Reasons to Visit
For some Thailand is synonymous with beaches and there is no debating that many of the islands and beaches in the south of the county are truly stunning with a dramatic backdrop of limestone casts which literally erupt out of the water. Many of the islands are still relatively undeveloped and the crystal clear water and abundance of marine life make for some stunning diving and snorkelling.
An absolute paradise for food lovers, from the spicy soups of the north to the sublime creamy green curries in the south, Thai food is adored by visitors and locals alike. For those who wish to broaden their palate Bangkok is one of the cuisine capitals of the world with food from virtually corner of the planet represented in the various stalls and restaurants.
"Mai pen rai" is a common expression used by the Thais which means "it's all right". This sums up their approach to life and is reflected in their warm smiles and genuine love for giving warm and friendly service to the farangs (friends) who visit their country. Many people say their main reason for repeat visits is down to the warmth of the people. This warmth permeates through all levels of Thai society from city dwellers to the many ethnic hill tribe people living in the north of the country.
Nowhere does the natural beauty of Thailand shine through more than in the national parks dotted around the country. Thailand has one of the highest percentages of protected land of any nation in the world. Whilst today the larger species such as the Asiatic bear and Asian tiger are rather elusive, there are still great viewing opportunities available including hornbills in Doi Inthanon, wild elephants in Khao Yai and giant manta rays in the Similan Islands.
The majority of Thais are devout Buddhists and this devotion manifests itself in the ornate and wonderfully sculptured temples, or wats, which can be found in every part of the country. The two most famous examples are Wat Pho in the capital, Bangkok and the magnificent Doi Suthep in the northern town of Chiang Mai which is perched on a hill overlooking the city. However a typical journey through Thailand will throw up an array of more subtle but no less interesting wats where the locals can be seen paying their respects to Buddha.
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A two-hour drive north-east of the Khao Yai National Park is one of the oldest surviving Khmer temple sites in the area. This Hindu-Buddhist shrine pre-dates Angkor Wat, yet shares a number of stylistic attributes.
The ultraviolet index is a measure of the risk of skin damage due to exposure to the sun. Be aware that the potential damage caused by the sun varies from person to person as well as by time of day, altitude and several other factors. We recommend contacting your GP for further advice.
Wear sunglasses on bright days; use sunscreen if there is snow on the ground (which reflects UV radiation) or if you have particularly fair skin.
Wear sunglasses and use sunscreen, cover the body with clothing and a hat, and seek shade around midday when the sun is most intense.
Wear sunglasses and use sunscreen having SPF 15 or higher, cover the body with sun protective clothing and a wide-brim hat, and reduce time in the sun from two hours before to three hours after solar noon.
Wear sunscreen, a shirt, sunglasses and a hat. Do not stay out in the sun for too long.
Take all precautions, including: wear sunglasses and use sunscreen, cover the body with a long-sleeved shirt and trousers, wear a very broad hat, and avoid the sun from two hours before to three hours after solar noon.
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