The description of the country known as Thailand can be encapsulated in two words - colour and chaos. Both these qualities will strike you from your very first moment in the land of Thais. In the cities and towns, you will be astounded at the wide palette of hues, where yellow, green and red house roof-tops melt with ubiquitous gilded towers, where spindle-shaped boats, filled with colourful fruit and fragrant spices, glide down the emerald river, where the black eyes of a Thai woman peer at you from under a hay hat, and where crimson and pink kites cut across the blue of the sky.

In chaotic contrast, ubiquitous smiling statues of Buddha, crowded streets, countless stalls bursting with specialties of Thai cuisine, the unceasing festive atmosphere, all contribute to the impression of chaos. But it’s a happy form of chaos as the friendly attitude of the local folk effectively eases away all your tensions. Thailand can be divided into four regions. The central Chao Phraya (Menam) river valley is remarkable for its fertile lands and opulent royal buildings. The much poorer northeast part of the country is spanned by the Khorat Plateau. In the far north, you will find multiform land features under the shaping dominance of the Himalayas. The south is a Muslim peninsula splitting the blue of the Andaman Sea. Thai culture will enchant you with its myriad traditions and customs originating from different parts of the world, especially with Chinese, Ceylonese, Hindu and Khmer influences. The undisputed lord of this land is Buddha…with a serene kind-hearted smile. The monumental statues of The Enlightened One and His brethren are visible everywhere. Inside the temples devoted to Him, amid the joss stick vapours, and in the flickering candlelight, you can surrender yourself to deep contemplation. The most magnificent groupings of sacred buildings devoted to Buddha include the “wats” – monastic temples - in the Sukhothai Historical Park - Wat Traphang Thong, Wat Mahathat, Wat Takuan, Wat Si Sawai, Wat Traphang Ngoen and Wat Chana Songkhram. Indeed, the ancient Sukhotai Kingdom is one of the most attractive tourist areas in Thailand. The spectacular city of Si Satchanalai, called the “twin city” of Sukhotai, is where you can also visit a magnificent historical park - Si Satchanalai. In nearby Kampaheng Phet you can see the ruins of Thung Setthi fort. Gorgeous Chiang Mai is, in turn, the capital of another historical Thai kingdom, and its mountainous vicinity is home to a number of Thai tribes with varied material and spiritual cultures. The beautiful handicrafts of these “mountain people” can be bought at the Chiang Mai markets.

Travellers with a particular interest in the history of this extraordinary country should visit the enchanted places where the most magnificent architectural gems and tiny artifacts - eras apart - are preserved. Such sites trace history - above all through parks and museums - like the National Museum of Bangkok and the huge outdoor museum of the Ancient City (Muang Boran), which houses reconstructions of the most splendid Thai buidings.