Thailand
Thailand

Description Thailand

08-05-2020 2.386 Views

In many minds, Thailand rhymes with exoticism, a dream holiday, idyllic southern beaches, lush jungle and elephant rides … But Thailand is also Bangkok, a hyperactive and ever-growing megacity, and it is also the north with its mountain tribes and temples. All these different facets that make Thailand a fascinating country, between modernity and tradition, beaches and mountains, culture and relaxation.

Thailand, formerly known as the Kingdom of Siam, is bordered to the west and northwest by Myanmar, to the south by Malaysia, to the east by Cambodia and to the northeast by Laos. The country is bordered by two seas: the China Sea and the Andaman Sea.

The north of the country is partly covered with karst mountains and forests, many ethnic minorities live there; the north-east is the area least frequented by travellers, it is mainly made up of arid plateaus. The centre of the country is a large, densely populated fertile basin, while the south is characterized by its many beaches and idyllic islands.

The official language is Thai (with a specific alphabet), but several dialects are spoken in different regions. English is the second administrative language, and it is also the commercial language in the tourism sector.
 

Have a nice trip to Thailand !


SECRET SIAM

That we will be happy to unveil for you
Canoe stroll. Visit of the Royal Palace. Visit of the main ruins of Ayutthaya. Discover the crafts of Chiang Mai. Visit of an elephant training camp (optional stroll on elephant’s back)
  • Thailand
  • 10 Days 9 Nights
  • Classic & cultural

AUTHENTIC THAILAND AND CAMBODIA’S CHARM

Two birds with one stone
Meals of gastronomic specialties and traditional shows according to the regions crossed. Excursions to small typical villages of different ethnic minorities and visits to local markets - discovery of paths off the beaten track. Far away from the mass of tourists, boat cruise on the Mekong - a beautiful life experience along water. Discovery of the charms of Siem Reap and the authenticity of this small town.
  • Thailand
  • 23 Days 22 Nights
  • Classic & cultural

Siam's magic

Let yourself be captivated
Canoe stroll. Stroll on board of the « death train ». Thai traditional dancing show. Visit of the monkey’s city. Visit of the main temple of Phitsanulok and its Golden Buddha. Canoe excursion on the Kok river. Meeting with the minority ethnicities people. Visit of an elephants dressing camp. Stroll on an elephant’s back (optional).
  • Thailand
  • 8 Days 7 Nights
  • Adventure

WONDERFUL THAILAND & ANGKOR'S SECRET

Visit everything to go home without regret
A long tour to discover the different facets of Thailand. Less touristic sites classified as UNESCO World Heritage, as well as small villages "off the beaten tracks" to meet different ethnic groups. Gastronomy, crafts, as well as traditional dances and songs will also be highlighted to give you the best possible overview of Thailand! Discovery of the fabulous treasures of Angkor. A long boat stroll will make you discover its inhabitants.
  • Thailand
  • 19 Days 18 Nights
  • Classic & cultural

ETERNAL SIAM

Come visit Thailand's thousand-year old places
Visit of the Wat Bang Kung temple. Boat and canoe stroll. Visit Hindad's natural hot springs. Massage. Visit of an elephants dressing camp (stroll on elephant's back in option). Initiation to Thai cooking.
  • Thailand
  • 10 Days 9 Nights
  • Classic & cultural

ON THE ELEPHANTS’ TRACK

From village to village, surrounded by wildlife
Strolls in the tribal villages of Northern Thailand. Tang river rafting. Discovery of Khao Yai National Park. Several nights in homestay in the villages. Tasting of many Thai specialties.
  • Thailand
  • 12 Days 11 Nights
  • Ethnic

Thailand's smile

Smile at Thailand and Thailand will smile at you
Visit of Damnoen Saduak floating market. Visit of different temples. Discovery of mountainous tribes. Stroll canoe on the Kok river. Northern traditional dancing show. Visit of an elephants dressing camp.
  • Thailand
  • 8 Days 7 Nights
  • Adventure

WONDERS OF THAILAND AND LUANG PRABANG CHARM

Two birds with one stone
Gastronomic specialties and traditional shows according to the crossed regions. Excursions to small villages typical of different ethnic minorities and visits of local markets - discovery of paths off the beaten track. Far away from the crowd of tourists, boat cruise on the Mekong - a beautiful experience of life along water. Discover the charms of Luang Prabang and the authenticity of this town
  • Thailand
  • 22 Days 21 Nights
  • Classic & cultural

THAILAND’S MOSAIC AND MYANMAR'S CHARM

Two birds with one stone
The travel will make you discovering every single most beautiful sites of these both countries. Discovery of many temples with admirable sceneries of the two former capitals, Ayutthaya and Sukhothai. The very complete days in Myanmar are witnesses one by one of a long sumptuous past, which stretchs along the legendary Irrawaddy, before approaching the shores of Inle Lake, nestled in the lush greenery of the mountains of the Shan plateau. A succession of magical moments, lighted up by the golden pagodas and the Burmese smile.
  • Thailand
  • 18 Days 17 Nights
  • Classic & cultural
Culture
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POPULATION :

Thailand is composed of a mosaic of peoples, including the Thais who are the main ethnic group. There are no fewer than twenty different ethnic groups from China, Cambodia and Myanmar, such as the Karen, Lahu, Shan... This contributes to making Thailand a culturally rich and diverse country.

The Thai people are a warm and welcoming people, hence their nickname, “the land of smiles”. As far as leisure is concerned, the Thai people’s policy is to have fun first and foremost. It can range from a masked drama dance (Khon), to a traditional music orchestra, to a Thai boxing match, the pleasure is always to have fun.

RELIGION :

The life of Thai people is shaped by Buddhism: more than 95% of the population is Buddhist! This explains the incredible number of temples and pagodas in Thailand. Thai Buddhism is a bit special, it comes from a current in southern Sri Lanka (Theravada); Thais were also influenced by Hinduism. In southern Thailand, there are also Thai Muslims.

The Buddhist temple plays an essential role in the life of Thais, especially in the countryside where the temple can educate the youngest, treat the sick, learn the news of the outside world, or even find a job.

SOME IMPORTANT FESTIVITIES :

Songkran Festival - New Year: this is the beginning of summer in Thailand, it is the most anticipated festival of the year. The important ritual of the celebration is to throw water on other passers-by on the street, using water guns, pipes, barrels ... The water that is thrown out contains water used to cleanse the Buddhas; perfumed water is also sprinkled on the hands of the older ones. In addition to throwing water, we also throw powder.

The Loy Krathong festival is also an important celebration for Thai. It takes place on the twelfth day of the lunar calendar, usually in November. The Krathong is a small traditional raft and Loy means floating. Thus the Loy Krathong designates a small raft, composed of flowers, incense, candles, and a piece of banana tree, which is deposited in the water, in order to forget its misfortunes, its worries and its melancholies.

CUSTOMS :

  • In Thailand, it is not common for men and women to show their affection for each other in public. Thus, it is relatively rare to see couples kissing or holding hands in the street.
  • It is also customary to take off your shoes when you enter a house or a temple, and to entry without laying your foot first in.
  • In temples, speak with a low voice and avoid touching objects of worship (statuettes of geniuses and Buddhas). Wear clothing covering shoulders and legs.
  • Many Thai customs are linked to the position of the monks in society. They must not come into physical contact with a woman. To make offerings, they place their gifts directly in their bowl, at their feet or on a cloth placed on a table or on the floor. In the temples, the monks will sit on the highest platform.
  • One of the Thai customs is the «Waï», gesture of greeting very similar to the Namaste of the Indians. Used for greeting, farewell, it appears in different styles that all have the same meaning: normally a Thai makes a «reverence» with his hands joined as a gesture of prayer.
  • It is strongly advised not to touch the head of a Thai. In Europe, touching someone’s head can be seen as a friendly gesture, but it is not at all the case in Thailand, it is for them a gesture that is badly perceived. Indeed, the Thais believe that the head is sacred since it is the seat of the soul. Conversely, the feet are unclean.
  • When eating, never plant the chopsticks in a bowl filled with rice. It is indeed a ritual that is done for the dead.
THE FOOD :

Thai cuisine, although similar in some ways to that of its Chinese, Indian and Burmese neighbours, is distinguished by original flavours and ingredients, such as curry, mint, lemongrass, coriander and red basil. It is a growing success abroad! For a Western palate, this cuisine is very spicy.

Thai cuisine mixes many flavors:

  • The sweet: fruit, sugar.
  • Spicy: the use of chilli is very common in Thai cuisine.
  • Sour: vinegar, lemons, tamarins.
  • Salty: soy sauce, fish sauce.

Thai cuisine is not uniform across the country. Southern dishes, such as yellow curry and kidney and fish curry, are the most popular. In the central plains, the food is sweeter, like chicken stir-fry with basil leaves. In the north, one finds a great influence of Burmese cuisine, such as in the famous soup curry and noodles, the kaoh soi. As for the northeast, its cuisine is derived from Laotian cuisine and, although originally considered as a country cuisine, it is gaining in popularity and some delicacies, such as papaya salad, som tam, are known and appreciated beyond its borders.

Here are some typical Thai dishes:

Pad Thai: this dish is made of wok-fried noodles with eggs, soy, peanuts, shrimp, fish sauce and lime sauce. This dish is one of the most famous out of Thailand, and it is one of the cheapest dishes sold on the street.

Tom yam (or tom yum): sweet and sour soup with pork, chicken or fish. This dish consists of broth, coconut milk, lime, ginger, galanga and chillies. It is a classic of Thai gastronomy and is also found in Laos. This soup is rather spicy because of the chili pepper.

Kaeng khiao wan: green curry. Green curry consists of coconut milk, chicken, garlic and lime juice, as well as green curry paste. It is usually eaten with rice.

Som tam: shredded green papaya salad, hot peppers, garlic, tomatoes, bean kilometer, lime juice, fish sauce and plara (Isan fermented fish sauce), sugar, shrimp paste, possibly brined crab in some areas.

Before leaving
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PASSEPORT & VISA :
  • In order to enter the Thai territory, you must have a valid passport. The latter must still be valid for at least 6 months after the day of entry into Thailand, for French, Belgian and Swiss nationals. If you hold another nationality, do not hesitate to contact us for any additional request.
  • Your passport must not be torn and must not contain any particular anomalies.
  • A visa is not required for any tourist trip of less than 30 days for the French, Belgian and Swiss. However, you must justify your return flight. In any case, upon your arrival, you will be issued a tourist residence permit free of charge for a stay not exceeding 30 days (arriving by an airport) or 15 days (arriving by a land border).
  • If you wish to stay in Thailand for more than 30 days, obtaining a visa is mandatory. Tourist visas are issued by Thai consulates abroad.
  • It may be requested by the immigration authorities to present in cash the equivalent of THB 20,000 per person.
  • Nationals of other countries must apply for a tourist visa, attention because some European Union citizens are not exempt from visa (Hungary ...).
  • Before leaving, we advise you to photocopy all important documents (passport, electronic equipment invoices, insurance policy, plane tickets, driving license ...). A handy tip if you lose your papers or valuables.
HEALTH & VACCINES :
  • No vaccinations are required upon arrival in Thailand. However, travelers from countries in Africa or Latin America must be compulsorily vaccinated against yellow fever, since the disease is present in these countries.
  • However, we advise you to be vaccinated (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, typhoid, polio, meningitis, typhoid fever, hepatitis).
  • Some people recommend getting vaccinated against hepatitis A and B, and against Japanese encephalitis, especially if you're traveling in a rural area, and against rabies if you want to take an "adventure" trip and that you mainly go to campaign. To find out if these vaccinations are necessary or not, make an appointment at a vaccination center and ask for their advice. It is important to protect yourself from malaria, which is a disease transmitted by mosquitoes. For more information, do not hesitate to ask your doctor for advice. Make sure you do not forget about anti-snake repellents for your comfort.
  • Do not hesitate to provide a small pharmacy with some basic products, it will be very useful.
  • No vaccinations are required upon arrival in Thailand. However, travelers from countries in Africa or Latin America must be compulsorily vaccinated against yellow fever, since the disease is present in these countrie s
CLIMATE :  
  • Thailand enjoys a tropical climate and lives at the rhythm of three distinct seasons:
  • A dry season, from November to March, where the temperatures oscillate between 25 and 30 degrees. Note that if you are traveling in the north of the country, plan warm clothes because there is a strong contrast between daytime and nighttime temperatures.
  • A hot season, from April to May when the temperature can rise above 38 degrees and where the heat feels stifling. This period is the great period of storms, indeed very often in the evening you will find a sky filled with lightning.
  • A rainy season, the monsoon, from June to October. It is at this time of the year that there are heavy rainstorms and sometimes the rains can be torrential, but no worries because the majority of the day is sunny: these rains usually last 1h at 3h per day.
  • Regarding the climate of the islands, it is recommended to visit:
  • In Phuket, Krabi, Phi Phi, Koh Yao, Koh Lanta, Khao Lak, from October to the end of May.
  • Koh Samui, Koh Phang Ngan, Koh Tao, from January to the end of September.
  • Hua Hin, Koh Samet, Koh Chang, all year long.
  • The risks of typhoon and flooding are present from September to November.
JET LAG: + 5h00 of shift in summer and + 6h00 in winter, compared to France.
 
INSURANCE:
 
All travelers have the obligation to take out an insurance policy for their trip before participating in our tours. Although there are international standard care cells in Bangkok and all major tourist areas, the country still lacks infrastructure and equipment in cases of serious illness or injury. We also advise you to provide good health insurance and repatriation insurance.
 
MONEY :
 
Be sure to ask your bank about the use of your credit card and the fees for using it. Travel options exist, so consider traveling at no extra cost.
 
ELECTRICITY :
 
In Thailand there are various plugs (European, US ...), so we recommend you bring with you a universal adapter since in Thailand, the electrical system is 220 volts but the sockets are not always standard.
 
 
On the spot
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THE NATIONAL CURRENCY: the baht (THB)
  • You will be able to exchange your euros and US dollars in all authorized banks and exchanges.
  • In the capital as well as in all major tourist areas, you can use your Visa or Master credit card in hotels, restaurants and shops. But remember to have some local currency just in case.
  • Remember, however, that the exchange rate in euros is sometimes less advantageous in the provinces.
  • When leaving Thailand, the maximum allowed in local currency is 50,000 baht per person.
  • The current exchange rate is 1 USD = 33 baht / 1 euro = 38 baht.
PHONE :
  • To call Thailand from France, dial 00 66 + city code (without the 0) + number of the correspondent.
  • To call France from Thailand, dial 001 33 + number of the correspondent (without the 0).
  • A practical and economical solution if you want to use your mobile phone during your stay in Thailand is to buy a local prepaid SIM card, it will cost you less and you will always have news of your loved ones.
BANKS:
 
You will find many vending machines in the big cities, but also in small towns and sites frequented by tourists.
 
INTERNET :
  • You will find an internet connection very easily in cybercafés, airports, shops, hotels and restaurants.
  • In contrast, in the countryside, the connection is more limited, but almost all hotels have their own Internet connection, so it is always possible to stay connected during your trip.
  • As for the prices in the cybercafés, the prices often turn around 30 bahts an hour, except in the southern islands, where they climb up to 1 to 2 baht / min.
THE WATER :
  • Be very careful about the water you drink. Never drink tap water, always drink bottled water and check that it is properly capped. It is necessary to be vigilant also with ice cubes, consume only cubic ice cubes or with a cylindrical hole shape in the middle.
POST:
  • In major cities in Thailand, post offices are usually open Monday to Friday from 8:00 to 17:30 and Saturday from 8:00 to 12:00. You will find an efficient staff, with a perfect organization. So that your postcard arrives in France, count well a week of delay. All post offices have a service of sending packets by surface or by air. For postcards to Europe, count 15 baht.
A FEW USEFUL VOCABULARY WORDS:
  • Hello: Sawat dii khrap (if you are a man), Sawat dii khaa (if you are a woman)
  • Thank you (a lot): khop khoun khrap (mak) (if you are a man), khop khoun khaa (mak) (if you are a woman)
  • Yes / No: khrap / may khrap (if you are a man), khaa / may khaa (if you are a woman)
  • I would like / I do not want: Ao / May ao
  • I do not understand: mesh khrao djaille
  • Sorry: ko ​​thoote
  • How much does it cost ? : raka tao mock?
 
   
Attractions
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A great crossing from the south to the north of Thailand will make you discover on the way many temples with admirable decorations of the two former capitals, Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, as well as Lampang and its teak houses, ethnic villages, floating and rural markets ... In the Chiang Mai region, the “Rose of the North”, you will succumb to the beauty of the landscapes, the richness of the flora and the mild climate. Thailand will make your trip unforgettable with the warm welcome of the Thai people and the many treasures that the country has to offer!

THE ATTRACTIONS

Bangkok « the city of angels »

Chiang Mai « the rose of the north »

Chiang Rai

Chiang Saen « the golden triangle »

Koh Samui

Phuket – Koh Phi Phi

BANGKOK “THE CITY OF ANGELS”

After Sukothai, Ayutthaya, and for a short time Thon Buri, finally for Bangkok, which became the capital of Thailand in 1872, under the reign of King Rama I. Bangkok, the name of the capital of Thailand as known to foreigners, consists of 2 Thai words: "bang", meaning village on the river, and "kok", local fruit; therefore Bangkok means "fruit village".

In general, Thais use the term Krungtep to talk about their metropolis, which means the city of angels (just like Los Angeles). No other city in Southeast Asia can compare to Bangkok. It is a growing and possessive interest that visitors feel for this city that will leave them strong and indelible memories. It is difficult to explain precisely with words the intangible fascination that Bangkok can exert. Rich in imposing temples, sumptuous palaces and other characteristic buildings and monuments, Bangkok offers fascinating sightseeing opportunities.

The visits :

The Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha: at the gates of the city center, the Grand Palace is a collection of several buildings with precise architectural features. It was built in 1782 when King Rama I ascended the throne and Bangkok became the capital of Thailand. The architectural plan is almost identical to that of the royal palace of the ancient capital Ayutthaya. The Royal Chapel (or Wat Phra Kaeo) houses treasures of Thai art including the Emerald Buddha, the most revered Buddha image in Thailand. The three main buildings inside the temple, which form a sparkling ensemble, are the golden stûpa, the relics of Buddha, Phra Mondop or the library, housing Tripitaka or the Buddhist Scriptures. The Royal Pantheon is a pavilion that is used to guard the statues of the deceased kings of the Chakri dynasty. Finally, the 178 murals that describe the history of Ramayana are the centerpiece of Rattanakosin’s craftsmen.

Wat Pho (Temple of the Lying Buddha): measuring about 8 hectares, it is one of the largest temples of the capital, but also one of the oldest and most important. It houses the famous statue of the Reclining Buddha, 43m long and 15m high. You can also observe traditional Thai massage techniques, as the temple houses a massage school and a traditional medicine school.

Wat Arun (Temple of the dawn): located on the right bank of the Chao Phraya River, the temple owes its name to the Hindu god Aruna, which is the symbol of the dawn. Very important monument of the city of Bangkok, its construction dates back to the time of the former kingdom of Ayutthaya. The temple housed the Emerald Buddha taken from Vientiane between 1778 and 1784.

The khlongs (canals): a boat tour on the canals of Bangkok will allow you to admire the many houses of different styles, built in this part of Bangkok (Damnoen Saduak & Rose Garden). Departure from the pier of Damnoen Saduak, we pass the vineyards of Bangkok, various agricultural plantations. You can admire traditional Thai houses by the water. During his reign, King Rama V used to visit the people and dine with them by the river. Your cruise will most often make you disembark at the central market of Damnoen Saduak.

Jim Thompson’s House: Jim Thompson was an American who reintroduced the silk industry in Thailand and built his superb canal house in the pure Thai style, bringing together many rare antique pieces from across the country. He mysteriously disappeared in Malaysia about 30 years ago.

Vimanmek Palace: built by Rama V, it is the largest white teak building in the world.

Bridge of the River Kwai: known all over the world thanks to many films and books, the Black Iron Bridge was transported from Java by the Japanese army and reassembled under Japanese supervision by prisoners of war to complete "the railway line of death" linking Thailand and Myanmar. Still in service today, the bridge was the target of frequent Allied bombing in 1945, and had to be rebuilt after the end of the war. The JEATH War Museum, by the river, was built as the former Allied prisoner camps during World War II. The name JEATH derives from Japan, England (England), America, Australia, Thailand and Holland). The thatched detention huts with raised, narrow bamboo bunks contain commemorative items such as photos and drawings of the prisoners' living conditions. The war cemetery houses the body of 6,982 prisoners who died during the construction of the "Railway of Death".

The crocodile farm: you will see thousands of these animals, but also a very impressive show. It is possible to have a photo taken with a crocodile or a tiger.

CHIANG MAI, « THE ROSE OF THE NORTH »

Chiang Mai, 2nd city of Thailand and capital of the North, was founded in 1292 on the Ping River by King Men Rai as the new capital of Lanna Thai. Weakened by internal conflicts for the throne and by the oppression of other kingdoms, the city fell to the Burmese troops of King Bayinnaung in 1558. For more than 2 centuries (1558-1774), Chiang Mai was under Burmese control. The wealth of the city declined, as the Burmese exploited it for military purposes in their wars with Ayutthaya. Finally, the Northern Thai forces, allied with the King of Thonburi, Taksin, drove out the Burmese in 1775. But the city was so weak that it was completely abandoned.

Together with the Thai Siam, Chiang Mai regained his strength. However, in the 19th century, Western interest in the northern teak forests forced King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) of Siam to take over the administration in 1892. Chiang Mai is a city built on the roots of a traditional heritage, deeply rooted in time. The city has a great cultural personality of its own. Moreover, it is fortunate to have a majestic natural setting and great beauty. The population itself is an unforgettable part of Chiang Mai. Silk, silver and wood crafts are timeless souvenirs for visitors from all over the world.

The visits :

Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep: according to legend, the temple site was chosen by an elephant carrying a holy relic. Initially the relic was to be enshrined in the Wat Suan Dok in 1371, but it broke in two. The second piece was placed on the back of an elephant which began to mount the Doi Suthep, stopping twice. After three days the elephant finally reached a level ground, circled around three times, knelt down and died. A hole was dug on the site for the relic, which was then covered with a chedi (a form of stûpa) more than seven meters high. Until the road was built in 1935, the pilgrims had to walk up the mountain and up the more than 200 steps of the long naga-lined staircase to reach the temple.

Excursions to Mae Hong Son: Mae Hong Son, “The City of 3 Mists,” is known worldwide as a refuge for the Pa Dong, tribe of giraffe women. But it is also a beautiful mountainous region with a national park and many caves and waterfalls. An ideal stay for nature lovers!

Wat Pha Lat (Temple of the Rock): located on the Doi Suthep , this temple often serves as a stopover for pilgrims who come to gather at the Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. It is an enchanting place, adorning a lush vegetation, which the locals commonly call «the Temple of the Jungle».

Wat Chedi Luang: the construction of this temple began in the 14th century and ended only in the 15th century. It is also known to have temporarily sheltered the Emerald Buddha from 1545 to 1551, before its transfer to Luang Prabang. You may have the opportunity to attend one of the daily discussion sessions with the temple monks, which will allow you to learn more about Buddhism and the culture of the country.

Wat Chiang Man: it is the oldest temple of Chiang Mai. King Mengrai lived there when the city was built. This temple houses two very important and revered Buddha statues, the Phra Sila (a marble Buddha statue) and the Phra Satang Man (a crystal Buddha statue).

CHIANG RAI

Chiang Rai was founded in 1262 by King Meng Rai, and was the first capital of Lanna Thai (Kingdom of a Million Rice Fields). The province, which includes the northernmost point of Thailand at Mae Sai, is well known for its mountainous panorama and tribes, and is located in the region known as the Golden Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar converge.

The visits :

Trekking & rafting: trekking with a guide is the best way to see the tribes and the beautiful landscapes. The experienced guides will take you, through the maze of trails in the hills, to the villages where you can learn more about traditional lifestyles. The guides can also help you understand the spiritual world of the tribes and the associated rituals. Nights in the villages for a complete immersion and moments of sharing with the host families!

Wat Rong Khun (the White Temple): now a must-see in the country and the city of Chiang Rai, the White Temple is a unique architectural marvel. Created by Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat to pay homage to King Rama IX and his hometown, it is a titanic project whose end is estimated at … 2070! The whole temple is immaculate white, whose clarity is enhanced by small mirrors embedded in the walls. The details of the sculptures are pushed to perfection and you will even find modern representations, like Mickael Jackson, Harry Potter, Terminator, Superman or even Hello Kitty. The ensemble, composed in particular of the famous Renaissance bridge, encourages its visitor to approach the path of happiness so as not to succumb to vices and artifices of our human lives.

Wat Rong Suea Ten (the Blue Temple): a little-known temple because it has not yet been completed; its construction began in 2005 to replace an old temple in ruins for several years. Its name «Suea Ten», which means «the dancing tiger», pays tribute to the legend of the village of the same name in which the temple is located. Its beautiful blue color makes it a beautiful place also with sublime ornaments and an impressive statue of immaculate standing Buddha.

CHIANG SAEN « THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE »

Northern Thailand is renowned for its beautiful mountain scenery. However, it is likely that few of you have heard of Chiang Saen, a small town just northeast of Chiang Rai and one of the oldest cities in Thailand, which lies dreamily on the shore of the mighty Mae Khong River. Who could imagine his glorious and powerful past? However, believe it or not, this quiet province city, gateway to the "Golden Triangle", was once the center of power of the Kingdom of Lanna.

Founded by King Mengrai’s grandson in 1327, on the original site of an older town, Chiang Saen was invaded by the Burmese in 1558. They retained control of the city and much of the region until 1804, when King Rama I of Siam took it over and burned it entirely. The familiar phrase that followed “we had to destroy it to save it” may well be the words of the victorious king himself. For nearly 70 years, the city was abandoned, with the exception of a few families, until the day when Chao Inta, one of the sons of the Prince of Lumpoon, returned the descendants of the ancient population of Chiang Saen and had the city rebuilt.

The visits :

The National Museum: the city’s museum houses a beautiful collection of archaeological finds from the surrounding area. You can admire examples of the art history of the city, as well as beautiful statues of Buddha from the 14 and 15 centuries, inspired by the Indian art of Pala and finally stucco masks discovered on the site of the Wat Pa Sak.

Wat Pa Sak (Temple of the Forest in tek): the name of the temple comes from the 300 teks planted around the building. This is a fine example of the art of the Kingdom of Lanna, despite the many renovations it has undergone, which makes it difficult to estimate the date of its construction.

Wat Chedi Luang: famous for its octagonal chedi (the top is stupa-shaped), measuring 58m high, it was built in 1331, then renovated and enlarged in 1515. You will find it right next to the city museum.

Wat Phra Thart Kitti: located on a small hill just outside the northwest part of the city walls: 383 steps lead to this interesting temple whose view of the river Mae Khong to Laos is exceptional.

The Mae Khong River: it is one of the main attractions of the city; from time to time, long Laotian boats painted in blue can be admired while sliding along the seemingly quiet river. In fact, the waters are far from calm, and swimming there is not recommended.

Wat Phrathat Phu Kao: from which the view of the Golden Triangle is breathtaking.

KOH SAMUI

The first inhabitants of Koh Samui settled there about 1,500 years ago. They were mainly fishermen looking for shelter from the wind in the calm and protected waters of Bophut Bay in the north of the island. They quickly realized that the sea around the island was very rich in cuttlefish and other seafood. In addition, the land was very fertile. As a result, small villages developed rapidly and this is how the population of Samui began to grow.

Koh Samui, 280 km2, is the largest island in the Gulf of Siam. It is part of an archipelago of 80 small islands, only 6 of which are inhabited. It is an island of coconut trees, wooded hills and limestone mountains. Its highest point is 636 meters above sea level. Its beautiful beaches, jungle, hills and waterfalls offer varied landscapes, rarely matched on other islands.

The economy of the island depends mainly, apart from fishing, on the cultivation of coconuts, picked by trained monkeys. Samui exports over 2 million coconuts a month!

The history of Samui began to change in the early 80’s, when the island was discovered by independent travelers. This brought the construction of small rustic bungalows with roofs in palm leaves. But the secret could not be kept very long, and the island quickly became an internationally renowned holiday destination. However, despite the strong tourist development, the inhabitants are determined to preserve the natural and exceptional charm of the island.

The most beautiful beaches of the island are located on the north and east coasts, the most popular between Chaweng and Lamai, where are also the largest hotel complexes. In addition to these beaches, the island has other interests such as the waterfalls of Hin Lat and Na Muang, the stones "Hin Ta at Hin Yai" at the southern tip of Lamai Bay, and the great "Big Buddha" north of Bophut. In Samui, the climate is tropical with average temperatures varying between 25°C and 34°C. It is in November that it rains the most.

PHUKET

Phuket is the largest island in Thailand (about the size of Singapore), and nests in the Indian Ocean some 890 km south of Bangkok. It is known as the “Pearl of Andaman”, which is mainly due to its past glory and its important economic prosperity, resulting from the production of tin that dates back more than 500 years.

Today, Phuket is the main tourist attraction in Thailand. The surrounding waters are home to a variety of underwater flora and fauna, and the city is interesting for its Sino-Portuguese architecture. It is a very attractive island with lovely shores and wooded hillsides. With 1.6 million inhabitants, Phuket province ranks sixth in terms of population. Approximately 1.75 million Rai of the region are covered with forests, the main occupation remaining the cultivation of rice. Phuket is a 70% mountainous island; a mountain range extends from north to south, from which derive some less imposing ramifications. The highlight is Mai Tha Sip Song, or "The Twelve Cannes", which is 529 meters above sea level in the Tambon Patong region of Kathu. The remaining 30% of the island, mainly in the centre and south, consists of low plains.

The climate of Phuket is typical of the surrounding area where it is located, with strong influences of monsoon winds: warm, humid, but pleasant all year round. There are only two seasons: the rainy season, from May to November, with southwest winds, and the dry season from December to April, with winds coming from the northeast. It is warmest in March with an average temperature of 33.4°C, and cooler in January when the thermometer can drop to 22°C in the early morning. Phuket Island has a long historical past, and ruins dating back to 1025 A.D. indicate that the current name of Phuket would derive from the Tamil manikram, or “crystal mountain”. However Phuket has long been known as Junk Ceylon, which can be seen mentioned on some ancients maps.

Phuket Island is the refuge of the ancient sea gypsy people. They live - as they have for hundreds of years - in Koh Sireh, a small island separated from the main island by a narrow stream, as well as in Rawaii, a beach at the extreme south of Phuket. A few hundred of them, officially called "Thai-mai", have their houses and heritage. The gypsies of the sea traditionally live from fishing, and more recently from tourism. Tourists, wishing to experience the authentic character of Phuket, like to visit their villages. They are nomads who have no permanent place to live, nor writing instruments. One theory is that the sea gypsies are descended from the Malaysian colonies that fled the Muslim invasion of the Burmese. Another wants them to be the descendants of the pure Indian race, the Vedas.

KOH PHI PHI

Phi Phi Islands are located 34 km southeast of Phuket. Perched on the southern edge of the Phang-nga range, they are part of the Ko Phi Phi Leh National Maritime Park. They are two beautiful islands, carrying two huge mountains of emerald green limestone. The two huge mountains that dominate the islands- one of them at 498 m - are connected by a strip of sand to create what, seen from an airplane, looks like a giant dumbbell. The sandy beach separating the islands is so narrow that it is possible to return a football from one shore to another.

The largest of the two islands, Phi Phi Don, has a circumference of 20 km. Nine shimmering coves and their fine sandy beach, bordering sumptuous coral reefs and turquoise blue waters, give the island its reputation of sublime beauty. Its small population lives in a small number of rapidly disappearing fishing villages, due to tourism development and resort construction.

Phi Phi Le consists almost exclusively of steep cliffs, with some caves and a sea lake formed by an enclave between two cliffs that allow the water to enter through a canyon shaped like a basin. The island is not inhabited, but has several beautiful beaches. However, what makes it popular are mainly its caves where migratory birds (such as swallows) like to nest. Indeed, birds appreciate limestone caves and high cliffs as shelter. Between January and April each year, thousands of birds stop at Phi Phi Le and spend about two weeks in the caves where they build nests whose cement is their saliva.

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