Thailand, officially the Kingdom of Thailand is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia. Thailand is the world's 51st-largest country in terms of total area, with an area of approximately 513,000 km2, and is the 20th-most-populous country, with around 64 million people. The capital and largest city is Bangkok.
Thailand has blossomed onto the world dive stage as a premier dive destination, providing an enormous variety of sites accessible for scuba divers.
One of the best dives sites in Thailand is the Richelieu Rock. There is a variety of marine life including whale sharks, barracudas, lionfish, seahorses, stonefish, etc.
Another popular dive site is the Shark Point Marine Sanctuary. It is located just 25 kilometres east of Phuket. This is the place to go to dive with for leopard sharks.
The most famous dive site is Koh Tao. It is located in the Gulf of Thailand. There are almost 25 main dive sites within an hour boat ride from the island. There are two different types of sites: Deep sites and sloping coral dives.
The earliest identifiably Thai kingdom was founded in Sukhothai in 1238. Known as Siam until 1939, Thailand is the only South-East Asian country never to have been colonised by a foreign power, and fiercely proud of the fact. During World War II, while Japan conquered the rest of Southeast Asia, only Thailand was not conquered by the Japanese due to smart political moves. In alliance with Japan during World War II, Thailand became a US ally following the conflict. After a string of military dictatorships and quickly toppled civilian Prime Ministers, Thailand finally stabilized into a fair approximation of a democracy and the economy boomed through tourism and industry.
Thai culture is heavily influenced by Buddhism. However, unlike the Buddhist countries of East Asia, Thailand's Buddhists follow the Therevada School, which seems to be closer to its Indian roots and places a heavier emphasis on monasticism. One pre-Buddhist tradition that still survives is the spirit house, usually found at the corner of any house or business, which houses spirits so they don't enter the house and cause trouble.
Some traditional arts popular in Thailand include traditional Thai dancing and music, based on religious rituals and court entertainment. Famously brutal Thai boxing, derived from the military training of Thai warriors, is undoubtedly the country's best known indigenous sport.
Thailand is largely tropical, so it's hot and humid all year around with temperatures in the 28-35°C range. The careful observer will, however, note three seasons: cool, from November to the end of February; Hot, from March to June; Rainy, from July to October.
The main international airports in Thailand are at Bangkok and Phuket, and both are well-served by intercontinental flights. Practically every airline that flies to Asia also flies into Bangkok, this means there are plenty of services and the competition on the routes helps to keep the ticket prices down.
Bangkok is at the start of many visitors' itineraries. Most visitors at least take in the Grand Palace. It is home to Wat Phra Kaew, the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand that houses the Emerald Buddha. The former capitals of Siam, Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, make excellent stops for those interested in Thai history. It could be combined with a visit to Si Satchanalai and Kamphaeng Phet, which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. If you are looking for a place to relax, Krabi Province has some beautiful spots, including Ao Nang, Rai Leh and the long golden beaches of Ko Lanta. Waterfalls can be found all over Thailand. The Heo Suwat Waterfall in Khao Yai National Park and the Erawan Falls in Kanchanaburi are the most visited.
Thai massage is unmissable. Traditional Thai massage has a history of more than 2,500 years. Moreover, Thailand is a big country where you can find almost every outdoor sport such as surfing and golf. Khao Yai National Park the first national park of Thailand, worth a visit: wild tigers, elephants (not riding or seeing them perform), macaques, gibbons, deer, and species of birds.
On a general note, while in Asia, please do not support Elephant abuse by riding Elephants or supporting Elephant performance.
You can help these magnificent animals by making your travel companions aware of what lies behind this industry; the main problem is a lack of awareness.
Dive Report is committed to raising awareness to the abuse suffered by Elephants used in the tourist industry. If you want to know more you can find out more here, here, here and here. Also see a PETA documentary video here.
An unspoilt environment on the beautiful Andaman coast, surrounded by National park forest, Khao Lak is ideally situated for diving in Thailand and trips to the Similan Islands and Surin Islands which are home to some of the best dive sites in...Go>
Koh Chang, albeit one of the lesser known Thai islands is also one of the largest and most easily accessible from Thailands capital city and travel hub, Bangkok. The island of Chang has so much to offer from the quiet fishing village...Go>
Koh Haa, more of a large dive site than a 'destination' is often dived from Koh Lanta. Koh Haa is also dived from Koh Phi Phi and Phuket (Phuket is significantly further away so these tend to be livaboards). Typically the best visibility...Go>
The tiny island of Koh Hai is an amazing diving location providing stunning topography, caves, sheer walls, soft corals and a diverse reef life. Only 4km by 2km this beautiful mountainous island is covered by forest and edged by quiet white sand...Go>
Koh Kood is an island of peace, tranquillity and relaxation that happens to have some pretty diving. It’s a late developer and feels like the Thailand of yesteryear complete with wide sandy deserted beaches and authentic fishing villages. Tourism hasn’t yet become...Go>
A jewel in the Andaman Sea, Koh Lanta is a laidback, relaxed island close to some of the coasts best dive sites. Koh Lanta is a popular travel destination for a laidback holiday escapade but what really makes it different is...Go>
A small, relatively unknown island on the Thai tourist circuit, Koh Lipe is still considered off the beaten path. There are no cars, you can walk everywhere and the stunning beaches with fine powdery sand are surrounded by numerous, even more stunning...Go>
Koh Mak is a small and friendly island. Perfect holiday get away. Except there is no 7/11, no ATM, no lady bars, just beautiful pristine white beaches, clear water and stunning sunsets. There are nice local restaurants and a few bars. Koh...Go>
The second biggest island in the Gulf of Thailand, just north of Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan is ideally placed close to the stunning Ang Thong Marine Park and main dive sites of the area. Quieter and more remote than the...Go>
Practically the biggest island in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui is perfectly seated next to the magnificent Ang Thong Marine Park. Its dive sites are stunning filled with rich marine ecosystem. Koh Samui is the perfect holiday getaway for people looking to...Go>
Koh Tao is considered by many as the main diving destination in the Gulf of Thailand primarily because of its shallow coral reefs teeming with marine life making it a particular favorite amongst beginner divers and snorkelers. Combined with a laid back...Go>
Krabi has around 160km of coastline and a range of islands, over 32 dive sites and endless snorkeling spots with pinnacles, underwater caves, rock formations, swim-throughs and wrecks. Because the majority of dive locations in Krabi are quite shallow, they are suitable for...Go>
Pattaya is known for its numerous wreck dive sites and lively nightlife and large expat influence. On the right side of town the accommodation can be clean and reasonable, the food and drinks are some of the more reasonable priced and well...Go>
One of the most beautiful areas in Thailand, the Phi Phi Islands dramatic landscape is just as beautiful underwater as it is above. Perfectly placed to access all the best dive sites of the area, Koh Phi Phi is a very...Go>
Thailand’s largest island and most popular tourist destination provides everything any holiday maker could want, exquisite white sand beaches, warm balmy turquoise sea, a busy nightlife, and more importantly access to the top Thailand diving. Phuket, also known as “The Pearl of...Go>
Ranong is the most northerly province on Thailand's Andaman coast and best known for its mangrove forests and hot springs. It's also a gateway to Myanmar, with longboats ferrying people and produce over the narrow divide that separates Thailand and Myanmar. Ranong Province...Go>