The islands of Thailand offers one of the most enchanting landscapes of South-East Asia: Ko Samui, Ko Lanta, Phuket, the Phi Phi Islands and the Similan Islands, or the more intimate Ko Kut and Ko Chang. These beautiful islands in the China and Andaman Seas are home to an idyllic succession of white sandy beaches and warm, translucent waters where multi-coloured fish weave in and out of the coral. But they also offer lush tropical forests and dizzying rocky peaks. A haven of exotic idleness, in harmony with an omnipresent, welcoming nature. All against a backdrop of the ancestral art of hospitality, mastered so brilliantly by the Thais. Indeed, Thailand has more than earned its nickname of the “Land of the Eternal Smile”.
This title is an intrinsic part of the identity of the proud Kingdom of Siam. Its age-old culture, fed into by the arts and Buddhism, unites this country of contrasts. What else would these seaside paradises have in common with Northern Thailand? Secretive and traditional, governed by the rice harvest, overwhelmed by its mountains covered in impenetrable forests, Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle are a refuge for ethnic minorities with some fantastic customs. Every year, Chiang Mai, the historic Northern city, comes to life for the legendary Yi Peng and Loy Krathong. During these festivities, thousands of lanterns fly up into the sky, while candles and incense race down the river, creating a mystical atmosphere.
The lights of bustling Bangkok never go out. Thailand’s capital, a megacity with more than 12 million inhabitants is home to many contrasts, including ancestral traditions and an ultra-modern way of life. In cosmopolitan Bangkok, from Chinatown to the Indian quarter, the whole of Asia seems to be in town. Dizzying skyscrapers live side by side with busy khlongs, luxury malls dedicated to excess live alongside floating markets, and traditional temples and imperial palaces co-exist with the Skytrain. The way of life here is multi-faceted and sophisticated, as demonstrated by the food, which ranges from trendy restaurants to traditional street food, all offering elegant, modern flavours that have proved popular in every corner of the globe.