Thailand offers an intoxicating blend of pristine beaches, vibrant cities and jaw-dropping natural landscapes. To see the best of this extraordinary country in just two weeks is certainly a challenge, but this itinerary I put together should help you plan a fortnight to remember.
Days one to four: Bangkok
Bangkok is an exciting city which never seems to sleep. It’s steeped in history and tradition, but also happy to embrace its thriving hedonistic culture. For the shopaholics amongst you, you’re in the right place to indulge yourself. Bangkok is full of malls, speciality shops and market stalls. Take the vast Emporium Mall in the Phrom Phong district as an example, which boasts a huge range of luxury goods of all descriptions. At the other end of the scale, you’ll also have the chance to explore some of the buzzing street markets spread around the city.
Buddhist history and culture play a big part in the Bangkok experience and the city abounds with temples and pilgrimage sites. One of the highlights is the Wat Traimit in Chinatown. With a giant golden Buddha standing front and centre, it’s certainly an extraordinary place to visit.
Day five: a poignant reminder
The JEATH War Museum, the War Cemetery and the Thailand Burma-Railway Centre, all at Kanchanaburi, provide a poignant reminder of the darkest days of World War Two when allied prisoners of war and local labourers were forced to build the Thai-Burma Railway. The exhibitions tell of the horror but also manage to capture the moments when the best of human nature shone through.
Days six to eight: parks and elephants
In complete contrast to the manic but fun Bangkok, Thailand has a host of national parks to visit. It might just be the most rewarding time you will have in the country.
Khao Sok National Park is just a two hour drive from Krabi, which is full of great places to stay nearby. Set in evergreen forest and mountain territory it’s home to hundreds of species of birds, mammals and reptiles. Ranger led tours, which last from 1-5 days, are the best way of exploring.
Thailand’s Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in the northern part of the country is a sustainable eco-tourism project designed to rescue endangered animals, leaving them free to live happily in the sanctuary. Not only will you see these magnificent creatures, but you get the chance to do so up close. Did you ever imagine you would have the opportunity to bathe in the river with an elephant and scrub its back? Well here you can.
Day nine: impressive history
Sukhothai Historical Park in northern Thailand is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the country’s first capital city. With the remains of temples, a royal palace and ancient Buddha figures to discover, the site is certainly impressive. There’s even more to take in within a five kilometre radius, so it’s a journey worth making.
Days ten to fourteen: beaches
To round off your holiday, head for the beach. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting the best resort to visit – some lie on the Andaman coast while others face the Gulf of Thailand.
Phuket has many beaches, making it a popular tourist destination in Thailand. Take Bang Tao, for example, which has long, luscious beaches and plenty of watersports on offer. Add the open-air bars and restaurants and you have everything you need for a short stay. You might also consider Mai Khao, another Phuket beach. It’s a bit harder to get to so it’s that little bit quieter. There isn’t a lot in the way of things to do or on-site activities, so chilling out is definitely the name of the game – a welcome end to your stay.
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