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Thailand:  An Introduction

Thailand consists of islands that are lined with palm trees fringing the many beautiful beaches that are found here. The word ‘Thailand’ directly translates to the ‘land of humans’, and it certainly offers extraordinary pleasures to anyone visiting this land of many delights. Aside from the many beautiful beaches, Thailand also offers a culturally rich heritage, hundreds of religious artefacts and temples that date back many centuries, exotic rainforests, ancient villages that almost seem to hide away in different corners of this ancient land, and of course cheap shopping and superb cuisine. Thailand shares its international borders with Myanmar in the west, Cambodia in the east, Malaysia in the south and Laos in the north.

 

The Islands and Beaches of Thailand

 A lot of tourists enjoy visiting Thailand because of its numerous beaches that are found on the islands of the Gulf of Thailand as well as the Andaman Sea, and of course the mainland. Every year, millions of tourists visit these beaches with their crystal clear waters and stunning white sands. The island of Phuket is extremely popular for the numerous beaches found here, including the famous Patong Beach.

Southern Thailand offers the Phi Phi Islands, where ‘The Beach’ was filmed back in 1998. Other islands that visitors will enjoy include Ko Samet nearby Bangkok, Ko Samui, Koh Phangan where the Full Moon Party is held, and Koh Chang near the Cambodian border. Visitors will find that the mainland beaches are much cheaper and easier to reach than the islands. These beaches include Cha Am, Hua Hin and Pattaya.

 

Enjoying the Weather in Thailand 

Thailand enjoys a tropical climate with high humidity and high temperatures throughout the year. It is best to avoid travelling in the interior and in the cities from April to May as temperatures can climb up to 40 degrees C. Slightly cooler months and more bearable travelling will generally be from November through to March, with temperatures ranging from 28 degrees C to 33 degrees C.  

 

What to See and Do

The Khao Yai National Park can be found northeastwards of the capital city of Bangkok. Visitors will enjoy its luxuriant green forests and the wildlife, and they can also rent bikes or take pleasure in guided walks. Cycling tours are also immensely enjoyed in Thailand. Ancient ruins found mostly north of Bangkok are well preserved and include Ayutthaya and Sukhotai. Both of these old capitals of Thailand are UNESCO World Heritage sites. The elephant is Thailand’s national symbol but is unfortunately facing a decline in their natural habitat. Festivals and events include Songkran which is the Thai New Year. It is the biggest celebration of the year that is held in April. Another festival to enjoy is the Loi Kratong or Candles Festival.

 

Lots of Spicy Food and Fruit!

Local food can be quite inexpensive but very spicy! Chilies are added to just about everything excepting noodles. Rice and fresh veggies are usually served with most meals. Bigger cities also offer Western, Vietnamese, Korean, Indian, Japanese and Chinese fare. Visitors will find plenty of inexpensive fruits at the markets such as watermelons, pomelos, pineapples, bananas, mangos and also the Thai Durian fruit. Snacks can be found in the shopping malls, markets and streets.

 

Retail Therapy:  A Shopper’s Paradise!

Bangkok is possibly the best place to shop in Asia with its lively street markets, small shops, department stores and huge, flashy shopping malls. Superb night markets can be found at both Chiang Mai as well as at Bangkok. Visitors will be spoilt for choice with a selection of Thai cottons and silks, leather goods, gold and silver, semi-precious and precious stones, pearls, pottery, bronze ware, wood and bamboo artefacts, pewter ware, masks, dolls and painted umbrellas. Tailor-made clothing can be stitched up in a couple of days and is of a very high standard.

 

Accommodations for Every Price Range

Visitors will be able to find accommodation for any price range in Thailand. Accommodations include anything from exclusive resorts, to straw and bamboo huts near remote beaches, to the popular backpacker type accommodation. Visitors will still find good, inexpensive accommodations close to the city centre, close to a beach or even on the beach. They will certainly find that Thailand will offer them one of the best travel experiences that they are ever likely to enjoy.

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