Suvarnabhumi, loosely interpreted as Southeast Asia, is a region rich in ancient cultures and home to distinguished and charming traditions. What’s more, the climate is ideal for travelling all year round. Although the region is sometimes seen as a homogenous mélange of similar art and cultural patterns, on closer inspection, you’ll find that each locality in Suvarnabhumi —the Golden Land—has its own unique charms that make visitors come back again and again.
For many travellers, Bangkok is the gateway to Southeast Asia. Centrally located, and with more than two centuries of history, the city boasts a myriad of attractions, like fantastic temples, world-class shopping centres, a huge variety of food - from Michelin Star to streetside - and a range of accommodation to meet all visitors’ needs, Bangkok is the fideal place to whet your appetite before you venture further afield. Unmissable activities include visiting The Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha, shopping at Chatuchak Market and Siam Square, hopping on a boat to take in the sights and sounds along the banks of the Chao Phraya, and entertaining your taste buds in Yaowarat, the acclaimed home of the world’s best street food.
Only about an hour’s flight from Bangkok, you will find the exotic beauty of Thailand’s neighbour, Myanmar. The highlight here is Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in the country. The pagoda is believed to contain holy relics (eight strands of the Buddha’s hair) and is tipped with 5,448 diamonds and 2,317 rubies, with a 76 carat diamond at the very top. There is also a large emerald in the middle which is covered with more than 1,100kg gold. After visiting the great pagoda, take a Yangon Circular Train to get a taste of the life of the capital’s commuters. Those who love shopping should not miss Bogyoke Aung San Market, a center for traditional goods such as souvenirs, handicrafts, cloth, accessories and jewellery.
Hanoi’s charm lies in its long history, ancient culture and breathtaking natural attractions. While your first thought may be to take a boat ride in Halong Bay, Hanoi has much more to offer—the natural wonder of Tam Coc Caves, the sacred atmosphere at Perfume Pagoda, an intriguing water puppet theatre and a touch of Hanoi’s heart on 36 Old Streets, an old commercial centre but now a magnet for tourists and nightclubbers.
Surprisingly, this island of only 5,700sq km is packed with wonderful travel experiences. Apart from more than 6,000 temples, the most important of which include Pura Besakih, Pura Ulan Danu Batur and Ulan Danu Bratan, there are plenty of amazing attractions, like Pura Tanah Lot – a famous sunset viewpoint, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Tegallalang Rice Terrace, Kintamani Village on the lip of Batur volcano, a number of diving sites and surfing spots, as well as beach life and flea markets that will make your visit unforgettable.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang is famed not just for the fascinating yet simple lifestyle of the locals who live amidst the beautiful architecture and natural attractions. It is also proud of the ability of its citizens to conserve and manage their cultural heritage so well. The most important historical site of Luang Prabang is Wat Xieng Thong, which has a ‘Tree of Life’ mosaic on the exterior wall of the ordination hall and mythical creatures on the sides. Ting Cave, overlooking Mekhong River, is noted for the more than 2,500 miniature 18th and 19th century Buddha sculptures inside. At dawn, you can observe or even join in the Buddhist alms giving ceremony by offering sticky rice to the hundreds of monks from the various monasteries who walk through the streets collecting alms.
Explore the cultural heritage of Suvarnabhumi with THAI flights from Bangkok to Yangon, Hanoi and Bali. Book now at thaiairways.com