TRAVEL GUIDE 2017
THAILAND INSIDER FROM HEALTH HINTS TO CULTURAL NO-NOS PHUKET
KOH PHI PHI
The basics Population: 68 million Capital: Bangkok Religion: Around 95% of the population is Buddhist Emergency number: 191 The key dates 13 to 17 April: Songkran Festival. The Thai New Year is celebrated in boisterous fashion (put it this way: you will get wet!). 13 October: The anniversary for the passing of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Thailand’s much-loved king of 70 years died in 2016, aged 88. The hot spots Popular destinations include Bangkok, Phuket, Krabi, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, Koh Phi Phi and Hua Hin. The five World Heritage Sites include the historic towns of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai. Some itinerary ideas • Beach Break: Bangkok – Koh Samui – Koh Phangan – Phuket • Highlands: Bangkok – Lopburi – Sukhothai – Chiang Mai – Chiang Rai • Heartland: Bangkok – Kanchanaburi – Ayutthaya How to stay healthy • The usual mosquito-borne diseases are common enough in Thailand, so make sure you’ve sprayed and covered up. • Cutaneous larva migrans sounds awful but it’s very easily treated with medication; the rash, caused by dog hookworm, is quite commonly contracted on Thailand’s beaches. • There are snakes around – we’ve seen some ourselves – so tread carefully when you’re off the beaten track.
While you’re there, please don’t… • wear your shoes into a temple or someone’s home. • raise your voice unnecessarily; anger and aggression
are signs of disrespect in Thailand. • touch a Thai person on the head. • use your feet to point at anything. Before you go, read …
A Child of the Northeast by Kampoon Boontawee – written in 1976 and set in the 1930s, this is the story of a family from the Isan region of Thailand. Bangkok 8 by John Burdett – the seamier side of Thailand is represented in these pages (namely, the bars and brothels) but it’s a suspenseful and entertaining read. Before you go, watch … Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives – winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes, this film centres around the last days of the title character. The Legend of Suriyothai – the story of Queen Suriyothai who died in courageous fashion in 1548 in a battle against Burmese invaders. They said it “In Thailand’s history there have been dissensions from time to time, but in general, unity has prevailed.” – Bhumibol Adulyadej, King of Thailand (1946-2016) “Bangkok is a rejuvenating tonic; the people seem to have found the magic elixir. Life, a visitor feels, has not been wasted on the Thais.” – Bernard Kalb, author “ Sanuk is the Thai word for fun, and in Thailand anything worth doing, even work, should have some element of sanuk . This doesn’t mean Thai people don’t want to work or strive. It’s just that they live more in the moment, and do their best to enjoy it.” – Anonymous
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