If you’re unsure about which destination to choose in Southeast Asia, stay right here and have a peek at some of the best reasons to travel Thailand. In the past ten years, Thailand has become one of the top touristic destinations in Southeast Asia, and I bet at least one or two of the friends in your circle have spent their holidays there. You’ve probably learned from recent movies about a kind of Western tourism in Thailand made up of crazy party nights and odd accidents with the locals, but that’s just a very tiny part of what travelling Thailand can be like.Thailand is a destination that allowed me to rejuvenate and shine again from within in just about three weeks.Here are some of the reasons why so many travellers, including me, have decided to extend their vacation in Thailand after their planned vacation time had ended.
1. TRAVELING SOLO IS EASY
Thailand is a perfect destination for solo travelers, even for the beginners!
The locals speak good English or are able to understand most of what you are saying and to give you information. Tourism is the biggest business for Thai people: the streets are safe and you may notice that locals are right there waiting to do things for you! Looking for a ride to the station? Here’s a tuk-tuk. Feeling a bit hungry? There’s plenty of street food available.
In Thailand, I had my first solo trip and I felt totally safe. The cost of living is cheap, including transportation, so if you don’t like where you’re staying, you can change location easily: just remember to do a little research about where you want to go next and to bargain with the locals.
2. THAI FOOD IS THE BEST
The food alone could be reason enough for you to want to visit Thailand. Thai food is delicious, easy to find, and worth the trip! I had pad thai every day while travelling. I couldn’t get enough of the rice fettucini with peanut crumbles and calamansi on top, and a choice of fish, pork, or veggies. Green curry soup is a close second on my list of favourite Thai delicacies.
Whether you find yourself on a small island (which is highly recommendable!) or in the centre of Bangkok, you’ll always find fresh fish. If you are vegan or vegetarian, you can help yourself to the sweet banana/mango rice for breakfast, dessert or main course! Fresh fruit juices are everywhere: pineapple, mango, papaya, banana, all the tropical fruits that you can imagine, and Thai people know how much we like fresh juices, and will never leave you empty-handed.
Got a sweet tooth? Watch out for Thai Roti! This sweet crepe, pancake or however you’d call it in your mother tongue will reach out to you on the street. You’ll be pulled in by the smell of butter, banana and Nutella, and very soon you’ll find yourself asking for one and admiring how quickly the expert locals create it right in front of you.
One becomes two, and in a week you’ll have eaten too much sugar, so be careful! 😉
These videos testify as to how much I loved Thai pancakes. I wanted to make them at home, and I was impressed by how the extremely thin dough is worked. Have a look at how this banana/nutella pancake is made :p
3. THE BEACHES ARE STUNNING
There are so many stunning beach locations, you’ll have a hard time deciding where to go first. You’ll hear about this or that island – all the destinations with a “koh” in the name are islands! But don´t worry, you can´t make a wrong choice. Wherever you go, the water will be crystalline, and you’ll be able to sleep in a hut on every island.
Just one red flag: don’t go to Thailand hoping for the snorkeling trip of your life, because you might be disappointed. You’d better do that in Indonesia, the Philippines or Malaysia. Go on a boat trip, expecting to discover secluded beaches, to relax while sipping a coconut, swim in the crystal-clear water, but don’t expect to do much snorkeling: the reef is dead in most touristic spots.
Want a tip on where to go sunbathing? Take a peek at the itinerary of my trip.
4. TRANSPORTATION IS CHEAP AND HANDY
You’ll be able to travel to the main towns and islands easily and with several different options. If you choose to travel by train, which I recommend because it’s safe and efficient, book in advance on the State Railway of Thailand website It’s in English and you can pay with your credit card.
I did an 8-hour night ride from Bangkok to Surat Thani (that would bring you to Koh Samui and Koh Phangan) and it was just amazing! I saw big seats transformed into comfy beds by dedicated employees, and I could separate myself from the rest of the world and have a sound sleep thanks to thick curtains. I felt totally safe on that train. I’d say it was the best night-train ride of my life! You can travel by bus too (aircon or non-aircon, depending on how much you want to spend, but keep in mind that on the aircon bus you’ll need a jacket if not a blanket – it´s chilly).
Only a minute´s walking distance from the main train and bus stations, you’ll find vans and mini-buses to the ferries that will bring you to the next island. Sometimes, it will be best to get the whole set of tickets all at once – for instance, I got all my tickets to Koh Phangan (train + minivan + ferry) at the ticket office in the Bangkok train station. All the means of transportation are connected.
The only red flag is when you arrive on the islands. There, the transportation will be managed by locals. They know that you’ve been travelling for hours and you are tired, so they’ll try to demand prices that you wouldn’t expect for Thailand. In this case, just be patient and do not show you are in a hurry, and they may lower the price. Do not trust drivers who want to show you somewhere to spend the night; ask them instead to drive you around and have a look at a few guesthouse/resorts. Pay the ride only when you are satisfied with what you’ve found.
5. THERE ARE A MILLION WAYS TO UNWIND
If spending the day in a hammock looking at the blue sea isn’t relaxing enough for you, or if you’d like to experience a deeper relaxation, more focused on healing the mind, consider that in Thailand you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for.
The country is mostly Buddhist, and it´s covered with monasteries where you can volunteer in exchange for teachings, meals, and a bed. I recommend you have a look at the following website where you can find a list of all the Theravada monasteries in the Ajahn Chah tradition, which originated in Thailand.
Or if you’re looking for something comfy, you can choose among countless retreats, centers and resorts; just do an online search and you´ll realize how wide the range of choices is…
If you’d like to spend time working with wildlife, you should go for a volunteer work/vacation. The Chiang Mai area is ideal for this. You can find a position as a volunteer in Thailand browsing websites like