A visit to Thailand would be remiss without a stay on its spectacularly stunning beaches.
Some of the more notable beaches can be found in areas such as Koh Phangan, Koh Samui, Khao Lak, Koh Phi Phi Don, Krabi, and Koh Lanta.
While couples may have a variety of beaches that are closer to home from which to choose, none of those destinations can supply the unique blend of Thai culture and hospitality that elevates a beach vacation to an experience providing unforgettable memories to last a lifetime.
Ao Nang, a resort town in southern Krabi Province, is a large bay with unspoiled, scenic beaches with magnificent limestone backdrops, preserved mangrove forests, and semi-submerged caves. If your couples desire something even more idyllic and adventurous, there are pristine beaches on a number of outlying islands that can be accessed cheaply and quickly from Ao Nang by local long-tail boats.
Koh Phi Phi offers the ultimate tropical getaway, just a 90-minute ferry ride (or one hour 45 minutes by speedboat) from Phuket. Complete with white-sand beaches, clear blue seas and limestone cliffs that rise dramatically out of the water, this is the beach for the couple that is adventurous and fun-loving.
Located approximately an hour and a half north of Phuket airport, and connected by a bridge, Khao Lak is one of Thailand’s quieter, up-and-coming beach destinations, with secluded stretches of sand and surf, as well as options for scuba diving.
Movie buffs will love an excursion to Maya Bay off in Krabi, with its silky soft white sand and exceptionally clear water. Here is where the 2000 Leonardo DiCaprio movie The Beach was filmed. Take note, however, that Maya Bay has no hotel accommodation of its own.
Or venture or Koh Clicku in Phang Nga Bay, made famous in The Man With The Golden Gun and is today more popularly known as James Bond Island.
- Thailand is a Buddhist country and visitors must be prepared to remove their shoes to enter temples as a sign of respect.
- It is also very important to inform your clients of the appropriate dress code when entering Temples. Shoulders must be covered. Ladies should wear long pants or skirts especially when visiting the Grand Palace.
- In the hot destinations, pants that cover the knees are often acceptable. Couples should always confirm dress code with their tour company before proceeding on tour.
- The Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall is an interactive self-learning center with state-of-the-art multimedia technologies giving information on history, arts and culture of 18th and 19th century Bangkok.
- The Art of the Kingdom at the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall of Dusit Palace is another great exhibition space that houses many treasures of Thailand and the Royal Family.
- The Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles, located at the Grand Palace, collects and displays textiles, past and present, from Southeast Asia, South Asia, and East Asia, with a special emphasis on the textiles of, and related to, the royal court and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit.
Magnificent National Parks
Famous Night Markets
Shopping is a fun activity for couples to do together and in an exotic place such as Thailand, where it’s also an exhilarating cultural experience. Bangkok in particular is one of the world’s premier shopping destinations, with a wealth of 21st century shopping malls and department stores.
Upscale favorites include Central World, Siam Paragon, Siam Discovery, The Emporium, Central Chitdlom and Central Embassy and Gaysorn Shopping Center. In these centers, couples will find glittering brand name favorites like Gucci, Hermes, Prada and more.
Chatuchak Weekend Market, popularly known as JJ, is a must for shoppers. With more than 15,000 individual stalls spread over 35 acres, this open-air market is a treasure trove showcasing an array of clothing, jewelry, antiques, furniture and books. It is not for the faint of heart.
For those wanting a similar experience on a smaller scale, suggest a visit to Asiatique The Riverfront, Bangkok’s newest night market which is located along the Chao Phraya river. It is opened daily from 3 pm until midnight and offers free shuttle service from the Taksin Pier It is also accessible by taxi.
Also be sure to tell your clients about Bangkok’s additional night markets, where they can purchase a variety of products at excellent deals. Two of these markets are located on Patpong and Sukhumvit Roads and are ideal places to pick up souvenirs or gifts for those back home, while more impressive gifts can be procured from retailers like certified antiques dealers, gem and jewelry shops, or Jim Thompson, the famous silk pioneer. When it comes to antiques and gems, advise your clients to buy only from certified dealers and alert them of the restrictions on the export of Buddha images.
Bangkok is a hub for tailor-made clothing, although boutique shops in Siam Square also feature the latest ready-to-wear designs from the city’s chic, young designers. In Chinatown almost every conceivable knick-knack and trinket is for sale in the myriad maze of back alleys, while those shopping for gold can do so along the district’s Yaowarat Road.
Shopping for Couples
Young couples in particular will be drawn to K-Village, a relatively new, hip and trendy lifestyle hub that, unlike the big malls, is built on two levels. Here they will find a selection of boutiques, restaurants, a gourmet market, nail and hair salons, ice cream shop, and a wine bar.
For something more chic that will appeal to luxury travelers, consider Soi Thonglor, a street in the heart of Bangkok lined with upscale shops and restaurants.
More opportunities to browse and buy can be found outside the capital, from Chiang Mai to Udon Thani and beyond. Nearly every city and town has a central market. These are fascinating ways to spend a few hours and a great way to pick up toiletries, clothes, or local handicrafts, including wood carvings, lacquerware, and ceramics.
In the larger, tourist-oriented towns such as Chaing Mai, weekend markets and night markets feature all variety of handicrafts, both modern and traditional, including T-shirts and dresses made by inspirational young artists.
West of Chiang Mai, along Nimanhemin Road, is a relatively new shopping area where couples can shop for home furnishings, art fabrics and more. For upscale shopping suggest a visit to the Viang Ping night market near Tha Phae Road.
Couples visiting beach resort areas such as Phuket also have ample opportunities for shopping. Phuket Night Market on Patong Road is an especially popular venue for bargain hunters. There are hundreds of stalls selling Thai art, handicrafts, Thai silk and other souvenirs, all at excellent deals. Inform your clients that vendors expect buyers to haggle over prices, so items are priced accordingly.
For something extra special, let your clients know about the many fun festivals that are held year-round throughout Thailand. It shouldn’t be difficult to align their trip with one of these events, as there is at least one festival per month in the Kingdom. From religious and spiritual events to performing arts and food festivals, as well as sports and recreation tournaments, they owe it to themselves to be a part of one of these occasions - and your clients will appreciate the time you took to plan this special moment for them. Here are a few to get you started:
New Year’s Day: To greet the New Year, a range of uniquely Thai traditional and cultural festivities are held in various parts of the country. New Year’s eve along the Chao Phraya river is also a spectacular highlight. The fireworks display is very elaborate and the lighting of the Temple of Dawn to mark the countdown of the New Year is a recently added attraction in Bangkok.
Chinese New Year Festival in Bangkok: Thailand’s vast Chinese community rings in the New Year with colorful dragon processions, line dancing, local Chinese cultural performances and Chinese opera and fireworks.
On April 13th Thailand celebrates Thai New Year - Songkran Day: The biggest party of the year marks the beginning of a new year by splashing water to symbolize good luck, health and prosperity through the coming year Chiang Mai and Bangkok are two of the most popular places to celebrate.
Longboat Racing Festivals: These are held in several provinces. The boats, built along the lines of battle vessels from six centuries ago, are brightly festooned with flower garlands and ribbons. The Phitsanulok and Narathiwat festivals are the most well known.
International Festival of Dance and Music: Bangkok’s Thailand Cultural Center welcomes high-class performers from around the world.
Thailand’s Royal Barge Procession: This is one of the most regal events in the world, performed during the Tod Kathin Buddhist Festival when His Majesty the King delivers new robes to the monks at Wat Arun.
Elephant Roundup Show: Held in the Northeast province of Surin, this festival displays the amazing grace, strength and intelligence of these huge mammals in games of soccer, log carrying and tug-of-war against human teams.
Loi Krathong: Thailand becomes aglow during Thailand’s Festival of Lights. The exact dates for this Festival coincide with the Lunar calendar. For exact dates we encourage you to check our website. During Loi Krathong, Thais decorate krathongs, little cups shaped like lotus flowers, with candles, incense and other decorations. These krathongs are released on water of a symbol of cleansing and purity. One of the best places to view and be part of the festival is in Chiang Mai. The releasing of lanterns into the sky is also a major highlight of this Festival.
The King’s Birthday Celebrations: King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world’s longest reigning monarch, is well beloved and deeply respected by all Thais, old and young. The King’s Birthday is December 5th and celebrated throughout the country.
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