus or hotel taxi.

Petchburi
Petchburi is the principal town in this area of the south. The local school of arts is considered to be one the best and is often used to restore temples. Local sweets are also a delicacy here especially the local custard with deep fried onions!

Khao Wang

Khao Wang is located on the outskirts of Petchburi. This was once one of the palaces of King Mongkut. Built in 1860 for one of the King's favourite pastimes, astronomy.

Sofitel Central Railway Hotel
Offers lingering remnants of the 20's and 30's. It is now quite well restored but still maintains its air of gentility.

Khao Sam Roi Yod National Park
Translated into English this means "300 Peaks range". Once home to highway bandits, it is now occupied by deer, monkeys and numerous species of birds. It was here that King Mongkut predicted a solar eclipse in 1868.

Koh Samui
Koh Samui is the third largest island in the East Coast of Thailand. It is 25 kilometres long, 21kilometres wide and surrounded by approximately 80 smaller islands. Koh Samui or "Samui" as it is known to the locals, is quite uncommercialised compared to other areas of Thailand, retaining many of its traditional ways along with its beautiful and unspoiled beaches. The main town on the island is Nathon, although town is perhaps a little of an exaggerated claim! Most visitors to the island either stay in the Chaweng Beach area, or just outside.

The Big Buddha
The Big Buddha overlooks the three northern beaches and is considered to be the local landmark so much so the nearby beach has been renamed Big Buddha beach!

Beaches & Marine Parks
Koh Samui has some of the best beaches in Thailand even in the more popular areas such as Chaweng.

Angthong Marine Park
Just a short boat ride away you will find yourself amidst the Angthong marine park where the scenery above the sea competes with the dramatic marine life that can be seen when snorkelling.

Neighbouring Islands
Not all of the islands in this archipelago are easily accessible however regular boats can take you the 12KM to Koh Pha Ngan. A highlight of this island is Tong Nai Paan Beach with white sands and turquoise water.

Wat Khunaraam

This is not your usual temple. Encased is glass you will find a mummified monk who meditated his way to the next world in 1973.

Waterfalls
Enjoy a pleasant walk to the Na Muang I & II waterfalls.

Chiang Mai
Thailand's second largest city, Chiang Mai, offers a multitude of contrasts to Bangkok. Set in Northern Thailand, 700KM from the capitol, Chiang Mai is known as the "Rose of the North". The moat and original fortified gates mark the perimeter of the city where numerous temples and distinctive monuments await you. The people of Chiang Mai will charm you with their friendly laid-back character in their small but cosmopolitan capitol. Chiang Mai offers more traditional handicrafts for the shoppers. Look out for hand painted umbrellas, woodcarvings, silverware, pottery and laquerware at bargain prices. Many of these goods are still made using century old methods passed down through the generations.

Chiang Rai & Golden Triangle
Originally made famous for its Opium route your trip to Chiang Rai gives the chance to visit the Golden Triangle, the northern most point in Thailand. It is here that three countries join together (Thailand, Myanmar and Laos). Chiang Rai is just over 180KM northeast of Chiang Mai and lies at the heart of Thailand's Golden Triangle. There are also many hill tribes in this area such as the Yao, Akha & Lahu to name just a few.

Mae Hong Son
This is Thailand's most northwestern province some 300KM from Chiang Mai. Here you will find a mixture of hill tribes such as Karen, Lisu & Lahu. Most famous of all hill tribe people in this area are the long-necked women of the Ka Rieng Koh Yao. Mae Hong Son is also known as the land of the three mists. The scenery is also quite spectacular.

Pattaya
Pattaya is one of Thailand's most famous beach resorts. Situated three hours by car from Bangkok, it boasts easy access to the capital with a great range of nightlife from Thai cultural restaurants to the exotic and atmospheric! There are three main bays within the Pattaya region, the most famous being Pattaya Beach. To the south is Jomtien Beach, somewhat quieter and within easy reach by local transport. On the northern side is Nakula bay, where the old fishing harbour still retains an uncommercialised feel.

Koh Samet
A popular island get away that can be visited by day or you can stay for a while. The attraction here is the simple accommodation and fabulous beaches!

Rayong
A lesser-known beach resort not to far from Pattaya.

Chonburi
The principal town of the region. Well known by the locals is Wat Buddhabat Sam Yot, Buddha's Footprint Mountain of Three Summits. About 7KM out of the city is Ang Sila a once favoured resort of Thai Royalty.

Chantaburi
Located east of Pattaya, famous for gem mining.

Phuket
The resort of Phuket is found off the West Coast of Thailand. Although originally an island, it is now connected to the mainland by the Sarasin bridge. Phuket was original called "Bhuket", a Malay word meaning hill, forming an area of deserted beaches and jungle-covered hills. The advent of tourism started in the early '70s when the opening of the bridge allowed easy access to the island's mountainous terrain. As soon as the roads were laid the pristine beaches were discovered and Phuket soon emerged as one of the most popular Asian travel destinations. There are now a number of resorts on the island, the most popular of these is Patong and it is in this resort where most of the islands restaurants, shopping and nightlife are found. There are few real places of interest on the island. Most visitors come here simply to relax and unwind on the beautiful beaches, which are the islands biggest attraction.

Phi Phi Islands / Krabi
The Phi Phi islands are perhaps the most photographed place in Thailand. The distinctive double crescent beach conjures up images of a lost world. Krabi - Is an up and coming beach resort where relaxation is the key! The beaches here are superb.

Phang Nga
This is a province just to the north of Phuket. It boasts some of the most dramatic scenery in Thailand consisting of sheer limestone cliffs and islands. Perhaps the best-known feature here is the notorious James Bond Island.

Phuket Town
The lifestyle of the south is quite different from places such as Bangkok. Phuket town will offer you an insight into daily life on the island away from the crowded resorts and beaches. Thalang road offers great Sino-Portuguese architecture, well worth a stroll down.
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