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Travel review: Tantalising Thailand

PICTURESQUE: Rachel Ritfeld, left, with her daughter Rosalia, spending some quality time together on a Thai beach

NO HOLIDAY to Thailand is complete without visiting the buzzing city of Bangkok.

The city is as vibrant and luxurious as it is gritty, however, so choosing the ideal hotel makes all the difference.

Stay in The Peninsula in Bangkok for the perfect picturesque location on the Chao Phraya River. The Peninsula is sophisticated with authentic Thai influences in its decor. It offers the most spectacular breakfast spread, wellness for the parents and tailor-made cultural programmes for the children or to enjoy as a family.


CHOWING DOWN: Young Rosalia, left, with mum Rachel Ritfeld, enjoying great cuisine on the beachfront

Take the Sky Train to Mo Chit station to the mother of all markets: the unmissable Chatuchak Market.
This market is divided into 27 sections and sells everything from souvenirs to trendy fashion, silk and stylish furniture - don’t forget to practise your haggling skills before you go.

I love exotic fruits, and for that reason I found Khiong Toei Fresh Market Heavenly.

Bangkok shopping malls are unrivalled – visit Terminal 21 for absolutely anything you could ever need.
Seeking patience from my daughter, I said that she could bring her iPad along with her. If you’re like me, you won’t want anything distracting you from shopping.


TAMING THE WILD: Rachel Ritfeld feeding a baby tiger, along with daughter Rosalia

For sightseeing, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, or Wat Pho, is ranked as the number one “thing to do” in Bangkok on TripAdvisor – and rightly so. This complex is arguably the most important Buddhist royal temple in Thailand, housing a 46-metre reclining Buddha, it is located south of the Grand Palace, making a trip to these two sights convenient for a combined cultural day trip.

After an action-packed few days in the city, I had a vision of enjoying a few days in a little house surrounded by lush tropical gardens with an outdoor shower and world-class spa, set on a pristine beach for some secluded relaxation facing the Andaman Sea, which is exactly what the Pimalai Resort on Koh Lanta offers.

Thailand is overflowing with character, the exhilarating islands and beach towns, with Koh Samui one of the most exuberant. Chaweng Beach has a vast variety of restaurants and competitively priced hotels.

A little tip when searching for the perfect hotel for your taste and budget - I find the top 10 highest
ranked or best value hotels in my chosen area on TripAdvisor (I read most reviews) and then I look on Trivago to find their best price. It works for me every time.


SPECIAL MOMENTS: Rachel Ritfeld holding daughter Rosalia

Although it has changed and commercialised a lot over the years, the great thing about visiting the diverse playground of Thailand is that it is still one of the most cost-effective long-haul holidays you will have the pleasure of going on.

Imagine spending around £5 for an incredible massage on the beach and £10 for a delicious dinner at sunset from a range of different cuisines; not to mention the many things to do as a family.

I would avoid the zoos (they don’t quite treat the animals as nicely as they do in Europe and it can be distressing), but there are waterfalls, cooking classes, water sports, incredible architecture and tuk tuks to enjoy on those short local journeys.

Why not give it a go yourself?

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