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Things to Do in Thailand - page 4

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Black Mountain Water Park
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Occupying 10 acres (40,000 square meters) fifteen minutes outside of Hua Hin, Black Mountain Water Park opened in 2011 and has already become one of the most popular regional attractions. Large, clean and staffed with professionally trained lifeguards, the waterpark features all the crowdpleasers, including Thailand’s biggest wave pool, lazy river, zero entry pool, children’s pool and a 56-foot (17-meter) tall tower with 9 water slides.

Changing rooms and lockers are offered free of charge. An on-site restaurant serves a variety of Thai and international dishes, and park-goers will also find snack and ice cream kiosks located throughout the waterpark.

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Similan Islands National Park (Mu Ko Similan National Park)
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Thailand’s Similan Islands National Park (Mu Ko Similan National Park), a group of 11 islands in the Andaman Sea, is one of the most pristine places in the world for diving. The islands boast picturesque landscapes with white-sand beaches, large granite rocks jutting out from the earth, dense jungles teeming with diverse fauna and flora, and crystal-clear azure waters.

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Chiang Dao Caves
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Situated within Chiang Dao National Park, the 6-mile-long (10-kilometer-long) Chiang Dao Caves system penetrating Thailand’s third-highest peak ranks among the most spectacular in the country. Impressive stalagmites and stalactites grow from the ceilings and floors of the five interconnected caves, along with other limestone and crystal formations.

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Sukhumvit
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Sukhumvit Road is the longest boulevard in Thailand (with the Skytrain running along most of its length), and the surrounding neighborhood has become the city’s makeshift international zone, with expats and well-off Thais living on the small side streets, called sois, that intersect it. It’s a neighborhood where choices are endless. Luxury hotels stand beside budget accommodations, and the food scene from five star to street stand is top notch.

What Sukhumvit lacks in tourist attractions it makes up for in its buzzing shopping and nightlife scene. By day air-conditioned shopping malls offer just about anything under the sun and sumptuous days spas promise relaxation. By night the neighborhood comes alive with some of Bangkok’s top nightclubs (and a few notorious red light districts).

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Mini Siam
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Home to miniature replicas of both top Thailand sights and global landmarks, Mini Siam is a family-friendly Pattaya attraction. Travel through Thai history on the Mini Siam side, where you’ll see to-scale versions of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Bridge on the River Kwai, and then admire the Eiffel Tower in Mini Europe.

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Warorot Market
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Warorot Market is a feast for the senses, where stalls selling dried durian paste and exotic fruits stand cheek by jowl with vendors offering fluffy bath towels and Buddhist amulets. The indoor hub—a more authentic alternative to Chiang Mai’s night markets—is a great place to sample local delicacies and purchase handicrafts at low prices.

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Wat Suan Dok
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Wat Suan Dok’s brilliant golden spire has stretched high into the skyline of the Northern Thailand city of Chiang Mai since the 14th century. The name roughly translates to "field of flowers," as the temple stands on a site that was once the garden of a ruling monarch just west of the Old City walls.

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Golden Mount (Wat Saket)
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The Temple of the Golden Mount, or Wat Saket, is a low hill with a pointed golden temple (chedi). It’s built on the site of a earlier, failed temple building that turned to rubble and became a hill. Wat Saket was once the highest point in Bangkok. Visit today for great views of Bangkok and to see its Buddha relic.

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Taling Chan Floating Market
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As a city with many waterways and canals, Bangkok boasts a number of floating markets, including the small Taling Chan Floating Market. Visit for a less crowded, more local experience than at some of the larger markets. Go to check out the range of vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, plants, crafts, souvenirs, and ready-to-eat food on sale.

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Marble Temple (Wat Benchamabophit)
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Wat Benchamabophit—or the Marble Temple—is a Buddhist temple in the Dusit area of Bangkok made from Italian marble. Enter the working temple to take in its ornate features, including typical Thai curved roofs and glittering decorations.

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More Things to Do in Thailand

Pattaya Water Park at Pattaya Park Beach Resort

Pattaya Water Park at Pattaya Park Beach Resort

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Head to the beachside Pattaya Water Park to cool off from the hot Thai sun. The classic water park features everything you need for a day of fun in the sun, including a lazy river, wading pool for toddlers, water slides, a whirlpool, and private beach access for swimming in the Gulf of Thailand.

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Pattaya Teddy Bear Museum

Pattaya Teddy Bear Museum

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Home to a collection of more than 2,000 teddy bears spread across 13 different themed zones, the Pattaya Teddy Bear Museum (also known as Teddy Island) is exactly what it sounds like. Unlike at traditional toy museums, though, where exhibits are kept behind glass, here visitors are free to pose with the bears. There’s a well-equipped gift store, too.

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Bang Pa-In Royal Palace

Bang Pa-In Royal Palace

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The Bang Pa-In Royal Palace is situated 60 kilometers from Bangkok and just a few kilometers from Ayutthaya. Originally built in the 17th century by King Prasat Thong of Ayutthaya, it was later destroyed by the Burmese and left abandoned for almost a century.

During the reign of King Mongkut (Rama IV) in the 1850s, part of the palace was restored, but most of the site seen today is down to his predecessor, King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), who restored and expanded the entire grounds. Today the palace is still used by the Thai royal family as a summer residence.

The iconic buildings scattered across the complex each feature their own unique architectural style. For example, the Wehat Chamroon Palace was built using traditional Chinese materials and designs, while the Aisawan Tippaya Asna Pavilion, set in the middle of a lake, is typically Thai. Other buildings are clearly European in architectural style.

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National Museum of Royal Barges

National Museum of Royal Barges

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Thailand is full of royal palaces and striking religious temples. But one of Bangkok’s most memorable highlights is the National Museum of Royal Barges. This popular destination houses a fleet of ornately decorated, sleek and slender ships that were once the main mode of transportation for the royal family.

Travelers can examine the religious symbols that decorate the king’s personal barge and get up close with to the hand-carved Buddhas and pristine dugouts of these unique vessels. The largest ship stretches from 45 meters in length and takes 50 men to propel it through the city’s winding water channels. Travelers who visit the Royal Barges National Museum in October and November may even get to see the boats set sail during the famous cloth-giving ceremony.

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Patong Beach

Patong Beach

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Big, brash, and bold, Patong is a high-energy resort on the west coast of Phuket, Thailand. Patong Beach, a deep stretch of white sand on a crescent bay, holds natural charms. But many head here for the restaurants, cabarets, dance shows, Thai boxing matches, and the loud and lively nightlife that draws travelers young and old alike.

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Khao San Road

Khao San Road

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Head to Khao San Road to immerse yourself in the heart of Bangkok’s budget backpacker scene. Explore a road packed with budget and mid-range hotels, bars and nightclubs, travel company offices, markets, and other tourist facilities. It’s a convenient place to base yourself while staying in Bangkok, or to head for a meal and nightlife.

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Phuket Simon Cabaret Show

Phuket Simon Cabaret Show

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As one of the most glamorous cabaret shows in southern Thailand, the Simon Cabaret is a must for fans of glitz and drama. Shows are a flamboyant combination of costumed transgender performers, traditional Thai dance and music, and comedy routines. After the show, you’ll have the opportunity to meet the stars and take photos.

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Khlong Toei Market

Khlong Toei Market

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This bustling local gem is the largest fresh food market in Bangkok, with stalls selling produce straight from rural farms, raw meat and seafood direct from the nearby fishing port. Khlong Toei Market (also written Khlong Toey Market) is particularly crowded in early mornings, when locals arrive in search of the best fare but despite long lines the vibe is still pretty relaxed.

While travelers can find random items like batteries and electronics, the real draw here is food. Come prepared to sample fruits and vegetables straight from market shelves, or to tuck into steaming hot plates of green curry at one of the mom and pop breakfast and lunch stalls.

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Tunnel Temple (Wat Umong)

Tunnel Temple (Wat Umong)

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With its secluded forest location and elaborate network of tunnels, Tunnel Temple (Wat Umong) is unique among Chiang Mai temples. The 15-acre (6-hectare) temple complex is home to saffron-robed monks, as well as free-roaming deer and ponds full of fish and turtles. Signs painted with words of wisdom hang from the ‘talking trees.’

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MBK Center

MBK Center

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A giant and legendary shopping mall located just off Siam Square, the MBK Center (Ma Boon Khrong Center) attracts both locals and tourists looking to fulfill their shopping needs. Boasting eight floors crammed with 2,000 shops and a range of stalls, this sleek glass complex sells everything from bargain clothing to affordable electronics.

In addition to retail outlets, MBK has two expansive food courts—one on the sixth floor serving local Thai food and an international one on the floor below. MBK is particularly well-known for its range of cheap electronic items, with the fourth floor dedicated to cell phones, cameras, games consoles, MP3 players and more.

The top floor of this huge mall features an extensive entertainment center, with a multi-screen cinema, karaoke facilities and a games arcade. There’s also the 3D Trick Art Museum, a fun family attraction that both younger and older kids can enjoy. For a unique way to visit the MBK Center and other malls in the area, take a Bangkok city tour that incorporates trips to many of the capital’s major sights via several different modes of public transport.

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Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya

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The ruined island city-state of Ayutthaya—the once great capital of the Kingdom of Siam—is now a remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lying at the confluence of three rivers north of Bangkok, Ayutthaya Historical Park protects magnificent crumbling stone temple spires, sun-worn Buddha statues, and other remnants of the three palaces, 400 temples, houses, and markets that thrived in Ayutthaya’s heyday.

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Frost Magical Ice of Siam

Frost Magical Ice of Siam

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Nobody goes to Pattaya for the snow, but Frost Magical Ice of Siam, a wintry theme park kept at a temperature of 14°F (-10°C), features plenty of ice. Inside the chilled dome, enjoy ice carvings themed around the Arctic, an ice bar, an ice slide, and even an ice tuk-tuk. Outdoors, view white-sand sculptures inspired by Thai culture.

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Phitsanulok

Phitsanulok

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Somewhat off the tourist track, one of the country’s largest provincial capitals, Phitsanulok, is set along the Nan River in the north of Thailand. Surrounded by a landscape of mountains, rice fields, and forests, this was home to a settlement of Khmer people in the 10th century. Centuries later, the capital of the Sukhothai kingdom moved here, and the Ayutthaya kingdom later declared it as its capital too.

Today, Phitsanulok is a bustling and diverse city with plenty of cultural attractions to please international visitors, including Wat Phra Si Ratana Mahathat, which contains one of the most revered Buddha images in the country. Phitsanulok also makes for a convenient base from which to explore the ancient attractions of nearby Sukhothai, Si Satchanalai, and Kamphaeng Phet.

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Wat Ratchanatdaram Woravihara (Loha Prasat)

Wat Ratchanatdaram Woravihara (Loha Prasat)

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While not the most famous of Bangkok’s many temples, Wat Ratchanatdaram Woravihara, also known as Loha Prasat (Metal Palace), is notable for its unique architecture; multiple concentric squares levels were built atop pillars to resemble the mythical castle of the gods of the same name. The 37 all-metal spires symbolize the 37 virtues that lead to enlightenment, and when illuminated at night, they resemble candles adorning a multi-tiered cake.

Wat Ratchanatdaram Woravihara was built in 1846 by order of Rama III, its architecture inspired by two similar temples in India and Sri Lanka. Bangkok’s version is the only one of the three remaining. Since 2005 the temple has been under consideration for UNESCO World Heritage status.

Outside the temple, a market teems with vendors selling amulets to protect against harm or to offer good fortune in love.

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