Standing, sitting, or reclining, Buddha can be found in all of his curious incarnations in Thailand’s capital, Bangkok. The ancient royal district houses multiple glittering temples, all meticulously clean.
In the reknowned Wat Phra Kaew, the pint-size Emerald Buddha is honored three times a year at the change of every season, during which the statue’s garments are changed by the King in an elaborate ceremony.
Outside of glittering Bangkok, escape to Thailand’s mountainous North where adventures are custom designed for all ages, including bamboo rafting, elephant-riding, hiking and biking. If tropical is more your style, jet south to any one of Thailand’s island destinations: Phuket, Ko Samui, Koh Phi Phi, Ko Tao… for a scuba diving lesson in sparkling waters or a day spent rock climbing.
For those seeking an historical journey, just outside of the Thai town of Kanchanaburi is the famed bridge on the River Kwai, named after 1950’s British World War II film. The Thai are a very friendly bunch and quick to welcome visitors with a smile, though wily tuk-tuk (taxi) drivers may have conniving motives behind their deceptively gay grins, offering to “take you to Buddha statue,” code for his friend’s jewelry shop.
Scams aside, Thailand’s bustling international capital and lush countryside offer a myriad of adventures with a healthy dose of spice to go with it.
Visit the Museum of Siam in Bangkok, a highly interactive and young museum that is both fun and sophisticated. It reveals the history of Thailand (I never knew that all of the area that is now Bangkok was originally under water!) in a maze of modern displays. You may wish to try your hand in a life-size video game allowing you to attack invaders with a cannon.
Ride the train northwards through lush scenery to Chiang Mai, where many trekking and rafting adventures await you.
Use good judgement when choosing your trek and don’t hesitate to design your own or make it “private.” In other words, the fewer people on the trek, the less time spent in a crowded van, picking up and dropping off other adventure-seeking tourists at their hotels.