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About Thailand

The Land of Smiles

Thailand Information Page

Introduction

Introduction

Thailand is like no other place in the world. Whether you’re coming from North America, Europe, Asia or Africa, ‘Amazing Thailand’ or the ‘Land of Smiles’ is the perfect destination whether it is purely for leisure, business or as an incentive destination. Visitors to Thailand discover a friendly, refreshing, safe and beautiful country. As you probably already know, Thailand is often featured in the top ten of the world’s best holiday destination, best beach, top culture, sightseeing, food and wine destination lists… and rightly so!

Thailand is the heart of Southeast Asia and Buddhism is the prevailing religion. The capital city, Bangkok, functions as a global travel hub with a one of the busiest international airports in the world. Despite the recent dramas and political unrest, Thailand remains a very friendly and safe place to travel to for a dream holiday.

The currency here is the Thai baht (THB) and with current exchange rates you get a tremendous bang for your baht in Thailand.

Thailand is not as rough and ready as Cambodia, Myanmar or Laos, but it's also not like Singapore either. You will find the urban and tourist centres are very well developed and in the countryside there is a much slower pace and little development, therefore you can experience international standards for a vacation in Phuket, Koh Samui and the developing provinces of Krabi and Koh Phangan. The road structure on the Thailand mainland is excellent which enables traveller to visit the more rural and cultural areas of the north.

Southern Thailand stretches down towards Malaysia with two long beautiful coastlines where tall palms angle over pearlescent sand and is a tropical getaway for the hedonist and the hermit, the prince and the pauper, with verdant islands, azure diving waters and dense rubber plantations.

This area of Thailand also has numerous islands, the most fondly spoken of are Koh Samui and Koh Phangan which can be found just a short journey off the east coast and are popular tourist destinations for families and groups of friends with the increasing number of luxury villas being built. They are two of the newest tourist destinations discovered by the backpackers in the 70’s. Originally the main industry on the islands was coconut oil exportation and the majority of the inhabitants were fisherman, however tourism has now taken over as a thriving industry.

The ever popular island of Phuket and Krabi on the other side of the Andaman Sea with it's 154 islands including the famous Koh Pi Phi share the amazing boat tours to these islands as well as the stunning scenery at Khao Lak and Phang Nga to the north. As well as boat services an excelllent road system connects Phuket with the Krabi coast in approximately 2 hours and luxury villa holidays are increasingly popular.

Gleaming temples and golden Buddhas frame both the rural and modern landscape with exuberance. Ancient banyan trees are ceremoniously wrapped in sacred cloth to honour the resident spirits, fortune-bringing shrines decorate humble noodle houses as well as monumental malls.

Try to get off the tourist trail if time affords as the old style countryside remains its biggest draw card.

Find out more about Amazing Thailand from the Thailand Tourist Authority.

Read more about things to do in Thailand on the Thailand Retreats blog or visit the Thailand Tourism Authority

Flights

Thailand Retreats do not organise flights, but recommend the following flight operators:

International Flights

Direct flights To Bangkok or Singapore - Thai airways, British Airways, Eva Air and Singapore Airlines

Flights via Dubai and Abu Dhabi - Emirates and Etihad

Flights from Singapore to Phuket, Koh Samui and Krabi - Tiger Air  Bangkok airways SilkAir

Domestic flights from Bangkok to Koh Samui, Phuket and Krabi  - Bangkok airways

Domestic flights from Bangkok to Phuket and Krabi - Air Asia Nok Air
Flights from Singapore to Phuket, Koh Samui and Krabi - Tiger Air  Bangkok airways SilkAir
Passport and Visa Information

For more information on passport and visa requirements and travel advice from the UK visit https://www.gov.uk/government/world/thailand.

Climate

Climate

Being a tropical country the Thailand mainland in general enjoys hot and sunny weather most of the year and is governed by three seasons:

  • November to January: Cool. Sunny days and cool nights, a very pleasant time to visit.
  • February to May: Hot and dry.
  • April is considered the hottest month, so the best thing to do is hit the beach!
  • June to October is rainy but often just a few hours a day.

Southern Thailand however has a slightly different weather pattern in that the west coast (Phuket, Kao Lak, Krabi)  has a short period of settled weather between November - April and will experience rainy weather from May through to October.

The east coast however (Koh Samui and Koh Phangan) has a longer predominently good weather season from late December through to October.will witness most rainfall between mid October and December

Thai Cuisine

Thai Cuisine

Thai cuisine expresses the fundamental aspects of Thai culture being generous and warm, outgoing and nuanced, refreshing and relaxed.

Each Thai dish relies on fresh and local ingredients – from pungent lemongrass and searing chillies to plump seafood and crispy fried chicken. With a tropical abundance, a varied national menu is built around the four fundamental flavours: spicy, sweet, salty and sour. Lemon grass, basil, coriander, galangal, chilli, garlic, lime juice, coconut milk and fermented fish sauce are just some of the distinctive components that bring these tastes to life. Local Thai cooking classes will reveal the simplicity behind what appear to be complicated dishes be it soup, rice, noodles or salad.

Read more about fine dining in Koh Samui

Thailand Activities

Thailand Activities

The range of activities available in Thailand continues to grow in sophistication and variety.

Thailand is affectionately known as the ‘Golf Capital’ of Asia with many world-class courses to be conquered. Other popular pastimes available nationwide include sailing, flying trapeze adventures, diving, multiple water sports, traditional Thai boxing (Muay Thai), buffalo fighting, elephant trekking, hiking and cycling are all possible in or out of the tourist areas. *Please note that if you are interested in watching animal shows or elephant trekking please be mindful of the animals wellbeing as living standards and treatment varies wildly with little regulation*

Be sure to visit a food/ night market and eat street food, I promise you it will be delicious.

Bangkok is a shoppers paradise for those on a stopover. The BTS covers most of the main malls and even the famous outdoor market at Chatuchak, where all manner of bargains can be found. In Siam Paragon, you can buy everything from a Gucci handbag to a Ferrari!

If you are looking for a beach holiday, stunning scenery and water based activities amongst a good choice of land based activities then you will nead to head for the southern provinces of Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Krabi

Festivals

Festivals

There are many festivals and celebrations on the Thai calendar and each month there are numerous festivals being celebrated throughout the kingdom, but for us none are more impressive than Thai New Year or ‘Songkran’. It is celebrated every year in April for 2 days but some larger towns and cities have a 5 day holiday with playful throwing of water at each other as a blessing. It is also a sacred time when Thai people visit temples, pray and give offerings to the monks. The western New Year is also modestly celebrated on the 31st December.

Another spectacular holiday in Thailand is Loy Krathong (Festival of Light), celebrated in November where local people build small floats from banana leaf, flowers and incense before sending them off in the evening into the nearest body of water be it a stream, a river or even the sea. The festival is designed to send away bad luck and start afresh with fireworks, music and dancing following the floating ritual well into the night.

The King and Queens birthdays are celebrated nationally as Mothers Day and Fathers Day.

For a full list of national events please check this official tourism of Thailand Events and Festivals

Events

Events

Thailand has a range of events that appeal to every whim and interest ranging from world class golf tournaments, to sailing regattas to triathlons. Bangkok also has amazing venues for rock concerts, world famous DJ’s and premier sporting events.

Find upcoming events and things to do in Bangkok here: http://www.timeout.com/bangkok/features/498/festivals-events-in-bangkok

Medical Tourism

Medical Tourism

Thailand is one of the best and economical destinations for medical treatment. Many Thai doctors undertake specialist training abroad, particularly the United States and Europe, and are equally as well qualified as physicians you will in the West.

ThailandMedtourism.com is the official website for Medical Tourism Thailand by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and provides detailed healthcare information for international patients travelling to Thailand for medical treatment: http://www.thailandmedtourism.com/Home/28

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