Chiang Rai is home to many hill tribes, including the Akha, Lisu, Mien, and Hmong. These indigenous people are skilled in making handicrafts such as material, wood carvings, and silver ornaments. The culture here is a curious blend of Thai, Burmese, and Chinese traditions. For instance, the language in Chiang Rai's Doi Mae Salong Mountain is influenced by China, while the many temples in town have borrowed heavily from the Burmese style of architecture.This melting pot makes Chiang Rai one of Thailand's most vibrant and diverse cultures.
About 6 kilometres away from Chiang Rai town is a cultural attraction called the Singha Park, which has quickly become a popular tourist spot. It does a great job of showcasing Chiang Rai's agricultural sector and tea plantations (over 600 rai), with flower gardens, 50 rai of barley fields, 30 rai of Japanese rice, and 2,600 rai of rubber trees. Don't forget to pick up fresh fruits, like strawberries, cherry tomato, and jujube, or some tea products which are on sale here.
An extraordinary concept by brilliant artist Charlemchai Kositpipat, Wat Rong Khun is an astounding sight from every angle. Recognised as the White Temple, this structure is a depiction of heaven, hell, and nirvana with an infusion of Buddhist teachings. The unconventional side and thoughts of Charlemchai is reflected in the art of the temple, which depicts figures such as Spiderman, Twin Towers, Osama Bin Laden, George Bush, and many others. Owned privately by Charlemchai (having invested his millions, he put a cap on the maximum amount others could donate to keep out big investors), this place is open all-year round and admission is free of cost. Don't miss a chance to check out the differently-styled washrooms here.
Home-Stays In Chiang Rai
Home-cooked meals, fresh produce, organic ingredients, pure air, meditative environment - all this and more awaits you in a typical Chiang Rai home-stay. With rolling hills as far as the eye can see and vast flat areas of farmland, living with a local family and sharing in their daily lives is an immersive experience that is far better than the regular hotels and city sights. Since you will (willingly) be part of your host family's everyday life, you're sure to leave Chiang Rai with new friends and everlasting memories.
Also called Thailand's 'Rose of the North', Chiang Mai has a perfect blend of modern and historic Thai culture for tourists to experience. Once the capital of the Lanna kingdom, it has become the centre of Buddhism in Northern Thailand. Now centuries-old pagodas stand tall beside convenience stores in the town. Chiang Mai also has distinctive architecture, distinguished dialects, ethnic diversity, unique cuisine, and local handicrafts, to cover a part of the vast culture play in the city.
A sacred site to many Thai people, Doi Suthep is actually the name of the mountain on whose peak Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple rests. The golden pagoda against the backdrop of our sun is a sight to behold.
Bo Sang (Umbrella Village)
Around eight kilometres southeast from Chiang Mai is a village that loves a rainy day. Bo Sang village is famous for its colourful handmade umbrellas and parasols, intricately designed with vibrant floral motifs. In complete Lanna Thai style, brightly lit arts and crafts shops line up the main market for festivals that are held every year.
Wat Phra Singh
Wat Phra Singh is home to one of Chiang Mai's most sacred Buddha images. A Royal Temple of the first grade, this status was bestowed upon it in 1935 by King Ananda Mahidol, the elder brother of current King Bhumibol Adulyadej. It is located in the western section of the old city, cordoned off within the city walls and moat.
Ban Tawai Handicraft Village
An hour away from Chiang Mai city, this village has won the OTOP (One Tambon One Product) tourism village of Thailand award. It is a popular tourist attraction when it comes to culture, as it is a centre for a wide variety of bronzeware, silverware and wooden handicrafts, all available at affordable prices. Even hand-woven textiles are famous here.
Considered a gateway to the Andaman Islands, Krabi is known as much for its white-sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and vibrant coral reefs, as it is for the splendid temples, extensive caves, and serene waterfalls. Culture here borrows from the various ethnic groups of Muslims, Buddhists, Chinese, and Thai. Even gypsies contribute their fair share. Here, there is a festival solely dedicated to eliminating bad luck - the Long Lue Chao Le - celebrated in June and November, where nails, hair, and other offerings are made in Chao Le boats. With an eclectic mix of people, Krabi has some of the most tolerable and hospitable locals.
TIGER CAVE TEMPLE
Tiger Cave Temple is one of the most sacred Buddhist temples revered by the people in Northeast Krabi. You have to take a strenuous flight of stairs to reach the summit, but it is definitely worth the climb. The cave is famous for the tiger paw prints and tall Buddha statues.
Sizzling within the lush vegetation of Krabi's rain-forest is the Emerald Pond Hot Spring. Make your way here during the early hours of dawn to indulge in the turquoise stream and enjoy the dramatic emerald colour, which adds intensity to the springs.
THALE WAEK OR SEPARATED SEA
Between the months of December to May, five days before and after the full moon, the tides play around dramatically at Ko Daam Kwan Island. A white sand-dune and limestone beach is revealed to connect two islands together, and this magical phenomenon unfolds at a time when the tide is low.
MU KO HONG
A composition of 12 islets, Hong Archipelago is a striking rock formation that attracts tourists for more than just its geology. Apart from the naturally distinguished arrangement of rocks, a highlight of this place is a large lagoon cosied up by embracing mountains.
Not only is the sand extremely warm on Koh Lanta, but so are the people. They are a wonderful welcome to this tropical paradise, which is laid-back in its approach towards all things. Koh Lanta is an ideal place to kick back and just sip on fresh coconut while the waves lap up against the sandy shore.
Bangkok, also known as ‘The City of Angels’ and the capital of Thailand, is a city of contrasts. The slow-moving traffic is bypassed by long-tail boats that ply in the royal river. The street food stalls here are overlooked by rooftop restaurants on top of skyscrapers. The most important cultural feature of Bangkok is the ‘wat’. There are more than 300 such temples that represent Thai architecture.
It is one of the most uniquely shaped luxury skyscrapers in Thailand and a landmark on the Bangkok skyline. An ambitious architectural complex, its pixelated and carved design moves beyond the traditional formula of a seamless, inert and glossy totem.
THE QUEEN SIRIKIT MUSEUM OF TEXTILES
This museum exhibits how Her Majesty Queen Sirikit helped turn Thai silk from just a local handicraft into a symbol of Thailand. Its mission is to collect, display, preserve and serve as a centre for all those who wish to learn about textiles.
This is a former royal villa in Bangkok, Thailand. It is the world's largest building made entirely of golden teak. It stores antique furniture, glassware, porcelain, old photographs and memorabilia from the late King Rama’s reign.
MADAME TUSSAUDS WAX MUSEUM, BANGKOK
Visit this place for its life-size wax replicas of famous celebrities & historic icons in themed galleries. Do not miss your chance to take a picture with your dream superstars.
Rightly called the Pearl of the Andaman, the real Phuket hides behind the glamorous beaches, glitzy parties and world renowned spas. We are talking about the Phuket where Buddhism is carefully threaded into the daily life of the locals and where women compete shoulder to shoulder with men in the world of business and art. This is where 29 Buddhist temples casually blend with arty coffee shops, eccentric galleries, bright textile stores and fantastic restaurants. This is Thailand's original flavour!
Imagine a Buddhist temple where the noise of firecrackers fills up the silence and good luck is distributed in bulk, that is Wat Chalong for you! Unique to the boot, this temple has been attracting tourists for over a century now. The distinguished features of this temple include the Poh Than Jao Wat statue and the Grand Pagoda, which houses a splinter of the Buddha's bone.
Old Phuket Town
An old soul compared to its modern counterparts, the Old Town of Phuket is a perfectly preserved archive of the 19th century. Away from the salty beach air, history breathes freely in its Sino-Portuguese mansions, shop-houses and temples. A few of these ancient buildings have been converted into quaint cafes, guesthouses and museums.
Tourism is the wave and culture is the sand, in Koh Samui. Never one without the other. While the island is famous among foreigners for its many beaches and wild parties, if you care to look deep enough you’ll find a strong footing of locals who have held on to their roots and traditions for years. Chinese traders and Muslim fishermen are among the early settlers of Koh Samui, and they still co-exist productively with their Thai neighbours. A mix of Buddhists, Chinese, and Muslim population has gradually lent the island distinctive habits, rituals, and customs. Aloof pagodas look out gracefully upon endless white sand beaches, while a smooth coastline cocoons largely unspoiled tropical jungles and mountains.
Grandmother (Hin Yai) and Grandfather (Hin Ta) Rocks
Art often finds inspiration in Nature, but rarely does Nature find inspiration in Art. Hin Ta and Hin Yai rocks in Koh Samui have never failed to get reactions out of tourists- impish, embarrassed, coy, mirth. These reactions are borne out of a view of the male and female genitalia in the shape of rocks. Yes. Legend goes that these represent the perseverance of an old local couple who wished to get their son married to a girl from overseas, but they died in a storm. This site stands close to a muslim fishing village, and is surrounded by plantations and buffalo fields, offering an insight into life as it were before the tourism wave hit here.
Mummy Monk at Wat Khunaram
Linked to Buddhist and Thai culture, the Mummified Monk at Wat Khunaram is the sight of a dead man in full view. Luong Pordaeng, a monk greatly revered in Thailand, died in 1973, and ever since then his upright-seated meditative body has been enclosed in a glass case for all to see. In Thai culture it is not uncommon to ponder deeply upon life and life after death. Here is where that stands most true. Mystifyingly, so many decades later still, his body shows absolutely no sign of decay. Before his death, he had requested that only if his body rots up, then should it be cremated. Until then, he wanted people to see how living a healthy life following the teachings of Buddha is a big step towards preservation of the human body. As of now, his eyes have disintegrated, which is why they have been respectfully covered with sunglasses.
Phum Riang Village
Thailand holds a lot of things dear to her, and silk cloth is one of them. Phum Riang offers a distinguished edge to traditional Thailand, being predominantly a Thai Muslim settlement. The architectural beauty of mosques sit well with the sound of tropical birds and lapping waves. Add to all the traditional fishing activities and uniquely cooked fresh seafood, Phum Riang offers the best in silk for you to swoon over. Present in different designs and colours, the silk production here has earned its fame thanks to the sheer softness and excellent quality. Apart from the silk products, this place also makes beautiful hats out of leaves that are great as souvenirs to take back home.