Top Destinations in Thailand
The recent strength of the US Dollar has only increased the affordability of a trip to Thailand. We have outlined our three favorite locations in this wonderful country and could not imagine a better place to spend a vacation.
Just as Thailand’s cuisine is famous for the integration of spicy, sweet, salty, and sour, the city of Bangkok is a fusion of tradition and culture with modern luxuries interspersed with historical treasures. Situated along the Chao Phraya River, this now sprawling city has been the capital of Thailand since the fall of Ayutthaya to the Burmese in 1767. While tourist attractions abound, no trip to Bangkok would be complete without spending a day exploring the sites along the Chao Phraya. By hired long boat or water taxi, visit the Grand Palace, the onetime official residence of the king of Thailand, and Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn. Venture farther upriver through the klongs that snake through small villages and nearby orchid farms. While the hustle and bustle of the river is mesmerizing, land-bound trips will not disappoint. Pay a visit to Wat Pho, home to the Reclining Buddha who is 46-metres in length and stands 15-meters high. While many hotel lobbies include satellite Jim Thompson stores featuring his fashionable silks, it is only by touring his home that you can truly appreciate his contagious passion for Thailand and enjoy his collection of Thai, Chinese, and Burmese artifacts including pottery, paintings, furniture, and buddhas. Bangkok’s expansive open-air markets are also an experience unto themselves. Whether wandering through the stalls of the Chattachuk Market by day or Pat Pong at night, commercialism flourishes and prices are always negotiable. While the sites of Bangkok are enough to excite and entertain any tourist, it is the graciousness and welcoming spirit of the Thai people that will have travelers scheduling a return trip to this captivating and seductive city.
Just an hour’s flight north of Bangkok, Chiang Mai is becoming an increasingly popular tourist attraction in Thailand. The city is situated on the Ping River and historically served as a center of trade for handcrafts, jewelry, and woodcarvings. In accordance with rising demand for luxurious lodgings, the Four Seasons and the Mandarin Oriental have both opened stunning resorts set in the heart of Thailand’s lush mountains just outside of the heart of Chiang Mai. While easy to settle in to the serenity of these sanctuaries and indulge in spa packages, Thai cuisine, and sunbathing, the city itself has much to offer. By car, wind your way up the mountain of Doi Suthep to visit the sacred Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep and enjoy impressive views of the city below. Back downtown, find Wat Chedi Luang, rebuilt after a 1545 earthquake, and Wat Phra Singh on the grounds of which stands a stunning teak temple with gold plating. For traveling foodies, single day cooking classes are a fascinating and tasty way to learn about the ingredients and dishes native to Northern Thailand. No matter how the day is spent, tourists will want to try their hand at haggling with the various vendors in the stalls of the night market. Given the intermingling of city-life, cultural sites, and stunning natural beauty, it is no wonder more and more travel itineraries include Chiang Mai.
Koh Samui is the ideal destination for travelers in need of a break from the frenzied streets of most Asian cities. Prior to the 1900s, Samui functioned as its own community with little association with mainland Thailand. Now, equipped with its own international airport, Samui is an easily accessible escape from Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia. Whether in search of lavish pampering or a new adventure, Samui is rich in opportunities to indulge one’s pleasures. Luxury resorts, such as the Four Seasons and Tongsai Bay, dot the islands’ shores offering travelers the chance to treat themselves to a traditional Thai massage or to experience authentic Thai cuisine featuring fresh seafood from the surrounding waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Guests may spend their days lazing about on the sandy beaches, cooling off with a dip in the salty ocean or with a frosty Singha beer. More active travelers can arrange for snorkeling or scuba-diving excursions or may set out on day trips to explore the waterfalls at Na Muang or the gardens of the mountain jungle located in the interior of the island. While Samui is only one of the 42 islands that comprise Thailand’s Angthong National Marine Park, it should be number one on any traveler’s list of must-see tropical hot spots.