Thailand is truly an amazing place and there's probably never a better time to visit than right now; in fact, there are many reasons to visit Thailand. Don't be put off by some of the troubles highlighted on the news recently. The problems stem from Thai people wanting a new election and have nothing to do with visitors and tourists. Soon there will be a new election in Thailand and everything should settle down. But currently there are some great deals on flights and accommodation to be had as a result of less people travelling to see this wonderful country. Here are just 8 reasons to visit Thailand.
Thailand has some of the best food anywhere in the world. Thai restaurants in western cities are a pale reflection of the wonderfully aromatic and spicy food available throughout Thailand. The other major plus is that it's so cheap to eat. What you pay $50 for at a very good Thai restaurant in America, you can get in Thailand for about $3 or $4. Plus it tastes better and you're getting the real Thai food and not a western reflection of it. Thai food is fresh as can be, often spicy and there are so many dishes to try. Yes you'll find Pad Thai and some other well known dishes that we all know about, but there are a myriad of other dishes including curries, soups and salads that are bursting with rich flavour and ingredients picked fresh that day.
Thailand has some of the most breathtaking beaches of anywhere. White sands and aquamarine seas fringed with coconut trees and majestic islands typify the setting. Many a postcard picture of beach paradise comes from Thailand and when you visit, it's easy to see why. They're accessible, quiet and tranquil places, although if you want a beach setting with a bit more nightlife and entertainment, they're available too, at places like Phuket. Regardless, going to the beach really is an excellent reason to visit Thailand.
3. Thai People
Thailand is known as the Land of Smiles and Thai people always have a ready smile at hand. They are genuinely warm and giving people and put into practice the Buddhist way of life in everyday affairs. While not particularly well off, especially in the north and north east regions, nothing is too much trouble and they're happy to share food with you, even if they can't really afford it. If you learn a few Thai phrases before you go, this goes a long way to overcoming what can be a difficult language barrier. But just remember to smile and be respectful. Thai people take note of your appearance, your attitude and how you conduct yourself. The culture is very different from western societies and is heavily centred on family and the Buddhist way of life, so try to learn something of the cultural norms before you arrive.
Did I mention that Thailand is cheap? That's absolutely a great reason to visit Thailand! Besides the food, you'll find internal travel very cheap in Thailand. Typically a 1-hour internal flight can be had for less than $100. There are trains, buses and taxis also that won't break the bank. Bangkok is a shopper's paradise too and there are bargains for clothes, bags, watches and cameras everywhere. You'll also find locally made crafts that are unavailable anywhere else, or if you do find them overseas for sale, they cost a fortune.
Most parts of Thailand are warm all the year round. It can get cold at certain times of the year in the north east, and in the north part of the country where the mountain tribes live around Chiang Rai, it can definitely get chilly. But generally, shorts and t-shirts or light clothing is the order of the day for 95% of the year.
6. Temples and Culture
There are Buddhist temples throughout Thailand that are well worth a visit. 95% of the population are Buddhist and frequently visit the temple or “Wat.” You will see monks in their orange robes walking around and the Thai people give offerings of food and other items to them, normally first thing in the morning. The monks have no income and rely on the people to provide for them. They are held in very high esteem by all Thai people so again, be respectful and perhaps learn the Thai 'wai' as a form of greeting.
Its prime location is another reason to visit Thailand. Bangkok now has a huge international airport (Suvarnabhumi). It's only a couple of hours' flight from Singapore and is also close to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. If you're doing the long haul flight between Europe and Australia, or you’re lucky enough to be on a round the world trip, Thailand makes a great stopping off point for a rest, shopping and sightseeing.
While Bangkok has some of the most amazing nightlife venues, similar haunts can be found throughout the country. In regional towns and cities you will find wonderful open-air restaurants that you can hardly pass without feeling hungry from the wonderful smells of food being prepared. Sitting out on a balmy warm night with great food and a cold beer is a favourite thing to do. There are also many nightclubs, night markets and stalls throughout the Kingdom too.
These reasons to visit Thailand are but a pin prick in the vein of richness this marvellous country has for the visitor. Get off the beaten track a bit to experience the real country and it will give you memories to last a lifetime. Have you booked your flight yet?