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Thailand

Whether it's the captivating and vibrant metropolis of Bangkok, lush rainforests, the mountainous Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai provinces or the idyllic coastline and beaches such as Koh Samui, inspiring temples, genuinely charming people or the ruins of fabulous ancient kingdoms, Thailand has something for everyone.

The urban delights of Bangkok can initially alarm with chaos and scale, but put aside preconceptions of Asia's most exciting city and you will be charmed by its energy and cultural treasures. Old Bangkok is a must visit location with ancient temples and original palaces such as the Grand Palace with its glittering golden rooftops and featuring the famous Reclining Buddha statue and a beautifully designed garden complete, which dramatically contrasts with the more modern tourist district. Shop till you drop at the Siam Discovery Centre and Emporium; the Chatuchak Market, one of the largest in the world and the Damnoen Saduak – as featured in the Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies” a chaotic collection of longtail boats jostling for position.

Chiang Mai, Thailand's second largest city is located in the north of the country towards the border with Myanmar. It retains its peaceful, friendly 'village community' atmosphere and offers a variety of attractions.

Visit the ancient Doi Suthep temple which boasts breathtaking views over the area or head to the 'Old Quarter' containing traditional wooden houses and surrounded by a moat to take in the sights. Shopping in Chiang Mai ranges from small family-run shops to world-class luxury outlets and shopping malls; hone your bartering skills at the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar or Walking Street on a Sunday evening; purchase hand-woven fabrics, ceramics, gems, lacquer-ware and silverware for great souvenirs. Attractions in this historical city include three-hundred beautiful gilded temples including Wat Phra That Doi Suthep the most historically and spiritually significant place in Thailand; museums, gardens, a zoo and an aquarium. In addition it boasts plenty of trendy bars and restaurants, and a lively nightlife. Highlights of any trip to Chiang Mai are the jungle treks up to the Hill tribe villages, elephant rides, bamboo rafting trips and visitors should also try their hand at one of the many classes on offer including Thai cookery, massage, meditation and Thai boxing. Hua Hin is a relaxing and friendly beach resort close to Bangkok which makes it the perfect place to escape the heat of the city. Boasting miles of un-spoilt beaches it is a beautiful destination. It has become a cosmopolitan area, with a shopping complex, 18 hole golf course, music theatre along with a variety of restaurants and being close to the capital, Hua Hin is becoming an increasingly popular destination with travellers. In particular it appeals to families and older travellers, as it still beholds Thailand’s radiant beauty, yet doesn’t host Bangkok’s crazy nightlife. Instead travellers can enjoy drinking cocktails and sampling international cuisine, fresh seafood or even trying typical Thai food from their nightly markets at a much more relaxed pace.

For those who like to seek out the road less travelled you can still find quiet, unspoilt beaches in Koh Kood. The Island is known for its spectacular tropical landscapes, crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches. This location is one of the most pristine and untouched islands of Thailand. The oldest community on the island is Klong Mad Village where you'll discover its' residents still making a living from planting rubber trees, cultivation of coconuts and fishing. Ridged plains have given rise to many inland brooks, streams and waterfalls on the island with one of the most spectacular being The Klong Chao Waterfall.

Koh Samui is Thailand's third largest island, located off the South East coast of Thailand. Palm fringed shores, quaint villages and friendly locals all wait to welcome you to the golden shores. The island still retains an 'island community' atmosphere and remains more unspoilt than many parts of Thailand. Koh Samui offers a vast range of accommodation from rustic beach huts to ultra-luxurious Spa villas.

South of Bangkok lies Krabi, set on the beautiful Andaman coastline with a truly humbling landscape. Where the ocean and sky meet, coral reefs teem with amazing marine life and the magnificent limestone karsts emerging from the sea are just waiting to be explored. Originally a small fishing town, Krabi now boasts a wide variety of attractions and accommodation from luxury hotels and resorts to simple bungalows that bring you closer to nature.

Phuket is the largest island in Thailand, with golden shores lapped by the warm gentle blue waters of the Andaman Sea. It is the diving centre of Thailand; most sites are suitable for all levels but there are some deeper locations for the more experienced; sites are usually off nearby islands, the reefs are healthy and there’s a profusion of marine life to admire.

Key Information

Time difference: GMT +7 hours

Language: Thai (official), English

Capital: Bangkok

Currency: Thai Baht

Flight time: Approx 11 hours

Visa: (UK passport holders) – Check https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice (entry requirements)

Climate:
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