A Slice of Thai Culture

Mountains, beaches and nature aside, ancient temples, magnificent palaces, stunning craftsmanship, mouth-watering food and a laid-back rhythm are some of the factors that make Thailand such an enriching experience for visitors. Visit San Kampaeng and Bosang, handicraft villages in Chiang Mai, for a closer look at the intricate work that goes into producing Thailand’s gorgeous silks, lacquer ware, silver jewellery, carved woodwork and umbrellas. The beautiful hand-painted umbrellas made of Sa paper produced from the bark of mulberry trees is a regional speciality. Celadon ceramic ware is another delicate craft unique to this area. Take a masterclass at the world-famous Baipai Thai Cooking School and learn how to whip up your favourite fragrant and spicy Thai curry in the comfort of your own kitchen. Attend a dazzling cabaret performance or Chinese opera. Visit a floating market or an early morning flower market for a break from the usual shopping for souvenirs. This is a journey that is sure to stay with you forever.

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Bangkok Days

While Thailand is a country with rich natural beauty, history and cultural heritage, its capital Bangkok is a revelation to first-time visitors. You could plan a vacation to Bangkok only and still have trouble managing your itinerary. This vibrant metropolis is a fascinating study in contrasts, with swanky air-conditioned malls built near the traditional houses on stilts by the Chao Praya River, Buddhist temples with practising monks near the glass-and-steel corporate offices of massive conglomerates and local roadside eateries competing with fine dining establishments serving food from around the world. Visit the ornate Wat Pho for the largest reclining Buddha statue in the city. Tour the golden-spired Wat PhraKaew that houses the legendary Emerald Buddha and the adjoining lavish Grand Palace, the former royal residence. Spend a day at Chatuchak Weekend Market, digging through its seemingly infinite treasures including clothing, chunky jewellery, antiques, masks, local musical instruments, bowls, flatware and some of the most exciting food in the city! Make a day trip to the medieval capital of Ayutthaya on the outskirts of Bangkok. Treat yourself to a Thai massage. Sail along the Chao Praya River and lose your way in Chinatown. Bangkok is the quintessential holiday destination.

Adventures in the Mountainous North

The mountainous region in the north of Thailand is ripe for adventure, full of sites of historical importance and opportunities to test your physical limits. Sail along the Mekong River and begin with the Golden Triangle, the meeting point of the borders between Thailand, Laos and Myanmar.Explore the quaint cities of Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai. Trek up the steep incline of Doi Tung and the characteristic limestone sides of Doi Chiang Dao. Visit villages in the area where the traditional ways of life are preserved by the tribesfolk, such as the Nor Lae village inhabited by the Palong tribe. Learn about livelihoods, crafts and beliefs in each village, including embroidery and batik techniques, local legends and customs. Go tea-picking on hidden plantations here and enjoy a fresh cuppa as the fruit of your labour. Enjoy a session of river rafting off the HuaySadharn Waterfall and a hike through the stunning KaenKrachang National Park. ProVacation has routes and activities to suit every level of expertise and ability.

Beach Retreats in the South

Let the sun, sand and saltwater drain your fatigue at some of the best beaches in the region.Koh Samui, Phuket, Pattaya and Patong are just a few of the well-known names but Thailand is home to dozens of beautiful seaside towns and islands with tropical forest-fringed white sands, clear turquoise waters, coral reefs with flocks of colourful marine life and lazy breezes. Relax in a floating bungalow on Cheow Lan Lake, and trudge through the nearby Khao Sok National Park for a glimpse of the majestic Asian elephant. Make a day trip to Coral Island or Koh Hae and go snorkelling among the surrounding reefs and underwater life. Sail on Phang Nga Bay under the stars and participate in an exciting sea-kayaking experience in Angthong National Park. Take a cruise to Koh Phi Phi and explore the town of Krabi. Relish the freshest of Thai seafood preparations and spa retreats to satiate your body. Life is brighter here—the flavours, the landscape, the colours and your mood.

A Festive Spirit

Plan your trip around one of Thailand’s many festivals for a truly unique vacation and give partying a whole new meaning in your dictionary.The Thai New Year in April is celebrated with a festival known as Songkran, over 3 days. The defining characteristic of this festival is the humungous country-wide water fight. No corner, street or square is safe. Water pistols, buckets, water balloons, hose pipes—everything is fair game and a formidable weapon in the hands of experienced citizens. This exuberant festival is a relief from the scorching heat of April and pure, unadulterated fun. The Yi Peng Festival is a grand lantern festival held on the full moon of the 12th lunar month (usually in mid-November), in Chiang Mai. Thousands of lit lanterns are released into the night sky, often accompanied by lighting oil lamps, candles and firecrackers, traditional dancing and lavish meals. The released lantern symbolises letting go of the ills of the past and embracing good fortune in the New Year. The first day of the Chinese lunar calendar (around February) brings a spectacular celebration in Bangkok’s Chinatown, Yaowaraj. The streets come alive with crowds dressed in red, firecrackers, dragon dancers, paper lanterns and posters, delicious feasts, parades and music. Though not a national holiday, the joy of the revellers is infectious. No one parties quite like Thailand.