99 Things Not to Miss in Thailand – Part I

I lifted this list from the Thai Airway’s in-flight magazine Sawasdee from October 2004. I’m going to paraphrase some, copy other, and interject here and there. It won’t be the exact re-type of the articles, but you’ll get all the good bits from it.

And of course, being 99 items in all, I will be doing this in installment of 20 at a time. Also, this list is not a ranking. #1 on this list doesn’t mean #1 not to miss.

So here goes.

1. World’s famous Thai smile

2. Boutique hotels

3. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep in Chiangmai :: Do you know that this is the temple featured in Rambo III?

4. Venice of the East :: Back in the days, Bangkok was called just that because of all the canals that connected the city. You can rent a long tail boat on Chao Phraya river for canaling excursion, or head south for some kayaking down Mae Klong River in Samut Songkram.

5. Kid’s Vacation :: Where else on earth would you call to see if the baby elephant and its mahout are ready to take care of your kids for the next hour or three?

6. Pier-side cafes along Chao Phraya river :: Pull up the plastic chairs at local casual restuarants along the river is a great alternative to the 5-star joints of the Oriental and Shangri-La hotels. Kaloang has great seafood, Silver Spoon and Poh Tha Tien are good and cheap with sunset view, River Bar is trendy, and Good View and Baan Klang Naam way out of town.

7. Mae Hong Son :: The misty valley and green hills of Mae Hong Son was once only accessible by elephants. Now a hub for caving, rafting, natural hot springs, and elephant trekking.

8. Contemporary art scene in Bangkok and Chiangmai

9. Traditional Thai incense sticks and candles

10. The hills of northern Thailand :: A few of the countless trekking options include a visit to an unspoiled hill-tribe village, a home stay on an isolated river or a nature hike to study the history of exotic Himalayan flowers that thrive on remote Thai mountaintops.

11. Pachyderm Paradise :: 2 great ways to really get to know your Heffalumps. Live a live of a mahout at the 3-day course offered by the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre in Lampang, learning to take care of the elephants and stay in simple bungalow. Or upscale your accommodation at a similar program at the elegant Anantara Resort in Chiang Saen.

12. Jazz in Hua Hin :: Check out Hua Hin Jazz Festival, and Jazz Alley, a stretch in Petkasem Road to the railway station.

13. Fusion Food :: Thai-Western dishes at the Kalapapruek originated from the palace recipes where the very first fusion Thai food was born. For more upscale fusion food, try A Matter of Taste, Glow, and Maha Naga.

14. World class luxuary hotels and resorts

15. Jim Thompson House :: In the heart of Bangkok lies this traditional Thai teak wood house in a lush, almost jungle like garden. I went there last year. It was amazing.

16. The Similans islands :: Clear warm water and spectacular coral reef. Protected under Thailand’s large national park system, the 9 islands are refreshingly underdeveloped and only one offers accommodation.

17. Spas :: Great fusion of Western style spa treatment with a touch of Thai.

18. Night cruise down Chao Phraya River :: Nothing like seeing the Grand Palace and Wat Arun all lit up at night from the river.

19. Rooftop Dining :: 2 hightest rooftop restuarants in the world await you at 200-meters up at Vertigo (seafood and steaks), and even higher Sirocco (Mediterranean)atop the Bangkok Dome over looking the river . Also at the Dome, the whisky bar Distil and Italian joint Mezzaluna.

20. Sales! Sales! Sales! :: Nobody EVER pays retail in Thailand. There IS always a sale in the department stores. Always!

You like all of that? 79 more coming your way! Keep reading.

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