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Thailand is known as “The Land of Smiles” and rightfully so. Her native people are her greatest asset. As a group, they are friendly, mild mannered, and genuinely happy. This good stereotype however, sometime overshadows Thailand’s most underrated quality, its awesome physical beauty and geographical diversity.
The north of Thailand is characterized by endless green mountains which preside over gorgeous fertile rice fields. Although it does contain the larger cities of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, this area is quite rural and home to many different tribes who are a fascinating anthropological study.
The western portion of the country, along the border with Burma is a true jungle wilderness, and home to a plethora of towering limestone mountains and scenic winding rivers which have given rise to many waterfalls and caves. This area was also the setting for many important events during World War II. This is where the Thai-Burmese Railway was constructed at considerable human cost, and is home to the infamous “Hellfire Pass” and the iconic “bridge over the River Kwai.”
Thailand’s tail, a.k.a. southern Thailand, is perhaps its most fascinating landscape of all, being home to 1000’s of breathtaking beaches and islands, some of which are developed and populated, but many of which are totally remote and uninhabited. The geology here is both puzzling and beautiful, as gigantic, surreal formations rise from the ground, making one wonder if they are still on planet Earth.
Thailand’s infrastructure is far ahead of many of its southeast Asian neighbors. The roads are quite good in most areas, and a market (or 7-11 !) is rarely too far away. Nowhere is this more evident than in the sprawling capital city – Bangkok. Regardless of what you have heard about Bangkok, it is a sophisticated, well organized, and charming metropolis, to be mentioned in the same conversation as any of the world’s great cities. .
Visa & other Information
If you are a U.S. or Canadian citizen tourist staying for fewer than 30 days, you do not require a visa, but your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your entry into Thailand.