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Thailand: A cultural immersion

Thailand: A cultural immersion
Whether you’re staying in the city or by the beach, go beyond your accommodation and immerse yourself in the culture of Thailand, with our top activities.

Bangkok

It’s worth at least one night in Bangkok. The buzzing, beating capital of Thailand is where you’ll see the modern world of large shopping malls fused with timeless traditions, such as the sights and sounds of the floating markets, like the popular Damnoen Saduak.
Witness the Grandeur of the Grand Palace
The Grand Palace is aptly named. More than just a single palace, this is a sprawling 18th century complex where you’ll find numerous wats (temples), and a sanctuary where Buddhist monks chant and meditate. We highly recommend you come here to witness the renowned Wat Phra Kaew, which houses the Emerald Buddha. There’s also a theatre where you can observe classical dance, and a museum dedicated to traditional Thai handicrafts and textiles.
Embrace the Rooftop Bar Culture by Night
Bangkok boasts an impressive skyline, and there’s no better place to enjoy it than from the capital’s famous rooftop bars. These bars have become legendary, they’re both elegant and animated, but be sure to go for the golden hour when you can watch the sun set. Stay at downtown Banyan Tree Hotel and head to arguably the world’s best rooftop bar, Moon Bar on the 61st floor, where you can enjoy aerial views over Lumpini Park, or make an evening of it and tuck into premium steaks and seafood at Vertigo Grill.

Koh Samui

Tucked away in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui is home to heavenly beaches, chic beach bars, and calm turquoise waters where you can go swimming and snorkelling, as well as fabulous diving opportunities in this gorgeous marine park.
Go Island-hopping
Your laid-back island affair gets all the more joyful as you take a boat and island-hop around nearby pristine islands, such as Koh Tao, known as the turtle island and famed for its coral reefs, or Koh Phangan, where you’ll find sleepy beaches and jungles filled with birdlife. Be sure to take a picnic lunch with you!
Take a Muay Thai Lesson
Thai martial arts are simply fascinating. The lesser-known art of ‘eight limbs’, Muay Thai boxing is a wonderful one to learn, as it helps focus the mind while keeping you fit. During your stay at Anantara Bophut, you can enjoy a complimentary 30-minute morning session in the resort’s sublime grounds.
Image of a beach and the sea in Koh Samui in Thailand

Chiang Mai

Known as Thailand’s heritage city, it’s really easy to immerse yourself in culture in Chiang Mai. For starters, you can literally walk everywhere, and you’ll have a good chance of stumbling across markets, such as the fragrant flower market of Ton Lam Yai Market, and ancient living wats, both of which seemingly never sleep.
Experience Thailand’s Best Night Market
Chiang Mai is most alive in the evenings, when local people and visitors alike congregate in the markets for chatter, shopping, and entertainment. We recommend the famous Night Bazaar in the heart of the city, where rows upon rows of stalls sell everything from handicrafts and clothing to antiques and accessories. Take a pause anytime you like and dip into the many nearby cafés and bars too.
Get Blessed by a Monk
Stay at Tamarind Village and enjoy a most special experience, an hour-long Village Walk, where an expert local guide will take you into the back streets and share stories of the historic monuments and temples you pass. The highlight of this walk is the chance to visit a local temple and give alms - an offering of a basket of food prepared by the hotel - to orange-robed Buddhist monks, who in turn will bless you.
Image of stalls with flowers in the city of Chiang Mai in Thailand

Khao Lak

Khao Lak is quite simply a natural haven, where a pristine coastline of white sandy beaches overlooking the Andaman Sea join a bountiful jungle that's rich with wildlife. When you’re not sunbathing, swimming, or surfing, we do suggest you explore.
Venture into the Wild
Khao Sok National Park is an amazing place to trek if you fancy a break from the beach. There are incredible waterfalls to discover here, such as the three-level Lampi Waterfall, or the rainbow waterfall of Sairung, not far from the boutique resort, The Sarojin. In conjunction with the Mangrove Forest Planting Project, your stay at The Sarojin ensures at least one tree is planted on your behalf. If you happen to be visiting on the day the monthly tree planting takes place then you are welcome to take part, and it’s just one of many community projects that guests can participate in.
Tuck into Street Food
While the street food scene is popular across Thailand, the Bang Niang Night Market is a fantastic place to tuck into Thai cuisine. Right before your eyes, watch as stallholders cook, smoke, and grill dishes, such as stir fry, noodles, and spring rolls. While the more popular plates feature veg, egg, chicken, and local seafood, if you’re feeling adventurous you can also snack on fried insects!
Image of the beach with green trees and the sea in Khao Lak in Thailand

Phuket

Best known for its tropical beaches, Thailand’s largest island is ideal for a culture-filled beach holiday. Phuket’s Old Town is teeming with interesting streets to discover, where you'll find a string of vibrantly painted townhouses, museums, and a Sunday market. It’s definitely worth the trip to see the 45-metre-tall white marble Big Buddha that perches out over Nakkerd Hill.
Ride in a Tuk Tuk
Renowned across Thailand and ideal for short trips, a tuk tuk is the perfect way to get around Phuket. You’ll find these small red painted motorised vehicles everywhere. An unusual feature only found in Phuket is that they have four wheels compared to the typical three wheels you find in other regions.
Unwind with an Authentic Thai Massage
A quintessential part of Thai culture, a holiday to Thailand is not complete without getting a Thai massage. Our favourite place is at Cape Panwa Hotel, located right on a long stretch of sandy beach. The Cape Spa is a welcoming, spacious, and tranquil space that honours traditional techniques.
Image of a street with houses and street stalls and market in Phuket in Thailand

Krabi

With its staggering sunsets and limestone karts that rise out of the sea, Krabi is the picture of an exotic island getaway. From isolated islands, secret beaches, and dense mangrove forests, you’re always in for a natural treat.
Go Kayaking and Rock Climbing
One of the best ways to explore Krabi is by kayak as the town is surrounded by water, and beginners will feel inspired by this tropical environment. Head to Railay Beach and climb Krabi’s incredible natural rock formations with a professional guide. There are also one-to-one rock-climbing opportunities for beginner and advanced climbers alike.
Cook Up a Thai Feast
Stay at Rayavadee, a resort styled like a Thai village, and take home some new skills with you. Once you’ve discovered your favourite local meal, you can learn how to make the dish for yourself with one of the resort’s signature cooking classes.
Image of a boat on the sand on the beach with a cliff and sea on the island of Krabi in Thailand

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