Phuket is the largest and the most popular tourist island in the Land of Smiles (Thailand). Thai hospitality and the friendly smile to the island attracts more than 4 million tourists per year (not without reason, Thailand is called the Land of Smiles). But the main reason for visiting the island of Phuket is the beautiful clean beaches, thanks to them it is considered the most popular beach resort in Asia. Some hotels located here are regularly among the top ten best in the world, and the island itself, without exaggeration, is a jewel in Thailand. This is the most desirable place for surfers, divers and sun lovers. The flight from Bangkok, is little more than an hour, and shortly before landing, you'll see a lot of small green islands rising from the sea.
Phuket in Malay means "hill", and the island is indeed the case. The largest island of Thailand is covered by dense tropical forests and the area corresponds approximately to the size of Singapore. It has a bright and a rich history and its prosperity has long been based on the extraction of tin (now its production in response to falling prices ceased). The island was an important link on the trade route between India and China and is often mentioned in the shipping journals of Portuguese, French, Dutch and English traders. Permanent residents of the island are more than 300 00 people (the number of population increases significantly during the influx of tourists from November to April). The majority of the population lives in cities of Phuket and Patong. The modern economy of the island is based on Brazilian plantations of rubber trees where sap is extracted for the production of natural rubber (Thailand is the largest producer of natural rubber in the world), and tourism through beautiful clean beaches attract thousands of divers from around the world.
Beginning with 1980, the sandy beaches on the west coast of the island turned into tourist centers. On the island there are thousands of foreigners, many of them are pensioners. The influential Fortune Magazine has included the island of Phuket in the top five most attractive places to retired life. Thanks to the development of tourism prices have skyrocketed over the past decade, making the island one of the most expensive tourist destinations in Thailand.
Best time to visit the island of Phuket is during the dry season from November to April. Excellent diving and snorkeling on a long sandy beach with crystal clear water waits the visitors at this time of the year. It is generally accepted fact that most of the time is spent resting on the beaches. In total there are 17 sandy beaches, many of which are still involved in the tourism industry. Few islands in the world have so many beaches, which are the main tourist attractions of Phuket. Tourists can visit the most popular and crowded - the Patong Beach, or take refuge in a remote strip of sand on the north . The beaches satisfy the desires of all the fans to soak up in the sun. The most popular beaches are Patong , Karon and Kata.
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The country is often called the "land of smiles", because here there are more people smiling than in any other part of the world.
Only in Thailand you can take a cruise on a converted rice barge, you can scream upstream in a boat or bamboo raft, you can go into a dizzying journey and you can stay in jungle tree houses or homes of villagers floating on the river.
Equally memorable are the trails leading deep into the rainforest past cooling waterfalls and beautiful endless white sand caressing the translucent sea.
Do not miss the dynamic city of Bangkok, with its futuristic buildings juxtaposed against the glittering Grand Palace.
Early morning, monks dressed in robes leave the sanctuary of temples to receive alms from the people or in a dusty village or on crowded city streets.
Here Buddhism is a way of life and, with the respect people have for the monarchy, a dynasty that has maintained an independent country for centuries, resulting in a blend of tradition and contemporary living.
His Majesty King Bhumibol is the longest reigning monarch in the world, having come in 1946.
With the end of absolute monarchy, Thailand moved towards democracy, but this was thwarted by the military, who staged coups in protest at government policies.
The latest blow came in September 2006 when a bloody revolt overthrew the Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and replaced him with an interim prime.
Thailand has surpassed the economic collapse of 1997, SARS, avian flu and the devastating tsunami in December 2004 to become a popular destination for tourists, with its many natural beauties and rich cultural heritage.
Thailand is a tropical country, so it's warm all year round, but the best time for tourists is from November to March during the dry season.
The main attractions • Wonder at the beautiful architecture in Bangkok Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaeo, a temple complex which houses a statue of the Emerald Buddha.
Further up the river are the royal barges.
They are richly decorated and are only used for special processions on the Chao Phraya River.
• Do not miss Wat Pho, Bangkok's largest temple and the place where Buddha is Down.
The statue is huge - 46m long and 15m high.
• Discover Vmanmek, a lovely palace with 18 rooms, the former royal summer residence, rebuilt in Bangkok in 1900.
Let yourself be excited by the former house of silk merchant, American Jim Thompson.
• Travel north to Chiang Mai, the second largest city of Thailand and a center for excursions to temples in the region, hill tribes and the Golden Triangle.
Climb its 300 steps to the temple of Doi Suthep to have wonderful views of the city.
• Visit Kanchanaburi, a place about the horrors of the Second World War and Allied forces forced to build the Death Railway and the Bridge over the River Kwai.
From the town you can go on trips to explore the waterfalls and the jungle region.
You could spend a night on a floating house.
• Take a trip back in time and visit Ayutthaya, the former Thai capital.
Wander among the ruins of palaces on foot,by bike, or even on the back of an elephant.
• A visit to Ayutthaya is not complete without a trip to Sukhothai, an ancient capital of the Thai.
Beyond the city walls there are ruins of ancient temples and a few ancient engravings.
• Visit the north-eastern Thai, less known, especially Phimai, one of the most important Khmer historical sites in Thailand, dating from the eleventh century.
The complicated structure resembles that of Angkor Wat.
• Thailand is not about just beaches and temples.
Venture Khao Sok National Park exploring the southern Thai.
Here the rainforest covers the limestone cliffs crossed by streams and waterfalls.
Experience the lifestyle of a tree house or a house on the water, made of bamboo.
• Make a day trip from Bangkok by train over the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi, on the bridge that was built by Allied prisoners, led by the Japanese during the Second World War.
• Admire the skills of kite fighters.
Your opponents kites male Chula and female high Pakpao in a battle of the sexes.
Do not miss playing takraw, which involves handling a cane ball from one player to another, which are disposed in a circle, using in acrobatic feet, knees, thighs and chest.
The goal is to keep the ball in the air and place it in a suspended basket.
• Take in a Thai kick-boxing match.
This traditional sport can be seen every day in stadiums across the country.
Boxing matches are preceded by elaborate ceremonies and accompanied by music.
• Get rid of all worries through meditation.
Thailand has dozens of temples and meditation centers specializing in vipassana .
You can attend one lesson or you can follow a whole.
• Meet more closely with northern Thai, especially remote provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son, hiking, riding elephants and rafting on the river.
• Join the crowd that goes to Suri, where elephants assembly occur in November.
There are demonstrations of techniques and re-training scene of episodes in history.
• Enjoy thousands of kilometers from the Thai coast on the sand or under water.
Try kayaking, canoeing in the limestone islands of Phang Nga Bay and explore the grottoes and caves that are half under water.
• Learn traditional massage and the healing properties of herbal medicine at ancient Wat Pho.
• Try Thai cooking at one of the many cookery schools.
Learn how to blend herbs and spices for the unique flavors of Thai food.
In some schools students encouraged to buy food in the market themselves.
• Take a boat trip through Bangkok's Floating Market or network of channels of the river, lined with dwellings opening directly to water.
Life has hardly changed over the centuries to those who live on canals.
• Dive with the Sharks at Siam Ocean World aquarium in Bangkok and experience to tell the tale.
• Take tea in the afternoon at the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, one of the most famous hotels in the world.
The former residence of Somerset Maughan and Joseph Conrad, today is attended by kings, princes and celebrities.
Gastronomy Thai cuisine is famous for the way that balances the five fundamental flavors in all meals and dishes - spicy, sour, sweet, salty and bitter (optional).
Thai cuisine which includes specific four main regions of the country - North, Northeast (Isan), Central and South America.
The cuisine of each region is influenced by neighboring countries of that region.
Thai dishes include plenty of fresh, not dried herbs, spices and fish sauce.
Nam pla is a fish sauce, flavored, which is found in almost all dishes.
It is widely used and shrimp paste.
Thais are accustomed to eat so much rice at every meal even.
Most of them consider sandwiches not a meal but a snack.
Also, locals do not really sit at table, because, especially children and teens eat when hungry.
If you do meet a Thai, you may be wondering "gin khao yung" every time you meet, meaning " did you eat ?" or better said "have you eaten rice?".
If you visit Thailand and stay at a local family take care not too eat too much, your body will get fat.
History Thailand existed as several small states since 1000.
Influenced more by India, Burma and Khmer people, the region was quickly engulfed in Buddhism.
By 1350 the kingdom of Siam was created.
At a distance of more than two centuries the Portuguese arrived, along with other Europeans, dealing with trade or were missionaries.
Siam avoided European colonization but was forced to cede control of more distant areas (portions of Malay, Laos and Cambodia) France and Great Britain.
Occupied by the Japanese in 1941, Siam declared war on the United States and Great Britain, while secretly monarchy suppressed resistance movements against the Japanese.
During the Vietnam War Thailand was significant especially for the U.
Attracting investors and tourists, Thailand developed until 1996, when the military government triggered a decline in the economy.
Tips The royal family is highly esteemed in Thailand, which must be respected by visitors.
Locals are concerned with the public manifestations of anger as a fact and creates a very humiliating public image.
It also discourages emotional manifestations gender and touching a person's head or your foot to straighten, it is a lack of good manners.
Take care of your shoes before entering someone's house or a temple.