Thailand is having mythical beaches with tall palms angle over pearlescent sand, coral gardens flourish in the shallow seas where beach parties are largely lubricated with alcohol and fun. With a long coastline and jungle-topped islands anchored in colored waters, Thailand is a tropical getaway for the sensualist and the holy man, the prince and the pauper.
The holy world is a close partner in this Buddhist nation, where religious devotion is a colourful and universal demonstration. Radiant temples and golden Buddhas frame both the rural and modern landscape with luxuriance. Aged banyan trees are suitably wrapped in divine cloth to honour the resident spirits.
No matter what draws you to the country first, a Thai meal will keep you hooked. Cherished around the world, Thai cuisine expresses fundamental aspects of Thai culture: it is liberal and warm, outgoing and nuanced, refreshing and relaxed. And it is much more delicious in its native setting. Each Thai dish relies on fresh and local ingredients – from pungent lemongrass and searing chillies to plump seafood and crispy fried chicken.
And then there are the regional differences, which propel travellers on an eating tour of Bangkok noodle shacks, seafood pavilions in Phuket, Burmese market stalls in Mae Hong Son, and luscious tropical fruit everywhere. Cooking classes reveal the simplicity behind the seemingly complicated dishes and mastering the markets becomes an important skill.