Every trip to Thailand is different, and this remarkable country's knack for reinventing itself keeps on surprising even veteran Selective Asia team members who can recall that mythical ‘like Thailand 20 years ago’. We rarely meet a visitor who isn’t eager to see more.
Whether you’re taking your first holiday in Thailand or your tenth, it can include your ideal balance of beautiful beaches, rural relaxation, ancient culture and urban buzz… all before we mention the food. Add in fabulous hotels and top-notch service, and you can understand why Thailand is still a showstopper, even after decades in the Asia travel limelight.
Thailand’s beaches have mythic status for a reason. The Thai tourist authority is careful to ensure that while some have grown into fabulous places to party, others remain tranquil and reserved, with every flavour in between. Whatever you’re after — be it soaking up the sea air, sinking into 6-star splendour, dozing in a beachside cabana, retreating to a spa, getting sporty in the water, splashing with the kids or wandering a rural coastline — we can show you a Thai beach that’ll suit you down to your sandy toes.
Most Thai holidays start or finish in the capital, a heady humid metropolis with a buzz of ‘what next?’ thrumming tirelessly along its busy pavements. We’re hard pushed to name a city that tops it on the fun scale: the streetside bars, riverside restaurants and spectacular roof-top watering holes are amongst the best and most stylish you can find anywhere, and the food is one of the world’s greatest cuisines. The art, historic and spiritual sites are typically breathtaking, and the shopping is liable to seduce even the most reluctant buyer.
Northern Thailand has a different pace entirely, with gorgeous green landscapes offering many opportunities for rural adventure. Take your pick from tea-plantations and riverside camps, mountain treks and elephant conservation, farm stays and hidden luxury. Rural regions such as the Golden Triangle and Chiang Rai are best known and full of options, or try mountainous tea-growing Fang, where you can get hands-on with village life.
The quality of Thai cookery is simply several cuts above most other places, making it easy to get a fantastic meal. You'll find that flavours and techniques shift with the landscapes as you travel across the country. As a rule, the hottest dishes are in the north, while the laid back south is kinder on the palette. Dishes change from town to town, too, let alone north to south — there’s much pleasure to be had in wandering the foodie markets to discover what's different at each step in your journey.
Thailand’s intriguing history makes a graceful backdrop to daily life, from beautiful architecture to the traditions that travel down the generations. Potter back in time at archaeological parks such Sukhothai, the template for ‘classic’ Thai aesthetic with its wonderful temples and monuments. 800 year old Chiang Kham offers an alternative ‘ancient town’ experience to popular Chiang Mai, or head to Kanchanaburi to find the railway that bridges the River Kwai (alongside an adventure traveller’s paradise that is conveniently close to Bangkok).
A journey through northern Thailand for an eco-focussed exploration of local Lahu traditions and culture in the hills of Chiang Mai.