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Bangkok

Bangkok is a fast-moving, vibrant and buzzing modern city that never sleeps. It mixes the modern with the traditional, the old with the new. With its network of canals and waterways, Bankok is sometimes called Venice of the East , and it has become one of the most exciting cities to visit in Asia.
The strange disparity of Bankok strikes you immediately, with its sprawling canals and river systems on one side and then fast and furious tuk tuks whizzing through the crowded streets on the other, with peaceful Buddhist monasteries shoulder to shoulder with high rise buildings - Bangkok is a city of contrasts that lives in perfect harmony. It may seem chaotic at first glance, but once you peel back its layers you will witness an incredibly vibrant city with lots to recommend it.

Things to See and Do:

The Glittering Grand Palace is more or less on everyone’s list of things to see whilst they are in Bangkok, and it's easy to see why. This former residence of the Thai Royal family was built originally by King Rama I when Bangkok was first established and has been constantly updated and expanded ever since, originally in style of Ayutthaya, but more recently with more modern influences.
 
Wat Pho is also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha due to the centrepiece in the Wat. It is the oldest temple in Bangkok and has also served as a University and a place of learning for traditional Thai medicine. You can learn about these and its history in the grounds of the Wat.  The Klongs of Bangkok are a must for anyone who wants to not only see a little of Bangkok history, but also to experience what it is like to be whizzed around in your own private long-tailed boat through the canals, large and small. It is exciting, and you can fully appreciate why Bangkok is known as the Venice of the East.
 
Jim Thompson’s House stands testament to how incredible traditional Thai architecture is.  This small house, now a museum to everything silk, is a mixture of different Thai buildings that the entrepreneur Jim Thompson collected from around Thailand in the 50’s and 60’s before his disappearance in the late 1960’s in Malaysia.

The Weekend Chatuchak Market is an adventure in itself, with over 5,000 regular stalls selling everything imaginable to man from copied t-shirts, bags, works of art, antiques, curios... you name it, you can buy it there. The Weekend Market is also a fun place to visit, whether on not you choose to bargain for a few last minute souvenirs to take home.Ayutthaya was the old capital of Siam until the late 1760’s when it was attacked and burnt to the ground by an invading Burmese army.  Today at this UNESCO World Heritage site you will see glimpses of how grand the old kingdom of Siam was, with Ayutthaya as its capital and centrepiece. It is blissful to return at a leisurely pace on the canals and rivers, a perfect way to end an interesting and insightful day.

The Bridge over the River Kwai marked the beginning of the infamous 'Death Railway'  that stretched from Thailand into Burma; it is an easy and very interesting trip from Bangkok, and there is a small but excellent and informative museum there, as well as the pristine Allied War Cemetery.
 
Sukhothai was an early capital of the Thai Kingdom up until the 13th Century, and is another UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The complex of temples can be easily visited by bicycle, and with countless carved Buddhas, tall lotus spires and lily ponds, Sukhothai is one of the more interesting historical sites in Thailand to visit.
 
The region of Isaan is one for the real adventurer. This new up-and-coming region of Thailand, east of Bangkok, borders both Laos and Cambodia. It is rich in tradition, culture and is very distinct from the rest of Thailand. There are many Ankorean ruins scattered around the region and locals celebrate colourful, rustic festivals; it is a rural, simple region, still well off the beaten track. If you don’t mind spending a few days in rustic settings with no mod-cons then Isaan could be the place for you to explore, and we recommend that you do that now, before the crowds come.

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