The Land of Smiles

Who would not want to visit a place know as “the land of smiles?” Thailand has all the qualities daydreams are made of. Holidays to Thailand are becoming more and more popular all the time. For many of us, the exchange rate works in our favor. This is always a bonus when travelling abroad anywhere. The food is fresh and delicious and the landscape varied. The fact that visitors are greeted by smiling locals adds to the overall charm of this wondrous country.

Head north for a taste of the mountainous jungle. See Asian elephants in a natural habitat. Visit the hill tribe villages where traditional lifestyles have not changed much over hundreds of years. Cheng Mai and its quieter neighbor Cheng Rai are good places from which to explore northern Thailand. Before or after trekking to the more remote areas of the north, take some time to explore these cities as they have a good mix of modern and ancient marvels.

Travellers who want to delight in a heavenly beach paradise often plan their Holidays to Phuket. Thailand’s largest island, Phuket is a good base from which to explore the south. The picture perfect scenes you envision of Thailand with long tail boats bobbing on crystal blue water and masseuses roaming the beach can be found in and around Phuket. From this island, I recommend exploring the mangrove-lined shores by boat whether it’s a canoe, traditional long tail, kayak, sailboat or speed boat. You must see the magnificent limestone formations rising from the Andaman Sea in Phang Nga Bay. For a different point of view, try to catch a glimpse out the windows if you are lucky enough to fly into the area on a sunny day as I did. Be forewarned. It is nearly impossible to capture the magnificence of the area on camera.

If time allows, try to visit Thailand from top to bottom. The country offers such diversity. There are dense jungles and crystal seas. A visit to Thailand would not be complete without sampling the deliciously fresh food. Like the landscape, Thai food varies quite a bit depending on the region you visit. The aromatic jasmine rice is grown on the central plains, while coconut milk, tropical fruits and seafood are common in the south. In the more isolated northern region of Thailand, meat is consumed more while fish, coconut milk and sweet fruits are much less common or nonexistent. Of course there is also Bangkok in the middle with an incredibly diverse range of options and styles of gastronomic presentation.

The land of smiles will most certainly have visitors from all walks of life leaving with big smiles as they plan their return trip to Thailand.

Note: This article was written for Qantas Holidays

IMAGE VIA: jurvetson