With beautiful beaches, spectacular mountains, the bustling capital of Bangkok and wonderful wildlife aplenty, Thailand is a country full of diversity. How you explore Thailand depends on where you visit, so here are our tips for the best ways to see this ever-popular South East Asian country.
Base yourself beach-side
Thailand boasts endless tropical coastlines, warm crystal-clear waters and white sandy beaches, so it’s no wonder boats are a common way of getting around Thailand.
How you go about exploring the islands depends on what you’re after. If it’s a party you're after, head to the Phi Phi Islands where you’ll find beachfront bars and bustling nightlife. Have a cocktail at one of the countless bars and watch fire jugglers at Carpe Diem Beach Bar, Tonsai Bay.
If you’re looking for a mellower island experience, try Ko Lanta between the Phi Phi islands and mainland Thailand. Famous for its spectacular long beaches, snorkelling, elephant trekking and waterfront restaurants, Ko Lanta is perfect for a more relaxed holiday vibe.
If scuba diving is your thing, Kao Tao is one of the most inexpensive places to learn. Along with the Surin Islands and Similan Islands, Kao Tao offers some of the best diving in Thailand.
Reach new heights on a hike
If you'd rather swap the sand for secluded forest, head to Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand and experience its beautiful, undulating mountains.
The best way to get to Chiang Mai is to take the overnight train from Bangkok – it’s a great way to see the changing countryside along the way. Your Flight Centre travel agent can help you book train tickets, as well eye-opening tours that can take you up into the hills and meet local tribes still living traditional Thai village life.
Another fascinating hike that is less visited by tourists is to the ancient Lamphun and Lampang provinces, close to Chiang Mai. Explore the trails of Doi Khun Tan National Park and see fascinating architecture that has been influenced by the mix of Thai, Burmese and Laotian culture.
Great trekking options aren’t restricted to the north, however. Located in the south of Thailand, Khao Sok National Park is home to fascinating caves, jungles, lakes and valleys and is definitely worth exploring.
Centre in on the capital's charms
It goes without saying, there are plenty of ways to explore the fast-paced capital of Bangkok – tuk-tuks, bikes, buses, day tours and even by foot. The glittering city has a riveting pace and is home to wonderful temples, palaces, markets, shops and non-stop nightlife.
Explore the alleys of Chinatown’s bazaars or head to the iconic Chao Phraya River, which has seen Bangkok nicknamed the 'Venice of the East'. Get amongst the bustling shopping scene at the waterfront River City Shopping Complex – a hot spot for antiques and collectibles – and enjoy the views over Chao Phraya from the four-storey building.
Perhaps the main must-do in Bangkok is a visit to the Damnern Saduak Floating Market. Take a long-tail boat out to these fascinating water-top markets and purchase fresh food from hundreds of canoes filled with produce, meats and local treats.