Thailand’s natural treasures include
beautiful snorkeling locations.
As the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) strives to grow its
inbound traffic to 15.7 million visitors this year, the
organization is redefining its marketing strategies. In late 2006,
the TAT segmented its core national tourism products into a
seven-point package that is being marketed as the Seven Amazing
Wonders of Thailand. “With the Seven Amazing Wonders of Thailand
campaign, we expect to increase the tangibility of Thailand’s brand
internationally,” said Santi Chudintra, director of the TAT Los
Angeles office. “Thailand is already a top-rated destination in
terms of friendly people and value for money. Now we are giving
potential visitors a clearer picture of the seven main components
that make Thailand a great place to visit.”
Thailand’s seven core tourism products are categorized
Travelers agree that the friendliness of the Thai people is
often the extra element that makes a vacation in Thailand so
special. But in addition to the hospitality of its people, this
category also refers to the ability to interact with the locals
through a variety of hands-on programs.
A popular interactive program is Siam Niramit, a massive stage
production in Bangkok that features more than 150 performers and
500 costumes. After the program, visitors take pictures with the
performers or visit the adjacent Thai village to participate in
cooking, handicraft and music-making demonstrations. Another
popular learning program is available at the Rose Garden Riverside,
a jumping-off point for visitors traveling to the Floating Market.
Here, a cultural learning center provides cooking classes, umbrella
painting, martial arts displays and fruit carving.
Ritz Tours’ Thailand in a Week package explores Bangkok and
Chiang Mai and includes free time for an optional stop at the Rose
Garden’s Cultural Village. The eight-day program starts at $1,499
per person and runs through Dec. 31.
Travelers can also connect with Thai culture through Gutsy Women
Travel’s Exotic Thai Escape. Uniquely Thai elements include a
Tai-Chi class, a spa treatment in Chiang Mai, a Thai cooking class
and a visit to the Mae Sa Elephant camp. The 12-day program starts
at $3,039 with departures in August and December.
Thailand is home to nearly 150 national parks, which encompass
mountainous terrain, mangroves, beaches and coral reefs, and serve
up a variety of eco-activities as well as peaceful introspection.
The country is also at the forefront of green tourism initiatives,
and its Green Leaf Awards have been celebrating the country’s
environmentally friendly hotels since 1998.
JetAbout Asia Vacations’ Taste of Thailand itinerary includes
the scenic hill tribe villages outside Chiang Mai, the Maekajan Hot
Springs, Phuket’s Siam Safari Elephant Camp, a four- wheel drive
through the Chalong Highlands and an eco-tour of Phang Nga Bay. The
11-day package starts at $1,199 (land only) per person through Dec.
Asian Pacific Adventures has a four-day, a la carte program into
the Khao Sok rainforest. Guests can canoe through a mangrove
forest, enjoy jungle walks, explore mysterious caves or inner tube
down the river. Packages start at $890 per person, land only.
Thailand boasts five UNESCO sites,
Home to five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Thailand’s rich
history can be mapped through its palaces, temples, pagodas and
sanctuaries. The Northern provinces are particularly known for
historical sightseeing, although Thailand’s history is
well-preserved throughout the nation.
Pacific Delight Tours’ Thailand and Golden Triangle offers an
in-depth view of Sukothai’s Sri Satchanalai National Park, a UNESCO
site. Also included on the 14-day tour are a River Kwai tour, the
Doi Suthep Temple in Chiang Mai and a Chiang Rai Mekong River
excursion. Tours start from $2,908 per person and run through March
Health and Wellness
Long before Bangkok’s Bumrungrad Hospital gained global
recognition for its top-ranked facilities and rock-bottom medical
costs, Thailand had already developed a reputation as a great place
to get a massage. Today, resorts such as Chiva Som and Anantara
Golden Triangle create programs that blend wellness with
rejuvenation. VIP massages are just one part of Charming Asia’s
Thailand Special Spa and Tour program. The tour visits Bangkok and
Pattaya and includes elephant riding, the Bangkok Snake Farm and
Bangkok’s Floating Market. The six-day tour starts at $948 per
person and runs through Sept. 12.
Orient Flexi-Pax’s nine-day Family Fun Thailand package includes
visits to Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. In Bangkok, the Wat
Po temple houses a celebrated Thai Massage school and the full-day
Chiang Rai excursion stops at a local hot spring before continuing
on to the Golden Triangle and Thai-Burmese border. An open day in
Bangkok also provides plenty of opportunity to enjoy a restorative
massage. The tour starts at $2,775 and runs through January
While it is possible to arrange a Thailand itinerary that
doesn’t visit a Thai beach, it is unlikely that your clients would
choose this option. The enormous popularity of Phuket and Krabi,
and the rapid emergence of lesser known destinations, such as Hua
Hin and Trang, make Thailand’s beaches easily accessible, even for
visitors short on time.
Globotours’ A Thai Treat has scheduled plenty of free time in
idyllic Phuket for snorkeling, diving, kayaking or just worshipping
the sun. The tour starts at $2,499 per person.
Elephants are a popular attraction in
While traditional Thai products continue to please, younger
travelers are demanding a more contemporary class of activities.
Boutique hotels, neon-decorated shopping centers, busy nightlife
and international chefs all contribute to Thailand’s “in”
Asia World Travel, a Thailand-based tour operator, has published
a 68-page brochure known as Chic, highlighting Thailand’s boutique
and trendy offerings. A limited number of these glossy,
magazine-style brochures may be ordered through the Tourism
Authority of Thailand office in Los Angeles. Asia World Travel also
features an exclusive travel agent-only area on their Web site,
which provides information on their commissionable products and fam
Thailand’s popular festivals draw enormous international
audiences. Events like the Phuket Regatta, the Loy Krathong candle
festival and Elephant Polo are all uniquely Thai.
International Grandway Tours is offering a Loy Krathong
(Floating Candle Festival) package. Participants in the eight-day
package enjoy launching their floating lanterns at Thailand’s top
cities, including Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. The package
starts at $1,250 per person and departs Nov. 10.