The land of smiles
Thailand is known as the land of smiles, thanks to the welcoming nature of the Thai people. But there’s so much more to the country than friendly faces. In fact, it’s impossible to sum up Thailand in a nutshell, because every part is different.
At the heart of everything, there are shrines, temples, and monasteries known as ‘wats’. The seeds of Buddhism were planted in the country at the start of the 13th century, and a crop of holy sights spreads from border to border.
Mixed in with the religious landmarks is one of the world’s most hectic capitals. Bangkok is a strobe-like city, where motorways have 12 lanes, markets have upward of 15,000 stalls, and restaurants are so concentrated, you’ll never be more than 50 metres away from one.
Beaches and islands
Then there’s the coast. In the Krabi province alone, there are 150 kilometres’ worth of beaches. The sandy slithers here are all backed by photogenic rock formations. The backdrop in the Khao Lak area is just as much of a sight for sore eyes. The beaches in this part of Thailand get swallowed up by national parks a few hundred metres from the shoreline. On Phuket island, meanwhile, there’s a real mix. While the crowdless beaches in Mai Khao let you live incognito for a while, the ones in Patong invite you to a permanent party.
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On Thailand’s southwest coast, Khao Lak is in the business of recharging batteries. The beaches are completely unfurnished, so all you get is long runways of powdery white sand. And the waters here attract scuba divers from around the world. The sea is mineral-water clear, so visibility can reach up to 30 metres.
Krabi’s distinctive limestone cliffs line the region’s 150-kilometre coastline, biting out of the sea like incisor teeth. The rocks play a central part in Krabi’s tourism industry, too. Sunbathers come from all over the world to bask on the blonde beaches beneath them and climbers come to scale them.