Defined by the fertile plain of the Chao Phraya River, the Central Region is the agricultural heartland of the country with a network of rivers and canals where the lifestyle based on water activities occurs. This is also where Bangkok, the capital of Thailand is located as well as the ancient capital of Ayutthaya, the legendary Bridge over the River Kwai, in Kanchanaburi and many other well-known cultural attractions like the Ancient City, Samut Prakan. This region of the country has had a dramatic history and is full of heritage of ancient temples, battlefields and ruins, and the renowned floating markets of Damnoen Saduak and Amphawa that draw tourists to visit our country.
The East Coast with 400 kilometres of coastline extending from Chon Buri to Trat has some of the finest beaches in Asia. Pattaya, with an enormous range of resorts, hotels and guest houses, is its centre. For those seeking a more relaxing experience, travel further down the coast to Rayong or Ko Samet and the lovely islands of Ko Chang National Park and Ko Kut in Trat province near the Cambodian border. All of this is within easy reach of Bangkok; thus, it is a popular region amongst local and foreign travellers. This region is also renowned for its fruit orchards and plantations.
Famous for its long history and exotic traditional culture of the Lanna Kingdom, and with Chiang Mai as its centre, the North also has unique nature full of forests, rivers, towering waterfalls, and spectacular mountain ranges enveloped in mist that covers almost the entire region. This region is the birthplace of the earliest Thai civilisation and has many sites of archaeological and cultural interest; for example, Sukothai and Si Satchanalai. It is also the home of many ethnic hill tribes who have settled in villages on the mountainsides in Mae Hong Son, Chiang Rai, and Nan to name a few and are a great attraction for travellers to the North.
Also known as I-san and as the “Cradle of Civilization’, the Northeast is famed for its most intriguing destinations with many Stone Age and Bronze Age dwellings and artefacts, especially at Ban Chiang in Udon Thani province, dinosaur fossils in Kalasin and Khon Kaen, as well as several stone sanctuaries that are a legacy of the great Khmer Empire of the past at Phimai, Nakhon Ratchasima province and Phanom Rung in Buri Ram province. The pace of life of slow, but this is made up for with the colourful fun-filled festivals that reflect this region’s culture and traditions. It also has very distinctive cuisine and a unique dialect. In recent years, the Northeast has risen to become a useful starting point for adventurous journeys to destinations along the mighty Mekong River; such as, Lao PDR. And Vietnam in which there have been important developments in infrastructure to accommodate tourism.
The South extends southward along a narrow peninsula lying between the Andaman Sea with its rugged and strange limestone rock formations and cliffs on the west and the Gulf of Thailand with its wide bays and calm seas on the east. It is a rich land in terms of the abundance of its natural resources, the fertility of its soil, the diversity of its people and its commercial viability. Phuket is the tourist capital of the South, and other popular locales include Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Phang-nga, and Krabi. The region is also famous for its international beach resorts, and is full of white sandy beaches and exotic islands with rich underwater life. Thus, it is a big hit with people who love sun, sea, and sand.
For information on individual provinces in each region, please visit: www.tourismthailand.org/Attraction
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