Thailand - South-east Asia's crown jewel

in Destination

South east Asia has since forever held a charm of its won when it comes to attracting tourists, and Thailand has clearly ruled the roost for many decades, and continues to do so even today, owing to so many places to see and things to do on this island.

Ko Tao: This destination can very easily qualify as a training school of sorts for those who want to learn Scuba diving, for there are thousands of enthusiasts that visit Ko Tao exclusively for this very purpose. The main reason for this is not only because the clear water surrounding this island is shallow enough to offer a risk-free environment for amateurs, but also due to the fact that it is one of the world's cheapest and among the more popular places to get an open-water dive certification. So much so is the craze of diving present here, that one can see a shop every 100 metres. However, even non scuba diving lovers can have a blast in this relatively small destination (21 square kilometre is the total area), with nature's bounty spread across much like the big sisters, Ko Samui and Ko Pha-Ngan. There are many options once a tourist arrives on the shores of Ko Tao through any of the numerous ferries that run frequently everyday – right from relaxing on the beaches to mountain biking through the rugged terrain.

Sangkhlaburi: An apt example of the fact the geopolitical borders might separate two nations, but can't take away the ethnic identity of the other. Sangkhlaburi, with a population comprising of individuals from varied nationalities - Burmese, Karen, Mon, Thai and Lao, offers a kaleidoscope  of different cultures, with each group speaking its mother tongue. Located at the borders of the mammoth Kheuan Khao Laem (Khao Laem Dam), the town came into being post the flooding of an outer village near the meeting point of the three rivers that are now filling the reservoir. Although there is not much to do for those who like the happening lifestyle of a metropolitan, Sangkhlaburi is pretty well known for elephant treks and jungle tours.

Khao Sok National Park: 646 sq km of thick rainforests and mountains is what summarizes this huge national park in all its essence. Water falls from limestone cliffs, and hiking trails run simultaneously with rivers to end in lake interspersed with islands. There is also a wide range of animals present over here - wild elephants, leopards, serow, banteng, gaur, dusky langurs, and even tigers & Malayan sun bears, along with close to 200 species of bird. The park was established in 1980, and is located in the western part of Surat Thani Province, connected to two other national parks, Kaeng Krung and Phang-Nga, along with the Khlong Saen and Khlong Nakha wildlife sanctuaries. Collectively, these are the constituents of the largest contiguous nature preserve on the Thai peninsula.

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Thailand - South-east Asia's crown jewel

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This article was published on 2010/11/25