Thailand is a country of unexpected contrasts, where modern and ancient perfectly blend in each other and where conservative and liberal beliefs co-exist next to each other. It is a country of untouched and wild nature in most of its parts, thousands of incredible history, friendly and smiley nation, brilliant architecture, an abundance of food choices, and postcard-perfect beaches. Here are some of the best reasons to visit Thailand, even though there are plenty!
Thailand is also a country I fell in love with from the very first sight. It’s more than just a tropical getaway destination as it has dozens of places to visit. Moreover, it can open your eyes to the new world and teach you many things if you let it. I surely did.
- Thailand travel tips
- What to eat in Thailand
- 3-day Bangkok Itinerary
- Koh Samet island near Bangkok
- Sukhothai – an ancient city in Thailand
10 Top Reasons to Visit Thailand
The Land of Smiles
Locals are friendly, always happy, smiling from ear-to-ear, very polite and helpful. And that is why Thailand is often called the Land of Smiles.
Despite the fact that inequality is quite apparent, people seem to be happy with life. From what I have seen during my one month stay with a local family, this might be because of their background in Buddhism. The religion is based on the concept of reaching enlightenment and happiness by eliminating cravings. This means that we should be happy with what we have and shouldn’t need more than life has to offer.
FOOD, FOOD, and even more FOOD!
One of the primary reasons to visit Thailand is it’s authentic and flavorful cuisine. Trust me, the Thai food we have in our cities is nothing compared to what you eat here. The abundance of choice is overwhelming, you want to try everything!
Tai, our host in Sukhothai said that, it would take her whole life to try all the meals of Thai cuisine. Imagine that!
You can find food and snacks stalls, literally, at every step and corner. Meat or fish balls, pancakes, bugs, and fruits or freshly squeezed juices are the most commonly seen on the streets of any city.
Some of the country’s flavorful tom yum soups (or any other meal) come from the roadside stalls whipped up in seconds using fresh ingredients. The street food is cheap, convenient, full of flavor, and more importantly quite hygienic. We didn’t have any stomach issues.
And, the best part of street food is that no matter what time of the day or night you feel hungry, there is an outside stall available somewhere.
Picture perfect islands and white sand beaches
Thailand is a perfect tropical getaway all-year-round with its more than 1,400 islands and 3,000kms of coastline. Here, even December sees an average temperature of 26C, making it one of the good reasons to visit Thailand.
The country is famous for its stunning white-sand beaches, green-blue water, and palm tree-lined islands. The most famous and iconic ones are Koh Samet, Phuket, Railay Beach, Ko Phangan, Koh Phi Phi, Ko Lanta, etc.
Due to their vast popularity and a huge number of tourists, some of those islands tend to be quite expensive. But the landscapes and the beauty of nature are worth a visit. If you are on a budget, do not worry! Thailand always has something to offer you without emptying your pockets.
Looking for an ideal two-week itinerary through Thailand?
Mind-blowing architecture and many Buddha statues
Thailand is home to breathtaking temples and lots of Buddha statues. With rich ornamentation and immaculate details, bright colors, and multi-tiered roofs influenced by Khmer, Chinese, Indian, and Burmese architectural styles, but at the same time preserving its own.
Buddha statues are everywhere, any shape, and size. Standing, seated, lying down statues come in various sizes from tiny to giant. The country even has a Buddha Park in Nong Khai featuring bizarre and big statues inspired by Hindu and Buddhist mythologies.
Great transportation system
Some of the Southeast Asian countries do lack a well-lined out public transportation system. Thailand is one of the exceptions with various choices to travel around the country as well as within the city limits. There are buses, motorbike taxis, trains, tuk-tuks, songthaews, and ferries/boats to take you anywhere you want.
Catering every budget traveler
One of the characters of Thailand is that it’s very flexible in terms of costs, meaning that it can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be. Generally speaking, Thailand is a very budget-friendly destination for all coming from the west. The costs here does depend on your spending limitations. Moreover, due to affordable prices, Chiang Mai is a go-to city for digital nomads.
For instance, your daily cost for meals is around $1-10 depending on where you eat. Cheap, yet clean and cool, hostel can be around $15-20, while luxurious hotels and meals in western restaurants can cost anywhere from $200 and more.
Shopping is one of the good reasons to visit Thailand, especially Bangkok. From my time spent here, I have not seen soo many and giant shopping malls elsewhere. Apart from international styled malls, Bangkok offers countless local markets offering all sorts of goods on display.
Stroll down its casual night markets, or visit the biggest of them all, the Chatuchak Weekend Market to stock up on memorabilia and souvenirs to bring back home.
Who doesn’t like a relaxing massage? Apart from all the things the country is famous for, massage is another great reason to visit Thailand, especially if you’re looking for a relaxing vacation. Thailand is full of massage parlors, spa centers, and wellness retreats. Much like street food stalls, massage parlors are at every corner. The price starts at $6 and goes up depending on where you go.
Unusual customs and festivals
If you still need convincing, one of the reasons to visit Thailand is for its unusual festivals.
Songkran – Thai New Year
One of my favorites is this national holiday, where the whole nation has fun with water pistols. Celebrated annually from April 13-15, Songkran falls during the hottest month of the year, so why not engage in a three-day-long water fight to celebrate the New Year?
Every single Thai person is out on the streets, soaking each other in the water, throwing water-filled balloons, pouring from buckets, or firing water from the pistols. No one is left dry and you simply can’t resist the temptation to join this fun celebration.
Phuket Vegetarian Festival
Mainly celebrated by local Chinese communities, the festival is nothing like the name implies. Also referred to as the Nine Emperor Gods Festival lasts for nine days and features unusual religious rituals such as piercing arms, cheeks, face, back, and legs with swords, knives, axes, or anything they can get hands-on. This is definitely not for those who have a weak stomach or faints at the sight of blood.
This is probably one of the most famous and visited festivals in Thailand. Celebrated in Chiang Mai on the full moon of the 12th lunar month each year, this lantern festival is quite mesmerizing to watch. The date usually falls somewhere in mid-November. In 2020, it’s scheduled for November 1 and lasts till the next day.
Hundreds, if not thousands of lit-up lanterns rise into the night sky over the city, creating an absolutely stunning scenery to watch and experience. You don’t want to miss it!
This is (was) one of the most favorite festivals in Thailand for locals. Since 2016, a new King, Rama X (Maha Vajiralongkorn), took over the throne after his father, King Rama IX (Bhumibol Adulyadej), a much-beloved person and ruler among the locals.
On this day, Thais wear yellow t-shirts and join in a HUGE celebration of their King’s birthday accompanied by food and souvenir markets, a parade, songs, tents showcasing the King’s good deeds for the nation, and ends with massive fireworks. I have attended the birthday of King Rama IX, which was a fascinating experience to have.
Thailand’s big cities such as Bangkok, Pattaya, and Phuket have some of the best walking streets for nightlife boasting with bars, night markets, cabaret shows, restaurants, street vendors, tattoo shops, massage parlors, and much more.
Some of its islands are also a go-to destination for party lovers for its all-night Full Moon Parties on the beach, while Bangkok offers plenty of naughty hotspots such as Soi Cowboy (“the red light district”), Khao San Road, Sukhumvit, or Nana Plaza.
Prepare for the trip
To ease your travel planning, check out all the posts about Thailand travel. Additionally, here are some of the websites and services I use when preparing for my next adventure anywhere in the world.
– Book affordable flights on Kiwi.com, a platform that shows the best routes and flight deals to your destination. There’s a money-back guarantee if you miss the flight!
– Check iVisa to see if you need a tourist visa to visit Thailand, how to apply online if applicable, or where’s the nearest embassy or consulate
– Find budget-friendly deals on all sorts of accommodation types on Booking and Agoda, or find a cool apartment on Airbnb and get $34 off on your first stay (my invite expires in 30 days after you sign up! )
– Buy the most flexible and budget-friendly travel insurance, SafetyWing, to cover all sorts of health problems on the road
– Book in advance some of the best city walks, floating markets, snorkeling tours, or day trips to maximize your stay and experience here