There are many reasons why people select certain countries to travel to, but no matter what type of travel activity you enjoy, Thailand offers year-round activities that would no doubt address your needs. The magical holiday destination, sitting in the middle of the poor West Asia and prosperous East Asia, hasn’t put a scratch on its historical monuments, while being one of the most modernized nations in its region.
It is hard to find a country where you experience sun and rain together throughout the year, while at the same time enjoying native tropical fruits, which is something unthinkable in other industrialized nations.
You can spend several lifetimes seeing the splendid capital city of Bangkok, zigzagging between the gorgeous reverse-iceberg-shaped mini islands of the Andaman Sea and sun-bathing on white sands washed by clean light-blue seawater. Briefly, the delightful things you’ve heard about Thai culture and landscape are all true. It is also almost unlikely that you will see a boy with an iguana on his neck, standing near a jammed highway, with a backdrop of a 15-storey building under construction. You don’t have to take a sea taxi to travel from one island to another, there are natural narrow, snake-like bridges made of sand that provide a link, but can be lost for a time if the waves are too high.
Here are the five reasons why you should immediately alter your travel itinerary -- to spend less but enjoy more.
1. Aroma. Oh that smell. It hits you in the face once you step off the plane. It is indescribable and this smell varies across the country, even in the capital Bangkok. Thailand is famous for its flowers, especially for its orchids. With dozens of types, you can find many vendors in the streets selling heart-shaped, beautifully lined-up red, yellow and white orchids that release their scent into the surrounding areas. In most places, you will be greeted with one of these flower bouquets, probably a glass of juice (I’d choose mango juice in its original box, and also a straw in it) and a hand towel to refresh yourself. Thailand is overflowing with flowers, the aromas of which follow you everywhere, while you travel this exotic country.
2. Hospitality. Thai people don’t shake hands, but they do more than that to show their respect, and greet their guests. Palms pressed together with a bow, “a wai,” is a traditional gesture for salutation. If you are not from Asia, it won’t be hard for Thai people to recognize that you are a foreigner. The Thai people do everything they can to be hospitable to foreigners, and to make them feel at home. In the southern provinces of Thailand, where Muslims peacefully live side by side with Buddhists, people’s hospitality will be more visible. The friendly treatment Thai people offer in hotels, restaurants, shops and houses you visit as a guest won’t be the same ordinary welcome you would expect in other nations.
Thailand might not be perfect when it comes to things like road signs and tourist information billboards in the streets, but people’s desire to show or even take you to places you want to go will make it impossible to get lost. They are always smiling and more than helpful. Thai people usually serve a glass of water or juice when you enter a hotel, restaurant or a house.
3. Affordable. Unless you are wandering around the international shops in the heart of Bangkok, most things across the country are cheaper than you might imagine. You don’t have to worry about finding a shuttle service to Bangkok from its huge international airport. Taking a taxi to virtually every part of the city will cost you very little. But don’t forget to tell the driver to switch on the taxi-meter, if you don’t want to have to bargain when you get off. Don’t pack your bags with everything you need during your stay in Thailand. From phones to SIM cards, to a pair of pants, you can basically afford anything you want.
The clean Chatuchak weekend market in Mo Chit (which you can reach using the easy-to-navigate metro) has everything you will need with affordable prices and a large selection of souvenirs that you might want to buy for yourself or take as a gift. The markets in Thailand are very rewarding. It could be slightly wrong to say that Thailand is the most affordable industrialized country, but it is certainly one of the remarks often made by those who visit Thailand. The great deals the country’s markets and bazaars offer on all kinds of goods can encourage you to spend more, since you know there will be more money in your pockets because of the savings. It is also advised to bargain with street vendors and during shopping in bazaars. Discounts to already cheap goods will give you an idea of how cheap things are in the country.
4. Weather. One thing that makes Thailand attractive is that you don’t have to ask people which season is the best to travel to the Asian country, and worry about coinciding your annual leave with a tourism season. Thailand is perfect every month of the year and even visiting in the hottest month of the year -- April -- won’t be irritating. You might want to avoid traveling to Thailand for a month starting from mid-May due to the monsoon season, but if you like tropical rains, don’t postpone your trip.
Most of the restaurants, shopping centers and houses have good air-conditioning systems and it is always easier to find places to cool down in the peak summer months. Unlike other resort destinations, Thailand has open beaches and hot weather, while people in Turkey and in parts of Europe are shoveling snow from in front of their garages to get their cars out. If you love sun and warm weather throughout the year, Thailand is the best pick.
5. Food. Thai food might not be appealing to everyone but it has a variety of flavors that may attract foreign taste buds. Thailand serves up one of the best fried chicken recipes in the world and its chicken industry dominates the region and beyond. Tropical products like coconut, dragon fruit, pineapple, bananas, tangerine and rose apples can be found on streets at a cheap price.
As in most East Asian nations, most of the food is served with rice -- their bread. Even some Thai dessert is made up of rice, what they call “sweet rice.” If you are a vegetarian or prefer less animal products, Thailand couldn’t be better with its variety of food offerings. You can hardly find a Thai meal composed of just a single food product; it is usually a mixture of many vegetables and poultry, meat or fish. Receiving numerous international awards, Thai cuisine is famous for its soups and fish dishes.