Thailand is one of the most popular holiday destinations for UK travellers – and it’s easy to see why.
The country’s tropical climate means that it’s hot all year round.
It’s renowned for its white sandy beaches, delicious cuisine and the friendliness of its people.
It also regularly ranks as one of the world’s best value places for a holiday. Here are some of the top things to see and do in Thailand.
1. See the Grand Palace in Bangkok
If you have just one day in Bangkok, head to the Grand Palace.
This imposing former royal residence is in the old city of the Thai capital and was built in 1782. It’s part of a vast compound of ornately decorated temples and government buildings which form Bangkok’s biggest tourist attraction.
It’s astonishing to explore here, and worth braving the heat for.
If you go, be sure to have your arms, legs and feet covered, or you won’t be allowed in – this is true of temples all over Thailand.
2. Visit an island
Thailand has hundreds of islands and each of them is different – there’s bound to be one which is right for you.
The country has two coastlines – the Gulf of Thailand, to the East, and the Andaman Sea, to the West.
Some of the most popular islands for visitors are Koh Samui, with its luxury beach resorts, cosmopolitan Phuket and peaceful Koh Lanta.
When choosing which island to visit, bear in mind that the weather (particularly the rainy season) varies between regions.
3. Experience the elephants ethically
Elephants are the national animal of Thailand and some still live in the wild there.
If you want to interact with elephants, be sure to go somewhere which provides ethical experiences which aren’t cruel to the animals.
Avoid anywhere which offers elephant rides, or makes them perform tricks such as painting or playing football, because these are harmful to the elephants.
Support organisations which offer you the chance to feed, wash and observe the elephants instead.
Elephant Hills in Khao Sok National Park cares for rescue elephants and has won many animal welfare awards for its work.
Elephant Nature Park in Chiang-Mai is an elephant rescue and rehabilitation centre and has also won numerous awards.
4. Have a relaxing massage
Traditional Thai massage is a wonderfully relaxing experience, and definitely something to try in Thailand if you have time.
You remain clothed for this type of massage, and no oils are used.
The therapist applies pressure to and stretches different parts of your body to release your stress and tension. It’s easy to find a place for a massage – you even see therapists working at the beach.
5. Immerse yourself in markets
Markets are a great way to see what life’s like for the locals, and wherever you are in Thailand, you won’t be far from some kind of marke
As well as regular daytime markets, look out for night markets and for traditional floating markets, where stallholders sell their wares from boats.