Among experienced travellers, Thailand almost seems like a dirty word these days. Images of Chaweng’s ultra-developed beach and tales of backpacking antics on the Khao San Road leave one with the impression of a country destroyed by the excesses of rampant global tourism. Yet, Thailand remains a place any self-respecting globetrotter has to discover.
Yes, it’s lost some of its mystique; gone are the days of Alex Garland’s secret community in cult novel The Beach. And although adventure seekers may prefer neighbouring Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, when it comes to an introduction to Southeast Asia, nothing can beat Thailand. Bustling metropolis? Check. Paradise beaches? Check. Deep jungles and fascinating wildlife? Check. There really isn’t a whole lot missing.
This is why Thailand still tops my list of favourite destinations. From Bangkok to the islands in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, I found a country with bags of personality. Just take a turn off the main road and you find Thailand can still delight and amaze in equal measure.
If you’re willing to abandon your beach resort for the day, there’s plenty to do, from jungle treks and wildlife safaris to excursions to remote islands and fishing trips. But the best thing about Thailand remains the bargains, starting with accommodation, which is cheaper and generally of a better standard than in similar destinations such as the Caribbean. Flight-only or flight-and-hotel offers are great too, as these few examples demonstrate:
The FCO has issued advice to travel to some parts of Thailand. Click here for more information.