As time goes on, Thailand is becoming a place where most people have either visited, or have big plans to. There are plenty of reasons for this. The cities are vibrant, thronging hubs of entertainment and culture. Its islands are about as close to paradise as it’s possible to get. And the people are friendly and welcoming. Then there’s the parts people don’t obviously link their own image of Thailand; the countryside. Which is lush, picture-perfect, and home to exotic creatures beyond imagining. In the north, just outside the cultural haunt of Chiang Mai you can trek through it on elephants, while the southern coast throws up a dramatic series of craggy cliffs. When you plan your trip, you’ll find that flights to Thailand mainly go to Suvarnabhumi Airport, just outside Bangkok. From there you can hop across to your destination of choice.
Thailand is famed for its beaches, and beach parties. Getting across to them from Bangkok is easy enough, the usual thing is to book an overnight bus, which is cheap. But once you’re in the south, you can hop across to more luxury, quiet resorts, or to the backpacker party centres. From the most popular islands, you’ll find bohemian chic at Ko Samui, big tourist resorts at Phuket, and gorgeous unspoilt scenery at Mae Sariang. But wherever you end up, you’ll be sure to find turquoise waters, and white sands to unwind on in style.
Buddhism is a big influence in Thailand, and it’s definitely worth checking out a Thai wat, or temple, while you’re there. Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok is perhaps one of the most famous, and certainly the most celebrated. For a crash course in Thai history, visit some of the country’s beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Sukhothai with its ancient city and Buddha statues, and Ayutthaya with its dreamlike remains giving a unique insight into Siam culture. You’ll find that spas are a big thing in Thailand too. From traditional Thai massage parlours, to fish spas, so it’s worth having a bit of pampering during your travels. And it’s the perfect way to liven up after a big night out, especially in Bangkok. The city’s most famous spot is Koh San Road, with its 24/7 party atmosphere and pumping bars, it’s the place to go if you want to let your hair down.
Thai cuisine is beautifully simple and tasty. While you’re there try some of the country’s tasty curries, spicy noodles and fresh seafood. Many restaurants in the more touristy areas also sell western-style dishes if you’re hankering for a taste of home, but the best experiences can be had at the many, local food markets where authentic dishes are served well, and cheap. When it comes to drink, you won’t have to look too hard to get your hands on some local beer, like Chang. But be warned, a lot of the local beers are served in large bottles, and they’re generally stronger than UK brands.
|Food and drinks||Prices average|
|Beer (0.5 litre)||£1.00|
|Meal at McDonald's||£4.00|
|Water (0.33 litre)||£0.00|
|One way tube ticket||£0.00|
|Taxi starting price (normal tariff)||£1.00|
|1 summer dress in a chain store (Zara, H&M,...)||£23.00|
|1 pair of jeans (Levi's 501 or similar)||£47.00|
|Average monthly disposable salary (net)||£319.00|