This post was produced in partnership with Thailand Visa.
With coronavirus confining just about everyone indoors, the world is practicing social distancing. But while you cannot leave your home, you can visit to the world’s best destinations virtually. Consider it a head start on your future travel plans.
Start your armchair globetrotting with a tour around Thailand — a country that’s a visual treat for every traveler. Once you’ve compiled your bucket list itinerary and are ready to book your ticket, check here for all the information you’ll need to travel to this magical land.
Thailand is popular for its beautiful beaches, exquisite cuisine, and fascinating culture. Bangkok is its most famous city for good reason, starting with key sites that will fill you with wonder.
The Floating Markets
The markets located on the outskirts of the city are a spectacle to behold — a flotilla of small, merchant-owned boats loaded with fresh produce, colorful fruits, and local delicacies. These days, they are mainly set up for visitors, which makes them an ideal place for Instagram photos and keepsake souvenirs.
An absolutely must for history buffs, the palace is as vast and grand as the name suggests, with magnificent structures reminiscent of ages past. A highlight here is the most revered Buddhist temple in Thailand, Wat Phra Kaeo. Built in 1782, it is also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha for the stunning, 15th-century Emerald Buddha statue it contains. (Visitors to the temple should wear appropriate clothing and cover up.)
Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand is a feast for the eyes. The city sits amid mountains, with tropical rainforests everywhere you look and hills that are perfect for trekking. Among the most striking and renowned of the many Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai are Doi Suthep, Wat Phra Singh, and Phra That Doi Suthep.
Not far from Chiang Mai is the stunning Doi Inthanon National Park in the Himalayan mountain range, home to the country's highest mountain, Doi Inthanon, as well as lovely remote villages.
Also just outside the city are hill tribes, such as the Karen and Meo Hill, that have fascinating history, culture, and lifestyle. Souvenir alert: The local crafters here do beautiful, handcrafted work in celadon pottery, lacquerware, and silk.
Pai in Northern Thailand, was once a laid-back village, where life proceeded quietly without much ado. Then tourists discovered how breathtakingly gorgeous this destination was, and the visitors started streaming in.
They come for the beautiful valleys with a relaxed ambiance that lulls you to sleep. They come for the stunning landscape, for the village itself, nestled in the mountains. They come to go trekking — and simply to lie on the beach and bask in the sun.
Other experiences in Pai include visiting hill tribes, gazing at beautiful waterfalls, visiting elephant camps, soaking in hot springs, and going on whitewater adventures.
Khao Sok National Park
Thailand is not short on beautiful places to see and sigh over. Khao Sok National Park in the Surat Thani province in southern Thailand is among the country’s most stunning wildlife reserves, encompassing lakes and rivers, jungle forests, beautiful waterfalls, and limestone karsts. The wildlife is just as impressive and varied. On a trek through the forest you’ll hear sounds of bears, Malayan tapirs, Asian elephants, wild boar, barking deer, and so many monkeys (langurs, gibbons, and pig-tailed macaques, to name but a few).
The sceneries around Kanchanaburi in the western part of Thailand are some of the grandest in the world, with magnificent national parks like Srinakarind and Erawan, home to resplendent waterfalls and curious caves.
Remember The Bridge on the River Kwai? The novel and the movie are set here, and tell of the bridge that Allied POWs and Asian laborers were forced to build during World War II, when the area was under Japanese control. River Kwai is also known for its links to the infamous Death Railway that traveled to Burma carrying those laborers and POWs, many of whom died en route. The history of the railway and the era are explored in detail at JEATH (Japanese-English-American-Australian-Thai-Holland) War Museum, which opened in 1977.
Visitors love Thailand in no small part for the many islands off the coast, which are hailed for their elegant beaches, beautiful landscapes, and party life.
Among the best-known islands are Ko Samet and Ko Chang, located southeast of Bangkok in the Gulf Sea; Ko Phang Ngan and Ko Tao, across the Gulf on the western side; and Ko Phi Phi and Phuket on the other side of the country in the Andaman Sea.
The largest island, Phuket, connects to the mainland via two bridges. If the scenery you saw in the movie The Beach filled you with wanderlust, add Ko Phi Phi to your bucket list. If you’re a diver, add Ko Tao: It’s a scuba paradise.
Koh Samui may be the ultimate destination for beach bums for its endless spread of beaches shrouded in palm trees. Not too far away are beautiful rainforests surrounded by mountains. If paradise were a picture, Koh Samui would be it.
When you finish sunbathing and sinking your feet into the sand, make your way to Ang Thong National Marine Park. It covers 42 islands and is home to many exotic species. Not to mention the temples to explore and the Towering Big Buddha to astound you.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
Now that you’ve made your list, get ready to go. Check here for all the information you’ll need for your visa.