Whether visitors are staying in the Land of Smiles for one day or one month, Thai food is so delicious and diverse that visitors should never have to eat the same dish twice. Visitors will even find that the cuisine changes as their location does, keeping their food options interesting as they venture from one city to the next.
Though all of the countries people visit are going to have their fair share of friendly locals, there is something about Thai people that makes venturing to this particular country certainly less intimidating. Thai people are traditionally friendly, or at least perceived to be so. Maybe it is their traditional Thai greeting, the Wai, which is when someone slightly bows with their hands together almost as if they are in prayer. Maybe it is the way many Thais eat family-style, with some visitors lucky enough to be invited to join in on a delicious meal. With a national motto like mai pen rai, meaning don’t worry or it’s okay, the nation certainly seems to have an overall friendly and chilled vibe to it.
Travelers on a budget are constantly and regretfully having to slash cities from their itineraries due to a sheer lack of funds. This is not the case in Thailand, however, where travel is cheap and different modes of transportation are readily available. Budget-friendly airlines, like Nok Air and AirAsia, always seem to be running some type of sale on flights, with direct flights available to international and domestic airports in cities across the country. Buses and trains around the country are incredibly affordable as well, with stations in both rural cities and some of the biggest tourist destinations in Thailand.
Thailand has three major seasons, all of which are suitable for vacationers to travel during and enjoy. The country is busiest during the dry season, when temperatures do not normally reach over 90°. During the hot season, tourists flock to the many dreamy beaches found along Thailand’s immense coast. Bangkok and northern Thailand are popular destinations during the monsoon season, as the islands are prone to flooding during this time. Though there are pros and cons to each season, visitors are likely to never get cold and are able to enjoy the country’s plethora of sunshine during their visit.
Thailand is eager to please those visitors who thrive after dark. Get ready night owls, as the country is equipped with every type of nightlife tourists could possibly imagine. Backpackers head to Khao San Road to connect with like-minded travelers and buckets upon buckets of booze. Those with seedier intentions beeline for one of the many red light districts found in cities across the country, including Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, and more. Though these are some of the main draws that entice those looking for a good night out, the country is also renowned for its reggae and jazz bars in addition to having some of the best LGBTQ-friendly nightlife in the world, especially in Bangkok.
Thailand has over 1,500 miles of coastline, and just off many of these are some of the best dive sites in the world. Regardless of when travelers frequent, there should be at least a handful of prime spots to explore under the sea, as the monsoon season rarely affects areas like Pattaya, known for the many sea turtles that divers are almost guaranteed to spot here. Some of the best places to dive in Thailand include Koh Tao, the Surin Islands, Koh Chang and Chumphon.
With over 40,000 Buddhist temples found across the Land of Smiles, visitors are surely bound to find at least one that catches their eye. These structures date back to all of the different dynasties, each one reflecting that era’s architectural and construction style. Each province is bound to have at least one of these majestic wonders, though the most unique and abundant are found in the capital.
Because the country’s terrain is so unique, visitors to the Kingdom are able to go on a number of different adventurous excursions during their stay. Elephant sanctuaries are great for tourists who are animal lovers, while those looking for something a bit more adventurous may instead opt for a day on one of the country’s many rivers and go white water rafting. There are also trails to be trekked, waves to be surfed, jungles to be ziplined through, and more in Thailand.
The markets in Thailand are like no others in the world. Each one has its own distinct character, from the crowds they attract to the items which are for sale. Some markets are dedicated to street eats while others are chock full of antiques and secondhand items. Visitors never know what they are going to find at these unique attractions.
It seems as though Thais cannot go too long before having to escape from their 9-5 job in order to celebrate one festival or another. Many of these festivals are derived from things like religion or the lunar calendar, but one aspect remains constant: they are incredibly interesting to partake in. Many travelers go as far as to plan entire holidays around these festivals in order to attend and see what all of the fuss is about. A great example of this would be Songkran, a festival in which a nationwide water fight takes place.
Though many cities in Thailand continue to be modernized with things like urban decor, everywhere visitors look will have bits and pieces of Thailand’s interesting and ancient culture somehow intertwined. Cities like Sukhothai hold their ground in terms of modernization, as they are still home to many ancient ruins dating back to the Siamese Kingdom in 1238. Its history is also found in Thailand’s many art forms, like traditional Thai dancing or Thai puppetry performances.
Bangkok gets a section all its own, as the capital is hands down one of the main reasons to visit the country. Over eight million people reside in the city, many of whom are expats. It seems as though once someone visits the capital long enough, they never want to leave. Bangkok is often the first stop on traveler’s itineraries before heading to Southeast Asia, and it is usually not their favorite city. The capital is crowded and can be overwhelming, leaving many travelers less than impressed. Those who get off the beaten path, however, will find Bangkok is a city full of surprises, with seemingly every top thing to see and do available. Temples, red light districts, sky bars, museums, art galleries, parks: you name it, the city is sure to have it.
Thailand is home to an abundance of wildlife in its many national parks, beaches, and mountainous terrain. Khao Yai National Park in central Thailand is home to tigers, wild boars, and if visitors are truly lucky they may even see an elephant or two. In the south, there are entire beaches filled with monkeys, with tourists flocking to places like Monkey Beach on Koh Phi Phi to see what the hype is all about. Remember to be a responsible tourist and not feed the wildlife, as well as steering clear of those tourist attractions which abuse animals for profit.
Thailand’s geography is certainly impressive, with every province across the country having some unique geographical feature worth exploring. The country’s most impressive natural feature is surely its beaches, however, with over 1,500 miles of coastline to choose from. Though there are a fair share of beaches that have been overrun with sun soaking tourists, there are a number incredible stretches of sand that remain quiet, secluded, and stunning. Some of these beaches include Freedom Beach in Phuket and Sunset Beach on the island of Koh Kradan.
Recent years have proved to be busy ones for backpackers, as the number of travelers to Southeast Asian countries has grown exponentially. Between 2010 and 2015, Thailand saw an 87 percent increase in international arrivals alone, many of whom carry nothing but a backpack with them. These budget-friendly travelers tend to travel in groups they meet along the way, which makes Thailand such an opportune destination for them because there are so many. Affordable hostels can be found in almost all of the major cities (and some quieter ones too), making it easy to meet fellow backpackers and explore Thailand together.