THAILAND TOP 5

No traveler should miss these outstanding experiences and sights on a trip to the Kingdom of Smiles

ISLAND HOPPING

THAILAND TOP 5

With over 5,000 miles of coastline just waiting to be explored, Thailand is a beach-lover’s paradise. In addition to lazing on paradise-like stretches of sand, the country’s islands offer everything from watersports and diving to mindful activities such as yoga and meditation. On the Andaman Sea side of the country, Phuket, Koh Lanta, and Koh Phi Phi are among the famous names. Other not-to-be-missed havens in the Gulf of Thailand include Koh Chang, Koh Kood, Koh Samui, and Koh Phang Ngan.

THE GRAND PALACE

Yes, it can get extraordinarily busy at peak tourist periods, but the history and grandeur of the Grand Palace are palpable. The beautiful gold-tipped series of buildings are over 200 years old and has been the official residence of royalty during that period (although it is now only used on ceremonial occasions). Another central part of the complex is Wat Phra Kaew. The temple, better known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, is the spiritual core of Thai Buddhism.

ELEPHANT TREKKING

The national symbol of Thailand, elephants are revered throughout the nation. There are plenty of ways to encounter or work with the mighty beasts all over the country. Whether you want to train to become a mahout, or simply learn more about the animals, check out the likes of Patara Elephant Farm near Chiang Mai or the Chiang Dao Elephant Camp. To combine an elephant experience with luxury accommodation, try Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort in the north.

THAI FOOD

Sampling the spicy flavors of Thai food ranks prominently among the highlights of the country. Thai food varies hugely from region to region. Northern Thai food reveals Burmese and Chinese influences, Isaan cuisine shares much with Laos and Cambodia, while the spicy coconut milk infused dishes of southern Thailand carry strong notes of Malay and even Indonesian cuisine. The best introduction to Thai cuisine can be found in Bangkok where every nook and cranny of the country’s abundant larder can be explored.

THAI FESTIVALS

A perfect way for visitors to join in local celebrations, Thailand’s festivals and events offer unique insights into customs and traditions. Must-see events include Loy Kratong, the water festival of lights, which takes place in November and sees fireworks, lanterns and thousands of offerings to the water goddess being floated on the country’s rivers and lakes. Thai New Year (Songkran) is a raucous celebration that sees Thais and visitors drench each other with water and make merits at temples.

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