Thailand is known as the land of a thousand smiles but also for palm-fringed beaches with the purest white sand, towering golden buddhas, sacred temples and palaces, lush rainforest, a vibrant cultural calendar, world-renowned food and tropical island escapes – it’s easy to see why Thailand is one of the most visited countries in the world.
From its northern hill tribes and dense jungle to the perfect beaches down south and the buzz of Bangkok, there’s no place quite like Thailand.
- Thailand is home to the world’s ninth tallest statue, The Great Buddha of Thailand, proudly watching over the Wat Muang Monastery in Ang Thong province.
- Head to Chang Mai to escape the heat and the crowds as you trek through ancient rainforests.
- No trip to Thailand would be complete without sampling the world-class food. Hot, spicy, fresh and delicious, you’ll find hawkers selling it on every street corner.
- Not quite in their original spirit and somewhat over-run with tourists, there’s still no denying that the Full Moon parties on Ko Phangan are a sight to behold.
When to visit
You can visit Thailand all year round, but the best time to travel is during the cooler, dry season – between November and early April. Essentially, there are three main seasons: rainy (May–October), cool (November–February) and hot (March–May). The climate can vary in different parts of the country however, with the north much cooler, especially in the jungle regions, while the western and southern isles get much hotter.
Attractions of Thailand
Khao Sok National Park
Whether you want to trek through lust rainforest – said to be the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world – go deep underground on a pitch-black cave tour, trail limestone mountains or stay on the beautiful Cheow Larn Lake in the heart of the park with its floating houses, this area has huge appeal. Located in Surat Thani in the south, it’s the place to head for a real jungle adventure.
The Great Buddha of Thailand
Thailand is home to the world’s ninth tallest statue – The Great Buddha of Thailand, also known as The Big Buddha – proudly guarding over the Wat Muang Monastery in Ang Thong province. The statue is 92m high and 63m wide and is painted gleaming gold, a true sight to behold.
Bangkok’s Grand Palace
A complex of beautifully ornate buildings in the heart of Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, the Palace was once home of the King and his court and the entire administrative seat of government for around 150 years. Spanning an area of 218,400 sq. metres, you will find gilded chapels, inner, outer and middle courtyards, a throne hall and perfectly manicured gardens.
A trip to the ancient Thai capital of Ayutthaya – founded in 1350 and the second capital of the Siamese Kingdom – is a must-see if you’re interested in discovering Thailand’s real history and heritage. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can explore the ancient ruins and visit gilded temples and palaces that hint at Thailand’s fascinating past.
Mae Hong Son Loop
This desirable 600km roadtrip through Mae Hong Son Province lures travellers in search of authentic, sleepy Thailand. This is the most mountainous province in Thailand and receives few visitors due to its remote location and time needed to reach it – most people allow four days to complete the trip, which includes the highest mountain in Thailand, Doi Inthanon.
A two-hour drive from Bangkok, this town is an adventure hub and also the ideal base to explore the notorious Bridge Over The River Kwai and Death Railway, constructed in World War II when Japanese forces used allied Prisoners of War and Asian armed forces to build a rail route to Myanmar. It is estimated that around 90,000 people died during its construction. Further north from here is the Khao Laem Reservoir with several sunken temples that can be discovered by boat or kayak.
The Khmers of neighbouring Cambodia left a chain of incredible ruins across the northeast, such as those seen in this unassuming little town. On a par with Angkor, the Phimai historical park protects one of the most important Khmer temples of Thailand, Prasat Phimai, which once stood on the Ancient Khmer ‘highway’ linking Angkor with the northern reaches of its realm.