There are a hundred reasons to go on a holiday to Thailand, and with the number of visitors increasing year on year it’s clear that the country has established itself as a must-visit destination. Here at icelolly.com we’ve chosen our ten best reasons why we love this beautiful and vibrant country!
Thailand has some of the best beaches in the world, and plenty of them! Thailand has countless islands scattered across the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, and most have miles of beautiful white sand beaches with crystal clear water lapping at their shores. Some of the country's most popular island destinations are Ko Phangan, Ko Samui, Krabi and Phuket. Ko Phi Phi is also extremely popular since being used as a filming location for Leonardo DiCaprio film 'The Beach'.
An essential of a Thailand holiday is trying the local food! Markets are filled with stalls serving up tantalising dishes expertly seasoned with a mix of herbs and spices, and food is so cheap it's more cost-effective than an all inclusive deal. The quintessential Thai dish is Pad Thai, a simple mix of noodles stir-fried with egg, tofu, vegetables and spices, and you're also likely to come across Thai curries, chicken in cashew nuts and noodle soup. The cautious should request ‘not spicy’; in Thailand this means just one chilli pepper…
Keen shoppers should take a half-empty suitcase; markets are everywhere in Thailand and they sell everything under the sun. Popular goods on sale include casual tshirts and vest tops, patterned harem pants, jewellery, Thai lanterns and sandals. Starting prices often seem reasonable by Western standards but don't be put off haggling - stall owners like to try their luck but will usually settle for at least half their original asking price. Smile, stay relaxed and recognise when the seller has reached their limit, and you'll get some great deals and have fun doing it!
The Thai islands have some of the most beautiful scenery in the world; try a canoe trip through the Ang Thong National Park near Ko Tao on the Gulf Coast or gaze up at the majestic limestone karsts that rise from the sea around Krabi. Phuket is known for touristy towns like Patong, but has some stunning beaches away from the main resorts, and there are some smaller islands closeby that you can take a day trip to. Both sides of the coast surrounding Thailand's mainland are dotted with countless tiny islands, so island hopping is definitely the best way to explore!
Party-goers will love the wide choice of ways to spend the nights on a Thailand holiday! Like New York, Bangkok is a city that never sleeps and there's a scene for everyone, whether its the backpacker bars on Khao San Road, a stylish rooftop bar or a ladyboy show! The islands have their own party vibe - dance under the stars on a beach in Phuket or attend the monthly Full Moon Party on Ko Phangan. Consistent features of a Thai island party are fire dancers, glow sticks and infamous alcohol 'buckets'.
Being a primarily Buddhist nation Thailand has countless beautiful temples, some of the most famous being Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Arun in Bangkok and Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai. It's not uncommon to see monks walking around the temple grounds or young novices having lessons outdoors. Monks are forbidden to touch women and even men keep their distance, so be considerate and avoid getting too close! Remember that temples are places of worship, so dress appropriately and be respectful.
A holiday in Thailand is perfect for those craving some pampering! Ko Samui is a haven of luxury hotels and spas, with 5-star retreats offering massages, body wraps, facials and a range of specialist treatments. A Thai massage is not to be missed, and even if you're on a small budget can be purchased relatively cheaply at any standard massage parlour. Don't expect a soothing Western-style massage; Thai massage often feels more like a workout as the masseuse slowly stretches out every muscle in your body. It can be quite uncomfortable at times, but you'll leave feeling like a new person!
Divers flock from all over the world to see the coral reefs, marine life and shipwrecks that populate the seas around Ko Tao, Phuket, Krabi and Ko Phi Phi. The best place to learn to dive is Ko Tao, where scuba centres often pair with nearby hotels to offer you discounted accommodation while you complete your dive course. If you're already qualified you're good to go, but there are tons of dive centres so make sure you visit a few to make sure you find the right one for you.
Western visitors will find they get remarkably good value for money in Thailand; taxis are cheap, a meal from a street market stall can be bought for under £1 and a 3* Thai hotel will set you back less than £20/night. This means you can get all the essentials on an extremely small budget, but of course if you do have a little more to spend you can live like a king for a fraction of the price you would spend on, say, a city break in New York or beach getaway in the Caribbean.
Thailand isn’t called the ‘Land of Smiles’ for nothing! Thailand is a very patriotic nation and you will find that people appreciate the simple fact that you have come to experience their country, and will actively invite you to share their culture and way of life. Just remember that Thailand is a country of manners and respect, so to avoid causing offence take the time to memorise a few dos and don'ts. Respect the Royal Family, take your shoes off when entering houses or shops, avoid over-the-top PDA and you'll be fine!
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