a different Thailand
If you have the courage to travel off the normal tourist map then you can still find a different Thailand. It is a wonderful country. In the 15 years that I have known it, it has change a lot. People still have this image of the Thailand that once was, and are expecting this, even if it is their first visit. Thailand is a very modern country in SE Asia, but also one of the richest and fastest developing economies. Surprisingly only 10% of its GDP is tourism. Nevertheless it is still an amazing country with amazing people and of course amazing food.
where to go?
Most people that travel to Thailand pretty much follow the same route. They go to Bangkok, then go north first and then to the south to spend some time on the beaches. Or they do it the other way around. However Thailand is almost 2000 km long, and cramming too many places in a 1 or 2 week holiday is going to be hectic. You are going to be unpacking/packing and traveling more than enjoying and getting to know the place. Other people spend a few months in South East Asia, traveling in and out of Thailand and visiting all its neighboring countries. This is the modern backpacker, but even they seem to all follow similar paths and cram too many destinations into their trip. (I will be discussing this in later blogs).
I have been traveling for 20 years now, and have realized it is better to spend more time in fewer places. This way one can really connect with locals and get to know the area properly. By properly I mean not visiting the “main tourist attractions”. Going places that are not on the tourist map.
places to avoid
Some of the main tourist destinations in Thailand are Phuket, Huahin, Koh Samui, Pai, Pattaya, and Koh Chang. Personally I would not recommend any of these places. They are overcrowded and overpriced. The local people in these places are supersaturated by mass tourism. This has unfortunately taken a toll on their lovely iconic smile and hospitality.
I come from Ibiza in the Mediterranean, and also there we also have the same feeling. When your home gets invaded by millions of tourist yearly, some of whom treat the place and locals poorly. So when traveling it is very important to respect & know local customs & culture, and treat others as you would want to be treated. Then you will discover a different Thailand.
If you have the courage to step of the beaten tracks in Thailand you will be surprised by the jewel’s you will find. If you go even further you will find the Thailand of old. The local people will stare at you with astonishment, maybe never having seen a foreigner before. They will want to take pictures with you and even invite you into their homes for a meal. One almost feels like a superstar.
Many years ago when backpacking in the province of Chumphon I got invited into the home of the very simple family. They didn’t have much. They insisted I stay with them for a while. This ended up being 2 weeks!!!!. I met all their relatives and they took me to see many nice spots. We ate and laughed together, even though I didn’t speak a word of Thai and they spoke very little English. Nevertheless we had a great time together. Language is never a barrier. You would be surprised how far you can get with facial expressions, gestures, and hand communication.
I have been living on and off in Thailand for the last 15 years. My home/my “basecamp” for the greatest part has been Krabi. In this Adventure Travel Blog & Guide I will be writing about some of these destinations I have discovered in my time here. Below you will find our recent blogs about a different Thailand. Stay tuned for more !!!!!