Destinations

Destinations

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Bangkok

Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand and has dominated its urban and political hierarchy, as well as commercial and cultural life since the late 18th century. The city is regarded as one of the most famous holiday destinations in the world for its rich culture and heritage, modern developments and plethora of attractions.  Bangkok was originally a little village on the bank of the Chao Phraya River. King Rama I renamed the city as Krung Thep, which means "City of Angels". The city is well-connected by air, rail and road.  While staying here, you should visit the natural and historic sites. A lot of first time visitors aren't quite sure what to expect when first arriving in the capital of exotic Thailand, and some may be disappointed by their first impressions on the way into town - endless high rise buildings, busy expressway flyovers and billboards of western companies advertising in English. Yet while Bangkok has undoubtedly embraced westernization and modernization, you only need to look a little under the surface to see that it remains undeniably a Thai place at heart. Thailand, located right in the heart of Southeast Asia, was never colonized and thus kept its unique culture and heritage intact. Bangkok offers visitors the opportunity to experience fascinating glimpse of Thailand's gentle culture amidst the bustle of a great and dynamic metropolis. This great city has had astounding success in combining the ancient and modern world.  Bangkok was founded in 1782 by the first monarch of the present Chakri dynasty. It is now the country's spiritual, cultural, diplomatic, commercial and educational hub. It covers an area of more than 1,500 square kilometers, and it is home to approximately ten million people or more than 10% of the country's population.  Bangkok's temples, despite being in the center of a busy metropolis, are some of the finest in all of Asia. The museums in Bangkok are mostly devoted to Thai art and architecture, but the National Gallery is a place to view art from other countries. Be sure to see the National Museum and the Vimanmek Teak Mansion, as well as the Shed of the Royal Barges-a one-of-a-kind experience. The influence of the past is not limited to major monuments and it continues to color daily life. Multitude of saffron-robed monks making their early morning alms round.

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Central Thailand

Geographically, the Central Region extends from mountains bordering Burma to the Northeast plateau, northwards to Nakhon Sawan, and southwards to Prachuap Khiri Khan, where Thailand is compressed to its narrowest point between western mountains and the Thai Gulf.  Major places of interest include:Bangkok with its fabulous temples and palaces, museums, fascinating riverside and canal scenes, excellent shopping and nightlife. Nakhon Pathom, some 60 kilometers away to the west of Bangkok, site of the 380-foot (118m) Phra Pathom Chedi, the world's tallest Buddhist monument. Demnoon Saduak Floating Market, some 40 minutes south of Nakhon Pathom. Kanchanaburi, 130 kilometers west of Bangkok, site of the world-famous "Bridge over the River Kwai" and an Allied war cemetery of soldiers who built "Death Railway". Ayutthaya, 70 kilometers upstream from Bangkok, Siamese capital from 1350 to 1767, where magnificent ruins evoke medieval splendor and the nearby Bang Pa-in Palace, summer residence of early Bangkok monarchs.The Buddha's Footprint Shrine, near Saraburi, Lop Buri, a former Khmer outpost and summer residence of late Ayutthayan monarchs. Phetchaburi, 120 kilometers to the south with palaces and Kaeng Krachan, Thailand's largest national park.Cha Am and Hua Hin, two popular beach resorts, 173 and 198 kilometers southwest of Bangkok.The coastal Sam Roi Yot National Park, one hour to the south of Hua Hin; and Prachuap Khirl Khan, some 320 kilometers from the capital, a fishing town with a scenic bay, beachside pagoda and resident monkey tribe.

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North Thailand
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Bordered by Burma and Laos, characterized by forested mountains, the lower extremities of Himalayan foothills, and fertile river valleys, northern Thailand encompasses part of the fabled Golden Triangle and was the cradle of Thai civilization where, in 1238, the aptly named Sukhothai ("Dawn of Happiness") became the first truly independent Thai kingdom. Major places of interest include:
Sukhothai, 440 kilometers north of Bangkok, where massive stone Buddhas preside over ruins within the old city walls. Si Satchanalai, seat of Sukhothai's viceroys: Lampang 610 kilometres north of Bangkok, the sole Thai provincial capital where horse-drawn carriages remain in daily use, home of several Burmese style temples and Ngao's Young Elephant Training School. Lamphun, 674 kilometers from Bangkok, famous for beautiful women and the stunning Wat Phra That Hariphunchai. Chiang Mai, 700 kilometers north of Bangkok, a city dating from 1296 with beautiful women, historic temples, crisp mountain scenery, distinctive festivals and handicrafts, and several hill tribes of Tibeto-Burman origin. Doi lnthanon National park which covers Thailand's highest mountain (8,514 feet) and includes several beautiful waterfalls.Mae Hong Son, a 35-minute flight northwest of Chiang Mai, home of several hill tribes and Burmese-style temples.Chiang Rai, 825 kilometers from Bangkok, in the mountainous heart of the Golden Triangle; and Nan,'790 kilometers from Bangkok, site of a famous annual regatta and several historic temples.

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Northeast Thailand

For most stravelers, and many Thais, the northeast is Thailand’s forgotten backyard. Isan (or ìsǎan), the collective name for the 19 provinces that make up the northeast, offers a glimpse of the Thailand of old: rice fields run to the horizon, water buffaloes wade in muddy ponds, silk weaving remains a cottage industry, peddle-rickshaw drivers pull passengers down city streets, and, even for those people who’ve had to seek work in the city, hearts and minds are still tied to the village. This colossal corner of the country continues to live life on its own terms: slowly, steadily, and with a profound respect for heritage and history. If you spend even just a little time here you’ll start to find as many differences as similarities to the rest of the country. The language, food and culture are more Lao than Thai, with hearty helpings of Khmer and Vietnamese thrown into the melting pot. And spend time here you should. Isan saves its finest surprises for those with the patience to come looking for them

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Beyond Bangkok, from the estuary of the Chao Phraya River, the East Coast unfolds in a series of bays and beaches to the Thai- Cambodian border. Many popular resorts, including Pattaya, Asia's premier beach resort, occupy a coast characterized by cliff-hidden bays, palm-fringed beaches, innumerable fishing villages, lovely islands and largely tranquil Gulf waters.   Major places of interest include: Bangsaen, some 100 kilometers southeast of Bangkok, the capital's nearest resort. Bang Phra Golf Course, a self-contained holiday complex some 20 minutes further south; the 1200-acre Khao Khiao Open Zoo, 15 kilometers inland from Bang Phra; Si Racha, a fishing community famed for a delicious sauce and excellent seafood. Pattaya, 147 kilometers southeast of Bangkok, Thailand's and internationally famed beach resort where all manner of water sports, motor-racing, coral islands, luxury accommodation and a vibrant nightlife comprise major attractions. Rayong's Ban Phe fishing village and lovely Samet Island where some 15 bays and superb beaches are fringed by limpid waters and dazzling coral reefs. Chantaburi, site of Thailand's largest Christian church, the Khao Khltchakut and Namtok Phiui national parks, which contain attractive waterfalls, and several shops selling locally mined star sapphires; and Trat, the province bordering Cambodia, best known for its 52-island Ko Chang Marine National Park which is dominated by Thailand's third largest island. Attracting thousands and thousands of visitors, both Thai and foreign, the East Coast is today one of the most popular destinations. Holiday-makers flock to the region, particularly over weekends and long holidays, which offers an immense variety of marine and other natural attractions

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South Thailand

Southern Thailand extends through the Kra Isthmus from Chumphon, 460 kilometers south of Bangkok, to the Thai-Malaysian border, and is bordered to the east by the Gulf of Thailand, to the west by the Indian Ocean.  Major places of interest include Chumphon, which has several lovely beaches, birds' nest islands and excellent scuba-diving waters. Ranong, 564 kilometers from Bangkok, which has a Hot Spa Health Resort. Surat Thani's Samui Island, Thailand's second largest island and jewel of a sparkling archipelago that contains the lovely Angthong Marine National Park. Nakhon Si Thammarat, 774 kilometers from Bangkok, and major centre of southern Thai handicrafts. Songkhla 974 kilometers from Bangkok, where the Great Songkhla Lake hosts the 520-square-kilometre Khu Khut Waterfowl Park. Pattani and Narathiwat where numerous fishing communities have hand-painted, lavishly decorated boats. Tarutao Marine National Park, a 51 -island cluster covering some 1400 square kilometers near the Thai-Malaysian Indian Ocean maritime border. Hat Yai, 947 kilometers from Bangkok, southern Thailand's principal commercial, communications and entertainment centre. Phatthalung with its Thale Noi Nok Nam bird sanctuary. Krabi's outstanding beautiful Phi Phi islands and the 75-million-year-old Susan Hoi shell graveyard. Phang Nga's eerily beautiful Phang Nga Bay where verdant limestone islands, honeycombed with caves and aquatic grottoes, soar perpendicularly to heights of 300 meters from almost perpetually calm waters and Phuket, 867 kilometers from Bangkok, Thailand's largest island (the approximate size of Singapore), which has magnificent beaches and bays, and probably the best seafood in Thailand.

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