Thailand is a wonderful country to explore. From the hustle and bustle of Bangkok to the sleepy villages and lush green landscapes of Chiang Mai to the stunning white sand beaches of Phuket and Krabi, Thailand is a land of many contrasts and great natural beauty.
Why you should visit Thailand
I recently visited Thailand for the first time and it blew me away. If you have yet to visit Thailand, you have a real treat in store. Here’s why you should go, and why I long to go back.
1. The Buddhist Temples
I’m sure, like me, you have seen pictures of the stunning temples in Thailand, but seeing them for myself was a very moving experience which took me a little by surprise. My first glimpse of the golden chedi at Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai literally brought a tear to my eye. No photo can do them justice. You need to see them with your own eyes to really appreciate their beauty.
above: Wat Phra Singh, Chiang Mai
While the temples further south in Bangkok were much more crowded than those in Chiang Mai, and as such felt far more touristy, visiting them is a once in a lifetime experience not to be overlooked. And it wasn’t just the temple buildings and the beautiful golden Buddhas inside that were so impressive — so too was the attention to detail, like the intricately patterned wallpapers, each one painstakingly painted by hand.
above and below: Wat Pho, Temple of Reclining Buddha, Bangkok
Read about the stunning Chiang Rai White Temple
2. The Traditional Arts & Crafts Souvenirs
From beautiful Chiang Mai Celadon vases to the intricate picture that a Thai lady painted on my camera bag in just a few minutes, I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the traditional arts and crafts of Thailand. Beautiful silks, colourful parasols, pretty lanterns, cushions and carvings all vied for my attention in search of a way into my suitcase for the journey home.
above and below: Thailand’s traditional arts and crafts
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3. The Beautiful Beaches
The southern province of Krabi is known for its stunning white sand beaches, backed by lush jungle and dramatic limestone cliffs. The beach of Railay is particularly enticing — a sweeping bay of soft sand lapped by the warm, aquamarine waters of the Andaman Sea. It’s on a small peninsula cut off from the mainland by those stunning cliffs, making it accessible only by boat. While I didn’t manage to visit this time, it’s just one of the many reasons why I need to go back again.
above: Railay Beach, Krabi
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4. The Fabulous Food Scene
From street stalls to swanky restaurants, Thailand’s food scene is outstanding. Aromatic and spicy, it combines hot, sour, sweet and salty flavours and, in my experience, it is always beautifully presented with plenty of vegan and vegetarian options available. And with so much love going into the presentation, you know the same care has been taken when it comes to the flavours.
My favourite restaurant is Ginger & Kafe in Chiang Mai, not just for its fabulous food but also for the cosy atmosphere and vintage look. With plush sofas and antique furniture, you almost feel you are dining in someone’s home.
Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out Tourist Secrets’ things to do in Asia.
above and below: Ginger & Kafe, Chiang Mai
You might also enjoy this Mini Guide to Chiang Mai Street Food
5. The Welcoming People
Never have I felt as welcome as I did in Thailand. And never have I heard so much laughter. Thai people are the friendliest and happiest people I have ever met, with the most beautiful smiles.
If you are looking for an interesting and friendly country to visit, with outstanding natural and manmade beauty, not to mention superb food, Thailand holidays, if you’ll excuse the cliché, tick all the boxes.
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