Key Places - South Thailand
The Perfect Balance Of Activity And Relaxation
Set on the Andaman Sea Phuket is Thailand's largest island and was once a key trading point between India and China for tin and rubber. the island has a coast line of wide beaches, peninsulas and craggy rock formations and through tourism has become a wealthy province. Although severely affected by the Ocean tsunami in December 2004, there is little trace of its effects now.
Phuket is undeniably a hugely popular destination but there are still many areas of the island where you can escape the crowds. The Old Town, once a trading hub is now the island's cultural centre. The shabby but elegant buildings have been renovated with a mix of new boutique businesses developing amongst the traditional home based trading posts and temples. Wat Chalong is one of Phuket's most important Bhuddist sites.
You can take a day trip from Phang Nga Bay in the north of the island, cruising on emerald sea amongst the limestone karsts that dramatically rise skywards out of the water.
Thailand's capital Bangkok (Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or City of Angels ) is a vibrant bustling city with a population of over 8 million; by far the largest of Thailand's urban conglomerations. This bustling modern hub for finance, trading and tourism grew from a modest 15th trading post.
Bangkok can be described as a city of contrasts. Gleaming Buddhist temples mingle with high rise modernity. There is a huge variety in what the city has to offer from five star hotels to humble guest houses, luxury shopping malls to open markets, local street food to expensive restaurants.
You can navigate the city by Tuk Tuk or along the waterways by longtail boat although many of the city's canals have been lost to development. Historic landmarks include the Grand Palace and Buddhist temples including Wat Arun and Wat Pho.
"The Thailand cycle tour was exactly as it was promoted - a perfect balance of activity and relaxation. The cycling was enjoyable rather than extreme, covering. 670km along quiet back..."