The Land of Smiles has been captivating people for as long as time itself. From the quiet mountainous north to the glorious islands in the south, travellers just cannot get enough of this beautiful country. Bangkok is the world’s busiest tour destination.
Highlights of Thailand
Thailand is one of the most popular places to visit in South East Asia and has many wonderful things to see and do. Here are a few to enjoy.
Thailand has many highlights for visitors. Why not go and discover a few.
History of Thailand
During the 14th century Ayutthaya became the capital of Thailand and was one of the most powerful places in South East Asia. This was a very wealthy city which was a major trading centre and full of art, weapons and ornate buildings. It saw many battles, coups and other significant events and was finally conquered by the Burmese in the 18th century. Many treasures were lost and the city slipped into decline. Like Sukhothai, Ayutthaya is a UNESCO World heritage Site and a popular attraction for visitors to Thailand.
There have been many coups in recent years in Thailand but the monarch, King Rama IX, is the longest reigning and has provided some stability. The economy continues to grow and develop in this fascinating and intriguing country.
The food from Thailand is one of the most famous in the world and tasting the distinctive flavours is a must do experience for anyone visiting the country. Here are some of the highlights.
Savour street food
One of the best parts of walking down a street in Thailand are the masses of tempting food stands. With skewered meats, noodles, and fruits the snacks are delicious. Try Pad Thai, a fast cooked meal of noodles, spring onions, bean sprouts and tofu, or sample some fried rice otherwise known as Kao Phad. Chicken with cashew nuts is another dish quickly cooked and served hot on the street or in a small café.
Learn to Cook
Many places in Bangkok and Chiang Mai offer cookery lessons for visitors which is an excellent way of taking the tastes of Thailand back home. Some also include a visit to a food market to buy ingredients and students eat the cookery they produce.
Curry in Thailand is generally flavoured with coconut milk, lemongrass, and chilli. Red curries are fierier and use hotter chillies, whilst green curries are milder. Another popular dish is the Massaman curry which consists of potatoes, coconut milk, meat, peanuts, and tamarind sauce. They are served with rice.
Visit a market
Thailand has many colourful markets full of fresh food for sale. In Bangkok there are also the Floating Markets on the Klongs or canals which are fascinating to sail by and observe people with their goods. There are also spices on sale as well as all manner of meats, fish and even some insects. Look out for sellers carrying large baskets full of vegetables, and people selling pineapples beside the road.
Thailand has some wonderful culinary highlights and it is the perfect place to try something very different and absolutely delicious.
Shopping in Thailand
For visitors to Thailand a chance to go shopping is a fabulous experience with many beautiful items for sale. Here are some of the best buys.
Thai silk is famed throughout the world and is high quality. One of the best places to go is the Jim Thompson House where some of the finest designs in the world are crafted. There are lots of quality silk goods in the markets too, and visitors can also get a suit designed and made up by local tailors within 2-3 days. The choices are huge and the colours are also really special. Look out for scarves and bags made from silk too.
Painted umbrellas and fans
Any visit to a night market will have displays of brightly coloured lanterns, umbrellas and fans, many with Thai designs. These are very decorative and make great gifts.
The decorated pottery from Bangkok is a lovely souvenir and is found in craft shops throughout the city and beyond. It has a special glaze and colour that give it its name.
The decorative scarves and cushions made by the hill tribes in Northern Thailand are great buys and perfect for a gift. Many are woven in bright colours and specific designs to the tribe. There are bags and other items too that are crafted by the hill tribes.
Silver and Gems
Thailand has a large silver smithing industry and gems trade and there are many shops selling precious stones and jewellery. Do take care to get any item authenticated but the choice here is amazing. It is also interesting watching jewellery being made in one of the many workshops.
Anyone visiting Thailand will enjoy the markets and stores that are full of colour and quality items for sale. This is a great place to come and enjoy a little retail therapy.