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Introduction to Thailand (Part 2)
(Part 1)

Most markets are large and crowded. But do walk around. You will be surprised how much you can buy there. I also have a special page about markets in Bangkok. Visit it after finishing this page. You will find a link in the menu at the top of every page.

Crowded market in Bangkok Take your pick...

This is just one example. You really should visit several markets to undergo the atmosphere!

Bangkok is a Metropolis as there are several in the World. If you cannot get enough of other big Cities, like New York, London, Paris, and .. well name them yourself, you will like to explore Bangkok on and on. But if these Cities drive you mad, Bangkok will drive you mad too. In fact I cannot imagine that, but everybody should leave Bangkok and travel eventually. Where to go next then?.

The Thais divide their county in five regions: the Central region, in which Bangkok lies, but also the historic places Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, the Northern region, where Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son are the most popular destination, the Northeastern region, where Korat (also called Nakhon Rachasima), Buri Ram, Khon Kaen and Udon Thani are popular destinations, the Eastern Region with Rayong, Chanthaburi and Trad provinces and the Southern region, where the islands like Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Chang and (in the deep South) places like Hat Yai and Songkla are situated.


The North

My advice definitely is to visit Chiang Maiin the North. It is the second largest place in Thailand, also called the "Rose of the North". The traffic can be heavy there too, but it is nothing compared to Bangkok. Elsewhere on this site there are some pages about Chiang Mai and surroundings. Choose them from the menu at the top.

Chiang Mai traffic Canal in Chiang Mai

You see what I mean? The traffic is much better than in Bangkok. Furthermore the City center is surrounded by a ring of canals, as can be seen on the right hand picture, which makes Chiang Mai special. (Don't forget to look down before landing! You will see this ring of canals clearly).

And you have a splendid market there: the Night Bazaar.

Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

This is a general view over the Night Bazaar.
And as far as Temples are concerned, Chiang Mai and the direct surroundings have at least 100 of them. Some Temples in Chiang Mai are among the finest in the Country.

Buddha Image at Wat Bupparam

This Buddha Image - in Wat Bupparam - is made out of teak wood and is one of my favorites in Thailand. Its beauty is stunning. It used to have a beautiful black color, but it has been painted white a few years ago (for reasons far beyond my comprehension).

The South

If you insist on going to beaches, your first stop after Bangkok might be Phuket. The oldest place on the island of Phuket -and the Capital of the island- is Phuket Town, but it is being overshadowed in importance nowadays by the beach resort of Patong. Elsewhere on this site there are also pages about Phuket island. They too van be chosen from the menu at the top of every page.

Kamala Beach on Phuket Island Patong Beach on Phuket Island

And as you can see on the left hand side picture, Kamala Beach on Phuket Island - is not crowded at all, but waiting for you to come there. But even if you go to the very touristic Patong you can expect a relatively quiet beach. The village of Patong, however is not so quiet.

Hat Yai

You can also go to the "deep South", up to the border with Malaysia, but the towns are rather "boring" there, although there are some beautiful sights around there too. The picture above shows you the center of Hat Yai. As you see this is quite something different from Bangkok or Chiang Mai!


Central Thailand

I have written nothing about the Central part of Thailand so far. That part is also certainly worth a visit. In the first place you should visit the old Capital Sukhothai, that is, if you like old buildings and Temples.

Temple in Sukhothai

Here is one sample of what you can expect of Sukhothai. The whole old City of Sukhothai is under protection of UNESCO, as a part of the World Heritage.

Buddha Image in Phitsanuloke

I also want to draw your attention to Phitsanuloke, not far from Sukhothai, so you can combine your visits. In Phitsanuloke, in the Temple -shortly- named "Wat Yai" you find the Buddha Image pictured above, which is considered to have the most beautiful model of all Thai Buddha Images. If you have been in Bangkok already, you may think you have seen this same image in the "Marble Temple" there already, but that is only partly true. The one in the Marble Temple in Bangkok is a copy of the one in Phitsanuloke, and it differs in several respects. The real thing is only in Phitsanuloke! (The picture can be misleading about the size of this Buddha image. It is more than 2 meters high).

The Northeast

The Northeastern part of Thailand is famous for its remains from the Khmer culture. This part of Thailand is a agricultural region.

Khmer Temple in Phimai

A fine example of Khmer culture can be found in Phimai, the most popular day trip from Korat (Nakhon Rachasima).
The past two pages have tried to give a very first impression of Thailand. The menu at the top of every page gives you the possibility to get to know more about specific places and subjects.

Click here for Part 3, with some practical tips for first time visitors



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