Once known as Siam, Thailand’s influences originate in India and China. Today a country of scenic diversity and ancient traditions, Thailand offers something for everyone. From the hills in the north of the country to the beautiful coastline of the south, Thailand will temp you back time and again. Located in the heart of South East Asia, Thailand is bordered by Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam and is part of the territory referred to as Indochina. Covering an area of approximately 514,000 square kilometres and located just 15 degrees north of the equator Thailand enjoys a mostly tropical climate.
Located in Bangkok, the grounds are a maze of royal halls, temples, and ancient relics, the most important being Wat Phra Kaeo, Temple of the Emerald Buddha. A relic within this temple is said to be a piece of bone or hair from the enlightened Buddha himself. Allow several hours to do the Grand Palace justice
Northern Thailand, particularly the western region near the Burmese border, is marked by mountainous jungle terrain that is both rugged and beautiful. Pai, in Mae Hong Son province, is a perfect place from which to enjoy the country’s natural beauty as well as the famed Thai hospitality and cooking.There is a small nightly walking street market, a variety of local and Western foods, and easy access to nearby temples, waterfalls, and the impressive Pai canyon. There is an air of cheerfulness and relaxation as you walk through the tiny town center, and it is this vibe that continues to draw crowds season after season.
Elephants are revered in Thailand, and statues and paintings of them can be seen everywhere you go, perhaps more exciting is the chance to see them in their natural environment, and Khao Yai National Park provides a great opportunity to do just that. You’ll see elephants roaming near waterfalls, exotic birds of prey, monkeys, and plenty of other tropical creatures that call the park home.
Ayutthaya presents a glimpse into the glory of ancient Thailand, where visitors can wander the romantic ruins of the former capital. After the Sukhothai period, the city was the most important in Thailand, and the old palaces and temples stand as a testament to this. There are also several foreign settlements, where you can gain a greater understanding of the influence other countries had in Thailand at the time. Ayutthaya is located only a short bus trip or train ride from Bangkok, making it convenient for a day trip.
A visit to one of the floating markets is a fun way to do some shopping and eating while supporting local vendors and observing local commerce in action. You’ll need to get up early to visit a floating market, as vendors are out in their long wooden boats first thing in the morning with their goods, fresh fruits, vegetables, spices, and tasty dishes. There are several floating markets near Bangkok, Amphawa and Damnoen Saduak being among the most popular. You can go it alone or join a guided tour, which can include visits to local houses and shops.
The official language of Thailand is Thai whilst English is widely spoken throughout the country. In different areas of Thailand different dialects are also spoken with over 70 different recognised dialects spoken throughout Thailand.
The local currency in Thailand is the Thai Bhat (THB). ATM’s are widely found through out Thailand and debit / credit cards are widely accepted.
Australian passport holders are allowed to enter Thailand without a visa for up to 30 days as long as they have a passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry into Thailand and a confirmed return or onward air ticket.
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