Planning a trip to Thailand is like being a child in a candy store: your eyes widen and you want everything at once. Hundreds of islands, popular or almost uninhabited, offer tourists a variety of holiday options. To make planning your trip easier, BURO. Together with the Tourism Authority of Thailand, they compiled a guide to five destinations (four of them are just islands), starting from southern Phuket and ending with the “northern capital” of Thailand — the city of Chiang Mai.
TO START, WE PROPOSE TO DECIDE — WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU EXPECT FROM YOUR HOLIDAY:
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SHOPPING ON PHUKET ISLAND
For tourists accustomed to traveling with an extra empty suitcase, which at the end of the trip is filled with purchases and souvenirs, Thailand fits perfectly. Impressive malls or small shops of local designers, night markets or floating markets can be found all over the country.
As for island shopping, you should go to Phuket for bargains. In huge shopping centers and outlets located throughout the island, there are clothes and shoes of any European or local brands with big discounts. And in local markets you can buy memorable souvenirs — Thai silk products, carved interior items, herbal preparations, oils and spices.
Perhaps the best season for shopaholics in Thailand is summer. From June to August, the Amazing Thailand Grand Sale shopping festival is held throughout the country, during which discounts reach up to 80%.
RETREAT ON SAMUI ISLAND
Koh Samui has long been known as one of the most picturesque, large and comfortable islands in the Gulf of Thailand. Travelers who are tired of the frantic pace of city life, constant stress and tension seek here. Koh Samui seems to be created in order to relax, clear your thoughts and understand yourself.
There are many SPA hotels, retreat complexes, yoga centers and wellness practices on the island. Guests of Koh Samui have different requests — from rejuvenation and weight loss to complete detoxification and emotional rebirth. And the island’s wellness facilities are designed to satisfy all of these wishes. Tourists who are ready to pay any money for top-class comfort are waiting for luxurious five-star SPA hotels and gourmet restaurants. For more budget-friendly retreat options, there are plenty of yoga centers, massage parlors, and group practices.
Improving and relaxing on Koh Samui, not least contributes to the stunning nature. Long snow-white beaches, lagoons, coconut plantations — being among such views every day, you gradually begin to feel much calmer and more peaceful.
BEACH PARTIES ON PHANGAN ISLAND
Every month, when the full moon appears in the sky, Haad Rin Beach on Koh Phangan fills with young people from all over the world and rages until dawn. They all gather for the traditional Fool Moon Party, the largest beach party in Southeast Asia.
“Full Moon Parties” have been held for more than thirty years and every month attract thousands of fun and vibrant nightlife fans. Dancing on the sand, venues with music for every taste, from house to reggae and ska, an endless number of buckets of cocktails — party participants meet dawn tired, but happy and with a bunch of new friends. And for those whose travel dates still do not coincide with the full moon, Koh Phangan hosts several other great parties — Half Moon Festival and Black Moon Culture.
Despite its reputation as the most party-oriented island in Thailand, Koh Phangan is not inferior to its neighbors in terms of the number of beautiful beaches and bays. So the wild nightlife can be easily balanced by lazy relaxation on secluded beaches and yoga against the backdrop of fantastic sunsets.
DIVING ON THE ISLAND OF KO TAO
Ko Tao is one of the small islands in the Gulf of Thailand, its territory is only 20 square kilometers. But this fact does not prevent attracting many travelers here — after all, visitors to the island usually spend most of their time under water. Thanks to the clear sea, excellent visibility, many coral reefs with a variety of underwater life, Koh Tao is considered one of the most attractive diving destinations in the world.
Almost the entire tourist infrastructure of the island is dedicated to various types of diving and snorkeling. Dozens of schools offer certified lessons for beginners and experienced divers, and hotels always offer diving instructors. Koh Tao is surrounded on all sides by many dive spots where you can see turtles, reef sharks, rays, barracudas and hundreds of varieties of exotic fish. And in the area of the famous Chumphon Pinnacle rocks on the island, you can even meet rare whale sharks.
GET TO KNOW TEMPLE COMPLEXES CITIES
For tourists who are not accustomed to spending their entire vacation sunbathing on the beach, the “northern capital” of Thailand will be an excellent alternative travel destination. Surrounded by greenery, Chiang Mai is perfect for those who want to dive deeper into Thai culture. Numerous Buddhist temples and stupas, historical museums and art centers are just some of the activities available for travelers to Chiang Mai.
Here, in the north of the Kingdom, is the most famous temple in Thailand — Doi Suthep, located at an altitude of 1676 meters. Among the city’s temples, the most famous are Wat Phra Singh, Wat Chiang Mai and Wat Chedi Luang — all of which are within walking distance of each other.
In addition to temples and museums, one must come to Chiang Mai for another unique tourist experience: taking care of tropical giants — elephants. Numerous elephant camps and nurseries located near the city offer their guests one- or multi-day programs where they can learn how to feed and bathe Thai elephants.
For the perfect trip to Thailand, you can choose one of the islands and explore it up and down. Or arrange a holiday in the form of an island-to-island trip, ending the trip in the north of the Kingdom to combine several activities at once and get even more impressions. The choice is yours! Moreover, travel to Thailand has become more affordable. Now you can stay in the Kingdom without a visa for 45 days instead of 30. And since October of this year, all the remaining covid restrictions have been canceled — and direct flights to Phuket have become available to tourists from Russia.
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