Thailand, otherwise known as the Kingdom of Siam until 1932, according to The New York Times, is one of the world’s most efficient monarchies. It is the only Southeastern Asian nation that has avoided European colonization. Just one of the unique things about this amazing country. Thailand is so chalked full of beautiful destinations well worth your while that it could literally take you years to see them all. Do you want to start with the hundreds of magical islands or the big city? Which makes it ultra-important to plan ahead when visiting this mystical land. If your time is limited, you’re going to have to pick and choose.
Bangkok’s Breathtaking Grand Palace
The history books dictate the capital of Siam was created alongside the Chao Praya River in Bangkok, sometime after the demolition of Ayutthaya. This spectacular Grand Palace was then built for the new capital. It’s a walled city spanning almost 130,000 square meters; containing the royal residencies. Included are government buildings, one-of-a-kind works of art, Buddhist temples, and incredible throne walls. When exploring you’ll need a minimum of 4 hours to take it all in. You’ll walk around in awe at all the exquisite architectural design. In particular, the Royal Monastery of the Emerald Buddha is beyond words. It’s important to dress in the proper attire. Which means shoulders should be covered for men and no short skirts or shorts or skin tight pants are permitted for women. There is a small fee for admission.
Chiang Mai Sunday Night Walking Street
Expats know Chiang Mai as the “Rose of the North.” The relaxed and inviting laid back atmosphere, exciting and alive culture, spectacular Buddhist temples, unique restaurants, and party-till-you-drop nightclubs say it all. Every single night visitors and locals look forward to the bazaar – where local vendors offer extraordinary bargains that are impossible to pass up. You can lose yourself in the energetic atmosphere looking through clothing, CD’s, jewelry, shoes, purses, and food stalls galore. And you never have to worry about missing anything because there’s a repeat performance almost every single night. Make note the very best shopping in Chiang Mai is the Sunday Night Market. It’s the largest of the week and spans over a kilometer long. This market tunes into the arts and culture aspect of the city and not so much the clothing, food, etc. This is where the locals come from miles around to showcase their handcrafted masks, paintings, wooden boxes, lanterns, and other interesting pieces of art that people come from all walks of life to buy.
Up Close and Personal With Tiger World
There aren’t many places on earth where you can safely get up close and personal with tigers. In Chiang Mai’s Tiger Kingdom, you get the rare opportunity to get literally eye-to-eye with one of the feared predators of the jungle. There are plenty of tigers to see from ages 3 months old to veteran adults. Each tiger has a degree of conditioning to humans because they have all been born and raised in captivity. This doesn’t mean they aren’t still a wild animal. But you will see they are also quite loveable and affectionate when they are in a safe environment. Typically they get to eat twice a day and spend most of their time playing with their caretakers and each other. The great news is that because they have been with humans all their lives they pose no threat to visitors. And contrary to what some troublemakers may speculate, these animals are not drugged or given any sort of tranquilizers to remain so calm. They are conditioned to be used to and enjoy the company of visitors. Of course, there are professional escorts that take people throughout the park at all times for obvious reasons. It is a little pricey but well worth it.