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