Featured Hotels in Thailand
Luxury Thailand Holidays
Thailand is Asia's top tourist destination, and one of the most sought after in the world. Its attractions are myriad -- dense rainforests, rocky jungle-topped islands, golden beaches, beautiful temples, ancient monasteries and an exceptionally fascinating culture. Above all, its people are so hospitable and friendly that visitors feel welcome and at ease the minute they arrive.
Inevitably, Thailand's extraordinary attractions have led to some parts of the country becoming tourist traps. Nonetheless, many of these attractions are so iconic that they are worth braving the crowds for -- they are like nothing else in the world. But in fact there are plenty of places where you can escape the crowds completely.
Exuberant Capital City
Most visitors start off in Bangkok, the most exuberant capital in south-east Asia, and almost a country in itself. It has a reputation for horrendous traffic, but getting around is not too difficult if you avoid the rush hour. In fact, the best way to see the city is by canoe -- you not only escape the traffic, but avoid the tourist crowds as well, and you see the real, old-world, traditional Bangkok.
The dazzling, spectacular Grand Palace, Thailand's official royal residence for 150 years, is the city's most famous landmark, and never fails to awe visitors with its stunning architecture and intricate detail. The city also has many resplendent temples, such as the Wat Arun or Wat Chaeng (Temple of the Dawn) on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. And you must not miss Bangkok's colourful floating markets, with rickety wooden boats piled high with tropical produce, and local food cooked in floating kitchens.
A Perfect Beach for Everyone
For many people, a tropical holiday will always be about beaches, and Thailand without doubt has some of the best and most unspoiled in the world, with clear warm water, golden palm-fringed sands and abundant marine life. Some of the beaches, of course, are popular with the party-all-night crowds. However, there are so many different types of beaches in Thailand that whatever your preference, you can find the ideal spot.
The pick of the beaches are in the south of the country, where the Samui archipelago is scattered along the Gulf coast like a string of jewels. The island of Ko Samui itself has the most sweeping white, palm-fringed beaches, circling coconut groves and dense mountainous rainforest. In next-door Ko Pha Ngan you have the choice between deserted coves and backpacker party beaches.
Beautiful Coastal Islands
Over on the other side of the country, the Andaman coast boasts even more stunning scenery and the country's finest coral reefs, especially around the Ko Similan island chain. The largest Andaman island, Phuket, has many superb beaches, though several suffer from tourist over-development -- the quietest is Kata Beach in the south. Krabi Province on the south-west coast of Thailand is characterised by craggy, sheer limestone cliffs, dense mangrove forests, and dozens of offshore islands, including the famed Ko Phi Phi islands, looking like giant forested boulders jutting out from the sea.
The Northern Capital
After Bangkok, Chiang Mai is the most popular destination for many visitors -- at the heart of the northern uplands, it is an attractive historic city and a vibrant cultural centre. Ancient Chiang Mai was the seat of the Lanna kings who ruled the north, and they built a moated quarter filled with an abundance of temples, adorned with mirrored mosaics, tinkling bells and gabled rooftops. The best known include the golden Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, on a hill 3,520 feet above sea level, with a terrace giving panoramic views, and Wat Phra Singh, with Lanna-style tiered roofs and ornate facades featuring gold dragons.
Away from the temples, Chiang Mai's famous Night Market should not be missed. Outside the town, there is the chance to go elephant trekking, or trekking through hill villages inhabited by tribal peoples, all with distinct cultures. Further north, Chiang Rai is a centre from which you can explore the Golden Triangle, by the Mekong River, where Burma, Laos and Thailand meet -- you can take a boat trip and land briefly in Laos.
Thailand is a truly amazing country, with almost unlimited potential for both adventure and relaxation. It's true that you might need several weeks to experience the country fully, but there is still a huge amount you can enjoy in a week or two. Once here, all pressure just slips away, and the wonder of the country will capture your heart.
Koh Samui Hotels
Luxury Multi Centre Holidays
Thailand has immense potential for a twin-centre holiday even within its own borders, combining Bangkok and beach, or the southern beaches with the exciting north. Apart from this, the great thing about Thailand is its central location in Asia -- it's only two hours from Singapore, three hours from Hong Kong and four hours from Bali, so all of these would combine perfectly with Thailand for a two-centre holiday. It's also an excellent stopover option for those travelling to Australia and New Zealand.