5 Must-See Destinations in Thailand Mar 31, 2017 by Ashleigh (Awesome Escape Blogger)
Thailand is one of the world’s oldest monarchies and the only country in Southeast Asia to avoid occupation by a colonial power. This gives the beautiful nation a unique history, architecture, and culture that is full of beautiful destinations well worth your while. Do you want to start with the hundreds of enchanting islands or the teeming metropolis of Bangkok? It could literally take you years to see them all. But, if your time is limited, you’re going to have to pick and choose. Check out these five must-see destinations in Thailand.
Bangkok’s Grand Palace
The capital of Thailand (then called Siam) was built on the banks of the Chao Praya River in Bangkok. This spectacular Grand Palace was then built for the new capital. It’s a walled city spanning almost 1.4 million square feet containing the royal residences. Included are government buildings, one-of-a-kind works of art, Buddhist temples, and incredible throne rooms. You’ll be in awe at all the exquisite art and craftsmanship. In particular, the Royal Monastery of the Emerald Buddha is beyond words. We recommend a minimum of four years to take it all in! It’s also important to dress in the proper attire, which means shoulders should be covered for men (wear a jacket or shirt) and no short skirts, shorts, or skin tight pants are permitted for women. There is a small fee for admission.
Chiang Mai Sunday Night Market
Expats call Chiang Mai the “Rose of the North.” The relaxed and inviting atmosphere, living culture, spectacular temples, international restaurants, and party-till-you-drop nightclubs say it all. Visitors and locals look forward to the nighttime bazaar where local vendors offer extraordinary bargains. You can lose yourself in the energetic atmosphere looking through clothing, music, jewelry, shoes, purses, and food stalls. 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 is almost a mile long. This market emphasizes the arts and culture 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.
The White Temple in Chiang Rai
The White Temple, or “Wat Rong Khun” is a spectacular Buddhist temple a short drive outside of Chiang Rai. It was purchased and restored using plaster and glass by Chalermchai Kositpipat, a famous Thai visual artist, in the 1990s and 2000s. He built what he sees as a realistic representation of what he sees as the concrete obstacles toward the path of enlightenment. The white symbols purity and the mirrors reflect wisdom. Around this magnificent work of art you’ll find typical coffee shops, eateries, and of course shopping. Keep in mind there is a small fee to enter.
Monkey Temples of Lopburi
About 90 miles away from Bangkok you’ll find an unusual complex of temples. It’s known mainly for ancient ruins that run as far as the eye can see. The real draw for the visitors is the fact the resident town of Lopburi is overrun with little monkeys. These are feisty crab-eating macaques that seem to enjoy “monkeying around” the temples. These animals are happily hanging from rafters and light fixtures, always looking for food scraps from visitors. Word of advice, do not feed the monkeys unless of course you want them to swarm you. These monkeys are bold little imps!
This one may shock you, but it’s fascinating nonetheless. The hill tribe villages of Thailand are remembered for their bright, colorful dress, unique handmade crafts, and their traditional customs. In particular, there’s a tribe called the Karen “Long-Neck” people. You can actually walk to the village and see them up close not far from the city center in Chiang Rai. For a small fee, you can walk casually through the villages and engage with the people. Many Karen women wear brass coils wrapped snuggly around their necks weighing up to 30 pounds. Some people might find this experience uncomfortable, and bear in mind that you are expected to purchase their arts and crafts to support the local community. Enjoy your visit to Thailand and see all that the country has to offer.