NEW YEARS …. I don’t know about you, but where I come from the transition from last year to new year is an excuse to party and drink away all the silly mistakes made by the old you (and i guess make some new ones). Tired of the same old beach camping trip, Rhythm and vines, night on the town (insert other typical New Zealand New Years celebrations here!) myself and a few friends decided to make 2013-2014 New Years a night to remember. As we were at the time all POOR UNIVERSITY STUDENTS we decided to head to the one country we know we could afford…THAILAND!!!
My expectation before departure was that my Thai trip would be full of long nights out drinking cheap alcohol, dancing in bars, gawking at lady boys, and attending the unforgettable and infamous Full Moon Party. Little did I realize that Thailand had so much more to offer.
When people talk to me about traveling to Thailand their expectations of what the country has to offer is almost identical to mine. Lets together break these predetermined expectations of what Thailand has to offer and what the Thai culture is. So count with me the TOP FIVE things that make Thailand a cultural awakening, and a must destination to travel.
THE MOUTHWATERING FOOD
I don’t know about you but when I think about travel the first thing that comes to mind is food. I honesty believe the best way to experience a culture is through your taste buds, and the food in Thailand will take yours on the ride of their life!! Who doesn’t like variety, flavors and a little kick in the mouth? The Thai food in Thailand is like an art form the flavors are intricate and each bite is full of unique textures and tastes that dance around in your mouth, and this exceptional cuisine is found all over the streets for an unbelievable low price (A Thai Green Curry cost about 75 Baht), and best of all the food stalls never seem to close, as long as there’s hungry people wanting amazing food there will be a Thai master chef ready to cook up a storm.
Hey, and if savory’s not what you crave, and your anything like me you will die and go to heaven when you see the array of fresh fruit available in Thailand. Did you know Thailand grows 20 different types of bananas… the country is literally the “kingdom of a hundred fruits ” blessed with a tropical climate and fertile soil the fruit in Thailand grows in abundance, is diverse, delicious, and best of all utterly inexpensive. The month I travelled Thailand i gorged myself on Watermelons (taeng-mo), Papaya (malako), Coconuts (ma-phrao), and Pomelo (som-o) eating the healthiest i probably ever have in my whole life, and how can you not eat healthy when exotic fruit receives you at every corner with a charming Thai person ready to cut them open for your convenience.
THE PICTURE PERFECT TROPICAL ISLANDS
Being born and raised in New Zealand I love salt water, sand and surf and am quite hard to please when it comes to beaches, but Thailand tropical islands are top contenders. The south of Thailand is blessed with an abundance of white sand beaches from the party crazy Koh Phi Phi to the quiet Koh Jum all the beaches Ive visited can only be described as postcard perfect! One of my absolute favorites is Koh Jum. With luxurious white sand and warm blue water from the Andaman sea its the perfect hidden getaway but you don’t need to travel far to visit it as its only 25 kilometers south of Krabi. Koh Jum is so peaceful you will forget you’re in Thailand. If a quiet secluded island isn’t quite what your looking for and you want to be closer to the hustle of city life, then take a day trip to the beautiful white sand on Railay beach. Surrounded by lush jungle and limestone cliffs Railay can only be accessed by boat from Krabi or Ao Nang, giving the beach a secluded island feel.
THE BREATHTAKING CAVES
If your after a cliff hanging adventure Thailand is the place to go, as the south is full of ancient limestone caves carved out by the sea just waiting to be explored. What could be more thrilling than silently paddling through mangrove forests and entering caves and lagoons or “hongs” (Thai for room) that emerge from within vast limestone sea mountains. It’s truly a surreal feeling to be sitting in a kayak surrounded by 100 foot limestone mountains that emerge seamlessly from the sea. This sight will make you realize just how amazing Mother Earth truly is.
THE HISTORIC BUILDINGS
The kingdom of Thailand has a rich and long history, with several empires rising to power over the course of thousands of years. The collapse of the many reigning empires has left Thailand dotted with impressive historical sites and landmarks. Words can not describe how beautiful it is to see thousand year old temples like Wat Arun sharing the skyline with a modern structure. The pure contrast between old and new is not only astonishing, but the close proximity allows you to visualise the ways in which ancient architectural techniques have influenced modern buildings.
THE SUCCULENT JUNGLES
As fun as it is to sunbathe on white sand strips in the middle of the Gulf of Thailand I find there is nothing more rewarding than putting on your walking shoes (in my case my trusty but smelly Nike’s) and hiking through the lush Thai jungle. Thailand has some amazing walks, from the famous hill tribe trek near Chang-Mai (which takes between two and three days), to the random off the beaten path short cut walks in Krabi and Koh Sumui. No matter what level of adventure your after you can get your nature fix here. Aside from the breathtaking forestry and lush plant life the Thai jungle has an array of unique animals and insects just waiting to be discovered.
Now that you’ve read my 5 reasons Thailand is a must travel destination, it’s time you pack your bag and discover for yourself what makes Thailand so special!!!