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Things to do in Thailand
Festivals and events
Each November the Phimai long boat Festival takes place. This is a traditional festival also features music and entertainment presentations, though the long boat race itself draws many visitors. And you don’t have to be an avid long distance runner to enjoy the Pattaya Marathon; it runs in July every year.
This is a celebration in almost all resorts and hotels. It is celebrated on one night during full moon of the 12th lunar month. ‘Loy’ signifies ‘floating’, while ‘krathong’ is a small object in the shape of a lotus flower, usually made from banana leaves. On the evening of the festival, thousands of people head to their local river or canal to make a wish. They do so by lighting the candle in their krathong and setting it free to float with the current – a truly beautiful sight.
This festival is a great one for those who love a good water fight. It’s the official Thai New Year landing on April 13th each year and lasting around 2 to 3 days. During the festival, the streets fill up with people looking to soak and get soaked with super-soakers in hand! Water is used as a symbol of cleansing, which is exactly what the Thai people want to do to start the New Year.
Phi Ta Khon
This is a tradition of the Dan Sai district of the Loei Province in Isan. It is better known as the ghost festival since it reflects the regions beliefs on ghosts and spirits. It occurs each year around June/July and is probably Thailand’s most colourful festival. Men dress up as spirits in bright colourful costumes and masks. Along with the costumes, there’s plenty of dancing and rejoicing.
Thailand is in many ways a shopper’s paradise with its variety of both designer clothing deals at Bangkok’s malls and boutiques, hand crafted suits and silks, and many deals on gifts and locally made treasures available at the many markets. In Thailand there’s a shopping experience to suit all tastes and budgets.
Sports and watersports
Thailand is growing as a golfer’s destination – its scenic interior makes it perfect for some stunning golf courses. Pattaya is especially good for the keen golfer with the simply named Golf Club restaurant running competitions in conjunction with local courses. Almost every watersport you can think of are on offer too. If you’re staying at a hotel or resort located on the coast, they will have a water sports centre or will have links to a local place to hire gear and equipment.
Architecture, history and traditional customs are abundant here and well worth seeking out. The Grand Palace in Bangkok is stunning and over 200 years old, remaining one of the top attractions in the city – viewing it at night is well advised for a new and unique take on the building. The famous floating markets are also worth seeking out, for both the picturesque sight and the bargains you’ll pick up. There are plenty of UNESCO World Heritage Sites dotted throughout the country, home to rich history and importance to Thai culture – Chiang Mai and Trat are good places to start.
Thailand is a great place to do a cooking course and really immerse yourself in the culinary customs. There are various locations within the country that offer this lasting experience, where you’ll have the chance to develop a great knowledge for the spices, flavour combinations and traditional cooking techniques.
Thailand is home to some really amazing beaches, particularly along the coast of the idyllic Phi Phi islands. Incredibly tranquil, white sand shores and crystalline waters are teamed with the renowned climate for the ultimate tropical beach haven. While you’re here, take time out from sunbathing to explore the seabed as well as dry land with snorkelling or diving. The beaches of Koh Chang are even more tucked away, with long stretches of coastline fringing dense jungles and quaint villages.