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Typical Thailand scenery, with longtail boats

Compare the best Thailand holidays

Thailand holidays have something for everyone; pristine white sand beaches, great food and the unrivalled hospitality of the locals. Factor in the nightlife, grandeur of the country's ancient temples and bargain shopping options and you have everything you need for a great holiday...

Why go?

Whether it's elephant trekking through rainforests, exploring Buddhist temples, shopping in colourful markets, or relaxing on white sands, here's why you should visit Thailand...

Bangkok: As the gateway to Thailand, the capital Bangkok is a colourful, congested, culture shock not to be missed. Downtown Bangkok is a jarring mixture of modern skyscrapers, ancient holy temples, endless street stalls and a bombardment of ever changing sights, sounds and smells. Everything you need is within the city centre; don't miss the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

The floating markets and the multi-storey shopping malls are a must for anyone wanting to hone their bartering skills and pick up a great bargain. Or head to the crowded streets of Koh San Road for a tailor made suit and a night of entertainment, finishing up with a seat in the Lumpini Stadium for a Thai boxing match. Excellent traditional Thai dishes are readily available from the many street stalls or upscale restaurants.

Pattaya: Travelling south from Bangkok, head to the beach city of Pattaya. The city centre is a vibrant party town of loud and lively bars, restaurants and cabaret shows, all of which are welcoming to tourists. The beaches to the south of Pattaya offer everything from family water sports and diving to extreme activities such as bungee jumping and paragliding.

Boat rides to Koh Larn or Coral Island are well worth a look or if you feel like getting away from the hectic pace of the city centre, head up to Wat Khao Prayal, which offers great views from its hilltop complex. The areas of North Pattaya and Nakula are the best place to relax with a Thai massage in one of the high-end spa centres.

Phuket: Phuket Island is the most visited of all the islands in Thailand and as such is one of the most tourist friendly destinations where you can't help but have a good time. Phuket town is a hub of colonial buildings and noisy market stalls, while the extravagant nightlife has everything you could want from a major Thai city. The powder white sand beaches of Patong, Kata and Kamala are lined with sunbathing visitors but there are also some more secluded bays to be discovered along the coast.

If you want to venture off the island, catch a passenger ferry to Koh Lanta or a boat trip past Phang Nga Bay. One of the most popular excursions is still the James Bond Tour, a boat tour around some of the most recognisable filming locations from the movies. The tour takes in the nearby islands of Ko Tapu (now rechristened James Bond Island), Koh Panyee and Phang Nga Bay.

Koh Samui: Holidays to Koh Samui are a great option for the whole family, like most of Thailand's islands it has excellent beaches for all day sunbathing or if you prefer you can take an elephant ride into the jungle, visit coconut plantations or party into the night at one of the many beach parties.

Krabi: One of the least commercialised of the resorts, the pace on Krabi is unhurried and low key. Its azure waters and beautiful powder sand beaches are framed by incredible limestone cliffs. Holidays in Krabi can be as laid back or as adventure filled as you wish, with scuba diving, trekking, fishing and rock climbing all popular activities.

South of Bangkok, the resort of Cha Am boasts Thailand's longest beach and six of the country's best golf courses. Accommodation varies from small guest houses to five star luxury resorts.

Chiang Mai: Those seeking a taste of traditional Thailand will want to head to the unspoilt northern regions of the country. The cultural capital of Chiang Mai has all the shopping and nightlife options of a major city, set near some of the country's most attractive rainforest. From here you can take an elephant ride into the northern jungles, soar through the trees on a jungle swing adventure or visit the hidden hilltop villages, experiencing a way of life virtually untouched by the modern world. Journeying further north will bring you to Chiang Rai, a chance to visit the popular Night Bazaar and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

South of Bangkok, the resort of Cha Am boasts Thailand's longest beach and six of the country's best golf courses. Accommodation varies from small guest houses to five star luxury resorts.

When to go?

The weather in Thailand is tropical and humid for the majority of the country during most of the year. Find out the best time to visit for you...

Thailand is a great winter sun destination with the period between November and February being the best time to visit. From July to October is Monsoon season, when most of Thailand's annual rainfall is accumulated and humidity levels are high in this period with average temperatures in Bangkok around 29°C.

What's on?

Thailand hosts a number of exciting events and festivals throughout the year. Here are some of our top suggestions...

Koh Tao Festival; March; Koh Tao Island: Held over two nights in March, the Koh Tao festival has live performances from bands and djs playing foreign Reggae, Ska and World music, with dancing lasting until sunrise. The festival has plenty of drink, dance displays, and great food.

Pattaya International Music Festival; Late March to early April; Pattaya: A series of free concerts by a wide selection of local and international musicians, playing rock, pop and jazz.

Phuket Vegetarian Festival; October: During this this 10-day festival, local residents observe a strict vegetarian and vegan diet, as well as perform rituals such as walking over hot coals. A number of events take place in temples, and there is also a colourful parade.

Full and half-moon parties; Monthly; Koh Phangan - The area of Haad Rin is host to the islands monthly Full Moon Parties, a combination of dance, reggae and fire displays that goes on into the night until sunrise. For a more low-key event, head into the jungle for one of the half-moon parties.

What to do?

Whatever type of holiday you're looking for, Thailand has it all. Here's some inspiration, whatever your situation:

Kids and teens: An absolute must for families while in Thailand is a visit to the FantaSea Theme Park on Phuket. Enjoy its colourful and exotic Las Vegas themed show, experience its magical carnival village, and if you're getting a bit peckish, its 4,000-seat restaurant serves up tempting Thai and international dishes.

Relaxing: You will have your pick of paradise beaches in Thailand. Laze among coconut and pine trees on Long Beach at Koh Lanta, swim in the turquoise waters of Lamai Beach or walk along the white sands on the breathtakingly beautiful Kata Beach.

Active types: Using Chiang Mai as your base, take part in a trek over the Doi Chiang Dao Mountain range where you will encounter jungles, waterfalls, wild rivers and hill tribe villages.

Free and cheap: A low-cost but high-impact experience while sightseeing in Thailand is visiting the Golden Buddha. Housed in the Wat Traimit Temple in Bangkok, it is the world's largest solid gold statue.

Nightlife: Dance until sunrise at party island Koh Phangan's famous full moon party. Experience a festival- like atmosphere with fire dancers, glow in the dark face paints, music, and plenty of Chang beer!

Shopping: No Thai adventure would be complete without a trip to the vibrant Khao San Road in Bangkok. Backpackers from around the world gather here to soak up the atmosphere - so jump in a tuk tuk, treat yourself to some traditional Thai street food, and wander around the many stalls selling jewellery, clothes, street food and souvenirs.