Thailand – Things to do
You’ll find so many things to do in Thailand that you’ll wish you can stay for far longer. Whether it’s visiting temples, trekking in the jungle, relaxing on a beach or shopping at a floating market, the choices are endless. Why not do them all?
At the top of your must-do list, you’ll want to put a visit to a colourful and lively Talat Nam, or water market. Getting around by river is an everyday part of Thai life, so it makes sense to do your shopping here too. You won’t be short of willing boat drivers to navigate so you can sit back and watch as the sellers trade their goods. Some of the boats are floating kitchens, making fresh Thai food in front of you. Just 12km from downtown Bangkok is Talin Chan, or for more choice travel 90km south west of the capital to the floating markets in Amphawa, more authentic and less touristy than Damnoen Saduawk. Shop in the late afternoon and evening from boats piled high with crabs, prawns and squid, or visit the little wooden houses on the bank.
2.The Grand Palace
Prepare for your jaw to drop at the breathtaking detail and gold craftsmanship of the most famous landmark in Bangkok. For centuries the home of the Thai kings, several lavish buildings make up its four divisions. Don’t miss Wat Phra Kaew or Temple of the Emerald Buddha, housing a 14th century idol hand-carved from a single block of jade. Wander through the throne halls and courts and note that a strict dress code applies in such a sacred site.
Make sure you leave space in your suitcase for all the things you’ll want to bring back from Thailand. One of the first things you’ll want to buy is silk, whether in scarves, jackets and pillows or bags and ties. Wooden carvings are a beautiful bargain, or you could go big and arrange for furniture to be shipped back to the UK. Make sure you get an export certificate for statues of Buddha taller than five inches high. Celadon pottery is a unique and pretty product with its pale blue or green tableware. Thai gold jewellery is good value and 22 carats, while silver jewellery often uses rubies and sapphires mined in Thailand. Head to the EmQuartier shopping centre in Bangkok for technology, beauty and designer fashion or street markets to haggle over souvenirs.=
Head north to the charming and laid-back city of Chiang Mai, nestled in the foothills, for jungle treks, elephants, whitewater rafting, incredible food and temples galore. Walk the 306 steps up to the temple of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. Don’t miss Wualai Walking Street, the vibrant night markets held on Saturday and Sunday and the place to haggle for paper lanterns, herbal remedies, wooden carvings and much more. Another great thing to do in Chiang Mai is to take a day-long cookery course to learn how to get the perfect balance of sweet, sour, spicy and salty flavours.