What makes Thailand a popular tourist destination

Aquamarine ocean views fringed by coconut palms with an occasional boat on the horizon coupled with the sweet chirping of cuckoos. Can island escapes get any better?

Bandana Jain tours this southeastern delight to discover its majestic coastline, gorgeous resorts and a chilled out vacay like none other.

Thailand has been a potent candidate for the finest holiday destinations in Asia. Statistics prove that catching sight of the sea is a major stress buster. With hundreds of dreamy tropical islands scattered along its extensive coastline, each one offering a tantalizing composition of turquoise water, serene beaches and a scintillating nightlife, Thailand provides a stunning holiday package. It is a stunning amalgam of excellent year-round climate, easy on the budget and diverse things-to-do list, not to forget its amazing cuisine. With gorgeous skylines, it could do well by the name ‘the land of magical sunrises and sunsets.

For most of Indian travelers, Thailand is the predominant travel destination because of its easy access (two to three-hour flight from India) and an on- arrival visa. For me, it featured on the 20th place as I wanted more time to explore the country and its huge archipelago in a much -detailed manner. And here, I embarked on a ten-day travel to this pearl of the southeast, hoping to catch some of its wonders. Though there’s a lot yet to be explored in this magnificent country, I was happy that I could make it to at least some of its major hotspots.

Bangkok

Before I landed in Bangkok, I had pictured it as a crazy city popular as a shoppers’ delight, particularly for Asians. But my misconception soon dissolved as I discovered it to be a city with relaxed vibes, flooded with history, culture and of course famed for its ultra -reasonable shopping avenues.

The most spectacular jewel in Bangkok’s tour list was the Grand Palace which was an artistic and historical delight by itself. A stunning compound replete with a cornucopia of buildings in ornate décor, each one looking stupendously beautiful. Once lived in by the kings, it features courtyards of countless awe-inspiring examples of exquisite royal architecture through the millennia.

The statue of Emerald Buddha was another stunner of sorts. Located inside the grounds of the Grand Palace, Thailand’s most valued temple features the magnificent Emerald Buddha that dates back to the 14th century. I was spellbound by the intricate work, both of the Emerald Buddha Statue as well as the other buildings on the campus.

Close to the premises of the Grand Palace, lies the reclining Buddha, another unmissable attraction with a gold plated, 46-meter supine statue of Lord Buddha. The Reclining Buddha (or Wat Pho, as it is locally called) represents the entry into complete spiritual enlightenment ending all worldly reincarnations.

Towards the evening, we headed to the Chatuchak market and the Premiere mall and shopped to our heart’s content!

The next morning, we took a one-and-a-half-hour flight to Koh Samui, followed by half an hour long catamaran trip that led us to our second destination of a pristine paradise called Koh Phangan. Another twenty minutes’ drive and we were dropped off at our island home in Koh Phangan Villas.

Koh Phangan

Easily accessible, well developed and dramatically beautiful, Koh Phangan is great for party-goers, beach bums and active adventurers in equal measure. Chilling out at Koh Phangan villas for four days was like taking a step back in time. Developed like a typical rainforest, it took me aback by its stunning greenery and well- structured foliage- each villa encompassed by trees, orchids, palms and myriad other exotic plants. And all this on the sidelines of the emerald sea with waves weaving their magical charm of calm and relaxation.

Birds were frequent visitors to our balcony and rising up to the alarm of cuckoos was like living in a unique tropical paradise, miles away from the din of the city life. Agreed, we did have Wi-Fi access, but the beauty of the place left u so mesmerized that getting connected to the virtual world seemed such a trivial thing to do.

Bedside sea views, coconut trees looming over crispy white sands and myself gazing over these marvels of nature from the precincts of my villa balcony- I was completely taken aback by the beauty of the place. Lazing by the beach, watching the mighty waves crash on the shore, a variety of water sports like kayaking, snorkeling, stand up paddling and swimming kept us busy.

In the evenings, we trodded outside the hotel to a take a bite at some of the shacks selling authentic Pad Thai noodles, Thai curry, crepes, rotis, papaya salad and pancakes with Nutella sauce.

For a person like me, experiential hospitality means a lot. Amongst many such experiences from a Thai tropical holiday was breakfast by the beach and it was the most outstanding one. The villas are designed in a way that dining areas are located on and in close proximity to the beach. Feeling the silken smooth sand below my feet coupled with soothing jade sea views with the meals is a memory well cherished.

Anantara resorts hospitality left us spellbound. This lavishly priced resort welcomed us by a tray of fresh guava and langan (a hybrid of lichee and rambutan), packets of raw banana chips, bottles of gin, wine and rum astonished as complimentary. However, we being teetotalers requested for a change and fresh watermelon juice was served instead.

A plunge pool awaited in the balcony with sun beds and dining chairs. I could spend my entire day here watching the playful waves hit the shores. Lush green settings, fountains, hammocks, swings served with a dash of privacy. Well stocked library awaited us with loads of reading material and immaculately furnished reading spaces and refreshments. Pots of water with ladles at the bottom of the staircase at the base of the villas to wash off sandy feet was another unique facility.

One might think, how can one survive in such a place for four good days. Even I thought so and was questioning my own decision to book such a place…but after the four days when I looked back, the magnitude of regalement and invigoration was beyond contemplation. It was a perfect place to recharge my heart, mind and soul!

Back at Koh Samui airport, I have a piece of advice. Pls explore the airport well- Its no less than a paradise and should be well- explored like any other landmark. In fact, I can happily rate it as the most beautiful airport I have ever visited. Near the departure gates, well-manicured lawns with blooms in full flourish greeted us. It is one of the airports where birds roam around freely in a partly enclosed lounge. Instead of the usual enclosed shopping outlets, there was an outdoor space flanked by shops and cafes on either side with benches, and flower beds in the centre. A great feeling to be in an airport that bases itself around natural settings.

Phuket

A forty- five minutes flight from Koh Samui took us to Phuket, the largest island in Thailand and a favourite slice of a holiday paradise.

The sight of Phuket’s sparkling waters and the tiny specks of islands as seen from the aircraft was enough to put us into an instant holiday mode, albeit of a different type. With its sheer size, Phuket offers potential itineraries as long and humongous as its myriad coastlines. One can find their own pace, be it active or tranquil for a memorable Phuket holiday. And if it’s the action that you are after, the entire island with its magnificent frontier becomes an extravagant setting.

Phuket’s enchantment spreads much beyond its turquoise waters, through its wondrous old town buildings or the Wat Chalong for its religious and architectural relevance. The 45 m tall whitewashed masterpiece statue called Big Buddha is definitely a much-admired cultural destination. The 6 km long drive up to the statue gives a peek into the authentic side of Phuket.

The culturally rich and charming old Phuket town has its own unique personality. The Sino -colonial jewellery and souvenirs. This place can be rated as a Mecca for shopaholics.

mansions, old-world shops, charming cafes are worth exploring and time should be set aside for the same. The night market at Thalang Road was a riot in shopping with bargains in clothes, food, footwear, souvenirs,etc.

Thailand has more than enough to keep tourists satisfied, yet leaves a craving to return for more! Surely, I do want to return to explore more of its tranquil beauty, enjoy its raucous nightlife, relax in its pricey resorts and chill on its magnificent coastlines. And not to forget, shop till I drop!!

The most spectacular jewel in Bangkok’s tour list was the Grand Palace which was an artistic and historical delight by itself. A stunning compound replete with a cornucopia of buildings in ornate décor, each one looking stupendously beautiful. Once lived in by the kings, it features courtyards of countless awe-inspiring examples of exquisite royal architecture through the millennia.

The statue of Emerald Buddha was another stunner of sorts. Located inside the grounds of the Grand Palace, Thailand’s most valued temple features the magnificent Emerald Buddha that dates back to the 14th century. I was spellbound by the intricate work, both of the Emerald Buddha Statue as well as the other buildings on the campus.

The Reclining Buddha

Close to the premises of the Grand Palace, lies the reclining Buddha, another unmissable attraction with a gold plated, 46-meter supine statue of Lord Buddha. The Reclining Buddha (or Wat Pho, as it is locally called) represents the entry into complete spiritual enlightenment ending all worldly reincarnations.
Towards the evening, we headed to the Chatuchak market and the Premiere mall and shopped to our heart’s content!
The next morning, we took a one-and-a-half-hour flight to Koh Samui, followed by half an hour long catamaran trip that led us to our second destination of a pristine paradise called Koh Phangan. Another twenty minutes’ drive and we were dropped off at our island home in Koh Phangan Villas.
Koh Phangan
Easily accessible, well developed and dramatically beautiful, Koh Phangan is great for party-goers, beach bums and active adventurers in equal measure. Chilling out at Koh Phangan villas for four days was like taking a step back in time. Developed like a typical rainforest, it took me aback by its stunning greenery and well- structured foliage- each villa encompassed by trees, orchids, palms and myriad other exotic plants. And all this on the sidelines of the emerald sea with waves weaving their magical charm of calm and relaxation.

Birds were frequent visitors to our balcony and rising up to the alarm of cuckoos was like living in a unique tropical paradise, miles away from the din of the city life. Agreed, we did have Wi-Fi access, but the beauty of the place left u so mesmerized that getting connected to the virtual world seemed such a trivial thing to do.

Bedside sea views, coconut trees looming over crispy white sands and myself gazing over these marvels of nature from the precincts of my villa balcony- I was completely taken aback by the beauty of the place. Lazing by the beach, watching the mighty waves crash on the shore, a variety of water sports like kayaking, snorkeling, stand up paddling and swimming kept us busy.

In the evenings, we trodded outside the hotel to a take a bite at some of the shacks selling authentic Pad Thai noodles, Thai curry, crepes, rotis, papaya salad and pancakes with Nutella sauce.


For a person like me, experiential hospitality means a lot. Amongst many such experiences from a Thai tropical holiday was breakfast by the beach and it was the most outstanding one. The villas are designed in a way that dining areas are located on and in close proximity to the beach. Feeling the silken smooth sand below my feet coupled with soothing jade sea views with the meals is a memory well cherished.

Anantara resorts hospitality left us spellbound. This lavishly priced resort welcomed us by a tray of fresh guava and langan (a hybrid of lichee and rambutan), packets of raw banana chips, bottles of gin, wine and rum astonished as complimentary. However, we being teetotalers requested for a change and fresh watermelon juice was served instead.


A plunge pool awaited in the balcony with sun beds and dining chairs. I could spend my entire day here watching the playful waves hit the shores. Lush green settings, fountains, hammocks, swings served with a dash of privacy. Well stocked library awaited us with loads of reading material and immaculately furnished reading spaces and refreshments. Pots of water with ladles at the bottom of the staircase at the base of the villas to wash off sandy feet was another unique facility.


One might think, how can one survive in such a place for four good days. Even I thought so and was questioning my own decision to book such a place…but after the four days when I looked back, the magnitude of regalement and invigoration was beyond contemplation. It was a perfect place to recharge my heart, mind and soul!


Back at Koh Samui airport, I have a piece of advice. Pls explore the airport well- Its no less than a paradise and should be well- explored like any other landmark. In fact, I can happily rate it as the most beautiful airport I have ever visited. Near the departure gates, well-manicured lawns with blooms in full flourish greeted us. It is one of the airports where birds roam around freely in a partly enclosed lounge. Instead of the usual enclosed shopping outlets, there was an outdoor space flanked by shops and cafes on either side with benches, and flower beds in the centre. A great feeling to be in an airport that bases itself around natural settings.

Phuket
A forty- five minutes flight from Koh Samui took us to Phuket, the largest island in Thailand and a favourite slice of a holiday paradise.

Koh Phi Phi

The sight of Phuket’s sparkling waters and the tiny specks of islands as seen from the aircraft was enough to put us into an instant holiday mode, albeit of a different type. With its sheer size, Phuket offers potential itineraries as long and humongous as its myriad coastlines. One can find their own pace, be it active or tranquil for a memorable Phuket holiday. And if it’s the action that you are after, the entire island with its magnificent frontier becomes an extravagant setting.

Enclosed by at least thirty gorgeous beaches, it is said that there is ideally a beach for every mood in Phuket. But, it’s not only the beaches that appeal, but also the surrounding archipelago that astounds. Easily accessible by a catamaran or a speedboat, islands like Koh Phi Phi and James Bond mesmerize with their golden sand beaches. Characteristic to the Phang Nga Bay is the sheer limestone karsts vertically jutting out of the emerald green waters. this idyllic beach comprises of 100-meter-high cliffs on all three sides.

Koh Phi Phi 
Thailand abounds in world-class resorts at reasonable prices

Phuket’s enchantment spreads much beyond its turquoise waters, through its wondrous old town buildings or the Wat Chalong for its religious and architectural relevance. The 45 m tall whitewashed masterpiece statue called Big Buddha is definitely a much-admired cultural destination. The 6 km long drive up to the statue gives a peek into the authentic side of Phuket.

The culturally rich and charming old Phuket town has its own unique personality. The Sino -colonial jewellery and souvenirs. This place can be rated as a Mecca for shopaholics.

mansions, old-world shops, charming cafes are worth exploring and time should be set aside for the same. The night market at Thalang Road was a riot in shopping with bargains in clothes, food, footwear, souvenirs,etc.

Thailand has more than enough to keep tourists satisfied, yet leaves a craving to return for more! Surely, I do want to return to explore more of its tranquil beauty, enjoy its raucous nightlife, relax in its pricey resorts and chill on its magnificent coastlines. And not to forget, shop till I drop!!

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About the Editor
About the Editor
Bandana Jain
Bandana Jain is a seasoned lifestyle and travel journalist for the past two decades. Also a blogger, she loves pursuing modelling as a hobby. She has also ventured into the realms of anchoring and public speaking. When she is not pursuing any of the above, you can find her chilling by the beach or in park with her favourite cup of masala chai. Travelling is her passion, creativity her morale booster and enriching conversations give her the necessary thrust in life.

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