Thailand, Siam, The land of smiles, situated in the heart of southeast Asia, with a highly inspiring culture and something for everyone has made it a very appreciated tourist attraction for decades. From Bangkok with its rich heritage of ancient architecture merged with today’s traffic jams and skyscrapers to the green paradise-like tropical islands in the south and the rolling hills and fertile valleys of the north, Thailand will be the most exciting and magical adventure which you’ll never forget.
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Thailand is a wondrous kingdom featuring a modern capital city, and friendly people who epitomize Thailand’s “land of smiles” reputation. It also features Buddhist temples, exotic wildlife, and spectacular islands along with a fascinating history and a unique culture that includes delectable Thai food and massage. Thailand is the most popular tourist destination in Southeast Asia, and for a reason you can find almost anything here: crystal blue beaches, thick jungle, great food, cheap beach front bungalows and some of the best luxury hotels in the world. There is something for every interest and every budget. And despite the heavy flow of tourism, Thailand retains its quintessential identity with its own unique culture and history and a carefree people famed for their smiles.
An overview of the top tourist attractions in Thailand:
Ko Tarutao is the largest island from one of the 51 islands that belong to the Tarutao National Marine Park archipelago in southern Thailand. The Malay word tertua or tarutao means old and primitive. Compared to other Andaman Islands the waters of Ko Tarutao are too murky to snorkel, but for most, the unspoilt beaches, waterfalls, great hiking and views more than compensate for this.
Named after the city of Ayodhya in India, Ayutthaya had been the trading capital of Asia throughout the centuries, due to its ideal location between China, India and the Malay Archipelago. By 1700 Ayutthaya had become one of the largest cities in the world with a total of 1 million inhabitants. In 1767 the city was destroyed by the Burmese army, resulting in the collapse of the kingdom. The city was re-founded a few kilometers to the east of the ruins, which now form the Ayutthaya historical park an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Most of the remains are temples and palaces, as those were the only buildings made of stone at that time.
Ko Chang is the second largest island in Thailand and the biggest in the Ko Chang Marine Park archipelago and is located near the border with Cambodia. with several waterfalls, thriving coral reefs, rainforests and long white sandy beaches It is one of Thailand’s most beautiful islands. The island is also home to a wide range of wildlife, including birds, snakes, deer and a number of elephants. Ko Chang has turned itself in to a major tourist destination in Thailand, only very recently, in less than ten years and while still far quieter than islands like Phuket or Ko Samui, it’s probably better to go now than later.
When the capital of Siam was moved from Thonburi to Bangkok in 1782 the construction of the Grand Palace was initiated. The palace served as the residence to the Kings of Thailand until the mysterious death of King Ananda Mahidol in 1946, his successor King Bhumibol Adulyadej moved permanently to the Chitralada Palace. Ranging from a pure Ayutthayan style of the temples to a blend of Thai and Western for later structures The Grand Palace covers a wide range of architectural styles. It also includes the Wat Phra Kaew, home to the Emerald Buddha, one of the oldest and most famous statues of the Buddha in the world
The Similan Islands is the archipelago consists of 9 islands covered in tropical jungle with white sandy beaches in the western Andaman Sea and are considered the best dive destination in Thailand. The views under the water surface are even more impressive then what are seen outside. There are 2 different kinds of dive spots around the Similan Islands east facing dive sites consisting of gently sloping coral reefs while west facing dive sites featuring massive granite boulders, covered with hard and soft corals.
Chiang Mai Night Bazaar
Chiang Mai is the famous Night Bazaar sprawling the length of several city blocks along footpaths, inside buildings and temple grounds. It has handicrafts, arts, clothing and imported products of all descriptions, and a number of large, well-appointed modern shopping centers. Originally, the market was owned by Chinese merchants, but since it grew in size with more commercial buildings was built, it is no longer owned by a single group of people, instead, there are many owners, and most of them are Thai.
Railay beach (or Rai Leh) is a small peninsula with high limestone cliffs cutting off mainland access and is only accessible by boat due to that. These cliffs attract rock climbers from all over the world, but the area is also a popular due to its beautiful beaches and quiet relaxing atmosphere. Accommodation ranges from inexpensive bungalows popular with backpackers and climbers, to the renowned jet-set resort of Rayavadee.
Phang Nga Bay
Phang Nga Bay is one of the top attractions in Thailand and one of most scenic areas in the country, Located just over 95 km (60 miles) from the island of Phuket. It consists of beautiful caves, aquatic grottoes and limestone islands. The most famous island in the bay is a sea stack called Ko Ping Kan (more commonly known as James Bond Island) which was featured in the James Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun”. A popular way of visiting Phang Nga Bay is by sea kayak as they are the only way to get inside the grottoes and sea caves.
Koh Tao, literally Turtle Island, is a small island located near the eastern shore of the Gulf of Thailand. Diving around the island reefs is easy and fun and you can see an impressive variety of marine species such as coral, turtles, lots of small fish, barracudas and there is a very small chance of seeing a whale shark. With around 7000 new divers getting certified on Koh Tao each year makes it one of the most popular destinations in the world to learn diving. The average visibility is around 15-20 meters
Ko Phi Phi
Tourism on Ko Phi Phi has exploded only very recently, especially after Ko Phi Phi Leh was used as a location for the 2000 movie The Beach. Ko Phi Phi is a small archipelago in the Krabi Province in Southern Thailand with Ko Phi Phi Don as the largest island of the group, and is the only island with permanent inhabitants while the smaller Ko Phi Phi Leh is very popular as a beach or dive excursion. As a result of the masses of tourists Ko Phi Phi is becoming less and less attractive but for now it is still a very beautiful place to visit.