Thailand Holiday Destinations
Bangkok was established as Thailand's capital in 1782. Over the next two centuries, it developed in many ways reflecting the modern liveliness; however, its ancient glories were well maintained, especially in the old areas around the Grand Palace. Today, Bangkok has become the principal gateway and prime tourist attraction for both domestic and international travellers.
Bangkok occupies a total area of 1,568 square kilometres on a flat alluvial plain divided by the Chao Phraya River. Composed of about 50 districts (Khets), it is home to one-tenth of the country's population. Thon Buri, a former capital, is now a district under the administration of the Bangkok Metropolis.
This city landmark should be the first place of any visitor's itinerary. It is a huge compound on Na Phra Lan Road consisting of several buildings with highly decorated architectural designs. Wat Phra Kaeo in the same compound enshrines the Emerald Buddha image, most revered by the Thai people.
An internationally well-known seaside resort, Pattaya is a vibrant city night and day. Its population is a colourful compilation of mixed nationalities from near and far. Vast ranges of tourism-related activities await the pleasure of visitors, from relaxing on the beach, actively taking part in land and sea-based sports to visiting the scores of attractions in and around Pattaya.
The half-moon-shaped Pattaya Beach is about 4 kilometres long with a road running parallel to the beach. From the mid-section to the southern end of the beach are a vast array of restaurants, bars, department stores, souvenir stores, as well as other places of entertainment. To the north of the beach are various mini-resorts and hotels in a quieter atmosphere.
Phuket is Thailand's largest island with an area of 543 square kilometres and nestles against the Andaman Sea coast 862 kilometres south of Bangkok. Phuket traditionally derives its wealth from tin and rubber. The island is blessed with magnificent coves and bays, powdery palm-fringed white beaches, sparkling island-dotted seas, genuinely hospitable people, comfortable accommodation, super seafood, tropically vegetative mountains, lovely waterfalls and parks, and delightful turn-of-the-century Sino-Portuguese-influenced architecture, which creates an en-chanting ambiance perfectly suited to total relaxation.
One of most attractive destinations in Southern Thailand is located 814 kms from Bangkok. Krabi occupies an area of 4,708 square kilometres. To the west, it borders on the Andaman Sea where countless natural attractions abound, including white sandy beaches, fascinating coral reefs, numerous large and small islands, verdant forests with caves and waterfalls.
Popularly known as the Rose of the North, Chiang Mai is blessed with stunning natural beauty and unique indigenous cultural identity. Founded by King Mengrai the Great as the capital of the Lanna Thai kingdom by merging the various city states in the region in 1296. Today Chiang Mai is the economic, communications, cultural and tourism centre of Northern Thailand.
About 700 kilometres from Bangkok, Chiang Mai is situated on the Mae Ping River basin some 310 metres above sea level. Surrounded by high mountain ranges, it covers an area of approximately 20,107 square kilometres. The terrain is mainly jungles and mountains, parts of which are within national parks which are still fertile and verdant with plentiful flora and fauna. There are many sites and locations where tourists prefer to visit to study the lifestyle of the tribal people who live on high hills.