Thailand is one of the most interesting and diverse countries in Asia, and with regions ranging from low lying river valleys to high mountainous areas, it is a great place to visit. The majority of places to be found in Thailand are actually quite small, with only eleven cities with a population of over a hundred thousand people. As a city, Bangkok dominates the rest of the country, but this is not to say that the rest of Thailand isn’t worth a visit, with many fascinating places to be found across the country.
As the capital of Thailand, Bangkok is the only real city in the country to have a true metropolis style district of skyscrapers, yet the city still has a number of parks and green areas around the city. One of the real experiences for people visiting the city is that it is one of the few places in the world which has a true water bus network, and a trip on one of these during rush hour is certainly an experience. Bangkok is also particularly famous for its vibrant nightlife, with a series of nightclubs and venues to be found throughout the city, particularly in the popular tourist areas.
Bangkok is also well known for its exceptional Buddhist temples and the wonderfully ornate GrandPalace. Although the palace is still in use for ceremonial purposes, it now boasts a museum and is largely open to visitors.
The city of Phuket is the largest city on the island that shares the same name, and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. The coastal city is within easy reach of many beautiful beaches and natural forests, and enjoys consistently warm weather throughout the year. However, it is also known for its tropical monsoon climate that means the best period to visit the city is between December and April when the chances of being caught in the significant rainstorms are reduced.
The city did suffer from the effects of a Tsunami in 2004, but the hotels and tourism facilities in the city have all been restored.
The city of Chiang Mai is the most important city in the north of the country, and is set in a mountainous region that has some truly beautiful areas. With over 300 Buddhist temples and religious buildings to be found throughout the city, there is a wealth of sightseeing to be done with Wat Chiang Man being a particularly popular site with visitors.
With so many high mountains surrounding the city, it is natural that many visitors to Chiang Mai do so to enjoy the surrounding countryside, with the DoiInthanonNational Park an important destination. There are also many organized trekking groups that take visitors out into the wilds around the city and guiding them on visits to some of the hill tribes that still live largely untouched by modern civilization.
Although Buri Ram is by itself quite a small town, it is the nearby PhanomRungHistoricalPark that makes it of great interest to visitors. The exquisite temple at Phanom Rung was built during the period when the area was a part of the Khmer empire, and is located near an extinct volcano. The large temple building has been significantly restored, and was a Hindu shrine dedicated to the god Shiva.
Another city that owes its inclusion to its vicinity to an important historical site is Udon Thani. The city itself does boast a number of interesting Buddhist temples, but it is the nearby archaeological site of Ban Chiang that gives it real significance. The Bronze Age settlement was discovered in the 1960s, and some of the best discoveries of Bronze Age pottery were found at the site. Many of these are on display at the BanChiangNationalMuseum, and include some particularly attractive pottery bearing distinctive swirl designs.