Built in the early 15th century, Bangkok is now an international hub and is often a traveller’s first foray into Southeast Asia. The capital city is captivating mix of old and new; 200-year-old village homes and Buddhist temples get lost in a forest of giant skyscrapers overlooking the city and mega shopping mall to satisfy all your shopping needs; food stalls litter the streets 24 hours a day which is very convenient if you suddenly have an insatiable craving for food at the odd hours of the night. If you need a break from the frenetic energy of Bangkok’s streets, Lumpini Park – akin to New York’s Central Park – is an inner-city haven and a breath of fresh air. Ultimately, Bangkok has something for everyone and it’s the perfect starting point for your Southeast Asian adventure.
Area Highlights: Floating Market, Nightlife, Food, Lumpini Park, Lopburi, City Tours
Area Activities: Bangkok City Tour, Golf in Bangkok, Shopping in Bangkok
Most visitors make their way to Kanchanaburi solely to cross the bridge over the River Kwai, made famous by the 1952 Pierre Boulle book ‘Le pont de la Riviere Kwai’ and the 1957 epic war film of the same name. In its entirety, the province is a stark remainder of the dark events that took place in the region during WWII. However, apart from old war remnants, the province has a wealth of National parks and easily accessible waterfalls to visit.
Area Highlights: The Bridge over the River Kwai, National Parks, Waterfalls
Area Activities: Bridge Over the River Kwai Tour
Pattaya was but a mere fishing town until the 1960’s, ‘Sin City’ as it is now dubbed, quickly gained popularity amongst the American army during the Vietnam War, and Pattaya became their prime R&R destination. Today, the city is one of Asia’s largest beach resort and Thailand’s second most visited city. If you’re looking for a quite retreat to relax, look elsewhere, Pattaya is not the right destination for you. The 4-kilometre’s long crescent shaped beach is paralleled by Pattaya’s main attraction – the Pattaya Beach road, this is where the city comes to life; all along the beach road are world class restaurants, mega shopping malls and most of all – beer bars and go-go clubs. However, if you’re willing to dig a little further you will find that Pattaya is also home to a wide variety of cultural attraction and activities such as the Nooch Tropical Garden and the RamaYana – a 45 acres’ waterpark that was opened in May 2016. To the south of the city there is a popular viewpoint offering a panoramic view of the city and the Wat Phra Yai temple sitting on top of a hill.
Area Highlights: Beaches, Walking Street, Floating Market, Water Parks, Bid Buddha Hill, Nong Nooch Tropical Garden
Area Activities: Golf in Pattaya
Measuring just 6.8 kilometres from north to south, Koh Samet, is located in the Gulf of Thailand, 220 kilometres off the coast of the Rayong province. The well-known island was banned from overnight stays by the Thai government until 1981. However, it has since then become a popular destination for Backpackers and Bangkok Expats looking for a weekend outside of the capital city. Although lively party goers prominently occupy the northern side of the island, the southern beach is a sharp contrast to its northern counterpart and a lot more laid-back and family oriented.
Area Highlights: Beaches, Water Sports
Area Activities: Islands of Thailand
Unlike Thailand’s other recently discovered beach destination, Hua Hin has been a favourite among Thais for over 90 years. Discovered in the early 1920’s by King Rama VII, the King built the Klai Kangwon (Far From Worries) Palace in 1928, in order to get away from the oppressive humidity of Bangkok. To this day, the palace is still used by the royal family on certain occasion and is open to public visits. Today, Hua Hin provides accommodation of all level at very affordable prices and some of the best seafood restaurants in the region which makes it the perfect holiday destination for families looking for a quieter alternative to Pattaya. Beside its stunning 8 kilometres long beach, where you can sunbathe all day, there is also a wealth of activities to be had in and out of the city.
Area Highlights: Beaches, Water Park, The Venezia, Phraya Nakhon Cave, Markets, Railway Station
Koh Chang measures approximately 154 square kilometres and is Thailand’s 3rd biggest island just after Phuket and Koh Samui. The name means Elephant Island and refers to a local legend which tells of three baby Elephants who turned to rocks after drowning off the northern coast of the island. Koh Chang has a thriving nightlife on the west side and it is the most populous area of the island. The eastern side is home to local fishing villages and a great place to experience the true local life, you can also go deeper into the lush green jungle and explore its majestic waterfalls hidden within it. The island is at its busiest from November to February as it is the best time to visit, that is, if you don’t mind the crowds, otherwise March to April is also a good period but the high humidity can get uncomfortable at times.
Area Highlights: Beaches, Fishing Villages, Waterfalls
Area Activities: Islands of Thailand