Why I Love Thailand
Thailand is a perennially popular tourist destination and, after spending months in India, a few weeks break in Thailand was just what I needed. Here’s what I loved about Thailand; from temples and queuing to street stalls, smiles and errmm 7/11!
5 Things I Love about Thailand
Beauty – There is beauty everywhere in Thailand, from mesmerizing golden glittering temples, colourful flower garlands on long tail boats and the pretty shrines and spirit houses that are found outside every house and business and not to mention the immaculate presentation of everything from food to the people themselves. Thailand is a beautiful country.
Street Food – Snacking on the go is really a way of life in Thailand. Every evening the streets come alive with quick, cheap and tasty meals from the ubiquitous Pad Thai to spicy soups, Chinese noodles and rice dishes to mango sticky rice and of course not forgetting food on sticks. There is a huge variety of food in Thailand, not all of it is spicy and western favourites are also easy to find. At least half of my daily food intake when in Thailand seems to come on a stick and I love the convenience of snacking on the go and the communal dining atmosphere at the street stalls and,unlike in India, hygiene is usually pretty good – I haven’t been sick yet!
Shopping – From the ultra modern malls (one of my favourites is the airport themed Terminal 21 in Bangkok) to the street stalls. Thailand is a shopper;s paradise, there is just so much to buy here, I’m not a big shopper but it’s hard to resist. Every town seems to have a Night Bazaar or Walking Street and even though I’m not a big shopper it’s hard to resist as haggling with the vendors is so much easier than in India and it’s much easier to get a bargain price. I also love surfing the snack stalls at the same time and if there’s not a night market going on then you are never far away from the air conditioned bliss of 7/11 which sells everything you could imagine with the highlight being the toasties that they warm up for your convenience.
Travel is Easy – I can see why Thailand is called the land of smiles, Thai people are so polite and welcoming and traveling in Thailand does not have the same difficulties and frustrations that traveling in India brings. Thailand is modern, clean and well developed making it easy to get around, things like wifi and hot showers actually work and there are not daily powercuts. I can wear what I want, grab a beer or a burger, get a sim card in less than 5 mins (instead of 5 days in India) I had to give less information to enter the country (visa free!) than to simply check into a hotel in India. I’m invisible amongst crowds of other tourists and farang so I can simply walk down the street, wearing whatever I want, at any time and not get hassled and as there are so many other travellers its easy to met people and make new friends. Bangkok has great, air conditioned, public transport and people even queue to get onto the skytrain! How civilized!
Amazing Beaches – With so many islands to choose from Thailand is a paradise for island hopping from and although some of the most popular and famous islands have become very commercialized and over developed there are still some undeveloped tropical hideaways for intrepid explorers to discover. The white sands and clear turquoise seas are world class – I still love the Goan vibe but sorry Goa, Thailand beaches beat Goa’s in the beauty stakes.
And things that I don’t love about Thailand.
But I have to admit that for some reason I have never fallen in love with Thailand as much as the way I was captivated by India. I don’t know why really – from the countryside in the north, to buzzing Bangkok, to glittering temples and turquoise oceans, Thailand is a great place to travel and makes a perfect first time backpacking destination for sure. But despite visiting Thailand 3 times now, and spending over 2 months all over the country, I never seem to really fall in love with the country like many others seem to do.
My Thailand holidays have been a great respite from India for me, it always surprises me just how different these two countries are but despite the frustrations of traveling in India after only 2 weeks in Thailand I’m eager to return to India.
Why don’t I love Thailand as much as India? I don’t really know – I feel like I should but I guess I left my heart in India. The expense of traveling here is one reason ( don’t get me wrong Thailand is still good value, especially compared to the rest of the world, but most things cost double compared to what I would pay in India) and the blatant sex industry also makes me feel uncomfortable.
But still, I’m sure this won’t be my last visit to the land of smiles. Thailand is a perfect respite from the sometimes overwhelming chaos traveling of India but for some reason I just can’t connect with Thailand in the way that I do with India.
India may be frustrating but it’s also probably the most fascinating place on earth. It’s surprising, rewarding and simply captivating, there’s nowhere else like it and aren’t the hardest things the ones most worth doing?
I agree with alot of your post. I have never been to India to compare, but can’t wait to check it out (possibly next year)… I was not a big fan of Bangkok, I’ve read alot of great things so I really need to give it another chance to be fair. And mostly we used it as a travel hub rather than explore. We loved the beaches and islands…we could have spent so much more time seeing more! And sex tourism is gross everywhere that has it!
Glad you liked the post – of course my observations coming from India aare probably different from most peoples – everyone has a different experience. I liked the islands too – I have to admit they are more beautiful than Goa’s beaches but just didn’t have the same vibe for me!
I like your article, my favourite place in Thailand so far is Phuket -http://lovinglifeinasia.com/7-things-i-like-about-thailand/. I haven’t been to India yet but it sounds interesting and I would like to visit.
Cool, thanks. Yes Thailand’s beaches are amazing. Come to India one day – its so diverse and has so much to offer!
I definitely relate to this! i spent two months in Thailand a few years back (the beginning of a 5 month trip) it was the PERFECT place to go as a first tiem travel destination. And we were lucky to meet peopel out there who knew the country well, meaning we avoided many of the heavily touristy areas. I absolutely LOVE the country, its so friednly beautiful and the food is incredible. Its just as you say so easy too! But the next part of our tip was India (arriving in Dehli during winter time…we really had no idea what hit us). I really struggled the first week in India, it was a real shock coming from easy going Thailand. But within just week, i completely fell in love with India and it is the one country I want to go back to again and again. Nothing compares to it. The chaos, excitement and the wonderful people really make it. Plus I feel you meet a certain type of traveller in India (perhaps the more adventurous types). there were many Westerners we met in Thailand who said they didn’t ever want to go to India. It really is one of those places you can’t describe until you’ve been. Thanks for the amazing travel blog! xx
Hi Lucy, thanks so much for sharing your experiences! I’m glad you can relate to my post. I agree Thailand is an amazing place for your first backpacking trip and it’s good to hear that you managed to get off the tourist trail – it’s not an easy thing to do in Thailand but knowing people there always makes for a better trip. I agree with you too about India being a major culture shock after Thailand but I’m so glad to hear that you got over the culture shock and fell in love with the country – it’s such an experience like nowhere else. I hope you’ll be back many times – there’s so much to see, experience and learn from traveling in India. Really glad to hear you like my blog too! 🙂
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