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Chances are if you haven’t yet been to Thailand, you may be wondering what really to expect. It is certainly a destination that people are talking about more and more. So for a first time explorer, knowing what the best and most impressive use of your time will be is essential so that you enjoy it and more importantly come back one day.
At this point the country has really moved on from the seedy reputation which it was known for in the West in the past. That’s not to say one won’t find different cultural preferences and norms , it is still a country with a heart open to most things, however it has a solid and substantial tourism industry which visitors can count on.
Days: 1-4 Bangkok
The first stop and one of the best is assuredly the beloved Capital of Bangkok. This is a city with an electric pulse. Imagine millions upon millions living in a vast river delta region full of highways, boats, trains, metros and buses. The sheer numbers are overwhelming and the distances large, yet at the same time the weather, friendliness and beauty of this astonishing capital make it a place to really enjoy. Part of the spectacle involves joining the massive crowds in the quest for shopping in huge air consitioned malls. Getting out on the river is indispensible and a great way to explore the historic palaces, majestic temples and curious markets. Hotels are classy and mind-blowingly affordable, so be sure to enjoy the great spectrum that is at one’s disposal here. Don’t forget the abundant massage parlors which line the boulevards offering quality service at great prices.
Arguably one could spend an entire week in Bangkok and still not see it all, but for the purposes of an average ten day trip to the region the first four nights and the last night would give an excellent exposure to the impressive city.
Days: 5-9 Phuket
This beach peninsula is Thailand’s most famous getaway for locals and tourists. It is almost a full day driving from Bangkok and that’s certainly not recommended, especially when the abundance of low cost airlines like Air Asia, Orient, Nok Air and Thai Smile make the jaunt in little over an hour and quite affordably. Phuket is completely covered with beach towns up and down both peninsulas. Places range from major party towns, to elite tropical getaways with private beaches and abundant tours. Four days here is a relaxing escape.
Days 9-10 Bangkok
It may seem like only a little having visited just two cities on a first trip, but to really enjoy the best of each of them this is the itinerary we recommend. Thailand is a vast country and many people fall into the habit of trying to discover everything all at once. That’s okay if you have a month to travel, but for a regular vacation its best to pace yourself and then explore more about what’s waiting for the next trip, maybe the mountain forests of Chang Mai or the beautiful beaches of Khao Lak or Koh Samui.