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You’ll be missing out if you go to Thailand and don’t experience the best things Thailand has to offer…

The Street food

Street food in Thailand is uhhh-mazinnggg! Not only can you pick up some delicious Thai curries, Thailand’s traditional Pad Thai and meat skewers but you can also get your hands on some great sweet dishes – Southeast Asian crepes with nutella and bananas will always be a winner!

Fancy trying something a bit different? Get your gnashers around a scorpion, cricket or deep fried tarantula. Give it a try…after a few pints of Chang you won’t even taste it and whilst you might be dying inside, just think of all those Instagram likes you’ll get!

Eating a scorpion in Bangkok

A massage Thai style

One of the best things about Thailand? Thai massages! Thai massages are amazing and so cheap. Yes you might be shocked at how a tiny Thai lady can bend your body in half with so much force but you’ll also get one of the best massages you’ve ever had! When in Thailand make sure you get a couple…or twenty and don’t forget to get involved in a fish foot massage – one of the weirdest ‘sensations’ ever!

A bit of history

You can’t go Thailand and not take in a little culture and history. The temples in Bangkok give a great insight into Thailand’s main religion, Buddhism, and are not to be missed! My fave is Wat Pho, temple of the reclining buddha!

Beach parties

When it comes to beach parties, Thailand is THE place to go! There’s nothing like walking (or weaving your way through the crowds) onto Haad Rin beach in Koh Phangan to see thousands of people dressed in fluro, dancing on the sand with music pumping for miles. Fire shows are also popular on a lot of the islands including Koh Tao and Koh Phi Phi. Want to jump through a ‘ring of fire?’ Now’s your chance!

The infamous bucket!

Speaking of island fun..no beach party is complete without Thailand’s infamous bucket! You can get your hands on one of these bad boys for about 200Baht (about a fiver!) When you buy a bucket you’ll usually get a concoction of M-150 (concentrated redbull), a local spirit and a can of mixer. Just a word of warning – these buckets are STRONG. They give you 4 straws for a reason..sharing is caring! 😉

Local transport

In my opinion, the best way to see a country is by experiencing the local transport. Use local transport such as TukTuk’s in Bangkok, hop on an overnight train with Thai locals and cruise around in Thailand’s iconic longtail boats whenever you have the option!

Wildlife

If you’ve ever dreamed of feeding baby monkeys, volunteering in an elephant sanctuary or getting up close with exotic birds and wildlife such as monitor lizards, Thailand is for you!

Feed monkeys in Thailand

All things Bangkok

Bangkok is an overload for the senses and one of the most exciting cities I have ever been to. Head to the famous Khao San Rd to party with other travellers and to Patpong, Bangkok’s red light district to party with lady boys! Also, Bangkok’s famous floating markets aren’t to be missed! You could even catch a Muay Thai boxing match – no better place to experience it and anyway – Bangkok has you now..

Maya Bay

If you watched ‘The Beach’ you’ve probably dreamed of visiting this stunning bay since you saw Leo swim around with millions of glowing plankton surrounding him! You can’t beat the crystal clear waters of Maya Bay, the beautiful white sand and great snorkelling in the area – just remember your camera!

Hair flick in Maya Bay

Stay in the Jungle

Thailand isn’t all about island life and partying on the beach! Your visit to Thailand won’t be complete without a little ‘off the beaten track’ action. Say hello to Khao Sok National Park! Stay in floating bungalows on the lake, explore caves, go tubing, feed baby monkeys and chill in paradise. This place is heaven on earth!

Khao-Sok

Is Thailand on your travel bucket list? Check out our 10 day tour of Thailand and get in touch for help planning!

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If you close your eyes and think of Thailand – what are the first things you see?

Try and keep it clean please people, we don’t want ping pong balls cluttering up an otherwise simple exercise.

Thailand is exotic. It is hustle and bustle. Colour and light. Mysterious sights and sounds, sumptuous smells that waft through the air.

Basically, you are thinking of a Thai floating market – one of the most amazing experiences Thailand has to offer!

Thanks to the increase in tourists visiting Thailand, floating markets may not be as authentic as they once were but a trip to the canals of Thailand is one of the most amazing experiences to be had in the country. It gives you an idea of the history of the region and just how culturally different the area is to anywhere you’ve ever been.

In the 19th Century, Bangkok was known as the ‘Venice of the East’ thanks to sheer number of canals, or khlongs, in the city. The khlongs were, and to some extent still are, the lifeblood of the city.

When you are in Bangkok as part of our Ultimate Thailand adventure, you will be taken on a river and canal cruise through Bangkok where you will be able to see historic temples and houses that skirt the edge of the water.

The canals and rivers of Bangkok may not be filled as they once were but a long-boat ride lets your imagination run wild!

The floating markets aren’t too far from Bangkok with some of best located less than three hours from the city centre. Day trips can be organised from the Khao San Road and our handy guides can help you book them. Here are some floating market names to remember!

Damnoen Sanduak – the most popular.

Only about an hour and a half from Bangkok city centre, Damnoen Sanduak is the go-to floating market for tourists and tour companies in Bangkok.

If that floats your boat (yes, I went there) then check it out! If you’ve already had your fill of those weird frog-noise things and ‘Same Same but Different’ t-shirts, maybe give it a miss.

If this is the market you select, it isn’t all Americans with bum-bags. You can still find some secluded areas where you get a feel for the local culture of a floating market. You can buy fresh produce and Thai craft and take some of those awesome photos of baskets filled with colourful vegetables.

Amphawa – the local version.

Amphawa floating market is where the locals head to the water for their shopping. It is a Thai experience like no other as the long-boats crowd around the popular stall-boats for their favourite produce or freshly cooked food.

It is an impressive site, hundreds of long-boats crowding the small canals of Amphawa. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen really. The sights, sounds and smells will entice and amaze you as you bob along in a long-boat of your own, past countless stalls!

Taling Chan – the food-lovers paradise!

In all honesty, the food and produce at each Thai floating market is amazing but Taling Chan just tips the scales with its amazing seafood selection.

From fish heads to crab legs, and everything in between, Taling Chan is foodie heaven and is filled with locals looking for something tasty for their weekend lunch!

If you aren’t brave enough to plump for some seafood, there are plenty of other options to impress your palate at Taling Chan.

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These are just some of the floating markets on offer in the Bangkok area but there are hundreds more across the entire region.

You might not be a markets person or have seen your fair share of crowded stalls throughout your travels – a floating market with its mystery and wonder is definitely not to be missed!

Remember to take a look at our Ultimate Thailand trip for more information on an amazing adventure in Thailand!!

If you’re coming to Thailand with the hope of new experiences then I’ve got just the thing for you taking place in November. In a little town called Lopburi, just under 4 hours away from Bangkok, you can witness a particularly special feast. Eat before you come however, as unfortunately this feast isn’t for you but for our simian relatives!

Thais believe that treating monkeys with kindness will bring them good luck, so one local hotel owner treats his monkey pals to a huge banquet each year. Tourists delight as they watch these delightful creatures monkeying around as they literally dive head first into a three course meal. There’s no use telling them not to play with their food though, as the meal soon becomes a huge food fight while the monkeys fill their boots.

If you don’t get the chance to travel up to Lopburi to see the feast but want to get up close and personal with some monkeys, as part of the 10 day Ultimate Thailand trip, we take you to monkey temple, where you can hand feel baby monkeys yourself! These cheeky little creatures will climb all over you and take nuts right from your hands. Don’t forget your camera!

…a lot of you were exploring Thailand last year.

Siam Paragon, Bangkok’s biggest shopping mall, tops the list of the most instagrammed locations of 2013. When its home to 9 floors of shopping delights, with each floor having its own theme, it’s no wonder! Dubbed the ‘Ferrari’ of shopping malls, this place really is like no other shopping centre you’ve ever seen. From ‘Gourmet Paradise’ on the ground floor, boasting an extensive array of cuisine, to luxury on the main floor, fashion on the first and ‘IT World’ on the fourth, there is something for everyone! When you’ve shopped until you are ready to drop, you may want to visit their Cineplex … it has 15 screens and an IMAX theatre, a perfect opportunity to keep up to date with your favourite block busters! The real selling feature to this amazing building must be ‘The Oceanarium’ on the basement level, featuring a 15 metre high bow-fronted aquarium containing schools of fish and an amazing coral reef.

It’s not just about Siam Paragon however, plenty of you could be found exploring the streets of Bangkok and the city as a whole came in at number 2 in the list of the most instagrammed cities of 2013.  So come and see what all the fuss is about!

Did you know that the city of Bangkok has over 400 temples?! Might be a bit of a hard task to see them all! Most backpackers aim to see a handful of the most popular ones, which allows us to get a taste of the cultural and religious significance of these buildings. At the start of our Ultimate 10 day trip we have a Bangkok City Tour and we take you to two of the most awesome temples, or Wats, in Bangkok. The culture of Thailand is what draws backpackers here in their droves and for me the city tour was certainly a highlight and allowed me to soak up as much culture as possible from a local and knowledgeable tour guide.  After all, I wasn’t in Thailand just to drink buckets in Phi Phi or sunbathe in paradise…honestly. A Wat refers to a place of worship in Thailand and we show you Wat Arun and Wat Pho. Wat Arun is known as the ‘Temple of Dawn’ and provides unrivaled views of the city. Climbing up the almost vertical steps is fairly easy going but it’s the getting down again that can prove a bit of a challenge. Certainly not for the faint-hearted. Wat Pho is the temple of the reclining Buddha, which features the largest Buddha in Thailand at over 150 ft long, covered in impressive gold leaf. This place really is a must see. Pictures of these temples do not do them justice; they really need to be seen in person to be truly appreciated. How many Bangkok temples can you tick off the list?? We’ll see you in Bangkok!

Did you know that Thai people don’t refer to their Capital as Bangkok?  The name Bangkok is actually thought to have derived from the Chinese, and adopted by us Westerners, as we were struggling to remember its 169 character original name.  But if you’re up to the challenge you will be sure to impress the locals… The full name is Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit. Translated this means “City of Angels, Great City of Immortals, Magnificent City of the Nine Gems, Seat of the King, City of Royal Palaces, Home of Gods Incarnate, Erected by Visvakarman at Indra’s Behest… Wow!! Luckily, often the locals use the abbreviated version Krung Thep, which means “City of Angels”.

So, Head to Bangkok now and show off with your new found knowledge!  Check out our tour start dates here!

Hi Everyone!

It’s Gayle at Ultimate Thailand. We wanted to post an update for you all regarding the current situation in Thailand. This week, a state of emergency was declared in Thailand, following recent periods of civil unrest and protests in Bangkok. We know that all of the stories being reported in the media regarding the situation in Thailand sound worrying, especially if you are unsure what it all means.

By imposing a state of emergency, the government has basically enforced curfews which will prohibit political congregations and protests in Bangkok, and some surrounding areas.

This won’t affect your Ultimate Thailand tour. Our trips are still running as usual, and our team in Bangkok on top of the situation. Our tour does not operate in any of the affected areas, so we’re far away from any protests.  It is possible that we may see the odd delay when travelling to and from the airport, but at this stage, our itinerary has not been affected at all. Should the situation begin affecting areas that we visit as part of the Ultimate Thailand tour, we would amend our itinerary accordingly.

The safety of our groups and our staff is our absolute number one priority. We take your safety very seriously. We are constantly monitoring the situation and rest assured that if there was any threat of danger to any of our groups, we would not run our tour.

At present, we at Ultimate Thailand do not believe this is necessary. Our trips continue to go ahead as planned and we will continue to show this beautiful country to all who wish to revel in the wonders that Thailand has to offer.

Please, if you have any concerns, do get in touch! As always, our team are here to answer any questions that you may have.

We look forward to seeing you soon in Bangkok.

xx Gayle

We all know the score … a new year brings a new set of resolutions. You might be starting a new diet the next day or having a month of detox and no drinking. So for your last night of indulgence, you want to make your New Year’s Eve in Bangkok a special occasion. What a place to bring in the New Year too!

If you’re planning on spending New Year’s Eve in Bangkok , make sure you have somewhere to stay in good time. Bangkok is a busy place during the festive period and you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you do not have a place to lay your head once you’re all partied out! You do not want to spend your New Year in Bangkok sleeping on a random bench somewhere!

Once you have glammed yourself up for the celebrations ahead, you need to find a party! This will not be hard! If you’re looking for the biggest event in town, head across to Central World Square and count down to the New Year with amazing light and sound shows, including live performances by some of the favourite local artists. You can also countdown with other countries, whose celebrations will be shown on huge projector screens. Be sure to get there at least three hours before the clock strikes 12 though, as it gets incredibly busy!

If large crowds feel a little impersonal or just aren’t ‘your thing’, there are plenty of rooftop venues in Bangkok that will give you a great view of the fireworks at midnight. These venues generally charge an entry fee and will require you to think ahead so that you can reserve your spot.

If you’re on a bit more of a budget than the rooftop venues will allow for, make your way to Thonglor, RCA, Silom or Khao San Road. Thonglor provides the hip and chic bars and the latter areas will provide the wild, well-into-the-night parties aimed at the younger and more energetic crowds.

Whatever you choose to do, wherever you choose to do it, you’ve picked a great city to welcome the New Year in and you’re certainly in for a night you’ll never forget … even if you don’t remember that much to begin with! Happy New Year from Ultimate Thailand – we hope your New Year in Bangkok is awesome!

Hey guys! It’s very nearly Christmas and we’re all excited at Ultimate Thailand! 

If you’re lucky enough to be spending Christmas in Thailand this year, you may expect to find the celebrations a little different to that which you are used to! 25th December is not a that is recognized as a holiday in Thailand, a predominantly Buddhist country. So even though it’s Christmas day, all the schools, offices and shops will remain open.

In Bangkok, although it is not a traditional holiday, it is becoming more and more popular, most likely due to the huge tourist industry that exists here. Although the weather is warm and you’re very unlikely to see snow, you won’t feel too far removed from the usual Christmas atmosphere in a big city like Bangkok. All the major shopping malls will be decorated and there are even walking tours you can join if you wish to seek out the best decoration displays in town!

Head to Central World, a huge shopping mall with an equally huge Christmas tree found in the front plaza and many other decorations to be seen inside. Equally impressive, are the decorations in neighbouring malls, the Paragon Mall, MBK Mall and Amarin Plaza … all worth checking out if Christmas decorations are your things.

Chitralada Palace is surrounded by fairy lights … they are not intended for Christmas but they have been described in the past as ‘enchanting and beautiful’. If you decide to go down and check them out, the evening is the best time. Don’t get too close to the building however, or you may find yourself face to face with less than impressed armed guards. (Not recommended!)

If the idea of missing out on a traditional Christmas dinner makes you want to weep in to your eggnog, don’t despair! There are plenty of places you can go for a decent dinner with all the trimmings … we recommend the Londoner on Sukhumvit Road, where you can get turkey and stuffing and a Christmas pud for about 1400 baht per person (roughly AUD$48 or £27) or got to the Dubliner for roast turkey and mince pies for about 1000 baht per person (roughly AUD$34 or £19).

Don’t forget to Skype your friends and family to wish them a Merry Christmas and tell them what you’re up to! (Your mum will never forgive you!!) Most hostels have Wi-Fi available but if yours doesn’t , or you’re out and about and need the internet, there are heaps of free Wi-Fi spots in Bangkok. Find the spot closest to you here. Now you have no excuse!!

So, if you’re worried that you won’t be able to get in to the Christmas spirit, being so far from home, don’t! There isn’t too much different to how you would celebrate at home. The thing you’ll struggle with the most, is getting used to it being warm on Christmas Day … and let’s face it, that’s not the worst struggle to come up against is it!

Let Ultimate Thailand know how your Thai Christmas was! Where were you? What did you get up to? What ever you do, make your Christmas in Thailand one to remember! Tell us all about it on our Facebook page … until then – Suksun Wan Christmas!