With an intoxicating blend of sacred temples, lively markets and castaway-style beaches, Thailand provides the perfect introduction to Asia, as well as being our top pick for Asia aficionados…the Land of Smiles is always sure to delight. Rural relaxation, ancient cultures and a city buzz will keep a tour of Thailand well balanced for any traveller – families can kick back on jungle-clad islands surrounded by azure waters, couples can trek jungle landscapes to primitive hill-tribe villages in the northern highlands and those seeking adventure and activity will be spoilt for choice; the diving and snorkelling are world-famous, but there are also opportunities for white-water rafting, rock climbing, wakeboarding, kitesurfing and jet-skiing. The people are overwhelmingly friendly, the food is exceptional, and the hotels are fabulous.
A Thai itinerary can be incredibly diverse, and we look forward to making our suggestions in order to design you the very best holiday. Some of our top spots in Thailand that we may include are;
Bangkok & Surrounds - The bustling city of Bangkok offers a dynamic mix of old and new; explore the ornate gold-gilded Grand Palace or delight in the discovery of crowded Koh San Road, the perfect place to tantalise the tastebuds or sip colourful cocktails. Bangkok is a place to immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells as you zip through the city in traditional Thai Tuk Tuks, cruise the waterways and khlongs by local longtail boat, and meander the modern metropolis on foot. A breath-taking city, Bangkok is sure to amaze you and be a firm favourite from your time in Thailand.
Away from Bangkok and suitable for day trips or overnight jaunts lies Kanchanaburi - although famed for its dark history, the natural beauty is also now a big draw – stay on floating lodges, explore national parks and swim in cascading waterfalls. Another place to escape the urban buzz, especially for culture vultures and historians, is Ayutthaya. This fascinating island of temples is a spiritual showpiece and one of our favourite places to find calm within the historical temple ruins.
Northern Thailand – Set in the picturesque foothills of the north of Thailand, Chiang Mai is a vibrant cultural centre where the moated Old Quarter is well worth a visit, as well as the surrounding trekking trails to remote hill tribe villages. Venture west of Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son Province for mountain scenery and minority cultures or head further north to the sleepy sister of Chiang Rai, famous for its Lanna culture, traditional temples and glittering night bazaar. The north is also the perfect place to continue overland to Laos, either by a short flight or our preferred route, via boat on the Mekong.
Thailand National Parks – Choose from the dense jungle and towering limestone karst formations of Koh Sok National Park in Southern Thailand (where you can enjoy a stay at the wonderful Elephant Hills Tented Camp), or venture a couple of hours outside of Bangkok to explore the lush mountainous landscapes of Koh Yai National Park. Koh Sok is home to rare species such as the giant parasitic Rafflesia flower, hornbill birds, gibbons and tigers, as well as the more common Malayan sun bears, clouded leopards, Asian elephants, and spectacled langur. The park can be explored by hiking trail, and raft, canoe or kayak via the Sok river. Whilst both spots include great wildlife opportunities, the latter is ideal for those hoping to spot wildlife, with sightings reported of Asian elephants, Asiatic black bear, guar, northern pig-taled macaque, sambar deer, gibbon, porcupine and civet. It’s recommended to enjoy a guided wildlife tour for the best (and safest experience).
West Coast Beaches & Islands – You will be spoilt for choice on the west coast shores of Thailand with stretches of soft white sands lapped by the emerald Andaman seas. From the largest island of Phuket (with a huge choice of hotel and lots to do) to the luxury hot spots of Koh Yao Noi & Koh Yao Yai (a peaceful wilderness with fantastic eateries). Khao Lak (an hour north of Phuket and a quieter pace of life), Koh Jum (a sleepy jungle dream), and Koh Phi Phi (the well known once backpacker paradise, now with new upmarket hotels) are all accessible from the shores of either Phuket or Krabi, with the latter being the access point to the castaway shores of Railay Bay, one of our personal favourites for a simple yet stunning stay. Other hidden gems include the islands of Koh Lanta and Koh Yao Noi where fishing villages, mangroves and beautiful coral-fringed beaches are the norm. Snorkellers can head to the beautiful reefs of Koh Lipe in the far South close to the Thai-Malay border.
East Coast Beaches & Islands – The Eastern islands of Koh Samui (the country’s second-largest island and a great spot to enjoy a boutique luxury break), Koh Tao (a divers paradise!) and Koh Phangan (the well known hedonistic paradise now featuring a selection of upmarket, yet relaxed resorts), are all ideal for a British summer escape as they remain driest from January to September. Accessible by boat or plane they can easily be added to your itinerary in Thailand, or slotted onto the end of one of our unique tours of Indochina. Another hidden gem is the beautiful island of Koh Samed which, at just 2 and a half hours from Bangkok, offers a fantastic spot for those keen to shorten travel times (and domestic flights), and can be enjoyed year-round due to its perfect monsoon free location!