5 places to share in the beauty of the Thai spirit this season

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Thailand has always been the Land of Smiles, which now has people around the world wondering, is Thailand still smiling?

On Oct. 13 time stood still as the entire country came together to honor the life, legacy and teachings of a beloved King. Now, as everyday life quietly continues on, Bangkokians are keeping the spirit of His Majesty alive through giving and sharing.

Indeed it is an important moment in history for everyone in Thailand, including Thais, expats and even visitors traveling through the Kingdom. Anyone with the chance to be in Thailand now should take it. Not only is everything open and buzzing with activity, there is a renewed sense of unity and kindness in the air.

So is Thailand still smiling? Yes. We are still smiling, remembering and sharing.

Here are just some of the beautiful and peaceful places around the country where you can experience this momentous time in Thai history, as the whole country cherishes the life of a great King and looks forward to a bright future, together.

Visit the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace in Bangkok

Photo: The Grand Palace / Silver Blue / Flickr

The greatest landmark in Bangkok has taken on a whole new meaning in the hearts of Thai people just recently. The Grand Palace was closed for a period of mourning, and re-opened to the public on Nov. 1.

The Temple of the Emerald Buddha, a Royal Chapel located in the grounds of Grand Palace, is a place of peaceful meditation and prayer; a must-visit for everyone who comes to Thailand.

If you visit the Grand Palace now you’ll see many Thai people from all over the country coming together to honor the King. In the spirit of sharing, people are distributing free water, food, snacks and commemorative photos of the King. You’ll feel uplifted as you see people from all walks of life and every corner of the country taking photos together and sharing stories of the King.

Take the opportunity to visit the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha now, at this unique time in Thai history. Both landmarks are open to the public from 8am-3:30pm every day.

Just remember to check the news or another official source before you go, just to make sure your visit doesn’t conflict with a royal ceremony. Wear dark colors and dress in modest, respectful clothing.

Camp in Pang Ung, Mae Hong Son

Photo: Porntawan Maneechote / Coconuts Media

Pang Ung is a Shan Village in the northern province of Mae Hong Son, which has been developed as a Royal Initiative Project by HM Queen Sirikit. The secluded village plays an important role in Thailand’s agricultural development and it’s a favorite camping spot for nature lovers from around the country.

You won’t find it on many tourist maps, though, since this camping site is a two-hour drive from the nearest city down a winding forest road. But once there, the ride (and the carsickness!) is worth it.

Set up your tent near the water reservoir and surround yourself by a peaceful forest and a stunning view over the still waters of the reservoir. Wake up early in the morning to see the sunrise and clouds of fog over the water. Each night, thousands of stars fill the sky.

It’s the perfect place to share with your friends and loved ones. At the end of the year the temperature drops and you might even find a coating of ice on the flowers and plants around the lake.

Walk the Ang Ka Nature Trail in Chiang Mai

Photo: Doi Inthanon National Park / Vyacheslav Argenberg Flickr

Ang Ka, which means Crow’s Pond, is a nature walk through the lush jungles of Doi Inthanon National Park. The trail is about 360m, providing at least 30 minutes of total immersion in nature. (We could all use a break from a screen now and then, don’t you think?)

At over 2,000m above sea level, the terrain and climate here are very different any other place in Thailand. It’s the highest body of water in Thailand and the trees and plants surrounding Ang Ka stay green and verdant all year long.

Stop to check out the flora and fauna surrounding you on the nature trail. Look out for colorful tropical birds, enormous rhododendron plants and ancient trees covered in damp moss. Could this be what the jungles of Avatar were modeled after? Well, you’ll find out!

Kayak in Krabi

Photo: Guy Houben / Coconuts Media

Krabi’s unique landscape can make you feel like you’re in another world. Dense mangrove forests line the shores and huge limestone cliffs jut out in the background.

Did you know that one of the best ways to explore this beautiful region is by kayaking? Rent a Kayak at Ao Thalane, a scenic bay just a short drive from the main town of Ao Nang, and start paddling peacefully through the water.

Kayak slowly and quietly along winding mangrove waterways. Keep a lookout for local wildlife like mudskippers, seabirds and monkeys. Paddle to one of the hidden sandy islands for a break and to admire the ancient caves and cliffs. The terrain is truly like no other in Thailand.

Explore the marigold fields of Loei

Photo: Marigolds / Scott Flickr

Bright orange bunches of marigolds are a common sight at every Thai temple. The flower is a symbol of good fortune and happiness. Most of the flowers are grown here in Thailand, in the northern province of Loei.

From November to January every year Phu Ruea National Park comes alive with bright orange fields of marigolds. Thai people come to the park with their families to admire the view, take photos and enjoy the cold climate. (It gets seriously chilly!)

Even the charming little coffee shops of Phu Ruea are decorated with hundreds of colorful flowers. So bring your friends, family, your camera, and your smile, and you’ll leave with so many happy memories.

Now that you’re inspired to explore Thailand, why not start planning your trip? You can fit more in your schedule when you do your shopping at www.kingpoweronline.com.

And in the spirit of giving and sharing, KingPowerOnline is offering up to 50% of selected products from now unti Dec. 5 with promo code DECSALE.

All the exclusive items you would normally spend hours browsing at the airport are here online, with lots more to choose from. Shop stylish travel sets, cosmetic products, international fashion brands, gourmet food and confectionary, Thai arts and crafts and the latest electronics.

Conveniently shop Duty Free and Non-Duty Free products at KingPowerOnline. Simply choose your products, pay by credit card and pick up your Duty Free items at the King Power counter at Suvarnabhumi or Don Muang Airport on your way out of Thailand. You can shop ahead of time from up to 60 days until 24 hours before your flight.

You can also choose to have your Non-Duty Free items delivered directly to your doorstep here in Thailand in 1-7 days, or pick them up from the airport.

Stay up to date with the latest tourism info and promotions at www.kingpoweronline.com. Enjoy the gift of giving this season!

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