Thailand has been a top destination for travelers for years. It offers a wide range of activities and experiences with excellent food, fantastic beaches as well as mountains, good climate, and cultural heritage. People have been living in the region for more than 40,000 years, and in the first century, it was heavily influenced by the religions and culture of India. Today, Thailand is 95 percent Buddhist and has magnificent ancient temples and holy places that are still revered today.
The Thai people are very friendly and generous and work to help visitors have an enjoyable and interesting experience. A common phrase they use is mai pen rai or pen rai which loosely translates into English as:
• Don’t worry about it
• It’s OK
• You’re welcome or don’t mention it
• Never mind
• What will be, will be
The phrase is unfailing used to make the other person feel better and help them move on with their life.
Many tours begin in the gleaming high rises of the city and take travelers deep into the natural beauty and cultural treasures. These tours include walking, taking trains, boats, buses and elephants and visit several places throughout the country. Kanchanaburi is the home of the famous Bridge over the River Kwai and a Buddhist temple that features grotto shrines and a large limestone cave system. It is also near the Tiger Temple, which is a refuge for more than 100 tigers.
Ayutthaya is the home of the Thai Kingdom from 1350 to 1767. It was originally friendly to traders and one of the largest and wealthiest cities in Southeast Asia. It had contact with China, Viet Nam, India, Japan, and later the Spanish, Dutch, French and Portuguese. Called Siam in 1686 by Europeans, the city was invaded by the Burmese from 1584 – 1593. Today, visitors can see the Wat Phanan Choeng, a Buddhist temple that is part of the Ayutthaya Historical Park. It was built in 1324, and contains the 19 meter high gilded, seated Buddha that dates from 1334 CE.
Visitors also see the famous head of Buddha in Wat Mahathat that is embraced by the roots of a huge Bodhi tree. The Burmese destroyed Ayatthuya in 1767 and cut up the Buddha statues. It is thought that this feature fell among the roots of a young tree that protected it and raised it off the ground. The Ayutthaya Historical Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and contains more than 10 temples and other historical locations as well as an elephant camp.
Chiang Mai, in Northern Thailand, is surrounded by lush countryside and mountains. It is a stark contrast to the bustle of the city and home to a large expat population. It is an ancient walled city of which only the moat remains. There are more than 30 temples inside the city that date from 1296 onwards. The most famous is the Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, which is 15 kilometers from the city and overlooks the beautiful countryside. It is the site of the White Elephant Legend. A white elephant carried a relic of the Buddha on its back that was put there by the king. It went to the top of the hill, trumpeted three times and died. The temple was built on the spot. All visitors must show their respect when inside the grounds by removing their shoes and wearing proper clothing.
Bangkok is a city of great cultural heritage as well as great food and shopping. It is a huge city with several districts that include a large modern city as well as the Grand Palace. Visitors can enjoy luxury accommodation and pampering spas that include the famous massage. There are also bouts of boxing at several stadiums and cultural performances including traditional dance.
Along with the natural beauty and cultural heritage, Thailand is the home of some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. There are marine tours that sail between Ko Samui and Ko Tao islands that include visits to national marine parks, snorkeling and diving, spectacular sunsets and relaxing days on board the ship. Travelers land at deserted islands and enjoy a barbeque dinner and a relaxing evening under the stars. On speedboat tours to Koh Phi Phi, travelers spend a day on one of the most beautiful beach destinations in the world.
Thailand has a lot to offer visitors with a wide variety of vacation possibilities. From mountain trekking and river rafting to secluded tropical islands and beaches, there are tours that cover it all. The local food is considered among the best cuisines in the world and don’t forget the facinating ancient civilization and cultural history.