From the wonder of its golden Buddhas and hilltop temples to the glamour of its sandy beaches and paradise coves, its bustling cities and mountain shrines, Thailand is a tropical paradise, cultural haven and hedonistic nocturnal temptress all rolled into one.
Fresh local ingredients are key to the mouthwatering flavours that emanate from their world famous cuisine and nothing could be more traditional than a Pad Thai served off a street cart in a busy market in the centre of Bangkok. Cooking classes can be found throughout and if you want to really push the bounds of the culinarily bizarre and you're feeling brave, head to an out of town local market to try deep fried spiders on sticks, flies in bags like raisins and a whole host of things that would ordinarily turn the stomach.
Local and street markets can be found just about everywhere and the art of bartering is an essential skill when you head off for some traditional retail therapy. Don't be afraid to haggle, its expected. The initial price they tell you will be inflated by 200-300% so it they say 500 baht, offer 50 and take it from there.
Between the bustling cities and towns and the paradise coastlines lie acres of tropical forests, rice paddies and quaint little villages bound by agricultural. Mountains scar the north, decorated with glittering waterfalls and local wildlife all interspersed with hidden temples and golden shrines.
When it comes to sun worship and relaxation, there's a wealth of choice from shark diving in Ko Tao to the cliffs of Krabi, full moon parties in Ko Pha Ngan to water-sports in Hua Hin or if you want to relax, revive and re-invigorate both mind and soul, try a health spa in Ko Samui. For the more traditional resorts, head south to Phuket where you'll find the usual hotels and a wider selection of family friendly options.
Thailand can be divided into three seasons, the rainy monsoon season (May to October) with August and September being the wettest period although dry spells commonly occur for 1 to 2 weeks from June to early July. Winter, from October until February where most of Thailand experiences dry weather and mild temperatures with the exception of the south where abundant rainfall, particularly from October to November is common. Summer runs from February until May and when warmer weather is the norm with average temperatures around 30°C.
There's so much to admire about this glorious country and so much to do and see it would be madness to have never visited so book your next trip now.
When to visit
If you're planning a holiday in Thailand, our top picks for the best time to travel would be January and December
Thailand's dry season coincides with slightly cooler temperatures, which result in perfect conditions. The seas are calmer, particularly on the Andaman-facing west coast.
Cooler and dry, Thailand can be a wonderful wintry sunshine escape at this time of year. Relax on Koh Samui's idyllic long white sandy beaches, or visit local tribes in Chiang Mai's scenic hills