1. Thai food's simply to die for
The country’s cuisine isn’t world famous for nothing. While every dish is unique, each would have a universal appeal fitting everyone’s palate. The savory Pad Thai matched with Mango Sticky Rice and Coconut Ice Cream are ‘must haves’. And the best part is that you can find them anywhere, though the best tasting ones for me are those along random streets and at the floating market.
5. Bangkok's crazy fun
I’d say that the movie ‘Hangover 2’ pushed Bangkok’s party scene portrayal to the extreme. Though some may be a bit naughty, it also hosts lots of fun (and wholesome) nightlife activities and has something for everyone. Head down to Khao San Road for an entire camp of bars, pubs, street parties, street food and meet a huge hedonistic crowd. Not to forget, their local beers are also cheap – try Singha or Chang for starters.
Best sources of info
Golden Tulip Hotel, Bangkok: http://www.goldentulipbangkok.com/
Platinum Fashion Mall: http://www.platinumfashionmall.com/index.php
Chatuchak market: http://www.chatuchak.org/
Parasol Inn, Chiang Mai: http://www.parasolinn.com/en/
Festivals in Thailand: http://www.thaizer.com/thailand-events-festivals/
3. Real massage at its finest
Legitimize your holiday with real pampering by having a legit Thai massage. Unlike most western countries where going to the spa is a luxury, it’s integral to Thailand’s culture and tourism. Hence, you’ll find them at every corner and an hour session won’t burn a hole in your pocket (only USD 5 to 10). Try different types at different venues and different times – won’t hurt to spoil yourself sometimes.
4. Local festivals and global events in one stop
My third trip was triggered by Coldplay’s concert that coincided with the fun Songkran festival weekend. For me, it’s like hitting two ‘bucket list’ birds with one stone. As it’s considered a ‘festival rich’ and an Asian hub nation, there are always big festivals worth attending. If you don’t mind rubbing elbows with fellow tourists, why not consider Chiang Mai’s Flower Festival, Hua Hin’s Jazz Festival, Yi Peng Lantern Festival or a full moon party (if it’s your thing)?
6. Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai's legit culture
Same as other Asian countries where the old capital’s historically rich, Chiang Mai (used to be Thailand’s capital) possesses that old, yet fascinating charm. Bike around town and travel to Chiang Rai to visit Karen Long Neck to see the indigenous tribe and the woman with the world’s longest neck and Rong Khun which is an intricately designed white temple that’s a ‘character’ of its own. And by the way, these provinces are even cheaper than Bangkok.
I just recently came back from an epic trip in Thailand. Though I’ve been there thrice, I probably won’t get tired of the holiday haven. Across all visits, I’ve always had something memorable to experience, addictive flavors to keep on coming back to and new sights to admire.
If you haven’t been or have visited ages ago, here are a few of the many reasons why you should consider coming back or jetting off for the first time to ‘Amazing Thailand’.
See snippets from my recent trip here.
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8. Temples galore
Needless to say, you’d find tons of temples in Thailand, as the country’s predominantly Buddhist. While they’re all pretty much the same, each one would have its own charm and unique intricacies worth exploring. After visiting the “must see” temples in Bangkok, I went to the outskirts and explored Ayutthaya. Another historic UNESCO World Heritage site, it shows ruins of an old city adorned by palaces, temples, monasteries and other structures.
Best to check out
City sights, historical spots, temples, old provinces, beaches, restaurants, street food stalls.
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Best for whom
Families, couples, friends, solo and group travelers. Adventure seekers, culture and history enthusiasts, foodies, shopping addicts. Budget conscious.
10. Smiles everywhere
You can’t fake an inherent warmth matched with a heartfelt smile. Thai people provide their guests with this genuine hospitality that’ll make you feel comfortable and ‘at home’. If you’re craving for a travel destination where people would treat you as their own and happily assist on your needs, the country’s for you. What’s nice about it is that after your stay, you’ll bring their infectious smile and happy feeling with you. And once you start missing it, you’ll end up scheduling another trip to the same amazing destination!
2. Shopping's cheap and cheerful
I’m a firm believer that impeccable style is not based on the brand name nor the price tag, but on good taste, creativity and authenticity. All these, you’ll score at Bangkok’s budget retail shops. Spend an entire day at Platinum Fashion Mall, Chatuchak or floating market and end up with sets of stylish wardrobe and accessories way cheaper than the branded ones. Haggle and buy in bulk for maximum savings. Funny note though, they practice size discrimination – XS, S & M are cheaper than L, XL and XXL!
WHY YOU WON'T GET TIRED OF THAILAND
Best to consider
Low to mid-range budget, has everything for everyone including all types of food, shopping spree, massage.
9. Be in three countries at one time
Visit Southeast Asia’s ‘Golden Triangle’ along Mekong River with Thailand as gateway to two other countries, Laos and Myanmar. The boat trip will only take half an hour and you’d be able to set foot to the other countries. Listen to the tour guide and understand the interesting story on how these countries got interlinked during the ancient time. If you’re the adventurous type, try the customary exotic drinks that will welcome you in Laos.
7. Bathing with gentle giants
A once-in-a-lifetime favorite moment I won’t ever forget – scrubbing, feeding and having fun with elephants seem to just be a movie scene that turned to reality! Our elephant (well, his handler really) was so playful that he dunk us on the swamp and splashed us with water from his trunk. Definitely highly recommended, but when booking your tour, be sure to choose an eco-tourism friendly elephant sanctuary that takes good care of these gentle giants.
Best for what
Short breaks for relaxation, outdoor adventure and culture trip.
Best time to go
All-year round. Best to avoid the monsoon season from June to October.