Thailand: A Beginner's Travel Guide
by Vasily Muzanov
It’s quite hard to find a person nowadays who hasn’t been to Thailand or at least heard about resorts of this wonderful country. Thailand offers a great variety of activities catering to the most fastidious tourists. From a hilly north full of signature temples, indigenous communities and scenic canyons to tranquil white-sand islets in the south – the country of Siam as it was formerly called lures travelers from all around the world into unforgettable journey of cultural experience, picturesque landscapes and lively nightlife.
Bangkok – Concrete Jungle of Modern Asia
Notwithstanding that Bangkok is not a #1 travel destination in Thailand, this city is certainly worth staying for a couple of nights. So, if this is your starting or the last waypoint in the route, don’t hesitate – book a hotel and the world’s your oyster!
What hotel to stay in?
While surfing the web looking for the best hotel to stay in Bangkok, you will realize that the city offers a wide range of hotels for tourists with different taste and budget. If you ask me I would surely recommend staying somewhere closer to the city center, such as Siam or Rattanakosin districts. The rule of staying in the city center works great for me when I don’t feel like spending hours choosing a place to stay in or when I’m just on a stopover. Needless to say, that central districts, especially Siam, are quite expensive, so if you are on a budget you’d better choose the accommodation options along the Khao San Road and Banglamphu district – these are also central Bangkok but more affordable than others. Think about booking a hotel with a rooftop pool – this will be a wonderful bonus for your stay. It won’t cost you much higher but the enjoyment you get relaxing in the pool after a long day and overlooking the twinkling city is far beyond money.
What places to visit first?
The most popular tourist attractions are located right at the heart of the city in a walking distance from the central districts. The Grand Palace represents a group of buildings erected in the end of XVIII century. In spite the fact that nowadays this complex is mostly a museum except for several official buildings, it has served as an official residence of the Kings of Thailand for more than 200 years. The remarkable thing is that the Palace includes about 30 authentic pavilions and assemblies of different structures, purpose, and function. So, visiting the Grand Palace gives you a unique chance to get familiar with at once several original Thai buildings and architectural concepts, not to mention fascinating stories of royal family if you are a real history junkie.
Where to dine?
Another place I would highly recommend visiting is the highest Bangkok and Thailand 360o observatory deck located at the 84th floor of the tallest hotel in all Southeast Asia. Baiyoke Sky is not a mere rooftop platform to catch panoramic views of the city, as for me this is also one of the most diverse international buffet in the city featuring fabulous after-dark lounge bar. Come shortly before a sunset and indulge in an exclusive dining experience at one of the restaurants of Baiyoke Tower. Personally, I’m for Bangkok Sky Restaurant located at 76-78th floors. In fact, this is an “all-you-can-eat” buffet with a chilling ambience, gorgeous city views and, that is a way more important – a supreme food quality. Hence, should you be starving after a day full of sightseeing impressions, drop by for a mouth-watering diner combined with breathtaking city views. Apart from this, Baiyoke hotel spotlights nine various restaurants of different types and concept – from a stylish coffee shop to a quirky floating market. Make sure to book your visit in advance, regardless of which restaurant you choose.
The Best Tranquil Hideaway
Surely, Bangkok city is quite a good place to get familiar with Thai culture, including the modern one, however, if you are looking for a specific, secluded and at the same time authentic place to stay, you should certainly think about Koh Lipe island. Located right at the border with Malaysia, this tiny islet offers a remarkable opportunity to forget about all bustling city life and enjoy blissful white-sand beaches for as long as you want to. There are many other similar and approachable resorts you might give priority to, but this place is truly unique. If you find yourself at the southern regions of Thailand, this is the place to be! Uncrowded and not that populous as Phi-Phi islands, but a way more beautiful and relaxed, Koh-Lipe will make your Thai visit extraordinary and memorable. In spite the fact the island is located at some distance away from the mainland, taking a beach break there will suit everyone’s pocket with no exception! Remember to take some cash with you – though there are few places where major credit cards are well accepted, having some Baht on-hand will make you feel more comfortable.
Thailand Travel Tips
Obviously, you were hoping to find some special travel tips here that would make your journey smooth and 100% trouble-free. Reading different travel guides before a trip always gives you a false sense of confidence that you are experienced enough to be ready for all ups and downs. I don’t want you to feel nervous about your upcoming trip, but even reading all travel guides in the web won’t prepare you for all twists of fate. Of course, I do recommend you to get familiar with some at least basic information about Thailand or any other place you’re going to, but in general, no matter what you’ve heard or read about it, Thailand is the place to be, especially if you haven’t been to Southeast Asia yet then be sure – this is a #1 country to start your Asian experience. Indeed, Thailand is the most developed ASEAN country from a tourism perspective, so if you are an urban-dweller, who can’t imagine his life without blessings of civilization, Thailand is the right place for you! Well, be that as it may, I bet your trip to the country of Siam will make you excited regardless of how well you are in the know about Asian culture!