The recent bombing at the Erawan Shrine in central Bangkok was a tragic reminder of just how much our world has changed. Gone are the days when a place of worship served only as a safe haven where the evils of the world could not enter. Sadly, these sanctuaries have now become targets for those who wish to disseminate violence and hate. It would be easy to allow such events to deter you from traveling to destinations where there is a perceived threat of danger. But allowing the actions of a few ignorant and misguided individuals to prevent you from experiencing all this place has to offer would be a true travesty. Thailand is a beautiful country with a rich history, kind people and countless areas to explore. Below are the top ten reasons why you simply MUST visit Thailand.
Forget what you heard, Thailand is safe.
Despite the recent violence or what the media might have you believe, Thailand remains one of the safest countries to visit in Southeast Asia. There is a strong police presence at the airports as well as all major landmarks and tourist attractions. I ventured out late at night in Bangkok on several occasions and always felt safe and secure. Of course it is always important to remain aware of your surroundings and personal belongings at all times, especially while traveling, but at no point did I ever feel any less safe than I do walking the streets of New York.
The food in Thailand is amazing.
I was a fan of Thai food before visiting, but after spending ten days in Thailand I developed an even deeper love for the cuisine. From soups and noodles to stir fries and sweet treats, everything is mouthwatering. This is true not only of dishes served at formal restaurants, but street food as well. What makes it even better is that you can enjoy it all for a few dollars!
You can enjoy affordable luxury hotels.
If you want to enjoy first class luxury without breaking the bank then look no further than Thailand. I stayed at both the President Solitaire and the Baiyoke Sky Hotel (which happens to be the tallest in Thailand) while in Bangkok and was very impressed. Swimming pools, spas and a buffet breakfast were all included not to mention spacious rooms with stunning views of the city all for under $100 a night! I also spent a few days on the island of Koh Tao at the Sairee Hut Dive Resort. This beach front hotel offers diving lessons, water sports, swimming pool, hot tub and breakfast all for under $50 a night. You simply cannot beat that!
Getting around Thailand is easy (and fun)!
One of the reasons Thailand is such a great place to visit is that it is easy to get around. Bangkok has two highly functioning train systems, the BTS Sky Train and the underground metro. In addition, there is a river ferry and highly efficient water taxi system. If you’re in a rush, the local taxis or ‘tuk tuks’ are an inexpensive and convenient way to get just about anywhere you want to go! Traveling to other cities in Thailand is relatively simple either by train, which is more economical but takes more time, or by air.
Thailand has some seriously great nightlife.
It is no secret that Thailand boasts incredible nightlife. One of the main party locations is Soi Cowboy. Although only a few blocks long, you’ll find countless bars and clubs where you can indulge in dancing and libations into the wee hours of the morning. Even if you’re not a drinker or partier, you owe it to yourself to experience this out of this world attraction.
Visit Thailand’s breathtaking temples.
Aside from its unique nightlife, Thailand is best known for its many ancient and beautiful temples. You could spend your entire trip just trying to see them all! I was overwhelmed when visiting The Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Grand Palace not only by its sheer grandeur, but by the intricate craftsmanship and attention paid to every detail. Even more impressive is the fact that these ancient structures continue to attract and inspire such a wide variety of visitors. From Buddhist monks to American travelers and everyone in between, all who visit are moved by their experience regardless of their personal beliefs or background.
Thailand proves a perfect place for shoppers.
Those looking for souvenirs, local crafts and unique gifts will not be disappointed. There are many markets located throughout Bangkok, but one that draws some of the largest crowds is the Chatuchak weekend market. From clothing and art to live animals and fine china, you can find just about anything here! It is hard to describe just how expansive it is. Let’s just say you could probably spend three full days exploring and still not see it all! Even if you’re not interested in buying, the experience alone is worth the visit.
Not to mention is home to some fantastic spas.
Thailand’s major cities can feel a bit like a bee hive. They’re fast paced, crowded and at times overwhelming. Luckily there are countless options available where you can relax and unwind. For about $5 you can indulge in an hour long full body massage. How amazing! There are spas located on almost every block offering services of all kinds such as Garra fish pedicures, cupping and more!
Scenic trips to the nearby islands.
After a few days in Bangkok, you might be ready for a change in scenery. Fortunately, Thailand has some of the most beautiful islands in the entire world. The hard part is choosing one! Travelfish.org is a helpful resource to help narrow down the options. After several days of sightseeing and partying I was ready for some rest and relaxation. I opted for the remote island of Koh Tao. Known for its incredible dive sites, Koh Tao is a tiny oasis located in the Gulf of Thailand. A moped was my mode of transportation, which was perfect for beach hopping and exploring the entire island.
Thailand is home to wonderful people.
When you travel, you quickly realize that people are the heart and soul of every nation. This is certainly true of Thailand. I was overwhelmed by everyone’s beauty, generosity and kindness from the employees at the hotels to the strangers I met on the street who helped point me in the right direction when I lost my way. You often discover while abroad that regardless of where you go, how different the culture might be or how strong the language barrier is, at the core we are all the same. We all want to find happiness and live our lives in peace. The beautiful Thai people are no different.
The reality is that there are inherent risks associated with travel which exist regardless of your destination. However, if you allow your fears to dictate your actions, you will be missing out on some truly amazing places and depriving yourself of the opportunity to learn and grow. The ten days I spent in Thailand were some of the most magical I have ever experienced. I URGE you to visit and I promise you will not regret it!
What is on your list of reasons to visit Thailand? Share your comments, questions and thoughts in the comments section below!
Guest Author’s Bio:
Sarah Yekinni is an attorney living in Brooklyn who would much rather be on an airplane than in an office. She views travel as a necessity and has mastered the art of quick getaways. Her passion for travel and love of writing inspired her to create a space to share her experiences abroad and engage with others who share her wending spirit. She recently launched houseofwend.com in hopes of encouraging her readers to embark on their own adventures and wend their way.