THAILAND

Expect a warm welcome when your Holland America Line ship calls in Thailand, the “Land of Smiles.” Laem Chabang leads you to Bangkok with its Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha Temple. Explore ancient Ayutthaya — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — or get a hands-on Pad Thai lesson while helping disadvantaged youth. Holland America Line also cruises to Nathon on Koh Samui, where you can ride elephant-back through the jungle, gaze at a 40-foot golden Buddha, and plant yourself on powdery Chewang Beach.

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Laem Chabang (Bangkok), Thailand

Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia never to have been colonized by a European power. Its capital, Bangkok, reflects the country's unique status. It has embraced modernity on its own terms. Buddhist temples and gilded palaces coexist with the bustle of one of Asia's major metropolises. The contrast between the golden glow of sunrise along the Chao Phraya River and the neon lights of downtown can feel intoxicating. There are few places where you can spend the morning visiting a centuries-old stupa, have lunch at a Michelin-starred restaurant and then shop for exquisite silk garments.
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Phuket, Thailand

Thailand's largest island sits just off the country’s west coast, in the glittering Andaman Sea. Phuket offers both cultural attractions and natural beauty. The influence of European and Chinese traders is best seen in the architecture of Old Phuket Town, where former mansions have become hotels, restaurants, cafés and shops. Outside the island’s main city, travelers will find a tropical paradise, with gorgeous white-sand beaches and warm, crystal-clear waters where visitors come to swim, snorkel and scuba dive. One of the prettiest places to take a dip is Phang Nga Bay while the Big Buddha and Chalong Highlands are popular sights.