Thailand, Land of Smiles
Renowned as one of the best holiday destination in the world, holidays in Thailand definitely
encompass sun, sea, culture, shopping and tradition.
NO ADSENSE ACCOUNT SELECTED FOR
Thailand is a country in South East Asia, it borders Myanmar (Burma) to the
northwest, Laos to the northeast, Cambodia to the southeast and Malaysia to the south.
There are plenty to do when visiting Thailand. You will be spoilt for choice,
imagine frollicking on crystal clear water as it lap onto miles of wide sandy beaches, relaxed in tranquil
and lush jungle and polish your bargaining skills in this shopping paradise.
What to do and see in Thailand?
Most visitors will visit Bangkok especially on their first visit to the country.
Bangkok, the capital of Thailand is a vibrant city that captures modernity and yet retained the uniqueness of Thai
culture. There is a feast of attractions for visitors in Bangkok. Glittering Buddhist temples portray the devotion
of the Thai people, magnificent palaces that tell stories of Thailand glorious past and massive arrays of shopping
places are amongst the endless things to see and do in Thailand. A visit to the Chao Phraya River is a must, the
river wind through the city and is an excellent way to explore different parts of Bangkok. Thai classical dance
with intricate head gear and costumes can easily be observed on temple grounds or on stage in some of the shows
around the city. Thailand is also known for its markets and if you are on holiday in Bangkok over the
weekend, rides on a Tuk Tuk to Chatuchak market. The weekend Market or known to locals simply as "JJ" Market sells
a myriad of products ranging from clothes to antiques. It covers over 35 acres (1.1 km square) and is one of the
biggest market in the region. Be prepared to do some haggling as it is a norm at the market stalls.
Thailand is blessed with beautiful beaches wash by clear waters. There are over
500 islands on the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. As the list of beaches grew, the current
popular Thailand beach and islands include Phuket island, Krabi, Phi Phi islands, Koh Samui, Koh Tao, Koh Phangan,
Koh Chang, Koh Samet, Pattaya, Hua Hin, and Cha Am. The amenities in these beaches range from traditional to
modern. You can opt to stay in luxurious hotels with spa facilities and large pools or experience the Thai style of
living in wooden huts and bungalow. There are plenty to do and not do in Thailand. The rich marine life also makes
it a great place to scuba dive or snorkel. Water sports such as water skiing, wind surfing and fishing are amongst
some of the activities available. However, the inviting white sand and sea breeze is so therapeutic, you might not
want to do anything but relax.
There are several cities in Thailand that is steep with history and rich in
culture. Cities such as Ayutthaya which served as the Thai capital for 417 years (1350 to 1767) is now a tranquil
city with spectacular ruins of its glorious past. Surat Thani, a former capital of the Srivijaya Empire, the
kingdom that dominated the Malay Peninsula and much of Java whose empires grandeur can still be admired in many
areas of Chaiya District. Chiang Mai, affectionately known as ‘rose of the north’ is the heart of the Lanna culture
and a place where traditions is still very much preserved. The city lies amidst the rolling foothills of the
Himalaya Mountains and houses more than 30 temples within the remains of a historical wall city.
Thai culture is heavily influenced by Buddhism. Moving around Thailand, Buddhist
temples known as wats, resplendent with gold and multicoloured architecture is a common sight. Thailand Buddhists
follow the Therevada School which follow closely to its Indian roots and places heavier emphasis on monasticism.
However, one pre Buddhist tradition still exist in Thailand and that is the spirit house. The spirit house
structure is usually found at the corner of houses or business. A renowned spirit house is the Erawan Shrine
located in central Bangkok on the ground of the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel. The Erawan Shrine attracts thousands of
visitors from around the world every year, most asking for blessings and protection.
Thai culture also encompasses the culture of the hill tribes in the northern
mountainous region. They are the Hmong, Karen, Lisu, Lahu and Akha. The hill tribes culture are very much alive in
the province of Chiang Mai and visitors can experience these culture from the many museums and practices there.
If you are in Thailand during the Songkran, you are in for a fun time. Songkran is
the celebration of the Thai New Year. The celebration happens in April, officially April 13th to 15th. During these
days, water pistols and super soakers are used to spray at friends, relatives and passerby. This water throwing
event is a signify washing away sins of the prior year, hence be prepared to get wet when you are
When in Thailand, tasting of Thai food should not be missed. Thai cusines are
usually hot and spicy and flavoured with herbs. Try the hot and sour Tom Yam Goong,a popular Thai soup usually with
seafood in the sweltering heat and observed how quickly your body cool as you purged out gallons of sweat. Thai
dessert which comes in small servings are also a delight to the palette.