Holidays in Thailand 2013/2014:
The land of smiles is jam-packed full of excitement, adventure and indulgence and if you’re lucky enough to be visiting the golden shores of the south or the bamboo-covered hills of the north then prepare for an absolute feast of the senses. Bangkok alone will leave you thrilled and exhausted upon a bed of silken pillows so, whatever you do, make sure you remember your camera because experiences like this don’t come along every day.
Jungle treks, overnight camps, elephant experiences and enchanting walled cities provide the mainstay to most trips up north with the foremost citadel of Chiang Mai a ‘must’ for lovers of ancient Asian architecture.
If it’s sand, sea and snorkelling that you’re after then head south because mysterious rock formations, beach parties and tropical islands, such as: Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Samui, await. This really is a fascinating country where the roots of Buddhism can be seen as openly on street corners as they can within the opulent eves of glittering temples.
From river cruises through the jungle to floating markets festooned with flowers; luxury spas and 5-star restaurants to street-side shacks, whatever you’re searching for, Thailand is full of surprises.
Things to do/Attractions
As Bangkok is considered the gateway to both the north and the south it’s probably the best place to start and you’ll find a wealth of places to explore, including: palaces, theatres, markets, parks and waterways. Thailand’s second-city, Chiang Mai, lies to the north and is more laid-back than Bangkok but still as captivating, with: night bazaars, cookery classes and boutique handicraft shops providing plenty of ways to spend your time. The north is perfect for trekking and if you’re looking for elephant experiences and overnight stays in bamboo huts then this is where you’ll find them. Of course, Thailand is blessed with some of the world’s most-enviable islands with Koh Samet and Koh Phi Phi ensuring your stay in the south will be filled with water sports, hammocks and sunset strolls along the beach.
No matter where you go in Thailand the food has the potential to surprise and amaze in equal measures. Pineapples on sticks, bbq’d pork, noodle soup, sticky rice and sweet or savoury dumplings all provide plenty of fodder on the go and experiencing the local street stalls can often result in some extremely favourable discoveries. Of course, Thai classics, like: red or green curry, Pad Thai, spring rolls and Massaman curry can be found in restaurants all over the country however, delve a little deeper into the regional menus and you’ll find a wealth of ingredients and recipes to make your pulse quicken and your taste buds tingle. Hotels and resorts always offer a choice of international or Thai and no matter whether you’re in a bamboo bar on the beach or a grand 5-star-restaurant overlooking the water, trying something new can often be the highlight of your stay.
Thailand really comes alive after dark and just wondering through the hustle and bustle of Bangkok’s busy streets can often provide more than enough excitement for some. Nightclubs, live music, sports bars and Karaoke are ever-present in most cities but once you escape to the south you’ll discover a much more open-toed approach to life. Full moon parties on the beach, romantic meals as the sun sets or watching a live Muay Thai fight are just part of the eclectic mix of evening activities and no matter how fast or how slow you want to take it, you’re bound to find the right location to suit your pace.
Not to be missed
Thailand’s capital city is not to be missed with the Grand Palace and floating market both vying for things that you absolutely must do when you’re in Bangkok. Further north and the cities of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai present equally memorable experiences and if you get the chance to jungle trek or visit the Golden Triangle, where Laos, Burma and Thailand meet, then you’re in for a real treat. The islands of the south lend themselves effortlessly to relaxation and having a traditional massage on the beach or in the comfort of a spa allows you to really indulge as all of your aches and cares gently drift away.
Best for families
There are loads of family-friendly options in Thailand and many of our featured hotels make for great family holidays and come complete with safe beaches, soft sands, swimming pools, kids’ clubs and more water sports than you can shake a flipper at. Playing on the beach or snorkelling in warm shallows can often be more than enough for some children but if you’re looking to let loose your mini-Lara Crofts or wannabe Tarzans then head north because jungle adventures can be found in abundance. For teenagers, a holiday in Thailand is a real cultural learning experience. Chiang Mai is an excellent base from which to explore the bamboo hillsides of the north, as a destination, Thailand and kids go together like sticky rice and mangos.
Best for couples
Sunday morning market strolls after a mug of darn fine coffee, spending a whole day getting pampered at the spa or hiring a sea kayak and paddling as the sun sets are all wonderful ways to enjoy Thailand as a couple. Just remember that romance and excitement will stalk you at every turn so all you have to do is decide where and how far you’re willing to go.
Thailand provides a stunning backdrop for your wedding and an excellent choice as a honeymoon destination with an exotic edge. The picturesque islands will delight you with their waterfalls and pristine stretches of pure white beaches. To marry here you will need to spend 5 night in Bangkok first, where the legal ceremony will take place, then combine with a week or two at one of our romantic beach resorts of the south where you can have a blessing ceremony on the beach or another wedding venue decorated in elegant Thai style.
Who says vegetarians are boring? If you visit Phuket around late September and early October you’ll discover a veggie festival with a difference as this is where sacred rituals and delicious food combine to form one heck of an experience. Another ‘only in Thailand’ event is Songkran, the annual water festival that takes place every April to wash away all the bad spirits and celebrate the traditional Thai New Year. Basically, Songkran is all about getting wet and if you’ve ever wanted to know what it feels like to be squirted with ice water then now’s your chance.
Weather/Best time to go
Thailand is an excellent option if you’re seeking some winter sun as from around November to February there’s hardly any rain and the temperature doesn’t get too stifling. In the north: March through to May is a good time to visit although, it can get pretty hot in the centre of the country so pick your dates wisely. Thanks to the south’s proximity to the equator you’ll find pretty steady temperatures all-year-round and even in the rainy season, July to October, you won’t find many days without sunshine.
Depending on your preference for jungle trails, coral reefs or deserted islands, Thailand has pretty much got adventure nailed on. One of the best ways to have an amazing adventure is to head north and stay overnight with a local hill tribe. You’ll quickly find yourself trekking through the jungle as bamboo cracks and your guide spots something moving in the undergrowth up ahead. An evening spent around the camp fire eating sticky rice from hollowed-out bamboo often presents some interesting conversations and just thinking about the next day’s raft trip will leave you in no doubt as to how good it feels to be alive.
You'll find great markets all over Thailand, but nowhere beats the variety found in Bangkok, one of the world's great retail centres. For the best souvenir handicrafts, try Chatuchak weekend market, and leave time at the airport to trawl myriad shops.
So, if a holiday in Thailand sounds like a perfect city and/or beach break getaway, read on to find out more about our fantastic Thailand hotels and package holidays!
Direct Eva Air flights to Bangkok departing daily except Mondays from London Heathrow. Onward flights to Phuket, Krabi, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are operated by Thai Airways. Onward flights to Koh Samui and Koh Chang (Trat) are operated by Bangkok Airways.
For even more flexibility, call us for options to fly with Thai Airways International (direct), KLM via Amsterdam, Emirates via Dubai, Malaysia Airlines via Kuala Lumpur, Singapore Airlines via Singapore or Qatar Airways via Doha.
Flight upgrades are available on all airlines, please call us for details.
Approx 11 hours 30 min to Bangkok (direct).
Approx 1 hour 20 min from Bangkok to Phuket, Krabi and Chiang Rai.
Approx 1 hour 30 min from Bangkok to Koh Samui.
Approx 1 hour 10 min from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Koh Chang (Trat).
The official language is Thai. English is widely spoken in areas
Thai Baht (THB)
GMT +7 hours
British citizens do not require a visa for stays less than 30 days.
- Beautiful Beaches
- Temples and HIll Tribes
- Elephant Treks
- Stunning Scenery
- Superb Food and Shopping
Postcards from... Top ideas from our travel experts
Our Top 5 hotels
Stylish simplicity is the hallmark of this quality hotel. It enjoys a peaceful setting, with Patong, nevertheless, reassuringly close. The pool complex is particularly impressive, winding around the picturesque gardens. The dining is cosmopolitan and complemented by a swish cocktail bar.
In a wonderful seaside setting, surrounded by acres of lotus ponds, waterways and lush, green gardens is the Evason Hua Hin – a tranquil retreat with a state-of-the-art gym and spa. There’s also a superb choice of places to eat, including The Restaurant, a semi al-fresco dining room serving international favourites and Thai specialities.
The Centara is a modern mid-rise resort backed by emerald green hills and with some rooms overlooking beautiful Karon Beach. Accommodation is divided between 4 residential zones - the terraces, the lagoon, the tropicale and the cabanas – with all rooms decorated in contemporary Thai style and very comfortable indeed.
Featuring a unique ‘Lost World’ theme, this beach-front resort offers luxury in stunning surrounds. All rooms are facing the ocean and include every mod-con you can think of to ensure you feel at home straightaway.
The Novotel is nearby King Rama VI Palace, Pa-La-U Waterfall and Siam Roi Yod National Park. At night, lively markets offer a fascinating insight into local life and are perfect for stocking up on souvenirs. All guest rooms are bright and modern with great views of the ocean or surrounding countryside. They also come very well-equipped so you’ll feel at home straight away.