The Grand Palace is a must-see. Located in Bangkok, this collection of beautifully ornate buildings was originally built in 1783 for the King (Rama I) to be used as his residence and to serve various ministries of the country.
Hua Hin is a very beautiful beach destination Southwest of Bangkok, facing the Gulf of Thailand. Amazingly well-kept beaches and lines of fresh food markets can be found in this paradise.
This is just a sampling of all to come.
If the open seas are your style, the Andaman Sea has some of the most beautiful scenery that you'll find anywhere, above and below water. The Andaman Sea is along the Western exposure of Thailand and can be explored above water by using one of many boat tour services, or it can be seen underwater if you are ready to scuba or snorkel. Stunning ocean life is waiting for you in shallow and deep waters.
Once the capital of Thailand, Sukhothai is a favorite and impressive destination for lovers of historical sites. In this surreal atmosphere, you can imagine the city as it was hundreds of years ago.
This may come as a shock to some people who have only heard rumors about Thai food, but not all Thai food is spicy. Thai food can be as spicy or mild as you would like it to be. In fact, like the Pad Thai dish shown above, there are many Thai recipes that do not include hot spices (generally Thai peppers) or the dish is designed to allow you to add spice to your taste.
*NOTE: (Many books and menus use the spelling "Pad" -as in note pad - for this dish, but the English pronunciation of "pad" does not come close to the true Thai pronunciation. We spelled it this way for you here since nearly everyone has seen it as Pad. Our Premium Thai Language Learning course explains this in detail for you.)
Some of the more popular dishes are:
- Chicken or Pork Satay: This dish is absolutely NOT spicy, but very delicious. Strips of chicken or pork are marinated in a wonderful sauce, then grilled. The cooked strips can then be dipped in a Satay peanut sauce for added flavor. Generally, a vinegar based cucumber and Thai pepper side dish is added.
- Green or Red Curry with Chicken, Beef, Fish or Shrimp: Just as dishes can be spiced to varying degrees, many can also contain different main ingredients depending on your taste or simply what you're in the mood for at the time.
- Som Tum: This papaya salad is one of the most popular in Thailand. This salad is another meal that can be spicy or mild. You absolutely need a mortar and pestle for this dish, to mix all the ingredients. Steamed sticky rice is a favorite combination with this delicious salad.
A picture speaks a thousand words..... it can also show nearly thousands of different fruits, vegetables and an amazing array of other foods as shown in these Thai market images.
Durian is one of the most controversial fruits around. Banned from many hotels, this misunderstood ball of spikes has a very strong odor. The descriptions of the odors (many times told by people who never even smelled a durian and only repeat what they hear from others) are quite varied and can really only be smelled in person to be appreciated. Keep in mind when selecting your first durian for your first taste that you need to buy the freshest and highest rated durian available.
Many television food hosts try durian on camera and complain to the viewer how disgusting it is. No wonder you are all so scared to even taste it. The problem is that many times they are eating durian that is too ripe and/or not the best line.
Think of it this way, if you had never seen or eaten an apple before and someone handed you a slightly soft overripe baking apple to bite into as your first taste of an apple, you would probably never eat another one again and tell everyone else not to eat those disgusting apples. One thing is certain regarding it's indescribable taste; you will probably either hate it or love it. There doesn't seem to be much middle ground here with most people.
Small restaurants can be found all over the country serving the freshest meals around. For an amazingly small price, you can taste all the flavors that these incredible dishes have to offer.
Here is a small sampling of the seemingly unending types of fruits Thailand has to offer.
The beautiful, hand-made headdresses (chadaa) you see above, are truly wearable works of art for these performers. Thai artisans carve and craft wood to act as the base and main structure, then painstakingly decorate it with gold leaf and and other ornamentation including gems and small mirrors.
Many artists use the Thai lifestyle as a source of inspiration as the above photo illustrates; a Thai village comes to life from a simple block of wood in the hands of a highly skilled artisan.
Thai craftsmen have been influenced by Buddhist customs for hundreds of years and one can find an amazing selection of skillfully carved Buddha sculptures in Thailand.
Thai traditional dance was originally designed and performed for the royal family and court. One of the most graceful of dance styles, these traditional movements are actually very strict forms incorporating elegant hand and finger movements while displaying symbolism and story telling, accompanied by a traditional Thai orchestra.
The beautiful outfits worn by these dancers can be quite heavy and are generally form fitted to the dancer by sewing the suit together onto the performer. This allows many dancers to use the same outfit as these complete suits are usually quite expensive.
It takes a great deal of skill and practice to master all the movements required, and only those showing the greatest ability are chosen for top performances.
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