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Thailand

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on May 18, 2006. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: Cayman Islands, destination, Jessica Labrencis, New Zealand, Phoenix, Sao Paulo, Thailand, vacation package.

Thailand

Although by appearances Thailand has mostly recovered from 2004's tsunami, tourist levels are still lower than they were before the devastation, particularly during the off-peak summer months. July, August, and September make up the country's rainy season, though rainstorms only occur for a few hours per day, and most often the weather is hot and sunny.

In February, the Thailand Grand Invitation 2006 was launched to commemorate the 60th anniversary of King Bhumibol Adulyadej taking the throne, making him the world's longest-reigning monarch. There are several major events, including the Candle Festival in Ubon Ratchathani in July and the nationwide celebration of the Queen's birthday on August 12. Also in July is the Tak Bat Dok Mai festival in the Saraburi province, which marks the beginning of the Buddhist Lent.

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Summer also brings the annual Thailand Grand Sale, a promotion in June and July that features shopping discounts of up to 50 percent and designated "shopping streets" in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, and other popular areas.

Low-fare service in Thailand has increased in recent years, which makes getting around the country easier than ever before. Nok Air and One-Two-Go airlines fly within Thailand, while several airlines serve Thailand and other Asian countries.

Hotel prices during the off-peak season drop significantly, and we found savings of up to $39 per night.

Hotel Provider Off-peak rate Peak rate
Amari Atrium Hotel, Bangkok Hotels.com $75 $114
Riverview Point Resort, Chiang Mai Expedia $40 $65
Holiday Inn Resort, Phuket Priceline $74 $98

Off-peak rates are based on the average daily rate from August 21 to 28, 2006, and peak rates are based on the average daily rate from February 19 to 26, 2007.

Visit the Tourism Authority of Thailand for assistance in planning your vacation. SmarterTravel.com's Thailand Travel Guide also features seasonal information and travel deals.

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