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Attracting up towards 20m visitors a year, Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in not only Asia, but indeed the world. With the opportunity to find pure peace away from the daily routine, it’s not hard to understand why so many holidaymakers aim for this Southeast Asian gem. Most people head for the white beaches around Phuket, Ko Samui and Pattaya, or visit the metropolitan giant that is Bangkok. Behind the most developed sights of the tourist spots and the urban modernity of the capital, however, the splendour of the country really opens up. Home to dozens of nature parks, mountain ranges, islands and serene coastal stretches, you can really embark on adventures in this delightful country. Experience the wildlife and the exotic birds in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Khao Yai National Park, visit the Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary, where you can experience the nation’s gentle giants up close, and explore the amazing waterfalls and caves in the Erawan National Park west of Bangkok. Near the capital, you’ll also find the truly breathtaking ruins of Ayutthaya, while in among the urban bustle of Bangkok, you can marvel at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the Grand Palace and the Wat Pho, all of which are situated next to each other on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. If what you’re seeking in Thailand is a paradise of white beaches, palm trees and a life less hectic, then you’ll find plenty of stretches along the nation’s coast. Lounge on Railay Beach against the backdrop of white cliffs rising sharply out of the sea, take a dip in the clear water of Ko Samet or escape to the more secluded beaches of Khanom and Ko Phayam. Any stay in Thailand is of course not complete without a thorough exploration of the local cuisine. Pad Thai is one of the country’s most famous dishes and can be sampled from street stalls regardless of where you find yourself. You should also try flavour-packed meals such as Som Tam, noodle soup and the red Tom Yum Goong shrimp soup. Spicy, delightful and full of colours, the food of Thailand is like the people and the country itself, and you’re guaranteed to find yourself fast falling in love with this charming country.
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