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Thailand for first-timers

Travelling to Thailand is like entering a golden oasis. The country seems to be lathered in gold. Golden shining Buddhas are everywhere you look, golden beaches stretch along every coastline and locals adorn themselves in clothes finished with golden trim. But, the country is far from showing off.

Thailand is one of the most humble and welcoming places in the world. It’s friendly, fun-loving, modest and one of the most astonishingly beautiful countries on the globe. What’s not to like?

The capital, Bangkok, is a wild and intoxicating city where the air is thick and the streets crowded, but the shopping is great, the food cheap and the atmosphere unforgettable. This bustling city welcomes millions of tourists every year and is a steamy, busy place where fun and entertainment can be found around every corner. As soon as you leave this thriving centre, Thailand completely changes. The country’s south is bathed in what feels like neverending sun and is where you’ll find some of the best beaches in the world. Off the southern coast, islands are scattered in the glistening ocean. Many of these islands are only a short boat trip from the mainland, making them ideal for a day or two of ultimate relaxation on stunning, deserted beaches.

For first timers, Bangkok, Phuket and Koh Samui are usually on the agenda. The latter two are both in southern Thailand and are equally as popular with families as with party-lovers – in essence, there is something for everyone here. And it’s in these small, beachside cities where the country’s trademark image of white beaches lined with hammock-strung palm trees comes to life.

If you’re touring the south of Thailand, Phuket is a great base. From here, you can easily reach the many magical islands floating offshore. Rather than dream about it, start planning your trip there. Unlike the UK, Thailand is extremely cheap to travel and constantly lathered in warmth and sun.

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