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On the map, Thailand is roughly the shape of an elephant’s head, with a long trunk stretching down towards Malaysia. Which is appropriate enough, given how many of these large, peaceful creatures you’re likely to see there. Time spent in Thailand is a feast for the senses, with much to delight your eyes, nose and taste buds. And that’s before we get on to your soul: Thailand is famed for its many wellness retreats, and the expert massage therapists will soon soothe away any aches and pains from the flight, or those need-a-vacation knots you’ve brought with you. Your favourite Thai restaurant back home will seem a pale imitation of the cheap, cheerful and fresh street food that’s available almost everywhere. Aromas of lemongrass, coconut and chili fill the air – you won’t ever have to look far for a tasty snack. It will almost certainly be served with a side of a wide and genuine smile.Thailand’s scenery is as varied as it is iconic: paddy fields and waving palm trees, long crescents of golden sand and bays filled with islands. Then are the Buddhas, in every shape and pose – standing, in the lotus position or reclining – that are a reminder that this is a peace-loving country.The opportunities for island-hopping are unparalleled, and on each one that you visit you’ll get to take part in Thai beach culture, whether it be a sunset soccer game on the sand or – for the young at heart – an all-night full moon party.Thailand’s scenery includes pristine forests and gardens filled with orchids, as well as lakes turned pink by thousands of blooming water lilies. There is wildlife here too, from slow-moving whale sharks in the warm clear waters to long-armed, loquacious gibbons swinging through the trees.If you opt for an elephant interaction experience, we’d recommend that you choose carefully, and only participate where you can be certain that the animals’ welfare is the top priority. Otherwise kick back, relax and soak up the sensory overload that is Thailand. You won’t be surprised to learn that when the producers of the Leonardo DiCaprio movie ‘The Beach’ were scouting paradise locations, they chose Thailand.

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