There’s no denying that Thailand has become overrun with tourists in recent years. People have flocked to Thailand in their millions, each trying to seek out their own little piece of paradise. There are certain Thai towns and cities which have become so westernised that you could mistake them for your hometown (minus the tuk-tuks and ladyboys!). It is this intense tourism and westernisation that have put some travellers off of visiting this country.
This has only been exasperated with the recent closure of Maya Bay, which has drawn further attention to the negative impact of tourists on these once beautiful places. So should you avoid Thailand altogether? Absolutely not!
I visited Thailand for the first time earlier this year and despite my concerns, I fell in love with the place. Sure, there are some super touristy areas. But there are also some completely off-grid, virtually untouched places too. I struggled to condense my reasons for visiting Thailand into just ten points but I hope these will be enough to convince you, in case you need any further reassurance. Whether you’re venturing to Thailand for the first time or looking for an excuse to revisit, here’s why you should just go…
1. There’s something for everyone
A city dweller who loves the buzz and never-sleep vibe of the big metropolitan hubs? Or do you prefer oodles of history and culture or just peaceful paradise of those untouched, off-grid areas? Well, Thailand has both in abundance. Experience the utter madness and addictive chaos of Bangkok, or head to Khao Sok National Park and venture into the depths of nature. It’s what makes Thailand perfect for a trip full of variety. From cities to jungles and everything in between. You’ll never get bored and there’s something for every type of traveller.
2. Thailand is truly beautiful
One of the most famously tempting traits of Thailand is its beauty. From the towering limestone cliffs and bright blue seas to the luscious green jungles and architectural prowess of the temples. Every aspect is truly mind-blowing. Sure, you can spend all the time you like on Instagram but nothing compares to being there in the flesh. It’s a little piece of heaven on earth and it’s truly magical.
3. It’s also totally chilled
This is such a cliche and I fear I’m going to sound like an overbearing hippie. But. It’s the laid-back vibe of Thailand that really made me fall in love with it. It’s also why it’s so popular with young travellers. Having escaped the stress of London, it’s a welcome relief to be met with a total chill. Okay so Bangkok is not exactly chilled but head to the beaches or the islands and it’s a stress-free, ultimate relax-to-the-max scenario. And it’s totally dreamy.
4. Lazy beach days
If you’re a beach babe who loves nothing more than wiling away the days sprawled on the sand then you will love Thailand. With a plethora of beautiful beaches to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice. The beaches in Thailand are the type you see in movies, or on picture-perfect postcards, or on the Instagram of your favourite blogger. Think expansive golden sand and bright blue waters, all framed by towering limestone cliffs. How you spend your time in Thailand is completely up to you, and if you would prefer to spend it lying on a beach, cocktail in hand, then knock yourself out!
5. And fun nights…
The parties in Thailand are pretty famous. I wasn’t able to go to a full moon party, but we’ve all heard the stories. Either way, the bars of Thailand know how to throw a good party. With an influx of young backpackers and tourists, it’s no wonder that the nightlife has become so renowned. Just a couple of warnings for any party goers. Pay attention to the alcohol strength of drinks because one drink in Thailand is generally about the equivalent of three back home. Also watch out for UV paint: it’s everywhere! And it doesn’t come out of your clothes. Trust me.
Of course, if going out drinking, dancing on tables and getting covered in UV paint sounds like your worst nightmare then you can just opt for a nice civilised dinner in one of the many restaurants. But if you love a good party then you won’t be disappointed with Thailand.
6. There are still untouched spots
I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a lot of tourists around the islands and beaches of Thailand. But if you’re after something more peaceful, away from the hype of the more touristy climes then there are still plenty of options. My best recommendation for anybody going to Thailand is to visit Khao Sok National Park. The place is huge. It means that you can venture right into the deepest depths of the park and feel like you’re in a virtually untouched oasis.
Parts of the park are made up of luscious jungle and a treehouse stay is a must. As long as you’re not averse to putting up with some jungle creatures for the night! By far my favourite part of the whole trip was our stay in floating raft houses in the heart of the National Park. It was the only part of our trip that was completely off-grid. No mobile service, no wifi and electricity only at night. The surrounding beauty took your breath away and the whole stay was unforgettable.
7. The food
I couldn’t write a post about Thailand and not mention the food. Any foodies will be in their element, as Thai cuisine is all about delicious flavours and fresh cooking. You’ll find street food in abundance, from the recognisable to the weird and wonderful. If you prefer to stay safe with your food choices then you’ll be just fine, with traditional dishes like Phat Thai available everywhere. Even western options are sold in most restaurants, although I would strongly recommend trying the local cuisine. For the more adventurous foodies among you, there’s plenty of frankly bizarre options on the streets – whether you want to up the spice or opt for a scorpion on a stick… if you’re into that sort of thing!
8. It’s still very cheap
In comparison to western prices, everything in Thailand is wonderfully cheap. From food and drink to shopping and transport, you’ll be in your element. Having said that, don’t be fooled into handing over more money than is needed. If you go shopping, you need to haggle in order to get the best price; it’s not as bad as it sounds and it can actually be pretty fun. Same goes for taxis or tuk tuks – make sure you agree a price before you get in and find out what’s reasonable from someone who is more familiar with the going local rate.
9. Boats, island hopping and diving
When in Thailand you’d be mad not to take advantage of the various islands with a spot of island hopping. Whether you spend a few weeks making your way around the islands, or you do a quick day trip, I can assure you that it’s a lot of fun. Spend days whizzing around on a speedboat, exploring the different islands and snorkelling spots. Dive into the crystal clear waters and find yourself nose to nose with Nemo. Swim through magical coves or if it all sounds a bit too much effort, lay back on the boat and sip away on a G&T. Choose how much time you spend on each island – simply drop in for a quick drink, spend a whole day exploring, or stay for a couple nights if there are hotels. You’ll never want to leave.
10. The lovely people
I don’t know what part of the world you’re from. But I come from London and in London, everybody is miserable. When commuting, it’s a given that you don’t talk to anyone unless you know them. People rarely smile at each other. It’s not that we are unfriendly people, we just prefer to keep ourselves to ourselves. In Thailand, it’s a different story. Everybody is so wonderfully friendly. From the moment I arrived at the airport, I felt welcomed in the most genuine and loving way. I don’t know whether it’s the beauty, the weather or the strong drinks, but people just smile more in Thailand. It’s incredibly refreshing and very endearing.
I could go on with more reasons as to why you should visit this fantastic country. But we’re both busy people and I’d be surprised if the above reasons haven’t already convinced you. I love hearing about fellow traveller’s tales and recommendations, so do get in touch on social media if you’d love to share your story with me.
Written by our guest blogger Jessie Emma of PocketWanderings.com