Thailand is one of Asia’s most popular travel destinations. Despite the huge influx of visitors each year, it has managed to sustain its cultural identity and has created a wonderful synergy of old and new. The juxtaposition of neon lights and high-rise office blocks with the rural traditions of field and farm is what makes this country so fascinating, as you’ll discover when you travel to Thailand with Qatar Airways.
Although ultra-modern cities and new towns have sprung up all over Thailand, the traditional farming village is still at the heart of the nation and gives the people their strength and endurance. Even if you’re based in a thoroughly modern hotel, close to restaurants and entertainment venues, you won’t have to journey far to find the more traditional Buddhist temples, rubber plantations and fishing villages that have been the foundation of Thailand for hundreds of years. Almost half of all the Thai population still lives directly off the land and rice –the basis for Thailand’s sophisticated and unique cuisine –is still the main food staple across the country.
In the 1980s, Thailand had the world’s fastest-growing economy. The fruits of that economic boom are today visible in the modern shopping malls and office blocks of cities like Bangkok, Si Racha and Nonthaburi. Traditional influences are, however, never far away, and their roots are so deep and enduring that cities like Bangkok are a heady mix of the glitteringly modern and the timeless. This particular city has a solid core of traditional temples and night markets.
Venture further afield to places like Chiang Mai, in the northern uplands, a cultural and historic centre for the region. If you’re interested in exploring ancient stone temples, take a trip to the complexes at Phanom Rung and Khao Phra in the Mekong River valley in the northeast of the country.