Northern Insight Meditation Centre
Thailand is a serene and thought-provoking place to do some
meditation. This centre offers an intensive month-long course and
there are strict rules to be observed. The beautiful leafy setting in
Chiang Mai is ideal, but there are similar places all over the
country; make enquiries at local temples.
Thailand's highest limestone mountain can be found here amidst a
jungle oasis with an excellent selection of local accommodation. A
mystical warren of caves extending some 14km (8.7 miles) can be
explored, and riding a bicycle is a relaxing way to explore the area
around Chiang Dao.
Chiang Mai - Old City
The temple-studded old city of Chiang Mai with its leafy residential
sois, towering city gates and crumbling walls is a highlight of the
north. Exploration is best by bicycle with traffic surprisingly
subdued in the city walls and there are plenty of places to stop for
refreshment when escaping the heat of the day.
Escape to the cooling heights of Thailand's highest peak, where jungle
walks, bird watching and simply shaking the heat of the simmering
plains from your back awaits. There are good roads in the park making
it easy to get around and waterfalls to splash about in.
Elephant Nature Park
Visiting an elephant sanctuary can be a wonderful experience
especially if you stick to those, like this nature park, which
genuinely care for the animals instead of just making them do
ridiculous antics. Visitors can help wash and care for the elephants
here and no riding is allowed.
JEATH War Museum
The moving JEATH War Museum (JEATH representing the first letter of
Japan, England, America, Australia, Thailand and Holland, the
countries who lost soldiers in the region) is located in the
provincial capital, Kanchanaburi and features photographs and various
other memorabilia from World War II.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
One of northern Thailand's most sacred temples, Wat Suthep is perched
high in the mountains overlooking the steamy metropolis of Chiang Mai
below. As well as offering astounding views the temple, established in
the 14th century, has a wonderful collection on Lanna Art and
Bangkok's Siam Ocean World
Dive with the sharks in the aquarium at Bangkok's Siam Ocean World,
and live to tell the tale. There's a daily feeding of sharks and
penguins and the deep reef zone is a fascinating glimpse into a
magical underwater world.
Bridge Over The River Kwai
Internationally famous due to the 1957 film The Bridge Over the River
Kwai, it was constructed as part of the Japanese Siam-Burma 'Death'
Railway during World War II. An estimated 16,000 Allied prisoners of
war died, forced to endure back-breaking work under terrible
conditions to complete the railway, and large numbers of troops
perished during bombing raids on the iron structure by the Allies in
Calypso Cabaret, Bangkok
Be entertained by the infamous 'lady boys' or katoeys of Bangkok at
the outrageous Calypso Cabaret at the Asia Hotel (www.calypsocabaret.com).
The costuming and antics of the various participants are equally
outrageous and this is one of the capital's great experiences.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Located 80km (50 miles) southwest of Bangkok, Damnoen Saduak Floating
Market is a daily riot of colour and noise. Farmers and smallholders
from the surrounding hills turn up each morning to sell and exchange
fruit and vegetables from their heavily-laden barges, as they sail up
and down the canals amongst the orchards and vineyards. Trading starts
early, at around 0600 and lasts only until 1100, with the main clients
being other farmers and the residents of the stilt-houses that line
the canals. Visitors can also take boat trips to see the way of life
in the many villages up river.
Grand Palace, Bangkok
Marvel at Bangkok's glittering Grand Palace (www.palaces.thai.net/gp)
and Wat Phra Kaeo - a temple complex housing the Emerald Buddha.
Upriver are the Royal Barges (www.thailandmuseum.com), ornate barges
used for special processions on the Chao Phraya river.
Admire the skills of the kite fighters. Opposing teams fly male Chula
and female Pakpao kites in a surrogate battle of the sexes.
Learn traditional massage
Learn traditional massage and the healing properties of herbal
medicine at ancient Wat Pho (www.watpho.com), ‘Temple of the Reclining
Buddha’. Tourists must be in polite dress, shorts are not permitted.
Oriental Hotel, Bangkok
Have afternoon tea at the Oriental Hotel (www.mandarinoriental.com) in
Bangkok, one of the most famous hotels in the world. Once the haunt of
the likes of Somerset Maughan and Joseph Conrad, it is now frequented
by royalty and celebrities.
Phang Nga Bay
Phang Nga Bay is one of the world's great scenic wonders. It covers an
area of 400 sq km (154 sq miles) and consists of verdant limestone
islands, some of which reach 300m (984ft) high. The area is famous for
its caves and aquatic grottoes. Apart from the occasional village, few
of the islands are densely populated.
The most famous of the islands in the bay are Ko Ping Kan (more
commonly known as James Bond Island) and Koh Pannyi. The former
featured in the James Bond movie 'The Man with the Golden Gun', whilst
the latter, which literally means 'Sea Gypsy Island', is a village
built out over the water on stilts, guarded by a giant rock monolith.
The area suffered badly during the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004, but has
Siam Nirami, Bangkok
Be wowed by the spectacular cultural production of a Journey to the
Enchanted Kingdom of Thailand with hundreds of performers and special
effects at Siam Niramit in central Bangkok (www.siamniramit.com).
Join a wine-tasting tour at the Siam Winery near Bangkok (www.siamwinery.com).
Take a meditation class
Cast off all cares through traditional meditation. Thailand has dozens
of temples and meditation centres specialising in vipassana (insight)
meditation. Attend a class for just one day or a retreat lasting
several weeks. Get to know northern Thailand better, particularly the
remote provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son by
trekking, riding an elephant or rafting through this spectacular
Try Thai cooking at one of many cookery schools. Learn how to blend
the many herbs and spices that provide the unique flavours of Thai
Thai kick-boxing match
Take in a muay thai (Thai kick-boxing) match; this traditional sport
can be seen every day of the year at the major stadiums in both
Bangkok and the provinces. Thai boxing matches are preceded by
elaborate ceremonies and accompanied by lively music.
things to see and do
Shopping and nightlife
Food and Drink
Mai Travel Guide
Lipe Travel Guide
Phi Phi Travel Guide
Phangan Travel Guide
History, Language and Culture
Weather, climate and geography
Visa and Passport Requirements
Thailand Satellite View & Map
Thailand Visa Information
3 Destinations in 1 Ticket