Why Thailand for your Holiday Destination?
Thailand is the most visited country in the world. Every year over 30 million people visit the Kingdom of Thailand, and a million or so have made it their permanent second home, and these numbers are increasing. The reasons for Thailand’s popularity are manyfold, but Thailand can be truthfully summarised as being a beautiful, low-cost and friendly country, with a great deal to see and to do.
What you can experience in Thailand is limited only by your imagination. Essentially, you will find every conceivable tourist activity here—from shopping to meditation. Stay for a few days, a month, or a year. You will not be able to see all the country has to offer. If you enjoy travel or want a destination to take you away from the humdrum then you must head to the Land of Smiles!
Before you arrive a few things to sort out
First your visa. Citizens of western countries can get 30 days free of charge on arrival in Thailand. No fuss, no paperwork. Just fly in, but if you want to stay longer (up to three months), then you need to apply for a tourist visa at a Thai embassy. This usually takes a few days and is currently free of charge.
Health, get your vaccinations before you arrive. The chances are that you will not have any medical problems—but better safe than sorry. Mosquitos—malaria, dengue, and a few others. Use insect repellant. Insurance, take out travel insurance for all your travels. Again, you will most likely never need, but if you do have to pay bills a good insurance policy will cover you and ensure quick treatment.
Safety, no matter what you have heard in the media, Thailand is safe. Millions of tourists attest to this. A few people do have bad luck, but this is a tiny minority and true everywhere. To be safe exercise due care.
If you rent a bike, learn how to ride a bike. The same with a car. It is easy to rent bikes and cars in Thailand, but the consequences of bad driving can stay with your for life. Drink alcohol responsibly. Drugs, rumours notwithstanding, drug usage in Thailand is illegal. If you run afoul of the police you will be in serious trouble. There are westerners spending decades in a Thai jail. You don’t want to be one of these people.
Where to go?
This is the easiest question to answer, as there are so many choices. What do you want to see? Bangkok is the usual starting point for first-time visitors. Bangkok is the biggest city in Thailand with over 10 million people. It is home to international level shopping malls with all the major brands and labels. It is also home to a host of tourist destinations. Most of these are found on the Chao Phraya River and include the Royal Palace, the great Buddhist temples, museums, cultural sites, galleries, and similar. Also river cruises, amusement parks—it is all here. A great place to start.
If your wish is to experience nature then head north to the city of Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is the second tourist destination in Thailand. From here you can hike, bike, and explore tropical rainforests, visit elephants, or just relax or not in a tourist oriented city. If you want to experience life with elephants up close travel to Surin province in the north-east of the kingdom. Here is the famed ‘Elephant Village’, where most of the working elephants in the kingdom are bred and trained. Every weekend there is a mini-elephant festival, and every October there is a full on three-day festival, which attracts visitors from all over Thailand and the world.
Phuket is Beautiful and Stunning!
If water and nature attract than look south to the province of Krabi. Here are several famous and some less well-known islands where you can relax, dive, boat, fish or partake of any known water sport. Krabi is a quiet province, small towns and villages, but if it is the big city vibe and the five-star resort experience that you want turn to nearby Phuket Island. Phuket is an internationally known destination. Here are the big hotels, the packaged entertainment, and the glitz and glamour. Along the west coast of the Island are a succession of hotels, restaurants, bars, and entertainment of all shapes and sizes—spectacular shows, cultural events, and shopping. If this is all a little too much on the east coast of the Island is the ‘Old Town’, the original city of Phuket, where most Thais live. A relaxing alternative. Also, the Island has much green space and the waters around abound with recreational activities.
A little off the beaten track is Elephant Island near Cambodia. Here is a lush, hilly island, with cheap, long term accommodation, fewer people, a cooler climate, and a laid back lifestyle. To see a little of the traditional way of life of Thailand travel to Esarn, eastern Thailand. This is a land of endless rice farms, small villages, ancient sites, and friendly people. Few dedicated tourist activities, but worthwhile if you have the time and inclination.
Language and making yourself understood can be sometimes difficult. Thais speak Thai, and most take English as their second language. In the big cities and major hotels simple conversation is not so much of a problem, but outside these areas English is not well understood. Speak slowly, small words, repeat, and practice your improv miming skills. With patience, you will get by. Just keep smiling 🙂.
One last point, travel in Thailand is easy, cheap, and quick. There are numerous trains, buses, ferries, and flights crisscrossing the country. These can be booked at your hotel, online, or at the station.
Thailand is a destination you cannot miss. It will make you happy in ways you cannot imagine. For yourself, or for your family book a ticket tomorrow!