Thailand has long been known for the rich diversity of its attractions, but the continuing development of the Kingdomâ€™s tourism product means that there are still more waiting discovery.
A land of golden temples, tropical beaches and forested hills, Thailand is truly a veritable oasis in an increasingly hectic world. Secure in its devotion to the Buddhist faith and to its beloved King, it merges a centuries-old culture with way of life that preserves its identity and gracious natural hospitality.
For sightseeing and travel, Thailand has few equals. From dazzling temples and palaces to awe-inspiring World Heritage Sites; from timeless rural settlements to vibrant resort towns; from idyllic beaches to national parks where wild nature rules, the choice of where to go and what to see is limitless.
Soft adventure options blend with eco-tourism in mountainous jungle terrain, with trekking on foot or elephant back, 4-wheel drive safaris, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, and meeting with remote highland communities. Away from the upland forests, the blue watersof Thailandâ€™s extensive coastline beckon, offering the relaxing joys of beach life as well as diving, sailing, windsurfing, and sea canoeing, all with expert tuition provided.
Golfers love Thailand and the feeling is mutual. The Kingdom has more than 100 golf courses, most to international standard and located close to major tourism destinations with first-class facilities and friendly fees.
The Thai secret of relaxation is a secret that can be shared by learning and practicing meditation in Buddhist retreats or training centres. The revitalising Thai massage is an ancient tradition that is another part of the secret visitors like to share, while at the many luxury spas, they can experience the most modern, sensual techniques at the firm but caressing hands of a trained therapist.
Thailandâ€™s cuisine is recognised as one of the worldâ€™s healthiest. A profusion of fresh produce, fresh-caught fish and seafood with a balanced complement of aromatic herbs and spices, wok-fried or grilled for a dish that is light, nutritious and bursting with flavour.
Dishes from all of Thailandâ€™s regions can be found in Bangkok, as well as fine dining at sophisticated restaurants of world-class quality. The city is one of Asiaâ€™s great shopping experiences, too, with gleaming modern malls and department stores with top international brand and specifically Thai names along with smart boutiques and busy street stalls.
Giant markets like Chatuchak and Suan Lum Night Bazaar also sell international brand names, but their fame rests on their diversity. From local fashions and handicrafts at giveaway prices, the range of discoveries to be made there is quite astounding.
Everywhere in Thailand traditional products are hand made by local artisans: weavers of cotton and silk, wood carvers, potters working in the local clay, silversmiths, basket makers, and cooks making local gourmet specialities.
Even in the remotest villages, these cottage industries are being supported by the governmentâ€™s One Tambon One Product (OTOP) project, and OTOP products from communities all over the Kingdom are now sold in many stores. At the same time, OTOP villages are being developed so that visitors can go to the source and stay overnight in the artisan villages.
From this profusion of location and activity, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is identifying new attractions and promoting niche markets, special programmes with appeal to special interests and needs: to younger travellers, to families, to honeymoon couples, to cultural travellers, to voyagers seeking health and wellbeing holidays.
And the best part of it is Thailand offers this wealth of diversity with the legendary Thai smile â€” which is not a legend at all, but one of the genuinev delights of discovering Thailand.