There are plenty of worthy Asian countries to visit such as Japan and Hong Kong….but who could have guessed that an Asian country such as Thailand could probably be THE ultimate tourist destination? I, Susan, shall take you on a short whirlwind trip around Thailand’s Bangkok and Pattaya….
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Whether it is day or night, Thailand is continuously bustling with tourists, motorcycles, food and shops… Even at night, it’s bursting with colourful energy. Street markets come to life and it is always ready to welcome you with the smoky smell of sizzling meat, fresh frozen fruits, desserts and instant coffee. No matter where you walk, you will always find a great bargain and the locals are always trying their best to understand you.
But it’s not just the people who are friendly – Thailand is simply tourist-friendly as a whole. Bikes and motorbikes are for hire so you can drive wherever you want in the city. Laundry services and foreign money exchange booths can be found on every corner.
You can also go fishing, jet-boating and parachuting out on the beach as you like. And if you’re single or looking for some company, there are plenty of bars and nightclubs that open around the clock. And wherever you go, you will see tourists from different points of the globe – Europe, America, India, China … you name it! Thailand is clearly a tourist destination as it ultimately caters for all tourists from around the world.
If you’re a tourist who is interested in religion, history and architecture in general, Thailand is perfect for you. When you step foot into the city of Bangkok, you’ll automatically notice the harmonious mix of the old and new Thailand. The ‘old’ primarily consists of the countryside-slumbers of Thailand, along with its many ancient temples and ruins that are stretched across and intertwined with the ‘new’ Thailand (i.e. modern buildings, and shopping and business complexes etc).
Besides being deeply devoted to Buddhism, one of the most distinctive features about Thailand is that the country absolutely loves the royal family. Wherever you go, cities are donned with portraits of the King and the Queen — even within their temples, homes and shops.
A visit to Thailand’s Grand Palace is a must as you’ll witness some of the most amazing architecture that was built for the previous and current royals of Thailand – most of them with history that dates back to the earlier Kings of the country. And yes, it’s actually the Grand Palace where the King of Thailand usually resides.
Visiting zoos and safaris also prove to be a hit amongst tourists. Dubbed as the largest zoo in South-East Asia, Thailand’s Safari World is one of Thailand’s sightseeing destinations. Plenty of shows are held every day from orang-utans to dolphins to seals. It almost feels like Africa – you can also feed giraffes, ride elephants and drive around the safari to see the glorious landscape and diversity of animals.
The show delivers you the full package – mesmerizingly beautiful crossgender males, highly-detailed sets and costumes, and entertainment that showcases popular songs and dances from different cultures such as Thai, Cambodian, Korean, Vietnamese, Western, Malaysian and Hindu-Indian. It’s a fantastic show that will fascinate you from start to finish, and it’s certainly something that you’ll pay to see again regardless of whether you’re a male or female.
Now heading over to Pattaya – you can take a jet boat to its infamous Coral Islands where you can walk along its popular beach resort.
You can sit back and relax on any of the hundreds of beach chairs provided for you or you can go jet-boating and wakeboarding, buy fruits, munch on sizzling squids and giant prawns or you can check out the vendors selling interesting Thai products and souvenirs.
Yes, Thailand is all about food, food and food. When it comes to Thailand, you have to spend quality time exploring its streets and go food hunting. If you have time, you must explore the local markets and these are usually tucked behind the outer streets and alleys of the cities. As you may or may not know, Thailand is known for its fresh and delicious selection of fruits. And you certainly won’t be disappointed as you can find tasty durian, sugar bananas, papaya and jackfruits etc wherever you go.
In terms of shopping centres, you should check out two of Thailand’s major shopping complexes: Siam Paragon and Central World. These are dubbed as some of the biggest shopping centres in South-East Asia, and it’s no joke. What makes their shopping centres different from Sydney’s is that they like sophistication and they definitely know how to flaunt a fun, fantastic shopping experience for locals and tourists.
If you pop into the central food court, you’ll see a fantastic maze-like display of all kinds of food. Believe it or not, it was really difficult to detach yourself from that area as you can’t help but buy a bit of everything from each food vendor. In a matter of minutes, you’ll find yourself carrying bags of sushi, rice patties, puff pastries, kebabs, cakes and Thai sausages etc.
Speaking of food, Thailand absolutely loves the Korean and Japanese culture. Head into any shopping centre or hotel, and you’ll find a selection of authentic Korean and Japanese restaurants. And it’s not just food – they are also heavily influenced and into other Korean/Japanese things such as music, fashion, TV shows etc.
And of course, it’s impossible to leave Thailand without experiencing a Thai massage. Thai massages are literally everywhere in Bangkok and after a few hours of being taken care of, it can really help you to relax and prep you up for the next day’s set of adventures.
Overall, Thailand is a fantastic holiday destination. It’s fun, vibrant and full of life. If you’re looking for a great adventure with your mates, Thailand’s the place to be as there are plenty of food, shopping and activities for you to see and do.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go to the Floating Markets which was a great disappointment because that is one of the ‘must-see’ hotspots in Thailand. I did however, went floating down the River of Chipari where we get to see the Old Palace, the Grand Palace and also many of the residents’ houses which is always fascinating to look at.
But what about Thailand’s negative points, you may ask? The weather over there is unbelievably warm, very muggy and polluted so if you’re not used to humid-dry conditions, then you’ll probably have a difficult time adjusting to it. Believe it or not, you can already feel the sun burning into your face once you step out of the hotel around 8 in the morning, and you pretty much have to live on cold bottled drinks throughout the day or you’ll dehydrate in no time.
What was interesting is that although Thailand is an exceptionally popular and great tourist destination, the people over there are not exactly up to scratch with their English. It was surprising to see that people in local markets actually knew basic English and that they understood tourists more than those who work in hotels. But perhaps in a few years time, things would be much different. I certainly wouldn’t mind coming back to Thailand again – especially for its food and shopping.