The Kingdom of Thailand is one of Asia’s most popular destinations because of its comprehensive mix of natural beauty, inspiring temples, friendly hospitality, flavoursome cuisine and ancient ruins. Thailand shares mainland borders with Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Laos and Cambodia and coastlines of the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. There are fertile valleys and mountains in the North, rainforest and beaches to the South, with the bustling capital of Bangkok in the centre of the country.
Modern skyscrapers, historic temples, buzzing markets, sophisticated department stores and a bustling nightlife co-exist in the city of Bangkok. The large city is divided into several areas each known for its local attraction. Sukhumvit Road features modern and cosmopolitan dining and shopping, as well as well priced personalised tailor services located around the Amari Boulevard and Windsor Suites hotels. Siam is home to the mega shopping malls of MBK, Siam Paragon, Siam City and the junction of two skytrain lines. The Pathumwan Princess Hotel is actually attached to the MBK shopping centre and linked to the National Stadium Skytrain Station providing easy access around the city. Bangkok’s historical roots lie along the banks of the Chao Phraya River with the classic Grand Palace and Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn). River-taxis, ferries and goods-laden barges chug along up the river. Riverside is home to several upmarket hotels such as the Montein Riverside and Peninsula Hotel.
The Southern Thailand coastline stretches along the Malay Peninsula offering stunning beaches dotted with hundreds of islands to explore. Phuket is Thailand’s largest islands and one of Asia’s premier beach resorts. There are stunning beaches, watersports, shopping, restaurant and bars. Patong Beach is the oldest and most developed tourist area with a range of shopping, nightlife and water activities along a three kilometre crescent shaped stretch of beach. The Banthai Beach Resort is set on five acres in the heart of Patong Beach. There are three large free-form swimming pools, swim-up bars, health spa with seventeen treatment rooms. Karon Beach is the second largest of Phuket’s west coast beaches and generally more quiet and releaxed than Patong. Phuket Town is abuzz with markets, department stores and supermarkets. At night, local food vendors, street cafes and bars spring into life.
Khao Lak is the perfect place to get away from it all. The beautiful beaches offer easy access to the world class reefs of the Similian Islands. The lush tropical jungle of the Khao Sak National Park is relatively untouched by tourism.
The stunning limestone cliffs and emerald waters of Koh Phi Phi are easily accessed by ferry from Phuket Island. Phi Phi is the perfect spot for snorkelling the stunning reefs or relaxing in a secluded resort.
Once an under-developed backpackers mecca, the South-Eastern Thailand island of Koh Samui has developed into a fully serviced tourist resort area. You can find a variety of shopping and restaurants at the most popular beaches of Chaweng and Lamai. Centara Grand Beach Resort Koh Samui is located on Chaweng Beach and is a very popular resort for couples and families. All the rooms face the sea and offer fantastic views from the balcony. The kids will enjoy their own kids pool, playground and playroom activities while the adults can sit back and relax in the outdoor jacuzzi, huge swimming pool or work out in the gym.
The Northern Thailand province, including Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai is a fantastic base for soft adventure activities and visiting ethnic tribes. The Chedi Chiang Mai is located on the banks of the Mae Ping River and is an elegant, modern retreat offering all facilities of a five star resort. In Chiang Rai, the Mantrini Boutique Resort is a contemporary and trendy boutique city hotel, styled in a blend of traditional and modern Thai influences.
Thai cuisine is renowned for its use of fresh, rather than dried, herbs and spices combined with rich and creamy sauces. Sweet smelling jasmine rice is indigenous to Thailand and is grown in the paddy fields of the Thai central plains. Steamed rice is accompanied by aromatic curries, stir-fries and dishes laden with chillis, lime juice and lemongrass.
The weather in Thailand can vary immensely, depending upon the region. Southern Thailand has two distinct seasons – wet and dry. These seasons run opposite to each other on the east and west coasts of the peninsula. The West Coast monsoon season is April to October while the bulk of the rain on the East Coast falls between September and December.