Thailand is a country of contrasts, where temples that have been around for thousands of years bump shoulders with skyscrapers that are barely older than a decade. Their cities are constantly moving and teem with relentless activity while their suburbs enjoy a slower pace and a more laid-back attitude. Wherever you go though, you are sure to be met by friendly locals who are willing to share their beautiful country with you. Exotic and urban, historic and modern, friendly and frenetic; Thailand is calling your name.

Thailand is a Buddhist nation that embraces religious devotion and shares their beliefs with the world with intricate, ornate and colourful temples and celebrations. These gleaming temples can be found all over the country, from the middle of a bustling metropolis, all the way out to the middle of the forest in a small town. In another example of contrasts, the Thais’ ongoing devotion to the divine anchors their everyday chaos to an underlying solid base of tranquillity and calm. You can choose to participate in the practice or simply spectate. There are quiet ceremonies and noisy festivals, peaceful cave shrines and solitary hilltop temples.

Blissful beaches populate the coasts of Thailand and they are well-known for having some of the most picturesque beaches in the world. The beaches are legendary with palm trees arching gracefully over impeccably soft white sands that meet with the gentle rolling waves of the bluest water you’ve ever seen. Depending on what you enjoying doing at the beach, you have a wide variety of options. Try jet-skiing in Phuket, diving with whale sharks in Ko Tao or kiteboarding in Hua Hin. Regardless of the kind of activity (or lack of activity!) you prefer Thailand has a beach for you to enjoy.

Spice plays a big part in Thailand’s culture as well. The meals they create express the fundamental characteristics of Thai culture; generosity, warmth, being outgoing, refreshment and relaxation. Thai food revolves around a commitment to natural and local ingredients and they deliver an abundance of flavours like spicy, sweet, salty and sour. Plus, unlike other places in the world, street vendors in Thailand offer up delicious and uniquely Thai food for consumption on the go.  Complex dishes become simple with knowledge of the country’s markets and the variety of fresh ingredients at your fingertips.

Their rich heritage colours every part of their lives and traditions continue to be followed and absorbed into the new generations. Beaches beckon with tantalising warm waters and soft sands and centuries-old temples peek out from every corner.

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Image courtesy of whyyan