Images of Thailand’s exotic and attractive lands are used continuously in Hollywood adaptations as an example of the beauty that can be found in Southwest Asia. But even a hardened traveller will get a chill down their spine as their eyes see the Royal Palace for the first time, their toes sink in Phuket’s warm sand, or they walk through the halls of the Wat Arun Buddhist Temple.
Use your time in Thailand to experience the top 5 attractions the country has to offer. From the north of Thailand’s hilly and mountainous terrain to the lush southern forests and serene beaches in the south of Thailand, you will be charmed and stunned by the raw beauty of Thailand.
Perhaps the most famous island in Thailand, Phuket is a perennial tourist favourite. It is Thailand’s largest island and it acts as an international magnet for beach lovers and serious divers who can’t wait to dunk themselves in the Andaman Sea. There are sunsets that take your breath away and lagoons you’ll want to stay at forever that lend a dream-like, almost surreal quality to the island.
If the beach becomes boring, indulge your inner adrenaline junkie and participate in the water sports available on every beach. When your attention begins to wander towards solid earth again, there remains a plethora of aquariums, gardens and temples for you to spend your time admiring.
When you inevitably make your way to Bangkok, there is one sight you must see over all the others. Head to the spectacular Grand Palace, which is unquestionably the city’s most famous landmark. It was built back in 1782 and was the home of the Thai King for over 150 years. It continues to leave visitors in awe all these years later with its beautiful architecture and intricate details, all of which proudly honour the creativity and craftsmanship of Thai people. The complex also housed the Thai war ministry, state departments and even the mint and remains the spiritual heart of the Thai Kingdom to this day.
The Ang Thong National Marine Park is made up of 42 islands that cover 102 km2. These islands differ from other islands in the region and you will notice why immediately. The Ang Thong Islands rise from the sea as dramatic walls of rock that soar hundreds of metres high. Over the years, erosion has shaped interesting formations out the rock, including small coves and beautiful beaches.
Particular must-see features of the island are Koh Mae, a particularly beautiful beach, and Thale Nai, which is known as the Green Lagoon. You’ll be surrounded by wildlife and offered endless opportunities for adventure and exploration. Discover the natural beauty of the islands that make up Ang Thong National Marine Park.
Found on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, the Temple of Dawn, or Wat Arun to the locals, is one of the best known landmarks in the entire country. The Buddhist temple is named after the Hindu god Aruna, who is often personified as the rising sun’s rays. The temple takes the first light of the morning and reflects it off the surface of the temple to create a pearly iridescence. Its spires were built in the early 19th century and are the temple’s most distinctive characteristics. There is a small entry fee (50 baht), but the cost is nothing compared to the awe-inspiring sights you will take in.
The Chatuchak Market in Bangkok is the largest market in Thailand and the world’s largest weekend market. The grounds cover .14km2 and house over 15,000 stalls. While a large majority of the stalls are only open on Saturday and Sunday, the western section of the market is open daily. The market offers a wide variety of products including household objects, clothing, religious artifacts, food and even live animals!
It is also the best place in the city to try the famous Thai iced tea—you will find vendors practicing the skill throughout the market. For shopaholics, tourists and locals alike, Chatuchak is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the culture and trades of Thailand.
Visit the must-see destinations in Thailand and get a feel for the friendly and open country. As you figure out your itinerary, be sure to include an international travel insurance plan from Cover-More Australia.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Chee Hong