WITH SUCH AN extensive list of airlines flying into Bangkok, selling Thailand as a stopover is a no-brainer - as a city break stop, a twin centre holiday or part of a round the world trip. (see Getting there and around for more airline facts).
Pre/post Down Under With flight times to Thailand from the UK around 11-12 hours and flight times from Thailand to Sydney around eight hours or Thailand to Auckland around 10 – the Land of Smiles is a perfect mid-way point.
Give them a reason ~ • For families, breaking up the flight will be a lifesaver – giving them time to relax and change time zones gradually
• The contrast of Australia or New Zealand and Thailand is a perfect mix
• It’s a great way of giving nervous clients a taster of Thailand
• A longer stopover could add Pattaya’s or Hua Hin's beaches, close to Bangkok
Thailand offers a sizzling contrast to Indochina or respite on the way to Oz - don't just pass straight through!
Twin-centres Thailand’s position in South East Asia and its great transport links mean it’s easy to fit two, or even three countries into a relatively short trip. Try suggesting these:
Cambodia ~ To the east of Thailand, it’s a short hop across the border to Siem Reap – site of the famous Angkor Wat and many more impressive temples. Those with longer could do a river cruise along the Mekong and take in capital Phnom Penh. Best for ~ Culture vultures, couples Twin with ~ Trat, Pattaya or Koh Chang. Or for real luxury – offer Soneva Kiri by Six Senses on Koh Kood – contrasting heavy sightseeing with a beach flop. Add-on ~ Vietnam for a three-centre. Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang's beaches or the Mekong Delta.
AIRLINES TO TRY Thai Airways ~ www.thaiairways.co.uk
Bangkok Airways ~ www.Bangkokair.com
Air Asia ~ www.airasia.com
Laos ~ The Land of a Million Elephants is great for those interested in the cultural side of Thailand. Capital Vientiane offers French/Asian fusion with its temples and imitation Arc de Triomphe, Luang Prabang is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Vang Vieng is a centre for adventure sports like kayaking and trekking. Best for ~ Active, adventurous types Twin with ~ Thailand’s North East, for a holiday focusing on culture and adventure.
Malaysia/Singapore ~ A short flight or
overnight sleeper train from Bangkok is the multi-cultural island of Penang, or the luxurious beach resorts of Langkawi. And for those who want to steer away from beaches, suggest the Taman Negara Rainforest or the Cameron Highlands. Singapore makes a great contrast to Bangkok for city lovers. Best for ~ Honeymooners, families Twin with ~ The southern islands
STOP! BE PREPARED
• Check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for information on arranging visas for Laos, Cambodia Vietnam and Myanmar www.fco.gov.uk
Alternative ~ Myanmar (Burma) remains a mysterious and closed off country because of its political regime, and there are many arguments for and against travelling there. But with sights like the ancient city of Bagan, Burma features in many tour operators' brochures, including Cox and Kings and Audley Travel.
Round the World stop Thailand is a must stop for gappers, why?
• It's a great introduction for first-timers to Asia – it’s easy to get around and there are many western comforts
• Solo travellers will find it friendly, with loads of opportunities to meet others through classes or adventure excursions
• Emphasise the value-for-money – with beach hut accommodation costing less than £10 a night and meals less than £1
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34 Thailand Guide 2011
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