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Engaged in the pursuit of pleasure, Thailand has become a place of tranquility for western tourists. It is the land of beauty, charm, and colors. With beautiful beaches and never ending parties, it is one of the most economical places. Even the rainy summer season doesn’t seem to have any impact on this enchanting place. Thai is the national language of Thailand. Other traditional languages of Thailand include Lao, Kelantan-Pattani Malay, Khmer, Hmong, Mlabri, Viet, Tai Yo, Phu Thai, and Saek.
Brash capital Bangkok is a city of two faces. There’s the one that drinks from buckets all night, munches on insects from street carts and viciously kicks its way around a boxing ring, and then there’s the one that bows respectfully in the towering golden temples, removing its shoes before kneeling before Buddha, and employs its blind as ultra sensitive masseuses.
Head south and you’ll stumble across a deluxe brand of beach, where you can snorkel around towering headlands and feel the flutter of sharks against your legs, or sit at a private table with your feet in the water and dine on finely cooked fresh fish. The tiny island of Ko Tao has become a diver’s Mecca, where underwater adventurers can come face to face with mammoth whale sharks, while nearby Ko Phangan is a self-gratifying playground of fire swinging post-hippies and (now weekly) moon cycle parties that’ve gained a worldwide reputation from the well documented, unmitigated carnage.
If you prefer something a bit tamer, opportunities to volunteer with animals are abundant in Thailand. The northern city of Chang Mai is something of a cultural hub, where you can learn to cook exquisite Thai cuisine or stomp off into the jungle on an elephant and explore the surrounding wildlife. Central Ayutthaya’s glorious temples and moated location gives a glance at the Thailand of old, all oversized Buddha statues draped in vibrant saffron robes and in-temple saunas shared with monks. Nearby Kanchanaburi is the harrowing site of the Bridge Over the River Kwai, where thousands died building the railway. Now you can sleep in floating houses on the river, and snack on freshly caught river snails.
Heading for Thailand might be something of a backpacking cliché, but there’s a reason for that: it’s stunning, and it has masses to offer.
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