Over the past decade, Thailand has quickly become the travel mecca for backpackers, gap year students, and beach bums alike. As such, much of the country has quickly become heavily touristed. The beauty, though, is it doesn’t take much to get yourself off the tourist track and into the side of Thailand that’s inspired countless travellers over the years. If you’re hoping to get the most out of your time in Thailand, follow these top tips and you’ll surely have a trip to remember.
- Live like a local
With so many tourists and expats in Thailand, it’s easy to fall into the tourist-only lifestyle. Yes, it might be more comfortable to travel only in groups of tourists, and hang out only with other foreigners. But if you’re doing that, then you’re missing out on the chance for a cultural exchange that’s worth all those miles you’ve travelled.
- Eat mango sticky rice
So much of the travel experience revolves around food. If you’re in Thailand, and you’re a bit of a foodie, you’re in for a good time. One of the best snacks in the country is a plate called Mango Sticky Rice. Sweet rice with fresh Mangos is such a refreshing plate in the heat and humidity of Thailand.
- Hang out with elephants at ENP
The history of elephants in Thailand is rich in culture and tradition. Unfortunately, there’s also a history of elephant abuse. Luckily, Elephant Nature Park is a paradise for rescued animals as well as tourists, who want an up close and personal connection with the animals.
- Get off the tourist trail
It’s not hard to get off the tourist trail in Thailand, no matter how touristy the country can feel at times. Sometimes, it means going to a village outside of the city, other times it can mean visiting a part of town tourists don’t really visit. In fact, even parts of Bangkok and Chiang Mai themselves are completely void of tourists and very worthy of a visit.
- Join the world’s biggest waterfight
Songkran is the kick off to the rainy season in Thailand. To celebrate, the people arm themselves with water guns, water cannons, and buckets of water and “bless” themselves by pouring water each other. In parts of the country, the festival turns into an all-out water fight. Chiang Mai is a favourite among visitors as locals and tourists join forces in what turns into one of the biggest waterfights in the world.
- Eat the street food
If you can, avoid eating in a proper restaurant in Thailand instead. Head out to the streets where you’ll find top-quality food for next to nothing. Some towns have specific street food markets which are always a good bet. In the bigger cities like Bangkok you have streets that are famous for the food stalls; Sukhumvit 38 in Bangkok is a great choice.
- Watch for scams, but don’t be paranoid
Yes, scams and scammers are an issue in Thailand, as they are all over Southeast Asia. However, this isn’t something you should spend your travels paranoid about. Be aware of the fact that scams exist and read up on them before heading out. However, don’t let the worry of scams or being scammed; deter you from stepping out of your comfort zone and enjoying your time. You’ll find that the degree of the scam system is greatly exaggerated, and is certainly not worth spent hiding away from the travel life to avoid.