We get it. You’ve had a hard year at work, you need a holiday. All you really want to do is disembark that plane and flop.
But trust us, when visiting Thailand, it pays to venture beyond those major gateways like Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya to discover everything this diverse country has to offer.
Not to sound clichéd, but this country really does have something for everyone.
But if you’re not sure where to start, help is at hand. Here are our suggested itineraries – which one is right for you?
In search of romance?
Check out Koh Samui, Krabi, Khao Lak and Koh Kood
What better recipe for romance than sandy toes, sundowners, sparkling seas and spectacular waterfalls?
That’s why lovebirds head for the islands of Thailand’s south – with beaches that are renowned as some of the world’s best.
None is more famous than Koh Samui, with its blinding white sand, viewpoints and waterfalls.
Here, you’ll have plenty of beautiful beaches to choose from like Chaweng, Lamai, Taling Ngam, and Natien.
Move on to Krabi with its iconic views of yet more sandy spots sprinkled around the area’s islands with the added bonus of world-class coral reefs, national parks galore and even a hot spring waterfall.
In Khao Lak, you can take your pick of the series of beaches that line Phang-Nga’s western coastline or hop on a boat to the Similan and Surin Islands.
Meanwhile, the small island of Koh Kood near the Cambodian border remains undiscovered by the masses. With less than 2,000 people, dense rainforest and charming fishing villages, its the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle.
Looking for family fun?
Check out Hua Hin, Khao Sok National Park
When you’re travelling with little ones, it can be all too tempting to stick to tried and tested destinations.
But thinking outside the box doesn’t have to challenging. There are many destinations within Thailand that are perfectly set up to cater to small people as well as older members of the family.
Not far from Bangkok, you’ll find Hua Hin – a city blessed with beaches, mountains, great views, temples, night markets and even water parks. Check out the Pala-U waterfall in Kaeng Krachan National Park which is also a great butterfly watching spot.
Then head for Khao Sok National Park for a glimpse of elephants, leopards and tigers amid the virgin rainforest. Surrounded by limestone cliffs and mountains, the park is also the perfect playground sprinkled with waterfalls and caves. Spend the night close to all this nature by camping out under the stars or try one of the raft-houses for size.
Need a dose of culture?
Head to the mountainous Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai
Right at the northernmost tip of Thailand, you’ll find Chiang Rai Province, an area bursting with mountains, rivers and jungle.
But this part of the country is not just about natural beauty. Here, you’ll come across a unique variety of cultural attractions such as the White Temple, the Blue Temple and the Black House Museum.
Across the province’s western border, amid spectacular mountain surroundings, you’ll find Chiang Mai – once the capital of the Lanna Kingdom. Now it is packed with temples and buildings – a fusion of Lanna, Mon and Burmese architectural styles.
Foodies flock to this vibrant city because of its reputation as a culinary hotspot. The food here is quite distinct from other regions. Try Khao Soi, a yellow curry soup which is a local speciality.
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Have you visited any of these destinations yet? Share your comments below!
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