TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN THAILAND
Thailand can be considered a perfect holiday destination. With distinct geographical regions each supporting a myriad of activities, a visit can encompass elephants, handicrafts, and tribal villages in the North; temples and markets in the Central region; and turquoise beaches in the South. Below are examples of the kinds of activities we can arrange during your visit to Thailand.
UNESCO World Heritages in Thailand:
1. Historic City of Ayutthaya and Associated Historic Towns (1991)
2. Historic Town of Sukhothai and Associated Historic Towns (1991)
3. Thungyai – Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries (1991)
4. Ban Chiang Archaeological Site (1992)
5. Dong Phayayen – Khao Yai Forest Complex (2005)
- BANGKOK & CENTRAL PLAINS
Bangkok is isolated from the rest of Thailand in many ways. This former city of canals and elephant tracks has in only 100 years transformed into a burgeoning metropolis with little centralized planning. It is the present-day capital in every sense of the word, an important port city where the royal family and 1/8 of the population resides, the seat of government, and one of the largest manufacturing hubs in Asia. It is a city steeped in rich traditions undergoing modern transformations, revered for its grand religious monuments but infamous for its nightlife. Like the jewel in the lotus hidden among the small villages and neighborhoods, teeming with markets and two-story shophouses, are some of Asia’s greatest wonders.
Embark on an unforgettable cruise along the River of Kings (Chao Phraya) for a tour of Bangkok’s most awe-inspiring monuments…you can walk amidst the spectacular gilded spires, Buddhist mythological statuary and covered walkways of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew). Explore the adjoining Grand Palace for an amazing collage of European and Thai architectural styles. We suggest a visit to the majestic Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun) in the early morning to catch the sun shimmering off a mosaic of Chinese porcelain embedded in the 280 foot high rounded spire. The Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Po) is the largest and oldest in Bangkok, and is still regarded as an important center for traditional Thai medicine and herbal treatments.
The lingering aroma of sumptuously spiced cuisine lures many of our visitors to learn the preparation and cooking secrets of Thai cuisine. Let us pre-arrange a Thai cooking course ranging from one to four days.
Wander among the magnificent ruins, and taste the romance and splendor of the ancient capitals of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai. Travel upriver to the fabled capital of Ayutthaya which reached its zenith in the 17th century-a city of fabulous wealth and riches that attracted traders and merchants from China and Europe. Further to the north lies Sukhothai, referred to as the birthplace of traditional Thai art and architecture, and the first capital of the independent Thai kingdom established in the 13th century.
- THE NORTH
Between Sukhothai and the Golden Triangle, where Thailand, Burma and Laos meet at the confluence of the Ruak and Mekong Rivers, is some of the most breathtaking scenery in all of Thailand. Chiang Mai is the gateway for travel to the north. In spite of its growth, Chiang Mai still retains its small town charm-we suggest a walk within the city walls which reveals numerous old temples and quaint teak houses along narrow lanes. At the same time, Chiang Mai is regarded as one of the world’s largest center for cottage industries and traditional handicrafts. It is a shopper’s paradise for silk and silver, lacquerware and woodcarvings, hilltribe products and the famous hand-painted umbrellas. Our locally-based guides can accompany you to the factories where these products are hand-made and help you bargain hard for the best price. One of our favorite activities is exploring the extensive Night Market which has an excellent selection of arts and crafts from all over Asia.
Just outside the city, we can arrange a visit to Wat Phra That set atop Doi Suthep for panoramic views of the city and surrounding countryside. Those with special interests will find activities to suit every esoteric taste….visit the Insect Museum with its enormous collection of insects found only in this northern region. Chiang Mai is a vegetarian’s paradise where numerous restaurants serve up scrumptious vegetable or soy based curries and noodles, in true Buddhist tradition. Learn Buddhist meditation techniques by taking part in specially arranged meditation workshops in local temples.
Chiang Rai is the starting point for visiting the Golden Triangle region for hilltribe treks, river trips and elephant safaris. Venture north to Mae Sai on the Thai-Burmese border for a day trip into Burma and stroll the exotic market and temples. Quench your thirst with fresh sugar cane juice and snack on a plate of tea leaf salad. Chiang Saen, south of the apex of the Triangle, is a tranquil town with many fine pagodas and active monasteries set on the west bank of the Mekong. Cruise down the Mekong to Chiang Khong, a friendly border town just opposite Ban Houei Sai in Laos….a romantic setting to contemplate the power of the river. Both Chiang Saen and Chiang Khong are good bases for trek or exploring traditional life in the countryside or crossing over into Laos for a once-in-a-lifetime trekking adventure.
Mae Hong Son is a sleepy town secluded among the rolling fields of sunflowers and green ridges that border Burma. It is one of the most distant outposts of Thailand and home to a diverse population of hilltribe peoples including Karen, Lahu and Hmong. We can arrange for adventure treks into the hills, along the breathtaking ridges and vigorous rivers that flow through the valleys of this remote region. Mae Hong Son is an ideal place to experience the pace of life in the smiling hills.
- THE NORTH-EAST
In terms of foreign visitors, the Northeast is one of Thailand’s least explored areas containing many ruins of the Khmer civilization which ruled much of the area during the Angkor period. The people that now live in the region known as Esarn are the friendliest of the friendly, with strong cultural similarities to their neighbors in Laos. Korat is a busy commercial center and gateway to the magnificent Khmer ruins. We can arrange for a visit to the active monastery of Prasat Phanom Wan where you can roam the recently restored stone galleries at this peaceful temple. Further to the north are the 12th century Khmer ruins at Pimai-the final resting spot for pilgrims on the long journey to the great City of Angkor. The recently restored sandstone temple and its courtyard incorporate many of the key elements and designs found at Angkor. The nearby Phnom Rung Sanctuary is surrounded by ponds and farmland, a summer palace of sorts for the Khmer rulers.
Ban Chiang, the site of recent significant archeological excavations, is argued to be the birthplace of the Bronze Age. On display are artifacts of an agrarian civilization over 5,000 years old including stylized bronze casting and unusual forms of pottery. Any trip to Esarn should include a stop at Khon Kaen, the heart of the famous Thai silk weaving industry which Jim Thompson helped establish in the early part of this century. The fabrics have a unique and recognizable pattern known as Esarn style.
- THE SOUTH
Southern Thailand is home to the “paradise islands” that shimmer in the warm blue waters of the Gulf of Siam and the Andaman Sea. Different from the rest of Thailand, the islands and southern coasts are covered in thick jungle, harboring amazing limestone formations and small fishing villages. Phuket is Thailand’s largest island and unsurpassed as the premier resort of sea and sand. An island of idyllic beauty covered with plantations and jungle, Phuket is surrounded by vast beaches and coral reefs. For even more pristine scenery, we suggest you venture east to the twin Phi Phi Islands where the rugged limestone peaks give way to spectacular bays and beaches. This is truly paradise…a tranquil place ideal for leisure and recreation like snorkeling and swimming. We recommend a visit to the interesting rock formations of Phang Nga Bay and the virgin beaches off the coast of Krabi with its strange and hauntingly beautiful seascape. The hidden lagoons, coconut plantations, and jungle waterfalls of Koh Samui and other smaller more secluded isles await you in the aquamarine waters in the Gulf of Siam.