Thailand is one of the world’s best countries to visit. Bangkok alone was the most visited city on earth in 2013, and has stayed a top attraction ever since (see my post on most visited cities in the world). Those statistics don’t even take into account visitors to the other amazing parts of Thailand, which are also significant.
But Why? What makes Thailand so great? Why are millions of tourists from all around the world visiting this relatively small country?
This will be the first of a few posts on my trips to Thailand, but I wanted it to serve as a high level introduction to those who aren’t familiar with the allure of this amazing country. This post just scrapes the surface, so if you have ideas of what should be included in my more detailed trip report, please send them over.
The beaches in Thailand truly are some of the best in the world. The water is typically clear blue and warm, making them perfect for swimming. Also, there are tons to beaches to choose from so you can end up at a spring break type of party, or lounge on a beach that feels like it has never had human visitors before.
The Thai people are known for being the most smiley and friendly people on earth. For the most part, they seem to love the tourists and are very accommodating (even though they don’t speak a lot of English, they are typically still willing to help). About 95% of the population is Buddhist, so the influence can be seen everywhere from enormous temples to monks reverently walking by. Fair warning, the Thai people are generally quite small; I was with a friend that wanted to get fit for a chut thai (traditional Thai dress), but she had to pay for the fabric of two people.
The exchange rate for most western countries is extremely favorable in Thailand, which means that many can afford all types of tours, food, or lodging. The big city markets are an incredible place to buy ANYTHING extremely cheap, so make sure you have extra room in your luggage to bring back all of your new acquisitions. The food is excellent, and can easily be found for $2 a meal. All lodging budgets can be accommodated in Thailand. If you want to stay at a swanky resort for $500 a night you can, but what is amazing is that you can stay at a swanky resort for $20 a night. While there I stayed on my own private beach island that had to be accessed by rowboat. The best part, it was only $25 a night. If you want to take this a step further and see exactly what it will cost to visit Thailand you can check out this in depth guide here.
Who hasn’t wanted to play with monkeys or ride an elephant? These experiences aren’t just available, but are incredibly common throughout Thailand. I can vouch that you really can find groups of wild monkeys scurrying about. Another thing I did learn though was that elephants were actually hairy! Who knew? Also, don’t be surprised to see your fair share of bugs, as no place on earth can be entirely perfect.
Whether you are trekking through the jungle, or exploring the markets in Bangkok, Thailand is known for being relatively safe. Thailand features lots of modern development, but there are still untouched villages where one can explore and be explored by locals. The northern part of the country is typically less developed than the south, but be sure to do your research before heading off the common tourist paths as English speakers can become incredibly hard to find.
(This post was written by my husband)