It’s a country that captures the imagination like few others on earth. The beauty of its islands and beaches, the warmth of its people and the mystique of its history and culture are all reasons people return time and time again to Thailand. If you are planning to travel to the kingdom for the very first time you are in for an incredible adventure. And here are five tips that will help you to enjoy your trip.

1.         Enjoy street food in Bangkok

The food in Thailand is an extraordinary and wonderful assault on the taste buds. The flavours and textures are like few other cuisines and you will enjoy the food so much that you will be googling the nearest Thai restaurant to you once you get home.

Some of the very best Thai food is available in the wonderful street markets in the country’s capital, Bangkok. The food is delightfully cheap and you will find a vast array of options, including roast duck, noodles, and shrimp to name but a few. Please do make sure you try the national dish, Pad Thai. The genuine authentic Pad Thai you will get here is nothing like the stuff you get elsewhere. The best food markets can be found in Chinatown and Rattanakosin.

2.         Visit the Royal Palace

Few sites anywhere in the world are as jaw-dropping as the Grand Palace in Bangkok. It’s arguably Thailand’s most famous landmark, and a fantastic way to introduce yourself to the culture and history of this incredible country. Formerly home to the revered and much-loved Thai royal family, the Palace is a majestic site with its shimmering gold spires and incredible ornate gardens. You will not be disappointed; it is a truly wonderful place to visit.

3.         Go snorkelling in the islands

Thailand’s islands and beaches are without compare. The view across the Andaman Ocean is truly spectacular on a clear day. The water is crystal clear, warm and full of a vast array of colourful fish that make snorkelling an experience that is a must-do for any visitor. One of the very best places to snorkel is Koh Rok Island, a speedboat ride away from Phuket. The sand is white and the water is so clear that you can see all the way to the bottom. It is a truly incredible experience for any visitor, especially if it is your first time in Thailand. The likelihood of an accident is very small, but you should still ensure that you’re covered before you go – especially as travel insurance is mandatory in Thailand.

4.         Learn some Thai phrases

Thailand is known as the land of smiles and when you get there you will quickly realise why. The charm and kindness of the Thai people is infectious and alluring. And by learning a few simple phrases you can endear yourself to them even more. You may only need to learn two phrases in Thai, but they’re ones that will make a real difference to your trip. The first is thank you, of course – “Khop Kun”. And the second is “Sawatdii”, which means hello. It really is that simple. Try to pick up some more as you travel around and you will see for yourself why Thailand is known as the land of smiles.

5.         Watch the sunset on Koh Lanta

It’s one of Thailand’s most beautiful islands and certainly worth a visit. Koh Lanta has one secluded beach after another where you can swim in beautiful waters and soak up the sunshine. The south of the island is quieter and you may even find beaches that you have completely to yourself, with Nui Beach a particular favourite.

NOTE: This is a guest post from Pauline Davis
Travelling since she was 5, Pauline has had to succumb to working student life with a long list of travel destinations. For her, everything is a balancing act – working, studying, traveling and taking care of her 2 Labradors. Also a keen home cook, Pauline expresses her love for both pursuits by contributing to a slew of online publications in her spare time.