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Thailand

In the heart of South-East Asia is the Kingdom of Thailand or the Land of Smiles. A well-deserved title, a ready smile will greet you everywhere and anywhere, be it in a sumptuous spa or at a street side noodle bar, whilst the beautiful scenery is bound to cement that smile.

Without a doubt you will be charmed and delighted. Indeed, the service, the unspoilt beaches and turquoise seas, the tantalizing tastes, the tempting markets and the rich and fascinating culture will lure you back to the Kingdom of Thailand year after year.

Big, bustling Bangkok is on every itinerary and the gateway to all other destinations. Spend a few days here and indulge. This is what this city is all about – well, that and the assault on the senses. Consider staying at the legendary Mandarin Oriental or the stunning Peninsula. Both are situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River and are the perfect respite from the frenzied bustle of the city. From the Mandarin’s own private jetty you can cruise up the river to the famous Grand Palace and the Wat Phra Kaew.

Despite the hustle and the bustle, you will be spell bound as the Palace houses the Emerald Buddha made from translucent green jade. And to gaze in further wonder, go to Wat Pro and see the world’s largest reclining Buddha. Head to the famous Floating Market to get a sense of life on the river.

In sharp contrast to the glitzy lights of Bangkok is Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second largest city. Set in the foothills of the Himalayas it is cooler and greener than Bangkok. It is the perfect starting point for trips into the northern territories. Here you can go on elephant treks and visit an elephant farm or try your hand at Thai cooking. A little less frantic, is Chiang Rai. Here you can explore the infamous Golden Triangle and visit the indigenous hill tribes. The jungle trekking from here is quite an experience and you can get up close and personal with traditional lifestyles.

But for most travellers to Thailand, it is the lure of palm fringed white sand beaches and crystal clear water that is the real attraction. Many visitors find themselves in Krabi province.

A more lateral diversion but still in the same northern part of Thailand is a visit to Sukhothai, meaning Dawn of Happiness. The temples and monuments of this great city have been lovingly restored and when wandering around at night you understand why many view this as the most romantic of all former Thai Capital cities.

But for most travellers to Thailand, it is the lure of palm fringed white sand beaches and crystal clear water that is the real attraction. Many visitors find themselves in Krabi province. It borders the Andaman Sea and is home to over 130 islands including the well-known Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi. There is diving, snorkelling or simply just relaxing in a hammock and trying to work out which is the best beach. The area is of spectacular natural beauty with its towering limestone cliffs and turquoise bays teeming with exotic marine life.

Perhaps the best known of Thailand’s island locations is Koh Samui. It is the third largest island and offers a wealth of activities, an extraordinary selection of five star hotels, dining and nightlife that make it a delight by both day and night. Or on the other side of the Thai Peninsula delight in the wonders of Phuket, the ‘pearl of the Andaman’. Lateral diversions are easily had from Phuket with the finest dive sites in Thailand to be found on the Similan and Surin Islands.

In Thailand the choices are endless; city and beach, or city and mountains or mountains and beach with no city. Not to mention the ultimate in spas and massages and just sheer pampering. Whatever you choose, you cannot fail to be enchanted by Amazing Thailand.