Thailand, formerly Siam, has a proud history. It has never been conquered by a European colonial power. There is little doubt that Thailand has been the most popular tourist destination of the countries of Indochina though it has had many advantages over its neighbours. Conflict and problems have been a 20th Century fact of life elsewhere.
The whole region is certainly developing with Thailand and its transport infrastructure the ideal place for Thailand family tours. There is something for all ages; history, culture, religion, great cuisine and wonderful beaches. Bangkok’s connections with the rest of the world are regular and direct; it makes the idea of Thailand family travel practical and certainly affordable. The vast majority of visitors arrive by air in Bangkok and are immediately aware of a hectic city, home to over 11 million people. It has genuine religious and historical attractions as well as everything tourists expect of a modern city. There are luxury hotels and wonderful restaurants yet it welcomes people on all budgets. Thailand family vacations inevitably start in Bangkok so it is a logical place to start to describe why it has so much to offer tourists.
Inevitably the major attractions in Bangkok involve but not exclusively so. This is a busy city and it helps that there are waterways to help everyone get around. Indeed one of the attractions is the concept of floating markets selling fresh produce. Some customers are buying to feed the family that day and others to stock their restaurant kitchens. The result is that the markets open at first light so if you wish to see a market then put your alarm on. Companies arranging Vietnam family tours will ensure everyone understands the arrangements for travelling to a market.
One of the highlights of Bangkok best accessed from the water is Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn, on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. It was built in the 19th Century after the fall of the previous capital, Ayutthaya north of Bangkok. It was regarded as the symbol of the new capital, Bangkok. It is built in Khmer style and is almost directly opposite another iconic landmark in Bangkok, Wat Pho.
Wat Pho is the home of the reclining Buddha, 45 metres in length and 15 metres high. There are actually three contrasting Buddhas all of which Thailand family tours will include; the two others are:
• Wat Pra Kaew is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha within the Grand Palace complex. The Temple dates back to the 15th Century while the Palace was not built until the 18th. It is now only used for ceremonial occasions but has become a major tourist attraction.
• Wat Traimit holds a 3 metre high solid gold Buddha. It was covered in plaster and the gold was only revealed when it was dropped and chipped. Imagine its value!
Ayutthaya, a former capital is just north of Bangkok. It has been grated UNESCO World Heritage status and a day trip to see the ruins is certainly worthwhile before heading further afield from Bangkok.
Whatever time a family spends in Bangkok the nights are equally as hectic. There are great restaurants with the quality of Thai cuisine now recognised around the world. Perhaps it is worth combining a meal with a cultural show; music and dance?
One final idea that Thailand family vacations will probably include is a visit to Jim Thompson’s home, six traditional teak houses as they were when Thompson disappeared in the Malaysian jungle in 1967. His disappearance is still a mystery but what is certain is that this American revived the silk industry to make it in demand worldwide.
This city in the north, a mountainous region, contrasts with Bangkok; just 170,000 inhabitants. The mountainous north offers the chance of exploring the natural environment and for those in the family that are looking for action there is trekking, climbing, fishing and rafting.
The highlight of the City is the golden domed Wat Prathat Doi Suthep that was built in the 14th Century in a location that looks down on Chiang Mai.
Sometimes Chiang Mai will be the last part of Thailand family travel before heading out of Thailand into neighbouring Myanmar or Laos. The road and rail connections with Bangkok are excellent while the airport has international links as well as regular daily flights to and from Bangkok.
Thailand family toursheading east towards Cambodia reach a popular coastal region. Pattaya is probably the best known of the resorts but there are plenty of others. Your choice will depend upon whether you want a busy resort or the chance to relax in a quieter location. Either way the seafood is excellent and should form a major part of your diet while you are there. The interior is far quieter, a mountainous area that is well worth exploring.
Phuket Island in the south is another well-known location for those wanting to experience the lovely sea and beaches. The region has become increasingly commercialised though it is possible to find quieter places. The west facing resorts on the Andaman Sea are certainly busier and more developed, offering a range of water sports, than those in the Gulf of Thailand looking east.
This State is close to the Cambodian border in the east. This natural environment is splendid. One of its parks, Khao Yai is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
It is interesting for Thailand family travel groups to see the Khmer architecture which in fact spreads in a corridor eastwards as far as Angkor. The State actually has borders with both Laos and Cambodia and hence those travelling onwards from Thailand often head east through Isaan.
Thailand’s tourist business is well-established and its popularity has been boosted by its regular use in popular films using exotic locations. Thailand family tours are certainly exciting and likely to lead to everyone wanting to return to see more of this part of Asia.