Thailand

Known as the Land of Smiles, this Southeast Asian hot spot is famous for its exotic beaches, dramatic limestone karsts, deliciously spicy food and friendly locals.

Discover sights and smells that stimulate the senses around every corner in Thailand. Visit shining temples, marvel at ornate Buddha statues, shop at lively street markets and whizz through the streets in a tuk-tuk. While you are at it, make friends with the locals; the Thai people are considered to be some of the most welcoming in the world.

Island-hop around the Thai peninsula and find beaches with gorgeous white sand, turquoise water and a dramatic backdrop of limestone karsts. In Bangkok, the charismatic capital of the country, marvel at the golden-peaked Grand Palace temple complex. Although no longer a royal residence, the palace is still used for ceremonial purposes and its stunning architecture makes it a must-see.

Equally as impressive and grand is Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), also in Bangkok. View the famous Emerald Buddha, which is, contrary to its name, actually made from jade.

Hike, camp and spot wildlife at the Kbao Yai National Park, just 3 hours from Bangkok. A lush park filled with waterfalls, rainforest and mountains, Khao Yai offers a slice of nature and serenity in central Thailand.

On the coast of the city of Pattaya is another of Thailand’s other standout attractions: the Sanctuary of Truth, a remarkable temple constructed completely out of wood. At night, the wooden carvings are illuminated by spotlights.

Head to the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai in the north of the country, for a complete change of pace. Bathe and feed the elephants, all of whom have been rescued from captivity and rehabilitated.

Immerse yourself in the fun of Songkran, Thailand’s 3-day water festival held during April. Or head to Chiang Mai during February to witness the beautiful spectacle that is the Chiang Mai Flower Festival.

Fly into Bangkok’s main international airport, Suvarnabhumi Airport, and take the scenic train to Chiang Mai or Surat Thani. Buses between towns are inexpensive and frequent. Alternatively, rent a motorcycle to explore the countryside for yourself.

Whether you crave the excitement of a city break or a relaxing beach escape, Thailand can deliver.