numerous and varied are Thailand's attractions that you cannot possibly
see them all on one visit. Planning your trip needs careful thought, and
it is best to tailor an itinerary to specific interests - the beach, for
example, in preference to national parks and the countryside.
Bangkok is the usual gateway for most travellers, and you should plan on three to five days in the capital. This allows sufficient time for seeing the major sights, taking perhaps one out-of-town day excursion (Ayutthaya or Kanchanaburi are top choices), and exploring Bangkok's dining and shopping possibilities.
If a beach vacation is your priority, Bangkok could be followed by a week at Phuket or Samui Island, which offer the most exotic settings. Should your time be limited, the resorts of Pattaya, Rayoung, Cha-am and Hua Hin are closer to the capital.
For a different scene, Northern Thailand affords plenty of scope for both cultural sightseeing and refreshing escapes into the countryside. Chiang Mai is the best base for exploring the region, offering its own sights as well as numerous excursion options, and a stay of three or four days gives a good introduction. If you have more time, overnight visits to Mae Hong Son or Chiang Rai are well worthwhile.
Travellers who already know Thailand will find the Northeast region rewarding. The most traditional part of the country, it is best toured by car or bus - allow five to seven days.
Thailand further provides excellent facilities for sporting vacations - golf, scuba diving, yachting in particular. A two-week stay gives time for general sightseeing and special interest activities.
The variations for a visit to Thailand are near endless, and perhaps the best advice to bear in mind when arranging your trip is to plan on coming back.
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