May 2, 2014

5 reasons to go to Thailand

In case you needed any prompting to make your next holiday a trip to Thailand, here are five great reasons:

Thailand long boats

Beaches

Many of the world’s award-winning beaches are located in Thailand. They feature in movies, in wedding magazines and holiday brochures wherever you look, known for their white sandy beauty and water so clear you can see the fish without goggles.

For surfing, snorkelling, diving, boating, fishing, swimming or just lying next to, the ones that consistently make Top 5 lists are: Patong Beach in Phuket, Railay Beach in Krabi, Maya Bay in Koh Phi Phi Ley, Hua Hin Beach and Lamai Beach in Samui.

For 8 gorgeous, uncrowded beaches in Thailand, read this blog >>>

MBK Plaza shopping Bangkok

Open until 10pm and attached to a city hotel, MBK is a mall of excitement for extreme shoppers. Pic Flickr/Peter Zoon

Shopping

A trip to Thailand would not be complete without time for a shopping day (or frenzy, if you are so inclined). My tip is to allow a couple of days in Bangkok at end of your holiday and save the bulk of your shopping to do on your way home, so you don’t have to carry your extra suitcase of new shoes, handbags, jewellery, electronic gadgets and souvenirs around with you.

At all the tourist beach towns you will find markets for picking up little treasures, but they can all become very same same after a while. In Bangkok there is everything you could want: high end malls with heavenly air conditioning to take refuge in during the hot months to night markets selling copies and delicious street food.

For my picks for the best shopping malls in Bangkok, read this blog >>>  and read this one for the best markets >>> 

Mandara spa Thailand

Feeling relaxed already? JW Mariott Mandara Spa, Phuket

Spas

If I won Lotto the first thing I would do is design a day spa like the ones that first stopped my breath in Thailand. When you’ve had a 2-hour treatment in an award-winning, architecturally designed spa with landscaping that includes indoor/outdoor rooms complete with lotus ponds, waterfall showers and sunken bathtubs, you’ll never be the same again.

Hands down, the best spas in the world are located in Thailand. Oh sure, there are plenty of cheap and cheerful operators on beaches and in shops up alley ways – and I would recommend them too for a $10 pick me up. But you will be pleasantly surprised at the value of even the top spas in Bangkok when compared to the same treatment in a facility of half the ambience and beauty back at home.

Grand Palace Bangkok

Bangkok’s stunning Grand Palace. Flickr/Jack Hinds

Culture

Thai culture is steeped in millennia of history and carved out of kingdoms and religion. If you’ve never visited as Asian country, then be prepared to enter what would appear to be a movie set of foreignness.

The temples are grand, lined with gold, filled with incense and Buddha is everywhere. If you come at certain times of the year when festivals are on, you will see religious rituals designed to bring good luck, flowers being woven into leis to be left there and people in prayer.

Every April the annual Songkran Festival is a blast of a time when people drench each other with buckets of water, fire water pistols and throw water bombs. It all started as a cleansing ritual to wash the previous year’s bad luck away, but these days it’s a carnival. You’ve been warned!

Elephant polo Thailand

In the cut and thrust of elephant polo battle!

Elephant riding

Feeding elephants and riding them through the jungle is great experience. Your mahut (driver) sits up front (take a photo of him on his cell phone riding an elephantyou’re your Facebookpage!) guiding the elephant by touching his ears with his feet.

Elephant conservation is taken very seriously in Thailand and many of these places use the funds for increasing protection programmes. Each August the Anantara Resort runs an international elephant polo tournament to raise money to help the Asian elephant.

From 2014, the Kings Cup Elephant Tournament will be moving to Bangkok. Now in its 13th year, teams from around the world have featured NZ All Blacks, Thai supermodels, real polo players and lots of hilarity. Funds from last year’s event went to a number of projects including building an elephant hospital in Krabi.

This post is sponsored by the lovely  Tourism Authority of Thailand. If your interest is now piqued for a Thailand holiday, jump here to the Amazing Thailand website for more info >>>

About Megan Singleton

Megan

Megan Singleton is a travel writer, blogger and radio correspondent. She's been gallivanting around the world telling stories for the last 16 years and has her suitcase always half packed (or half un-packed!) Follow along on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for monthly newsletters if you want to keep up with the journey!

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