Thailand History & Culture

Explore Thailand’s gold-tipped palaces, sacred temples and ancient ruins. Rich in atmosphere and culture, there are plenty of eye-openers in store. Wander between pagodas packed with orange-robed monks, take a trip on the legendary Death Railway, visit the sacred Temples of Dawn and amble amongst the ruins of ancient kingdoms. Filled to its borders with fascinating sights, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into another world.

Gold palace in Bangkok Thailand

Go back to Old Bangkok

Bangkok is scattered with glinting gold palaces, ornate temples and chaotic markets, giving the entire city a mystical edge. Wander around Wat Arun, the ‘Temple of the Dawn’, gaze up at the dazzling Grand Palace, get an eyeful of the giant Emerald Buddha in Wat Pra Kaew, amble around Jim Thompson’s beautifully preserved Thai house and grab a traditional massage at Wat Pho. The modern city buzzes around these age-old sights, so you’ll literally see the old world nudging up against the new.

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Explore Ancient Temples in Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya is the ancient capital of Thailand and a peaceful place scattered with crumbling ruins. With a name meaning ‘Not someone to be messed with’ in Sanskrit, it was once a formidable city bordering the Khmer kingdom, famous for its decadent palaces and countless temples. Cycle amongst the ruins, cruise down the river and get a feel for the faded grandeur. In its heyday, over a million people lived here, outnumbering the population of London and Paris. In 1767, the city fell to the Burmese after two years of fierce fighting. Golden statues of Buddha were melted, temples were desecrated and manuscripts destroyed.

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View of a bridge crossing the River Kwai in Thailand

Sleep on the rippling River Kwai

The bridge over the River Kwai is the stuff of legend and sings with a sad kind of beauty. On the way to the river, you can take a trip on the Death Railway, built by 60,000 Allied POWs taken by the Japanese during the Second World War. Linking Thailand with Burma, it’s a reminder of a brutal and harrowing past. After lingering for a while on the bridge, you’ll head to a floating hut lit with flickering oil lamps for an atmospheric night that you’re unlikely to forget.

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ancient temple in Sukhothai in Thailand

Soak up the atmosphere of Sukhothai

Fascinating and filled with beautiful sights, Sukhothai was the capital of the Siamese kingdom between 1238 and 1376. Once the spiritual soul of the entire country, its name means ‘The Rising of Happiness’ and has long influenced Thai literature, art and language. Now a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s somewhere steeped in atmosphere. Take a tuk-tuk to the historical park or rent a bike and head there on your own two wheels – it’s totally up to you. Along the way, you’ll pass imposing ruins, impressive temples and giant Buddhas, giving you a real glimpse into the ancient past.

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river kwai flaoting rafts accommodation in thailandBest time to visit Thailand
Thailand is a great place to travel any time of year, but it does have some specific climate zones. We've put together some handy tips on where to go when.
Best time to visit Thailand

24 hours in...

24 hours in Bangkok | Thailand

20th April 2012 by Sophia

Bangkok is the usual entry point for travellers to Thailand or as a layover stop so we put together ideas of what to do if you're in Bangkok for 24 hours.

4 min read

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