Known for its food, long coastlines, and colorful culture, Thailand is a country located in Southeast Asia and is bordered by the countries of Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, and Burma. Thailand is ranked as the 51st nation in size with a total of 513,120 square miles. The country is also one of the most visited countries in the world. According to a report made by Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in 2012, the southeastern country received more than 19 million tourists. The fact that so many people choose to pack their bags and head to Thailand each year made me wonder why. From quick research on Thailand, I easily discovered the multiple reasons why Thailand is such an attractive place for many tourists.
When visiting Thailand, you are able to directly interact and experience Thailand’s deep, vibrant culture. Thailand’s culture is heavily influenced by Buddhism, the country’s dominant religion. In fact, about 95% of Thailand’s population is reported to be Buddhist. The belief system of Buddhism plays a giant role in how locals may act in public and in their daily lives. Moral values such as respect and self-control are strongly held by Buddhist locals. Negative emotions displayed in public are generally not approved of in Thailand, so you see most locals wearing smiles and maintaining a positive attitude no matter how awful their day has been. The fact that Buddhism is extremely important in Thailand also reflects why there are so many temples. Located in Thailand is an estimated amount of 40,000 temples, each with their own unique characteristics. In Thailand’s temples, you are able to see the giant Buddha statues that the country is famous for. However, when visiting these temples, please remember that they are religious places of worship and should be respected. Never get in the way of monks or locals that actually come there to worship.
Food plays an important role in the attractiveness of a country. Thailand is no where near lacking in that department. You can’t completely be a fan of Thai food without experiencing it in the country itself. According to many locals and tourists alike, Thai food in Thailand presents more variety in flavor. Thai food is also known to be incredibly spicy. If you can’t handle or tolerate spiciness, order mai pai, meaning “not spicy.” When traveling to Thailand, it is suggested that you ditch fancy restaurants for street food and eat with the locals. Outdoor vendors serve cheap and delicious food just waiting to pleasure your tastebuds. With street food, food is almost available for many any time of the day. While it may seem intimidating at first to newcomers, eating street food is the perfect opportunity to connect with the local culture. Many of the street foods you may find in Thailand include khao phat (fried rice), som tam (papaya salad), pad thai (stir fried rice noodle), tom yum kung (sour shrimp soup), and various types of curries.
In Thailand, there are many activities to do that will surely keep you entertained and smiling throughout your trip. Thailand is a perfect place for both adventurers and those who’d rather prefer a quiet time looking at scenery. For adventurers, there are options such as diving and snorkeling. You can swim with dolphins, turtles, and sharks. In Thailand’s island of Koh Tao (“turtle island”), you may get the awesome opportunity of swimming with whale sharks. You also don’t already have to have years of experience prior to this given opportunity. Koh Tao is a perfect place for veteran divers and newcomers. The island also even provides lessons at a cheap price and is full of dive shops. In addition to exploring the great underwaters, those who seek adventure can go jungle trekking in Thailand’s national parks. One national park destination would be Khao Sok National Park. It is the 22nd national park established by Thailand and is considered one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southern Thailand. In this park, you can have close encounters with elephants and all sorts of different kinds of animals like the gibbon, sun bear, tapir, leopard, and gaur. In the parks, you can also canoe through Thailand’s waters and cool off near waterfalls. For those who prefer to enjoy the scenery, Thailand’s Red Lotus Lake in Udon Thani, Thailand will surely blo you away. Each year, between the months of November and February, the lake is painted pink. Beautiful lilies blossom and cover the entire lake, creating a sea of floating lotus flowers. To enjoy the scenery up close, you have the option to rent boats.
With all of its great activities and cuisine, Thailand is a great and popular country for people who are in need of fun and good times. After all, Thailand is considered the “land of a thousand smiles” for a reason. If you’re ever looking for a place or reason to grin from ear to ear, consider Thailand as a potential choice. With so much to offer, Thailand truly is one of the best countries to visit.