Located in the centre of Southeast Asia, Thailand truly is at the heart of the region. With everything from gleaming shopping centres to beautiful beaches, there is something for everyone.

Here are some ideas to get you planning your trip to Thailand.

If you're looking to escape the city, but lying around in the sun all day just isn't your thing, take a slow train to the northern city of Chiang Mai.

Surrounded by hills on all sides, Chiang Mai is part of Southeast Asia's "Golden
Triangle", the area where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar (Burma) and Laos meet.

Although the city is Thailand's second largest, it has little of the manic air of Bangkok, and seems to be closer to the "real" Thailand. Compared to Bangkok, Chiang Mai is a relaxed, green city, with a lush mountainous backdrop, yet it's fast gaining a reputation for style, too. Many new, interesting restaurants and shops, have opened, complementing its abundant cultural riches.

Advertisement

If you do fancy lazing on the beach and catching some sunshine, the Flight Centre's Thailand experts recommend heading to Phuket, Koh Samui or Krabi in the South.

Karon Beach
Between Patong and Kata, this is Phuket's second most favoured beach. Great for snorkelling and diving potential, it is a wide beach so can feel less crowded during peak times.

Patong Beach
The most famous beach resort area in Phuket, Patong is an ideal place to party and play, with a heaving nightlife and hundreds of restaurants and bars. To enjoy Patong to the fullest, pace yourself and learn the meaning of "mai pen rai", which loosely translates to "don't worry, be happy".

Phi Phi Islands
Just a 45-minute speedboat trip or a 90-minute ferry from Phuket are the Phi Phi islands. They are simply stunning with sandy beaches, staggering rock formations, and vivid turquoise waters teemed with colourful marine life - it's paradise. Take a day trip to the uninhabited Phi Phi Ley, the idyllic location for Leonardo DiCaprio's film, The Beach.

Chaweng
Arguably Samui's best beach, this is also the busiest and biggest town with plenty of resorts to choose from, including budget to luxury. The nightlife in Chaweng is very central and bars and restaurants cater to every taste.

Koh Phangan
Accessible only by boat, this island is 12km from Koh Samui. Discover the lush tropical jungle or explore the long white-sand beaches of Phangan. This island is famed for its Full Moon, Black Moon and just about any other moon beach parties. The Full Moon celebrations attract 10,000-30,000 revellers at New Year's Eve.

Ao Nang
Less crowded than Phuket and more laid back than Koh Samui, Ao Nang is the most popular resort town in Krabi Province. Here you will find great dining options, plenty of markets and a nightlife scene similar to (though smaller than) that of Patong in Phuket. It is also a prime island-hopping departure port.

Top 10 things to do in Thailand

1.

Advertisement

Dazzle your friends with your culinary skills when you get back home by taking part in a Thai cooking class

2.

Go on a jungle trek in one of the many National Parks

3.

Visit one of the vibrant floating markets for colourful photo opportunities

4.

Relax and unwind on one of the many white sandy beaches. Some are only accessible by boat, making them even more special

5.

Discover traditional Thai culture in Thailand's north

6.

Don't miss the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok's Grand Palace

7.

Shop until you drop in one of the mega malls or street markets

8.

Snorkel in the warm clear waters around Phi Phi island

9.

Check out Elephant Hills and help with the gentle jungle giants' bath time

10.

Enjoy a relaxing massage on the beach.