12 Reasons We Love Thailand
Most travelers kick off their Thai adventure in the country’s capital, Bangkok, an exhilarating place where tradition and modernity collide. Away from the big city, Thailand supplies the whole spectrum of travel experiences. The country’s north offers mist-shrouded mountains, its south some of the world’s best beaches. With beautiful landscapes, amazing food and friendly people, the “Land of Smiles” continues to capture the hearts of visitors.
Na Phra Lan Rd, Khwaeng Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand
Bangkok’s most iconic site is a massive palace complex that served as the royal residence until 1925. Of its many buildings, the one with the most architectural interest is Chakri Mahaprasat. It was designed in 1882 by British architects, in a style that could be described as traditional Thai meets Italian Renaissance. Nearby is the 1784 Wat Phra Kaeo, or Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Thailand’s most sacred Buddhist place of worship. Go inside to see the Emerald Buddha, carved not of emerald but of semiprecious green stone, robed in gold and just 66 centimeters (26 inches) high.
Bangkok is well known for being a party town, but not everyone is aware of how nuanced its nightlife scene actually is. The city’s naughty reputation is alive and well in notorious red-light districts such as Patpong, Soi Cowboy and Nana Plaza, but there’s a whole lot of life beyond the go-go bars. Well-heeled Thais and expats alike flock to the Thong Lor area where high-concept bars such as the fairytale-themed Iron Fairies rub shoulders with state-of-the-art techno clubs such as Demo. For James Bond-meets-Shanghai bordello flamboyance, try Maggie Choos in Silom, one of the city’s new buzz bars. Another nightlife favorite is RCA, a long strip of nightspots, which encompasses everything from cavernous clubs to intimate, grungy venues such as Cosmic Café.
233 S Sathorn Rd, Khwaeng Yan Nawa, Khet Sathon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10120, Thailand
Thai cuisine, with its balance of three to four fundamental taste senses, may be complex but that doesn’t make it difficult to pick up the basics. Bangkok has a plethora of cooking schools, some of which are attached to renowned Thai restaurants such as Bo.lan and Blue Elephant. Blue Elephant is one of the most respected venues in the city and its tuition reflects its exalted status. Two courses are offered daily, with the morning session featuring a visit to a local market and the afternoon session including a detailed introduction to Thai ingredients. A homier option is Amita Thai Cooking Class. Classes are held in an antique canalside home and include an explanatory visit to the resident herb garden.