Long a favourite among romantics and adventurers alike, holidays to Thailand excite with wildlife-dotted rainforests, impress with Buddhist wonders and soothe with island paradises.
Unlike each and every one of its neighbours, Thailand dodged the weighty influence of Europe’s colonial powers. The result? A uniquely preserved cultural heritage that plays out across everything from gilded palaces and dramatically tiered temples to that impossibly moreish cuisine and a truly spectacular natural world. Elephants roam old-growth rainforests, ancient villages crouch in the north’s jungled hills and crystal-clear waters are backed by pristine white sand. Indeed, there’s perhaps nothing more indulgent than hopping between the country's islands, discovering secret palm-fringed beaches among green-dappled karst towers.
That’s not to say, however, that you’ll be without more than a touch of luxury amongst all that unspoilt wilderness. Thailand is host to some of the world’s finest accommodation, with the likes of private beachfront villas and even floating rainforest camps competing for your attention. And, never outdone, in Bangkok you can stay in pool-capped skyscrapers, their futuristic neon set between the city’s silted markets and century-old teakwood houses. The Thai capital is a true feast for the senses, from its vibrant streetfood scene to its incense-fragranced monasteries and the burnished gold of its Royal Palace.
The camera doesn’t lie – Thailand’s glittering gulf is dotted with countless palm-fringed islands where golden beaches are backed by swathes of greenery. But, forget the image of backpacking bums, you’ll return from your snorkel trips and archipelago cruises to the likes of private-pool villas and jungle-fringed pavilions, tailor-made for honeymoons.
In a way, Thailand’s revered cuisine is a direct reflection of its natural world. Coconuts from white-sand beaches fragrance mouth-watering curries, island fishermen catch plump prawns for pad thai noodles and rural Thailand owes much of its beauty to brightly verdant fields of rice. It’s all showcased everywhere from beach shacks and night markets to fine-dining restaurants on the rooftops of Bangkok hotels.
Majestic, supremely beautiful and fiercely intelligent, it’s impossible not to fall for these regal creatures. And, Thailand leads the way in award-winning experiences, offering the chance to walk, wash and even train your own elephant. Choose between rustic glamping in the middle of a rainforest and luxury elephant-camp resorts in the northern jungles.
A visit to Thailand is a true cultural education. Saffron-robed monks colour gilded temples, treks into waterfall-troubled hills reveal ancient tribes and the golden spires of Bangkok’s Grand Palace pierce bright-blue skies. But, longtail boat trips and tasting visits to buzzing streetfood stalls are just as much a part of daily life; just remember to find time for that beach massage.
If you venture down to Thailand’s southwest corner you’ll be greeted by the world’s oldest rainforest, its plunging valleys backdropped by limestone mountains and criss-crossed by reaching waterways. It’s here that you can walk with elephants, kayak past troops of monkeys and stay in luxury floating camps.
Highlights of Thailand
13 days from £2,595 pp incl. flights
Showcase the best of Thailand in style, starting with Bangkok’s infectious energy and ending with a luxury beachfront resort on a palm-fringed island. In between, you’ll enjoy adventure touring and all-inclusive indulgences with a jungle-clad elephant camp.
The Romance of Thailand
15 days from £2,690 pp incl. flights
Following a stay in Bangkok’s finest hotel – a skyscraping jewel – you’ll hop between a pair of paradisiacal Thai islands, enjoying wine receptions, stays in private-pool villas and the chance to explore colourful reefs and dense jungles alike.
Thailand Beach and Elephant Safari
15 days from £2,690 pp incl. flights
This indulgent itinerary pairs the chance for some white-sands island luxury in a private-pool villa with an all-inclusive rainforest safari. Here, you’ll stay in chic floating camps as you walk with elephants and spot monkeys on canoe trips and longboat cruises.