Thailand: Travel/Tourist Information Guide
Thailand, officially known as the Kingdom of Thailand, is a Southeast Asian country on the coasts of Andaman Sea and Gulf of Thailand. It is bordering Myanmar to the northwest, Laos to the northeast, Cambodia to the southeast, and Malaysia to the south. It has a land area of approximately 513,000 square kilometers with a population of more than 68 million. Bangkok, Thailand's capital city, is the center of commerce and communication that is known for its ornate shrines and vibrant street lights. By history, Thailand is the only country that was never been colonized in the Southeast Asia. Nowadays, it is the most visited country in the Asian region that has a growing tourism industry. It is known for its tropical beaches, royal palaces, ancient ruins, and sacred temples displaying a great number of figures of Buddha. The country is rich in cultural and historical architectures that mirrors the ancient kingdoms and era of Thailand. It also boasts its pristine natural attractions. Thailand is a popular tourist destination because it has something for every interest and every tourist's cup of tea.
Regions of Thailand
According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the country is divided into five regions for tourism purposes. These are the North, the Northeast, the Central, the East, and the South. From the tranquil islands to the bustling cities, there are 76 provinces and one special administrative area representing the capital, Bangkok.
This region boasts a rich northern Thai culture and mountain scenery. Chiang Mai is the second largest province in Thailand and it could be spotted in this peaceful region of Thailand. Best places to visit in Chiang Mai would be the Doi Suthep, the Doi Inthanon, and the Bhubing Palace. It is also known for its Flower Festival. At the northern tip of Thailand lies Chiang Rai, famous for its scenic view, exotic hill tribes, and elephant-back riding. Lampan, the sole province of Thailand, is known for its horse-drawn carriages that are still used as mode of transportation. On the northwestern part of Thailand, bordering Myanmar lays Mae Hong Son. It is called the “Town of Three Mists” and rich in cultural and natural tourist attractions. A UNESCO World Heritage Site can be spotted in Sukhothai; it is the Si Satchanalai Historical Parks. Nam Nao National Park and Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park are situated in Petchabun. Takis mountainous province perfect for nature lovers Phitsanulok has a lot of scenic views such as Chat Trakan and Thung Salaeng Luang national parks. Khek River can also be spotted in the province.
The Northeast mainly consists of a plateau. Tourists often miss the chance to see the tourist spots in this region of Thailand because it seems to be dry and lifeless, but this region actually has numerous historical and archaeological sites. Nakhon Ratchasima is the gateway to the Northeast. Located here are the Thao Suranari Monument, Khmer-style stone shrine Prasat Hin Phimai and an over 250-year-old banyan tree. Matmi silk is a local product in Thailand that could be found in Khon Kaen. There are dinosaurs’ fossils that are on show at the Phuwiang National Park. Dinosaurs’ fossils were excavated in Kalasin. On the earternmost part of Thailand, bordering Laos and Cambodia lays Ubon Ratchathani. Aside from the beautiful temples that could be found here, the famous Pha Taem and Pha Mon sandstone cliffs can also be spotted here. The Nong Han Lake and Phu Phan National Park can be found in Sakon Nakhon. The Northeast also boasts Surin, the land of elephants, which is famous for its Elephant Round-up. The Khmer ruins can be found in Si Sa Ket, bordering Cambodia. Prasat Hin Phanom Rung, the largest Khmer-style stone temple, can be found in Buri Ram. For nature lovers, the Phu Kradueng National Park in Loei is a place to check in the Northeast. There is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in this region. It is the famous Ban Chiang Village of ancient civilization and Phu Phra Bat Historical Park with bizarre rock formations in Udon Thani. Phrathat Phanom is an ancient pagoda that can be found in Nakhon Phanom. Aside from the pagoda, it is best to visit Nakhon Phanom every October or November for its Illuminated Boat Procession Festival.
In this region lies the capital of Thailand, Bangkok. It is a busy city in the country. Despite its busy and modern ambiance, Bangkok is still rich with cultural tourist spots. It is a combination of old and new tourist attractions. Ayutthaya is one of the most visited places in the central and is known as a historical site. It boasts the World Heritage Historic City of Ayutthaya and associated Historic Towns. Other recommended places to visit in Ayutthaya are Bang Pa-in Palace, and Bang Sai Folk Arts and Crafts Centre. The largest crocodile farm in the world is also located here in the central. It is situated in Samut Prakan. The Samut Songkhram features King Rama II Memorial Park and Amphawa Floating Market. There are other places in the central to visit like the Death Railway and the Bridge over the River Kwai, which are located at the Kanchanaburi, the Buddha’s footprint in Saraburi, and the remains of King Narai's palaces and the sunflower fields in Lop Buri. Nakhon Pathom is the place where the tallest Buddha pagoda in the world is situated.
The most visited place in the east coast is the Pattaya. It is famous for the beaches with fine sands like Bang Saen and Ko Sichang. Chanthaburi features gemstones, fruits, and Chanthabun mats. Other places to visit in the eastern part of Thailand are the Samet Island in Rayong, the Ko Chang Marine National Park in Trat, and the Hin Phoeng Rapids in Prachin Buri.
Andaman Sea coast, beautiful underwater world, and offshore islands comprise the southern region of the country. Phuket is the biggest island in Thailand and one of the best seaside resorts of the world. There are other fascinating places to visit in the south such as Ko Samui; a fairly big island with popular and commercialized beaches, the hot mineral springs in Ranong, the Phatthalung in the ancient Sri Vijaya Kingdom, a cruise in Songkhla Lake, the low priced imported goods in Hat Yai, the Talumpuk Cape, and the Hat Khanom-Mu Ko Thaletai National Park in Nakhon Si Thammarat. Ko Pha Ngan is an island known for its monthly Full Moon Party. Diving is well enjoyed in Krabi. It features Ao Nang, a resort town with a long Andaman coast beachfront and access to dive sites. Another place for diving and enjoying the nature is the Ko Tao, literally known as the Turtle Island.
Domestic and international airports are all over Thailand, making it more accessible for travelling to Thailand and exploring every province across Thailand. The international airports are Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket, and Hat Yai. Buses, air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned, are also available from province to province. There are three long distance terminals in Thailand: North and Northeastern Bus Terminal, Eastern Bus Terminal, and Southern Bus Terminal. Train services are also available throughout the country. Most trains originate from the Bangkok's Hualamphong Station. Car rentals and local transports are also available. Local transport includes taxi, samlor, and songthaew.