The jewel of Southeast Asia, Thailand is a warm coastal country with stunning beaches, delicious cuisine, and an interesting local culture. With miles and miles of white sand beaches and calm turquoise water, most tourists choose Thailand for its inexpensive and beautiful coastal destinations. On the Thai coast, you can relax on the beach with a coconut drink, rent a kayak to explore the bays, or sign up to get your scuba diving certification.
If you are interested in learning more about Thailand's rich cultural traditions, head from the coast into the tropical northern region. Here, you can visit small villages and Buddhist temples, observe the country's interesting religious festivals, and shop in local markets brimming with cooking spices and produce. Eco-tourism is also popular in the tropical north, where tourists take elephant rides or go rafting in bamboo canoes down rushing rivers. The lush tropical ecosystems will introduce you to a range of colorful flora and exotic animals.
No matter where you travel, dining is a highlight of the Thai experience. Thailand's cuisine takes full advantage of the country's tropical fruits and vegetables. Sticky rice, coconut milk curries, pan-fried noodles, and seasoned seafood are served throughout the country. Some of the most traditional food can be found on the street corners and casual beach stands, though Thailand is also replete with elegant restaurants and bars serving new takes on Thai cuisine.
Here are some of Thailand's most popular destinations:
-Bangkok: Thailand's massive capital city is a bustling cultural center and a wonderful place to see Buddhist art and temples.
-Chiang Mai: Take an elephant ride during your visit to this tropical mountain town, home to an expatriate artist community.
-Ko Tao: One of Thailand's coastal islands, Ko Tao is a destination for scuba divers and beach-goers alike.
-Hua Hin: A luxury beach town with a soft sandy shore, Hua Hin feels far from the touristy bustle of Thailand's most famous strips of coastline.
-Phuket: The island of Phuket is home to many little beach towns, including the famous Patong Beach, known for its shopping and nightlife.
-Ayutthaya: Get a glimpse of Thailand's past splendor in this historic city, once the capital of the country and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Make the most of your time in Thailand by staying in a vacation rental rather than a hotel. A seaside villa or tropical beach house on one of Thailand's famous islands can feel like your own private slice of paradise. In the cities of Bangkok or Chiang Mai, many visitors like to rent a condo or apartment in the city center. No matter where you go, there is a rental that can meet your every need!