16 | Thailand
Destination Highlights • Visit the popular elephant sanctuaries in Chiang Mai. • See the sacred Emerald Buddha in Grand Palace, Bangkok. • Relax on some of the best beaches in the Far East. • Take a boat trip to the famous James Bond Island. • Experience the buzzing night life and renowned street food countrywide.
James Bond Island, Phang Nga
Emerald Buddha, The Grand Palace, Bangkok
General Information • Population: 68.1 million • Time difference: GMT +7 hours • Flying time: Approximately 11 hours to Bangkok • All British passport holders arriving by air or land can enter Thailand for 30 days without a visa. Visit: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
Random Facts • Around 90% of Thai people are Buddhist. • The word ‘Thailand’ means ‘land of the free’. • Thailand was voted the world’s fifth-friendliest country by Rough Guides readers. • Thailand is home to the world’s ninth-tallest statue, The Great Buddha of Thailand.
Best time to travel Although generally hot all year, Thailand’s climate is governed by three seasons: rainy (May to Oct), cool (Nov to Feb) and hot (March to May). The cool season is considered to be the most pleasant time to visit.
Events & Festivals November: Chiang Mai Yi Peng Lantern Festival
The Essentials • Remember to remove your shoes when entering a temple, somebody’s house and some shops. • Respect all Buddha images as they are held sacred. • The Thai people are very friendly, so learning a few Thai phrases such as hello “sawawdee kha” (girl) or “sawawdee krab” (boy) and thank you “khab khun kha” (girl) or “khab khun krab” (boy) goes a long way.
Watch as the sky lights up with thousands of lanterns. This festival is used by the locals to mark the end of the rainy season and the start of winter. April: Country wide Songkran Thai New Year Water Festival This festival welcomes in the traditional Thai new year. This playful celebration involves water throwing to bring good luck and a clean slate for the year ahead.
Family of elephants, Chiang Mai
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