Whitewater” rafting is a rarity in Thailand with only a few rivers offering an exhilarating experience. One exception draws adventurers to experience three days of fast water along the Thai-Lao border: The Wa. The Wa, an important tributary of Thailand’s longest river, the Nan, flows through a rugged limestone mountain range that defines the border, passing through two national parks along the way. It offers year-round wild water, which becomes pulse-pounding during the monsoon season. Nan, 670 kilometres north of Bangkok, is served by air from the capital or from Chiang Mai, the main northern city. Flights drop the visitor off in Nan town on the banks of the Nan River, famous for its ancient monasteries and its longboat races each October.
This six-day voyage of discovery on the Mae Taeng and the Pai rivers takes one through the heart of northern Thailand. The trip combines a variety of scenery, boat types and accommodations, and introduces adventurers to spectacular landscapes. The journey begins with a drive north from the northern city of Chiang Mai to the Mae Taeng. This watercourse is regarded as one of Thailand’s wildest with many class four (on a scale of ten) rapids and, during the monsoon, a few class fives, tameable even by novice paddlers.
Thailand has come to be known as Spa Capital of Asia – a one-stop destination for any type of international spa treatment you can imagine, ranging from traditional folk techniques to cutting-edge technology. Nevertheless, spa aficionados and holistic wellness seekers who travel to Thailand are equally keen to experience the home-grown, native Thai spa therapies and treatments unique to Thailand that they would not find so easily elsewhere.
Thailand has for decades been famed for its gemstones, notably deep red rubies mined in Chanthaburi and blue sapphires from Kanchanaburi. This gave rise to a cutting and polishing industry to turn rough stones into beautiful gems. A jewellery industry followed on the heels of this so that when the mines were exhausted, businesses would continue to thrive. The story of the Thai gem and jewellery industry is one of adapting to changing circumstances and applying cutting edge skills to developing new areas.
Shopping at Bangkok’s famous Chatuchak Weekend Market is like stepping into Aladdin’s treasure cave. However, the Thai capital is also home to many more treasure troves. They are smaller but unique, artsy and stylish – and just waiting to be discovered.
Among Asian travelers, Thailand is seen as an attractive and exotic holiday destination, made even more popular by the country’s growing reputation for world-class, family entertainment. Thais believe in sanuk — having a good time. They are ready to sing and dance at the drop of a hat, and this has encouraged savvy entrepreneurs to invest in high quality attractions, often with strong cultural elements that enthral international visitors. Not all succeed, but those that do have put themselves – and Thailand – on Asia’s entertainment map.
The theatre has the world’s largest stage, and is listed in the Guinness Book of Records. Pannin wanted it large so that the audience would feel like they are watching a real event. After almost six years on stage, Siam Niramit’s blend of cultural authenticity and entertainment, high quality production and fascinating story line continue to attract international visitors. Highlighting its achievement, Siam Niramit recently received the Prime Minister’s Creative Award in the field of performing art for its outstanding stage performance based on history, culture and tradition while employing modern technology and techniques to make it more attractive to foreign visitors.
Nong Nooch’s original vision of a beautiful garden is now in the hands of her son Kampon, who has transformed the former fruit orchard into 700 acres of landscaped botanical gardens of outstanding beauty with one of the world’s premier collections of palms and cycads, as well as orchids, cacti and a host of tropical plants. The garden staff is large, with many having worked on the project since the beginning. The Thai affinity to the soil makes Nong Nooch Paradise a complete experience for visitors.
The Original Transvestite Cabaret show in Pattaya and Thailand and is now in its 37th year: Originating as a one man show performed for friends on New Year’ Eve in 1974. Tiffany’s Show is a household word in Thailand and Asia as well as around the world. From its inception, Tiffany’s has grown into a World class spectacular show visited by audiences from all corners of the world.Tiffany’s Show was voted no.4 in the TOPTEN BEST SHOWS to see around the world. The incredible, talents of the transvestite, transgender community, all drawn from the provinces of Thailand are showcased in a show full of exotic spectacular scenes, the latest technical lighting and sound playing 3 shows nightly every night of the year.
Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son boast the best trails in Thailand. This is also the land of Golden Triangle, where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet. Treks run through picturesque forested mountains inhabited by hill tribes. Trekkers have distinct experience while staying in these villages. Chiang Rai is a favoured destination of the visitors who wish to witness the fascinating lifestyle of the hilltribes dwelling in the region. Tourists like to purchase the goods made by the hilltribes. There is no better way to admire these tribes than trekking. The treks include hiking, elephant rides and rafting.
Many islands in Thailand are accessed by sailing. Phuket serves as the main base for sailing trips in the Andaman Sea, while in the Gulf of Thailand, Pattaya is used as base. Yachts can be chartered either with crew or without it. The presence of fish like barracuda, wahoo, tuna, swordfish or marlin, lures game fishing enthusiasts. Inland raft trips can be arranged on many rivers.
The country is highly popular for diving and snorkelling. Two most popular diving centers in the country are Pattaya and Phuket. Both the places offer access to numerous offshore islands and coral reefs, and have all necessary facilities. No surprise that both are thronged by the local and international tourists alike in any part of the year. Similan and Surin islands, both located on Andaman Sea, can be picked for reef diving. Phang Nga, Koh Samui and Koh Tao, all located in the Gulf of Thailand, lure divers. Koh Chang and Trat are also moving high on the popularity ladder. The Burma Banks and the islands off Trang Province are becoming popular as diving destinations. Live-aboard dive cruises, equipment rental and certified diving courses are available. Beaches like Kata and Karon (on Phuket island), Jomtien (south of Pattaya), Chaweng and Lamai (on Koh Samui), and Hua Hin are nice for windsurfing.