Central Thailand is a highly compact, diverse and fascinating place of high cultural interest, where you’ll find Thailand’s hectic capital city Bangkok, ancient ruins, vast national parks and even tropical islands in the Gulf of Thailand.
From Bangkok, escape to the nearby tropical islands of Koh Chang (Thailand’s second biggest island), Koh Samet and the smaller Koh Si Chang – all within a five hour journey from the ‘Big Mango’, you’ll feel a million miles away from the traffic and noise as you laze on the gorgeous white sandy beaches. If you’re looking for outdoor adventure and fresh air, head east from Bangkok about three hours to Khao Yai National Park for trekking and nature trails or if you’re looking for culture, travel just one hour north to visit Thailand’s former Siamese capital – Ayutthaya to take a walk amidst ancient temples and kingdoms. Further north, on the way to Chiang Mai, you’ll also find the even older Thai capital, Sukhothai with its 70km historical park and hundreds of temple ruins. More ruins and cultural interest, this time from the ancient Khmer Empire, can be found east towards Isaan with Phimai Historical Park – Thailand’s answer to Angkor Wat.
A backpacker favourite three hours west from Bangkok, Kanchanaburi provides dirt cheap accommodation and access to beautiful countryside; waterfalls, endless rice fields and fruit trees, as well as the infamous River Kwai Bridge. Head further east still towards the Burmese border and you’ll come across Sangklaburi – a little visited tranquil town with amazing scenery and interesting cultural diversity. For those looking for a more holiday feel, royal retreat Hua Hin fits the bill with a wide sandy beach, horse riding, kite surfing, seafood restaurants, golf courses and lively bars.
Destination Guides to Central Thailand:
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