Koh Samui tropical forested region, palm-lined beaches, aquamarine waters and some secluded beaches, have turned it into a key tourist destination. Kayaking scuba diving, golfing and yoga keep tourists occupied. Koh Chang, the ‘elephant’ island has forests and is rich in wildlife, especially elephants, besides several beaches and many undisturbed isles. where people love to go trekking deep into the jungles, camping, diving and snorkeling. With no less than 50 offshore isles, Koh Chang boasts of the finest red gems, sweet Rakam fruits, indigenous dogs, the historic Koh Chang Naval engagement, and is the eastern-most province in Thailand.
Accommodation along the beach and on the streets leading away from the sea range from simple guesthouses to luxury resorts, including some of the finest spa-retreats in the world Chiang Mai, or ‘new city’ is a spectacular blend of magnificent mountains, gurgling waterfalls, fast-flowing rivers, unique monuments and an ideal base for river rafting or trekking into the hinterland to meet the tribal. Its ancient temples stand alongside modern hotels and stores, an engaging fusion of its past with the present. Thailand’s ‘Rose of the North’ as it is popularly called, is a cultural and natural wonderland with ethnic diversity, a multitude of attractions, and welcoming hospitality for offering trekking, rafting, and beautiful and historic temples. Intriguing diversity among ethnic tribes, a number of elephant camps, cooking and massage schools, numerous outdoor activities, a variety of handicrafts workshops, various cultural performances and breath-taking scenery make this retreat, one of Asia’s most attractive tourist destinations.
The remotest of the Northern provinces, lying west of Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son is the ideal destination for those who love wild hill country and who seek the thrill of sweeping valley vistas.Cradled in mist-shrouded forested mountains on the border with Myanmar, this town is one of the most enchanting settlements that is both readily accessible and enticingly remote! Sights include a lively morning market and a handful of temples with multi-tiered roofs typical of Burmese religious architecture. Beyond this town, journeys of discovery and adventure lead you into breathtaking mountain scenery dotted with the villages of Karen, Meo, Lisu, and Lahu hilltribes. Alternatively, the little town of Pai provides a tranquil escape amid stunning scenery!
Chiang Rai is Thailand’s northernmost province, a region of rugged mountains and fertile valleys, where this relaxed provincial capital offers excellent accommodation to serve as the perfect centre for exploring the Far North. Two high forested peaks, Doi Mae Salong and Doi Tung, are located just a few kilometres north of the town and both afford easy access into quite spectacular hill country. Of the two, Doi Mai Salong presents the wilder scene, while Doi Tung has been extensively and well developed as part of a royal project conducted under the auspices of the late Princess Mother. North-east of Chiang Rai is Chiang Saen, on the banks of the Mekong River. The site of an ancient and once powerful settlement, it is full of historical interest as well as being the nearest town to the famous `Golden Triangle’, the confluence of the Mekong and Ruak Rivers form the border between Thailand, Myanmar and Lao PDR.
Though Thai is the official language, English is understood. Many festivals are celebrated here, of which two are reminiscent of India, Songkran that ushers in the Thai New Year, when people pour perfumed water on Buddha’s statue and, just like in Holi, sprinkle water on each other, whereas Loy Krathong has the entire populace down by the river, when small boats containing tiny candles, incense, flowers and coins are set afloat, just like the arti performed at rivers in India.
There is also an annual popular long-tailed boat competition, held traditionally between the last week of September and the first week of October. Another festival featuring beautiful and fancy rockets, the Yasothon Bun Bangfai or ‘Rocket Festival’, has a competition with rockets sent soaring high into the sky, also drawing thousands.
The local climate is tropical and characterized by monsoons. There is a rainy, warm, and cloudy southwest monsoon from mid-May to September, as well as a dry, cool northeast monsoon from November to mid-March and July-October happen to be the wettest and coolest months, when you can’t indulge in water sports. The southern isthmus is always hot and humid.
International cuisine caters to the needs of travelers who come from far and wide. There’s also a smattering of Indian restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs, and roadside stalls with delicious snacks. Innumerable shops, upscale boutiques, and street markets sell all kinds of merchandise. Spa treatments are available. Shop all you like but remember that you can get VAT refunds in Bangkok, so keep your shopping receipts intact.
Thai people are known for their generosity and hospitality. With a tropical climate, the best time to go for a Thailand Tour is November-March and July-August, and especially November-February, though April-June and September-October offer discounted room rates while July-October are the wettest and coolest months, with a lush landscape at that time.