The very name Thailand instantly conjures up images of pristine beaches, ornate temples, delicious cuisine and beautiful scenery. Whilst Thailand is now well established on the tourist map, in recent years it has become synonymous with some of Asia’s most stylish, most beautiful and most exclusive resorts. Leading the way in ‘Asian chic’ and with a reputation for excellent service, the Thais now have the experience to create some of the finest properties in the continent, if not the world.
It is not only hotels however which draw travellers from across the globe. Bangkok is emerging as one of the most exciting and stylish cities in Asia. The ‘City of Angels’ offers world class shopping, a huge array of fine dining experiences and some of Asia’s most fashionable night life. In addition to all of this, Bangkok’s culture and history is unmatched; combining golden temples, captivating museums, art exhibitions, dance performances and more.
There still remains much to be explored outside of Thailand’s cities and beaches. The North offers some of Thailand’s most breathtaking scenery with rolling hills, colourful hill tribes, cloudy mountain passes and tiny wooden villages. Head only a few hours out of Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second biggest city, and you can find yourself riding an elephant through lush green jungle or staying in a rustic hill tribe lodge. Chiang Mai itself has some of Thailand’s finest food culture, superb shopping and some truly beautiful temple architecture, all best explored from one of Chiang Mai’s excellent boutique hotels.
Thailand’s North-East also boasts some beautiful national parks with trekking opportunities and picturesque waterfalls. Easily accessible from Bangkok, it is now possible to experience a real adventure without sacrificing luxury. This is the real Thailand, away from the tourist trail undeveloped riverside villages, beautiful scenery and Khmer temples reveal a backwater idyll, a million miles from the modernity of Bangkok. Both Sukhothai and Ayuthaya are essential stops for those wishing to discover more about Thailand’s history, architecture and culture. Both have been declared UNESCO World Heritage sites and their ruined temples and palaces will fascinate visitors.
As for Thailand’s array of beaches, there is surely something to suit every taste. The renowned and opulent resorts that have been popular for so long still offer impeccable service and a fine attention to detail. However it is now possible to experience a Thai beach in a slightly different way – from a minimalist chic room with the latest technology, such as in-room iPod, to an isolated island retreat offering an enticing combination of seclusion and luxury.
Thailand is governed by a tropical weather pattern. Throughout most of Thailand, the months of November to April are warm and dry, with temperatures steadily increasing during this period. The rainy season is traditionally from April (and its arrival is marked by a frenzied annual water festival, Songkran, from 13-15 April) until mid October. During this time, Bangkok, the North and the Andaman Coast in the West of Thailand experience short sharp showers, usually in the afternoon. However, Thailand’s Gulf Coast experiences its monsoon over the winter months of November to January and has fine and dry weather during the summer months, ensuring that Thailand is a suitable destination for travellers year round. With frequent direct flights from the UK and offering some of the best value in Asia, Thailand is understandably a popular destination. Above all, it is the sheer warmth and friendliness of a Thai smile that will keep travellers returning again and again.