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Expert Review

Expert review of Thailand Holiday Deals

Thailand is often regarded as the Land of Smiles and rightly so because of its friendly and welcoming people. With its growing infrastructure, affordable entertainment, and a landscape featuring mountains, beaches, and cities, many visitors find this country to be an amazing one-stop-fits-all destination.

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Beginning with Bangkok, this seemingly endless city can be accessed by the easily navigable Sky Train, Underground Metro, and network of car and motorcycle taxis. While in Bangkok, get lost in Thailand’s outdoor markets, the largest being the Chatuchak Weekend Market. And don’t miss Pier 21 located on the 5th floor of the Terminal 21 Mall, one of Bangkok’s many supermalls. It does a fantastic job showcasing popular Thai dishes “street food style” in one convenient location. Simply pre-load a card with some cash at the nearby information booth and delight yourself in a Thai red curry dish, green papaya salad, or a fresh mango smoothie. End your evening with a sunset view over the city’s horizon from one of the dozens of popular rooftop bars and then find yourself an entertaining cabaret show to watch.

Famous for its nightlife, Pattaya has several exclusive beaches and high end resorts, spas, and golf courses. Enjoy time at the beach during the day and go sailing, jet skiing, or boating. Koh Chang is perfect for budget travelers and backpackers and is one of Thailand’s most affordable islands. The water is crystal clear and although it’s tempting to go to the beach every day, make sure to explore Mu Ko Chang National Park’s waterfalls for an afternoon. Everyone should rent a songthaew taxi (a pick-up truck with a covered bed) and take a two-hour trip around the island’s entire perimeter for some beautiful views.

Phuket, Krabi, and Khao Lak are just a stone’s throw from one another and feature gorgeous beaches and picturesque views of the Andaman Sea. Take a speed boat tour of the nearby islands, bronze yourself on the soft white sands, and indulge in some of the most exotic seafood dishes you’ll ever eat. Or if you prefer, take a day tour kayaking through mangroves, visiting James Bond Island, and shopping for handmade goods at a floating market. If you prefer a more breathtaking view of the sea and have a good bit of athletic ability, mountain climb with experts on the nearby cliffs. Finish up your evening watching the sun set as you indulge in dinner at a luxurious beachside restaurant. Hua Hin and Cha Am are two popular places where local Thais from Bangkok enjoy vacationing. These slower beach towns feature tan sand and dark blue water from the Gulf of Thailand and are perfect for watching the sunrise in the morning. Enjoy a family friendly horse ride along the beach, visit a Thai-Victorian style palace, and view the entire stretch of Khao Takiab Beach from Monkey Mountain.

Chiang Mai and its neighbouring towns in Northern Thailand offer a wide range of outdoor adventures. Spend a full day ethically caring for elephants at the famous Elephant Nature Park, where riding elephants is out and bathing and feeding them is in. Chiang Mai’s mountains offer excellent opportunities to zipline, rock climb, and hike or bike. Within Chiang Mai’s famous city center square moat, bounded by brick walls over 700 years old, you can find countless eclectic cafés and walking food tours to sample delicious coffee and popular Thai dishes. Koh Samui, Thailand’s second largest island and once a fishing village, now welcomes both luxury travellers with upscale resorts and international fine dining as well as backpackers with beachside bungalows among tangles of coconut trees. Why not begin your day with seaside yoga, spend the afternoon taking a Thai cooking course, and finish up the evening hanging out at a legendary full moon party.

Koh Lanta has a wide range of beaches to suit anyone’s taste. The larger and more developed beaches, such as Klong Dao Beach, are on the north side while the more secluded beaches are further south. If you were to do one thing on Koh Lanta, it would be to go scuba diving. Some of the most incredible dive sites are located just off this island. Once you’re back on dry land, bar hop along the laid back Klong Khong Beach that evening.

Thailand’s remaining countryside, known to locals as Isaan, features a more rustic way of life. Lush rice fields and orchards, small villages with their own unique dress and customs, and a more unusual cuisine influenced by the neighbouring countries, Cambodia and Laos, can be found here. For total immersion of Thai culture, including visits to breathtaking Buddhist temples, this is the place to go. Whether, you’re looking to relax, to party, or to have an adventure, Thailand has something perfect for every traveller.

By Chris and Angela Scott

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