Chicago is a very large metropolitan area that supports a lot of international and domestic visitors. Chicago’s O’Hare Airport (ORD) is one of the few major airports in the world that is a primary hub for two carriers. The only other airport in the US where that is true is John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York City.
Both United Airlines and American Airlines battle for passengers at the airport—both have noteworthy O&D traffic as well as being a primary connecting point for passengers from other parts of their network.
Boeing does not offer any tours of its Renton, Washington factory where, most prominently, Next-Generation Boeing 737 airliners are built today, and the Boeing 737-MAX will be built in the near future.
Boeing has had the following operations at the Renton plant, which is conveniently adjacent to the Renton Municipal Airport.
- The Renton factory built B-29 Superfortress, a four-engine propeller-driven heavy bomber.
- After the second world war Boeing closed the Renton plant. In 1948, Boeing re-opened the Renton facilities to build the Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter for the United States Air Force.
- Starting from the 1950s, the Boeing 367-80 and the Boeing 707 were built in Renton. The first production Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker first flew in August 1956 and the first production Boeing 707 rolled out of Renton in October 1957. Boeing produced 707s until April 1991.
- Boeing also used the Boeing 707 final assembly building to manufacture the Boeing 727 three-engined aircraft between 1963 and 1982.
- The Boeing 737 aircrafts built have their first flight out of the adjacent Renton Municipal Airport and then flown to Boeing Field for final preparation and delivery. Randy Tinseth, Vice President of Marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes offers great photo gallery flashback to celebrate the 737’s past, present and future.
- The Renton plant refurbished the first four 747s ever built.
- The Renton plant built Boeing 757, the revered twin-engine short-to-medium-range airliner.
Visiting the Boeing Renton Plant: Cedar River Path & Logan Avenue
If you sincerely just want to glimpse at the plant itself, you can see it acceptably from Logan Avenue right outside of The Landing Mall. At the intersection of Logan Avenue and Park Street (map), if you cross the street there is a small grassy area right where Gate D-9 is.
There’s also a jogging / walking path along the Cedar River near the Renton Stadium where you can get pretty close to some parked 737s in various stages of manufacturing. The GPS coordinates are 47.49029,-122.211635.
Visiting Other Boeing Facilities in and around Seattle
- Near Everett, Washington, you can visit the The Future of Flight Aviation Center and take the Boeing Tour of Boeing’s wide-body facilities. The The Future of Flight Aviation Center is located in Mukilteo, Washington, about 25 miles north of Seattle.
- South of downtown Seattle, in the city of Tukwila, Washington, you can also visit King County International Airport-Boeing Field, you can take Boeing Field Tours during the Spring and Summer. At the Museum of Flight, an outdoor annex features the display of the first Boeing 747 airliner, a British Airways Concorde, and a specially built Boeing 707-120 for the first presidential jet.
Col. Harland Sanders was a late bloomer. At age 40, he put his savings into a small gas station in Corbin, Kentucky. By age 65, Sanders’ fried chicken had developed a cult following. Then, a new highway came along and diverted most of the customers away. A few of them hung around, mostly to eat Sanders’ fried chicken. It was at this point that Sanders turned his cult into a franchise that eventually became the international fast food giant, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC.)
Harland Sanders liked to pressure-cook his chicken. He offered franchisees a handshake deal: he’d ship them his secret seasonings for fried chicken by train in return for a nickel for every bird cooked.
Entrepreneurial Spirit of Col. Sanders, founder of KFC
Sentimentalists now flock to Col. Harland Sanders Cafe and Museum in Corbin, Kentucky, where Sanders’ original cafe has been restored, down to its battleship-gray floors. The museum features antique pieces furnishings from the home of Col. Sanders, glassware, old KFC boxes and bags, an old Cash Register, a unique Cigarette Machine—so many memories packed into one small museum!
Getting to the Harland Sanders Cafe and Museum
Sight: Col. Harland Sanders Cafe and Museum
Location: Junction of US 25E and 25W
City: Corbin, KY [ map]
Phone: (606) 528-2163
Hours: Open Daily 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Recommended Books about Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and Col. Sanders
This is a cocktail of a country, potent and heady. The Philippines does not believe in leaving anything out, so its 7,000-plus islands boast Malay, Chinese, Spanish and indigenous influences, not to mention religious traditions rooted in Islam. Catholicism, animism and everything in between. This country crams as much on its plate as it possibly can, so you will need a clear head to take it all in.
Philippines: At a Glance
Experience the Best Attractions of Philippines
- A Shot of Culture: Intramuros, the Spanish walled city within Manila, has a history and culture all its own, and is worth spending a day or two exploring. Start at the Intramuros Visitors Centre, located right by the entrance to Fort Santiago, and wander about the lanes lined with lovely casas until you reach San Augustin, Manila’s oldest stone church. You can also tour Intramuros on a kalesa—a horse-drawn carriage, though walking has its own charm.
- Surf’s Up: If your beach bum-turn-surfer self is calling out to you, head to Siargao, in the northeast of Mindanao. Time seems to stand still here, as you hitch rides on the famous Cloud 9 break and gaze, over chilled beer, upon skies softening into sunsets. In October, crowds descend on the sleepy island for the Siargao Cup surf competition, one of the Philippines’s largest sporting events.
- A Whole New World: The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River is a marvel of limestone stalactites and stalagmites, and can be accessed on a kayak tour. As you drift into the cave, take in the weird formations sculpted out of the rock over the centuries. You will spot a melting candle by one side, or a rampaging dinosaur on the other!
- Fall Off the Grid: Apo Reef is off the tourist map, which means that you will have the secluded Apo Reef Island and its surrounding reef pretty much all to yourself. You will have a great time being one with the fish as you swim, snorkel, and dive to your heart’s content, emerging only for meals of fresh seafood.
- An Active Getaway: Climb to the top of the overwhelming Taal Volcano in Talisay, where the bubbling green waters of the Taal Lake await. Within the lake sits yet another volcano, steaming away gently. The trip to the top can be tiring but there are horses available for the less active, and the views from up there are well worth the journey.
- Retail Therapy: Indulge yourself in Metro Manila’s financial heart, Makati City, and its Greenbelt mall. You will find a range of treats here—the mall has both open-air and enclosed areas, sit-down as well as fast food eateries, and big international brands (think Calvin Klein, Hermes, and the like) along with high-end and Filipino designer boutiques.
- Hop About: Head to the pristine islands off the coast at gorgeous El Nido. There are multiple islands to choose from, each of which is prettier than the other. You can spend your days lazing about on white sands, exploring the area on kayaks and snorkeling among the many colorful fish that call these waters home. If you are lucky you may spot a hawksbill turtle or two, and you may come across dolphins, whale sharks, dugongs, and mantra rays.
- Be Bucolic: Get a taste of the Filipino countryside and spend some time amid Banaue’s rice terraces. These rice terraces are a UNESCO-listed World Heritage site, gracefully sculpted into the hillside by the Ifugao people of this quiet little farming community.
- Get High: You could be forgiven for thinking you are in Scotland when you visit Batanes, the country’s northernmost province. Expect rolling green hills, towering fortresses and the like among the ten islands here.
- Life’s a Feast: You will have a great time going on an eating binge in the Philippines, especially if you love meat. Pork, in particular, plays a big role in the cuisine here, and a slow-roasted suckling pig is the best treat to be had. Even if you are not a big pork-eater, Manila is where you should aim to experiment with your eats and get an introduction to the many flavors that make up Filipino food.
Mandalay, Bagan, Inle, and Yangon—these names all conjure up the wonder that is Myanmar, at least in a traveler’s mind. Now, you have the freedom to venture a little farther as well. With recent reforms easing restrictions in this proud country, it is finally time to see what Myanmar has been hiding away all these years.
Myanmar: At a Glance
Experience the Best Attractions of Myanmar
- Architecture 101: Former capitals are full of old glory and great architecture, and Yangon is not far behind. Spend the day marveling at the colossal reclining Buddha at Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda, the gold-hued Botataung Pagoda and Sule Pagoda, the Burmese Yangon City and the colonial-styled Supreme Court.
- Hunt for Bargains: The Bogyoke Aung San Market (sometimes known by its British name, Scott’s Market) is a sprawling old handicrafts bazaar of around 2,000 shops. Spend the day alongside locals, haggling for colorful Shan shoulder bags, and interesting bits of local arts and crafts, jewelry, ancient antiques, and lacquer ware.
- It’s All Rice: Rice, in all its forms, is a staple in the distinctive cuisine of Myanmar. Rice noodles served with fish soup, known locally as mohinga, are a favorite breakfast dish, and are usually eaten on special occasions.
- Get a Bird’s Eye View: Climb up Mandalay Hill for an all-encompassing view of how flat Mandalay really is. You will see the Irrawaddy twisting across the land from up here, while you help a local monk brush up his English. This hallowed spot is where Buddha once prophesied the founding of a great city.
- Row, Row, Row Your Boat: Surrounded by greenery and marshes, cool morning mists, villages of houses on stilts and floating gardens, the Inle Lake is usually pretty. You can get around the lake on a motorized canoe, or ask around if you want to float about on a traditional flat-bottomed Intha skiff.
- Art Lessons: Bagan, in the Mandalay region, brims with graceful ruins of old temples, pagodas, and stupas. Between Old and New Bagan, the village of Myinkaba boasts an age-old lacquer ware tradition; you can spend hours rummaging through excellently crafted cups, plates, and boxes, wondering just how many you can fit into your luggage.
- Wander through Ruins: Thayekhittaya or the ‘Fabulous City’ a Pyu capital of long ago, was destroyed almost as long ago by Chinese invaders, and today, it has been nominated for a UNESCO World Heritage listing. Rumble through the ruins among the overgrown bush on an ox cart, and explore the Bawbawgyi Pagoda, one of the oldest in the city, and the Leimyethna Pagoda, with Buddhist relief carvings.
- Pagoda Sunsets: Make your way up to the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon as the sun begins to set, the golden spires of the temple light up, monks glide past and local residents trickle in to pay their respects as the sky takes on various colors of pink, oranges and blues. Look for a quiet spot, settle down, and enjoy the peace of the evening.
- Find Your Spiritual Side: Go forth and find your holy spirit at Mount Popa, an extinct volcano and the abode of 37 nats or local spirits, once so important that the early kings were rumored to consult them on crucial matters. The solitary peak is covered in stupas; the statues at the base are of the spirits.
- I am with Stupa: Sagaing lies along the Irrawaddy River, across the only bridge that spans it. It is dotted with white and gold pagodas that shimmer away in the sun, and if you clamber up the tree-hung stairways past ancient monasteries that lead up to various viewpoints, the spectacle of stupas is something else.
The Indonesian archipelago is a incredible blend of exceptional cultures, adventure experiences, and indigenous wildlife that goes way beyond the much-explored realms of Bali. There is no better way to step off the tourist trail and have a assortment of holiday stories that no one else will than with a trip through these 17,000 islands
Indonesia: At a Glance
Experience the Best Attractions of Indonesia
- Get Your Cocoa On: ‘Monggo’ is Javanese for ‘please, go ahead’ and when you taste these scrumptious Indonesian chocolates, you will definitely want to go ahead and eat them by the handful. If Willy Wonka lived outside our heads, we are sure that these scrumptious, dark, locally made treats would be his trademark. Leave room in your bag for them!
- Dive into the Deep: Far away and remote, the sparkling clear emerald green waters of the Gill Islands off Lombok are stunning, and diving heaven. Get your scuba gear on—there are hawksbill and Olive Ridley turtles, manta rays, reef sharks, lionfish and many funny looking parrotfish to rub fins with swimming amid all the colorful coral.
- Truly In-spired: Huge temples in rice fields seem to be South East Asia’s thing, and, just like Angkor War, Borobudur is spectacular in itself. An enigmatic Buddhist temple complex rising out of too-green-to-be-true rice paddies, surrounded by volcanic peaks reaching for the skies, it looks like it arrived at the beginning of time. There are monasteries around at which visitors are welcome; you can even join the monks in the prayer chanting.
- Tail Tales: Watch out for forked, snake-like tongues on Komodo Island, notable because its home to the world’s largest lizard, the unique and badass Komodo dragon. The largest island in Komodo National Park, surrounded by pink shores and red coral, it is also where you can trek and walk through rural fishing villages on stilts.
- Shop Your Way through Seminyak: Glitzy Seminyak, home to galleries, local Balinese boutiques, restaurants and excellent hotels lining the beaches, is a whole other world. Go window-shopping on Abhimanyu Street, famous for its exclusive boutiques.
- Misty Mountaintops: Climb up the smoky volcanic hills of Berastagi, where it is always cool and green. Gunung Sibayak and Gunung Sinabung each take a day to hike, and are very easy to get to.
- Art it Up: As you saw in Eat, Pray, Love was very real— Ubud is serene, impossibly green, and full of art and character. Spend your days soaking in the culture, browsing through local artisans’ shops and whiling the afternoons away in a cafe.
- Eat Your Heart Out: If you will come back missing something, all bets are on the food. Indonesian cuisine is mouth-watering, colorful and for lack of a better word, delicious. Snack on lightly spiced nasi goreng topped with a fried egg for breakfast, lap up fiery curries and banana-wrapped fish, and enjoy that staple, spicy chili-flavored sambal.
- Go Local: Just east of Bali, the islands of Nusa Tenggara are diverse. Discover native animistic rituals and long-running tribal traditions that co-exist alongside Islamic Lombok and Catholic Bores.
- Of Coffee and Rhinos: Java has a fair bit going for it. Surrounded by the aquamarine waters of the Indian Ocean, there are temples, tropical islands, and brilliant surf breaks. Glug down some of that world famous Javan coffee, and go looking for the Javan rhino, one of the rarest mammals in the world.
Gorgeous beaches, buzzing, neon-lit cities, great food, idyllic countryside … there is little that this country does not have to offer. You may find yourself most comfortable on Hanoi’s slim by-lanes, or prefer the vast, open spaces of Holong Bay, but one thing’s for sure – Vietnam definitely punches above its weight.
Vietnam: At a Glance
Experience the Best Attractions of Vietnam
- Time Travel: A trip to Hoi An’s Ancient Town is a trip into another era—one of a cosmopolitan trading port with Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese influences. The narrow, sun-washed lanes are a joy to explore, with ancestral homes, assembly halls, and pagodas to stop in at for a break.
- Easy Riders: Go back to a simpler time with a visit to Mai Chau. This verdant valley is a world away from the buzz of Vietnam’s cities, and is surrounded by rolling hills carpeted by lush rice-paddy fields. Mai Chau is also home to some hill tribes, and you could learn more about their culture by spending a night or two in their homes.
- Market Days: Get a taste of modern-day Vietnamese life with a cruise down the River Mekong to the Cal Be floating market. This colorful market is where many locals trade in fresh fruits and vegetables.
- A Flash of Color: Once the home of Vietnamese prisoners, the pristine beauty of the Con Dan Islands will be quick to charm you. This chain of 15 islands is a lovely mix of great beaches, colorful reefs, stunning bays, and thick forest cover.
- Tunnel Vision: No matter how much you may have read about it, nothing prepares you for the maze of tunnels that run under Cu Chi, near Ho Chi Minh City. These tunnels were used by the Vietnamese as a way to evade the American forces, and provide an insight to life through the Vietnamese War.
- Hue Calling: Once the capital of the Nguyen Empire, Hue is worth spending a few days in. Bisected by the Perfume River, so called because in autumn, flowers from upstream scent its waters, this city has a wealth of architectural marvels to be discovered.
- Lessons Learned: For an introduction to Vietnam’s history, a visit to the Reunification Palace and the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City is necessary. The Reunification Palace has been maintained as it was at the time of the Fall of Saigon. The War Remnants Museum, divided into three levels, explains the Vietnam War through photographs and accounts from survivors, and makes for a poignant experience.
- Water Ways: While you are in Hanoi, go for a water puppet performance. This enthralling show depicts Vietnamese life, and is great if you are travelling with kids. Modern Vietnam continues the theater tradition that started with farmers and the rural community using puppets that they held up as they stood up to their waists in the water of the rice paddies.
- Meat Feast: Bun bo Hue is a central Vietnamese take on noodle soup. A rich, luscious broth filled with beef, pork, and thick rice noodles, this makes for a fuller meal than noodle meals in the north and south of the country.
- Dune Deal: Look out across the desert-like horizon and you will wonder if you are in the Sahara. The sand dunes of Mui Ne seem as though they would be more at home there than in south-east Vietnam. Grab a board and surf the sandy waves, then stop and admire the lovely lotus lakes hidden within them.
A melting pot of thriving culture, gorgeous landscapes, filled with everything from islands to beaches to major metropolises, Malaysia is the throbbing force in the heart of South East Asia. A popular honeymoon and holiday destination, there’s lots to do and discover here, for both the laid-back traveler and the adventurous explorer
Malaysia: At a Glance
Experience the Best Attractions of Malaysia
- Luxury in Langkawi: If you are looking for a lazy, luxuriant vacation with lots of sun, sea and sand, head to Langkawi for a holiday amid beautiful surroundings, lush rainforests, mysterious mangroves and an abundance of wildlife and marine creatures in this archipelago of 99 islands, which is also a designated UNESCO GeoPark.
- Hippie Hideaway: Lying off the northeast coast of peninsular Malaysia, Perhentian is a veritable haunt for backpackers and wandering artists. The waters here are clear, so much so that you can snorkel straight off the beach and still see a wide array of marine creatures. If you are feeling a little more active, you can hire a boat and spend a day swimming with sharks and turtles, then hit the beach bars in the evening.
- Picture-perfect Tioman: Used as a backdrop in the musical South Pacific, Tioman is known as one of the exquisite islands in the world on account of its tear-topography, rich marine if and blue waters. Its natural beauty, countless kinds of and sea creatures are only a few of Tioman’s many charms.
- Place to Indulge: A little indulgence is in order on every holiday and you cannot get better than Pangkor for just that. The Pangkor Laut Resort is set amid a rainforest and you will be surrounded by lapping water, white sand, and stunning Emerald Bay during all your pampering.
- Underwater Art: Rising 600 meters from the seabed and formed by living corals growing on an extinct volcano over thousands of years, Sipadan hosts all manner of beautiful marine life. Home to 3,000 species of fish, including sharks, rays and parrotfish, the pearl of this region is the famous Turtle Tomb, located in an underwater labyrinth.
- Food & Fusion in Penang: A unique mixture of east and west and deliciously flavorful cuisine makes Penang a great spot for visitors. It is known for sandy beaches, monuments, historical and cultural discoveries, and oodles of old-world charm.
- White Sands: Forming a marine park of nine islands off the eastern peninsular Malaysian state of Terengganu, the Redang archipelago is the perfect summer destination, with pristine beaches and inviting waters. For a change from the perfectly preserved coral and smooth sands, Redang has plenty of interesting wildlife, including deer and monitor lizards.
- Island Getaway: If you are looking for a few days away from the cities, Sibu Island beckons. An idyllic holidaymakers’ paradise, Sibu offers quiet beaches, resorts, and lessons in diving and snorkeling for the amateur water-baby.
- No Kidding About: Give your little ones (and yourself) a special treat and pencil in some time for the very cool Legoland that is opened in Johor. Your day will go by before you know it! The resort opened on 15-Sep-2012 with over 40 interactive rides, shows and attractions.
- Going Sour: A sour fish soup, asam laksa is one of Malaysia’s favorite dishes. Asam (or asam jawa) is the Malay word for tamarind. The main ingredients are shredded fish, cucumber, onions, red chilies, pineapple, lettuce, and pink bunga kantan (torch ginger). Asam laksa is normally served with rice noodles or vermicelli, and topped with a sweet shrimp paste.
Rich in oil, yet oozing with unspoilt charm, Brunei is too often dismissed by travelers. Nestled between the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah, Brunei is almost entirely covered by pristine tropical rainforest with vibrant cultural landscapes that’s just waiting to be explored
Brunei: At a Glance
Experience the Best Attractions of Brunei
- Heavenly Beauty: With a dome made of pure gold, imported marble from Italy and a man-made lagoon, the Sultan Omar All Saifuddien Mosque is the pride of Bandar Seri Begawan. The mosque is visible from anywhere in the city, and the view from the top of the main minaret is enough to make you believe in heaven. At night, the mosque is lit up, literally illuminating its splendor!
- Dive Right In: Some of the best diving sites in the world are located off the coast of Brunei. The good news is, most of them have not been discovered yet. As an explorer, you therefore gain access to serene, clear waters, unspoilt reefs, and marine life and discover a few shipwrecks all on your own before the crowd gets wind of them.
- Midnight Feast: You are on holiday; you should be able to eat anytime you feel like it. Indulge those annoying nighttime hunger pangs at the Pasar Gadong night market. Choose from a tempting array of kebabs, seafood, and noodles, or taste a bit of all if you cannot make a choice. The food here is delicious and very affordable, and it will be hard to tear yourself away from all those tasty treats.
- Eat What?: Ambuyat, Brunei’s national dish, may raise a few eyebrows, but its fun to eat and even more fun to share. The dish is starchy and rather glue-like and is made from the sago palm, but its flavor comes from the cacah, or the variety of dips used to eat it with.
- Get Bucolic: Go back in time and discover the roots of Brunei, its time-honored traditions and rituals showcased through a homestay in a Bruneian village. The residents of Kampong Sungai Matan will be delighted to have you as a guest and will gladly share their way of life with you, demonstrating cooking methods, local customs, and arts and crafts and how to fish like a true Brunei native.
- Early Bird: Get yourself out of bed early for a sunrise safari through the Ulu Temborong National Park. This is a lush spot with more than a few mischievous monkeys you will need to watch out for. The view from the top of the 60 feet canopy, and the active local wildlife are worth waking up for.
- Life on the Water at Kampong Ayer: The pulse of Brunei’s capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, Kampong Ayer is the world’s largest water village, having been inhabited for an impressive 1,000 years. Get yourself a water taxi and go meet the locals in their stilt houses, set amid an array of wooden boardwalks and bridges.
- Wealth of Art: The Royal Regalia Museum gives you a glimpse of what life in the lap of luxury looks like. You will see treasures and ceremonial costumes from the Sultan’s own collection.
- Meet the Royals: The end of Ramadan heralds the festival of Hari Raya, Brunei’s biggest celebration of the year. During this time, the Sultan and his family throw open the doors of their palace and greet people in person. While you are getting friendly with the royals, you can also take a long look at Istana Nurul Iman, the largest residential palace in the world.
- Live among the Stars: The Empire Hotel and Country Hotel will astound you with its opulence. With a shopping arcade, a cinema, a private beach, and a golf course, among others, on the grounds, it is worth a visit even if you are not staying here. Fun fact: The Emperor Suite here has hosted both Prince Charles and Bill Clinton, and has carpets flecked with real gold!
Millions of visitors flock to the ‘Land of Smiles’ every year and it is easy to see why. Whether you want to party, laze on a beach, or stuff yourself with local delicacies, Thailand has something for everyone. Beyond its more obvious attractions, however, a little deeper exploration yields up Thailand’s subtler charms.
Thailand: At a Glance
Experience the Best Attractions of Thailand
- Boxing Days: Grueling training sessions, a rudimentary diet and sparse facilities—these are the staples of training for Muay Thai or Thai boxing. There are special camps run across the country that offer short-term courses for visitors. Most have English-speaking instructors, and training periods can range from one day to a few weeks. Check out the Lanna Muay Thai Boxing Camp in Chiang Mai and the Muay Thai Institute in Bangkok.
- Biker Fun: Thailand is great for two-wheeled exploration, as long as you can deal with crazy traffic. Check out the Big Bike Company in Patong. They rent out Honda CB 400 cc motorbikes that are fun and fast. Your inner petrol head will certainly be happy, especially when you hit the long, winding roads.
- Cook up a Storm: If you love Thai food and like pottering in the kitchen, why not combine the two and take in a Thai cooking class. The Baipai Thai Cooking School in Bangkok is a well-known institute in a beautiful location, and offers short courses run by English-speaking instructors. If you are in Phuket, the Phuket Thai Cookery School offers you a haven from the noise and bustle of the city. Located on Siray Beach, you can couple your cooking classes with panoramic ocean views and then walk off a meal in the evening or even take a siesta on the wooden sundeck.
- Leave the Road Behind: Go off the beaten track and indulge in some soft adventure sports in Nakhon Nayok. From rappelling to cutting through forests and streams on ATVs and white-water rafting, there are lots here for the intrepid adventure-lover.
- Get Wet: Thailand turns into a free-for-all water park once a year. The Songkran Festival is an unrestrained water fight, and visitors are fair game, both to be soaked and to do the soaking Images of the Buddha are ‘bathed’ and young Thais seek the blessing of their elders by pouring scented water over their hands. Held at the peak of the hot season, Songkran is quite literally a chance for the entire country, and all its visitors, to cool off.
- Join the (Yacht) Club: If your sailor self has been feeling neglected for a while, and you are feeling especially indulgent, Thailand has many great yachting options. A sailing holiday in Thailand is an especially beautiful experience with the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea and swimming and snorkeling at your leisure. Most trips are around Phuket and Koh Samui, and you will get to see other islands as well.
- Kick Back: Take a break from all that activity at Koh Phangan’s Sanctuary Island Resort. The Sanctuary is a laid back, alternative health resort on a isolated beach fringed by tropical forest and tropical seas. Your mind and body will both leave refreshed and ready to take on the world again.
- Festival of Lights: Come November, Thailand transforms into a veritable fairyland of lights, Loi Krathong is Thailand’s festival of lights held on the full moon night of the 12th lunar month of the year. If you are lucky enough to be staying on the coast, you will be able to see lights stretching far out across the water. The word ‘loy’ means ‘to float’ while ‘krathong’ is the lotus-shaped receptacle. Originally, the krathong was made of banana leaves or a spider lily plant; it contains food, betel nuts, flowers, candles, and coins.
- Soup It Up: Thailand is known for its spicy, flavorful food and tom yum soup is one of the country’s best-known dishes. This clear, hot-and-sour soup combines herbs, spices, and seafood to great effect.
- Get Inked: Experience tattooing like no place else at Wat Bang Phra. The monks here create delicate sak yant (also known as yantra tattoos) following age-old methods, and bless them afterwards.