Thailand – Sun, Beach and Spas
Thailand is made for getting spoiled. Heavenly beaches, wonderful weather, a delicious cuisine and numerous spas offer perfect conditions for relaxing. In addition, the rich, tropical nature and impressive temples invite visitors do dive into the "land of smiles".
Geography - A country with a gorgeous backdrop
Thailand is located on the peninsula Indochina and borders on both the Gulf of Thailand and the Indian Ocean. The form of the South Asian state resembles an elephant's head. The Mekong, one of the world's longest rivers, in the east of the country constitutes the border to Laos. The north is covered in harsh mountains with heights up to 2,500 metres and the Khorat Plateau. The central region, on the other hand, is crossed by the Chao Phraya River, which causes the soils to be fertile. Thailand's "trunk" spreads over the Malay Peninsula in the south, which separates the Pacific and the Indian Ocean from each other. In front of the coast you find wonderful islands, many of which are tourist destinations. Warm temperatures around 25 °C prevail in Thailand all year. The monsoon affects the weather considerably.
Nature - Rainforest, mangrove forests and fine sandy beaches
Especially in the south and west of the country you find vast rainforests with lush, rich nature. While Thailand's mountains are covered in pines, oaks and chestnuts, the coast is vegetated by mangrove forests, which are characterised by knobby trees and palms growing between them. They border on the beautiful, fine sandy beaches, which make Thailand a sun paradise. The forests' thickets are home to elephants, tigers, leopards and deer and in the treetops you can see numerous colourful birds like parrots, common hill mynas and sunbirds. Crocodiles and turtles, for example, live at the water.
Natural sights - Unspoiled tropical landscapes in Thailand's national parks
Some of Thailand's most prominent seaside resorts are Pattaya, Ko Samui and Bang Saen. The island Phuket is known because it is connected to the mainland by a dam. With its fine beaches, many recreational facilities and isolated bay, it is an excellent place for swimming and sunbathing. The island accommodates the Sirinat National Park, which contains unspoiled coast and mangrove forests which offer an impressive insight into Thailand's nature. It is also a good idea to discover Thailand's scenic islands by boat. The Khao Sok National Park has the country's biggest jungle region, which is home to the Rafflesia - the biggest flower on earth. Besides the wonderful nature, you find interesting waterfalls, caves such as the Phraya Nakhon cave, cliffs and rocks there. It is possible to visit an elephant camp in the national park, to hike through the jungle, to sleep in safari tents and to take a boat on the rivers and the Cheow Lan Lake. A real highlight is also the Million Years Stone Park near Pattaya, which consists of gigantic gardens with many flowers, fountains, fossils and 200-year-old bonsai trees as well as a crocodile farm and a zoo. The jagged waterfalls near Chiang Mai are truly magical. The Fang hot springs are also located in this region. In around 50 places you hear bubbling, smell sulphur or see water fountains hooting from the ground. In several regions in Thailand you can see rocks protruding from the sea bizarrely and gracefully at the same time. Some of the most impressive formations lie in Phang Nga. They became world-famous through the James Bond film "The Man with the Golden Gun".
Culture - Land of contrasts - Modern city and traditional rural life
For many centuries Thailand was a kingdom consisting of several loosely connected, independent principalities under the rule of a central emperor. Only in the 20th century the national state Thailand emerged, which was repeatedly ruled by military. Despite the tsunamis in 2004 and the flood in 2011, the state developed into a functioning economic nation. The people still display the vitality and optimisms that gave Thailand the name "Land of Smiles". The country is characterised by contrasts – on the one hand it is modern but on the other it is traditional and rural. Young men put on the orange monk's cowl for three months at least once in their life and devote themselves to the Buddhismus. At the same time, Thailand's people love modern technology and communication, which you see everywhere in the mega city Bangkok.
Cultural sights - Ostentatious palaces and temple complexes
Thailand's gigantic heart throbs in the south of the country – the capital Bangkok. The metropolis, which has a population of 6 million people, is an extraordinary experience with its colourful mix of modern buildings. You get a feel for the fast life in the city during a journey on the Sky Train or on a trip through the colourful, lively quarter China Town. You learn about the inhabitants on a boat trip through the city's many canals, so-called khlongs. And not to forget: the spectacular view of Bangkok from the fully glazed viewing platform on the 77th floor of the Baiyoke Sky Hotel (307 m high). Besides this modern side, Bangkok accommodates many cultural treasures. Particularly prominent examples are the ostentatious royal palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Wat Arun Temple. Other important cultural sights in Thailand are the temple complexes Wat Chaiwatthanaram and Wat Pho. They house the oversize, lying golden Buddha. This silent giant radiates a feeling of dignity and invites visitors to pause for a moment. You come across many beautiful sights on a tour through the mountains, which leads you to a number of temples, cave shrines and villages.
Experience - Celebrating and relaxing like the Thais
Bangkok is without doubt a first rate destination for party-goers. The metropolis never sleeps. On the contrary, it seems to become alive at night and going out there is a memorable experience. That is no wonder as there are many clubs, bars, discos and dance theatres in the city which have no rival. In addition, a major part of Thailand's nightlife happens at the beaches and on the streets, where people meet and celebrate until the early morning hours. Lust for life is also an ingredient in the various Thai dishes. The Thais eat rice with almost every meal, be it as a side or in a soup. To it people have chicken, seafood and fish. Noodles, many kinds of fruit and lemon grass are also typical of Thai food. The dishes are prepared with abandon and often they are highly seasoned. One of the country's spoiling factors is the famous Thai massage, which is practised at the school in Wat Pho for example. Visitors can learn the technique there or simply enjoy a refreshing Thai massage. Those who want to go shopping during their holidays find many opportunities for it in Thailand – be it in the modern shopping centres in Bangkok like the Siam Paragon or the lively markets you can find everywhere. A tip for fans of flea markets: the Chatuchak Weekend Market Park in Bangkok with its about 9,000 stalls is the perfect place for browsing around and discovering extraordinary souvenirs.
Activities - Ideal for recreation and activities in nature
Thailand is famous for smooth, white sandy beaches which are lined by palms and border on clear, blue water. They create perfect conditions for swimming, walking and sunbathing. Lovers of water sports also get their money's worth, especially surfers and kite boarders. Thailand's rich underwater worlds with its coral reefs and colourful fish offers excellent conditions for diving. On such a diving excursion you can touch the harmless, almost tame leopard sharks. Many cliffs and rocks (for example in Krabi) promise exciting climbing tours. Bungee jumping in the jungle, which is offered by several operators, will get your adrenaline flowing. The islands in the south and the harsh regions in the north of the country are ideal for light to demanding hiking and cycling tours through the beautiful nature. To compensate for those adventurous activities you can take part in a meditation seminar, for example, as it is offered in Chiang Mai.
By plane you can reach the airport in Bangkok (BKK) - direct flights are available from Europe. And from Thailand you can use the railway line of the Eastern & Oriental Express to get to Malaysia and Singapore. Travelling by train within the country is comfortable and cheap but you can also use the well-developed road network to travel by car or motorcycle. The official language is Thai, but a number of other languages are also spoken, one of which is English.
As a holiday paradise, Thailand caters for many tastes. The country is the perfect location for recreation at the seaside and its beautiful, largely unspoiled nature offers many opportunities for being active. Lovers of culture will enjoy its palaces and unique Buddhist temples. And last but not least, Thailand - especially with its metropolis Bangkok - is a first class destination for party-goers.