Ok, now since people are covering other countries pretty well, I’ll give you some scoop on Thailand.
Thailand is said to be shaped like an elephant’s head, which is appropriate since the elephant is the symbol of Thailand and Thai royalty. Bangkok would be at the eye of the elephant and the trunk is the peninsula which extends down to Malaysia and separates the Andaman and South China seas.
Best time to visit: late November thru early February. This is when the weather is best and there are a lot of outdoor things to do, still warm to hot but not too humid during the day, cool evenings (in most places). It can be a bit cooler in the north (the country is about 1000 miles/ 1600 kilometers long). Unfortunately this is also when hotel rates are higher and everything is a bit more crowded.
You can fly into Bangkok or Phuket Airport. As someone else mentioned, Phuket can be a bit touristy, particularly Patong Beach, but there are nice, quiet spots on or near the Island. (Koh, is the Thai word for Island, which is why you will see names like Koh Samui, Koh Chang, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Phi Le, etc). Phuket is a very big island, almost more like a peninsula. You can reach the beautiful Phi Phi islands by a fast, large ferry boat in a couple of hours from here. You can also visit Phang Nga bay, which has some beautiful limestone islands/outcroppings. An alternative might be Krabi, which is a town on a different part of Phang Nga bay. Krabi is not as touristy yet, but it’s also a bit harder to reach. These are all in the Andaman Sea. If you have a lot of time, and the time of the year is right, then you might be interested to visit the Similan Islands, where whale sharks and manta rays are common.
If you want to go a bit more off the beaten track then try the area around Surat Thani. Surat Thani is how Thai people get to Koh Samui (they take the ferry, most tourists fly direct into Samui), which is in the South China Seas. Koh Samui is another lovely island, which is famous for it’s Full Moon parties, which are all night raves on the beach. I’ve not been there but it’s also a decent sized island so there are probably places you can go on this island which are not overrun with young stoned Europeans.
If you don’t fly through Phuket, then you’ll come in via Bangkok, which is not a bad thing. There’s a decent amount of interesting stuff to do near Bangkok and environs, and it’s a good jumping off point for Kanchanburi which is noted by tourist as the spot for Bridge Over the River Kwai and by Thais for it’s beautiful park and the Erawan waterfall. Here’s some other suggestions of things to do there.
North of Bangkok, but not too far, is Ayutthaya which was once the capital of Thailand. But after centuries of sacking and wars back and forth between the Thais and the Burmese King Thaksin moved the capital down to Bangkok. There are a ton of temples, some modern but many ancient, in this area. This is also where parts of the film Mortal Kombat were filmed. The current summer palace, at Bang Pa-in, is also in this area, and is open to the public.
Bangkok itself has several things to see and do, as you would imagine with a city of possibly over 10 million (no one knows for sure because of the Thai way of registering residency in their historical home village). Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn), Wat Po (home of Thai massage) and the Grand Palace are all popular spots. Some people will opt for a dinner cruise in a converted rice barge along the Chao Praya river. I like to recommend a visit to Muang Boran, the ancient city, which is not an ancient city but a park which contains replicas of the most famous of Thailands architecture. Nearby is the Crocodile Farm where you can feed chicken carcasses to hungry 5 meter long crocodiles or watch a croc or snake show. Maybe nicer is eating a seafood dinner at one of the outdoor restaurants near Muang Boran if the evening is cool.
If you go during the cool season, there are a lot of beergardens set up near the World Trade Center with free bands and food stalls. The food is tasty if somewhat unfamiliar to westerners, not all of it is spicy, and it’s not touristy, mostly Thai folks out for a good time. When you get away from the touristy spots and around normal Thais is when you are most likely to meet and have fun with locals.
Well, I can see this is getting stupidly long already, so I’ll take a break for now and tell you about the north and the east later.