If your still planning a summer getaway, Thailand could be the easiest way out. A calender brimming with festive cheer and all-year long beach availability should be enough to get your bags packed. But we’ll give you more:
Family, shopping, adventure, food or Honeymoon – Thailand’s got a memorable trip planned for all.
- Gorgeous Beaches
With countless little islands in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, this is a beach paradise! The perfect beach weather keeps Thailand a popular party destination all year long. Patong Beach, Phuket is the largest and the most popular with white sands, warm waters, scores of restaurants, and happening night-life. Haad Rin Beach hosts the “Full Moon Party” once every month. Be sure to attend this all night party if you’re here on the right day. For a quiet time, Koh Mun Nork is the place to be. This desert island has just one resort and is a 45 minute ferry ride away from the mainland.
With swanky malls to lively night markets, the best place to shop in Thailand is in its capital city. While the Siam Square is home to some of the biggest malls and chic boutiques, the Chatuchak weekend market houses over 15000 retailers selling everything from latest fashion in clothing to vintage home décor items, books and Thai handicrafts. For some bulk shopping visit Pratunam for a variety of apparels at wholesale rates.
Jet skiing in Pattaya, Wind surfing in Koh Samui, Kitesurfing and wakeboarding in Jomtien. Go deep sea diving and snorkeling on the shores of Koh Larn. Apart from the colourful corals, be on the lookout for sharks as well. Don’t be surprised if you come across a shipwreck or two! At Railey Beach the main attraction is rock climbing on the limestone karsts.
- Buddhist Temples
There are a number of Temples in Thailand and each one as beautiful as the other. These temples make for some very serene and spiritual locations as well as architectural gems! The most sacred temple of Thailand is located in the Grand Palace which houses the Emerald Buddha. Some of the other popular ones are the temple of the Reclining Buddha, Temple of Dawn, Temple of the Buddha’s Footprint, and Wat Mahathat.
From the fine dining restaurants in Bangkok to local produce in the remote villages and sea food of the coastal regions, prepare to be amazed by Thai flavours. Dine at the award winning Baan Khanitha & Gallery in Bangkok for a memorable experience and authentic cuisine. In Chiang Mai, Ban Rim Num is a restaurant with a view! Enjoy the view of the scenery as you enjoy your meal. Some of the signature dishes of Thai cuisine are Phat Thai (Thai style fried noodles) and Tom Yam Kung (Spicy shrimp soup). The street food in the busy market streets of Bangkok is as yummy as it is visually appealing. Ratchawat Market, Sriyan Market and Chinatown serve some of the best street food too. Be sure to try out Catfish Salad and Shrimp tom yum noodles at these joints.
- Vibrant Culture
Thailand is a colourful country and the rich culture is reflected in their art forms and festivals. One of the most famous indigenous sports is the brutal Thai boxing called “Muay Thai” and watching at least one fight is a must on the “to-do in Thailand” list. The traditional Thai dance and music performances can be enjoyed while strolling through the walking street market in Chiang Mai. The Thai New Year starts on 13th of April. It is called “Songkran” and celebrated with a water fight as a mark of cleansing, similar to the Indian festival Holi.
The kingdom of Thailand has a rich history of different rulers who have left behind some exquisite heritage sites. The Grand Palace and the ancient temples of Buddha are only a few among them. Ayutthaya used to be the capital city of ancient Thailand and is a favourite among History buffs and art lovers. Some other historical sites like the Khmer temples and ruins of other ancient cities give interesting insights into Thailand’s past and the cultural impact on its people.
- Dense forests
With a large part of Thailand covered in lush green rainforests, how can we not think of Trekking? Places like Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai offer a lot of options for jungle treks — be it a day trip or a multi-day trek. Excursions to Khao Yai National Park and Khao Sok National Park will help you spot wild elephants and explore limestone karsts, caves, rivers and jungles and make for a great overnight camping site. Needless to say, the jungles house a variety of wild flowers as well. Get that camera ready!
- The Friendly Elephants
Thailand is home to a large number of elephants. Spot these friendly animals in the jungles or go elephant back riding through wooded areas, crossing rivers, past rice paddies and pineapple plantations to get a glimpse of rural life. The elephant Conservation Centre near Chiang Mai invites volunteers to help these magnificent animals against abuse. Do more than just being a tourist and volunteer at this centre .
- The Road less travelled
Looking for some off-beat options? Head straight to North-Eastern Thailand – Isaan! The least frequented region hardly ever sees any tourists but will give you a perfect insight into the life of rural Thailand. With a lot of festivals taking place here and the ancient Khmer ruins and temples, travelling all the way to Isaan is totally worth it! Isolated from the tourist traffic, life in Isaan has barely changed and is very different from that in cities. It is a beautiful place to lose yourself in natural beauty!
Inputs from TS intern Shruti Mahajan